Let’s start with the fajr prayer or the morning, or early morning prayer. First of all, when is the fajr prayer? Fajr prayer basically, let me start with when it ends. It ends approximately 35-40 minutes before sunrise. Before the actual sunrise, the time of the fajr prayer ends. And it goes approximately one and half hour and two hours back depending on the season, depending on the time that we are performing our prayer.
The mandatory part, the fardh, is two cycles. There is also two raka’ah, or two cycles of sunnah, or voluntary prayer that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) almost never missed.. If you catch the jama’ah, we have talked about the importance of jama’ah, the congregational prayer where we pray with our other brothers and sisters, but you may miss the fardh portion of the congregational prayer by praying the sunnah, then you can skip the sunnah and join the jama’ah. But the wonderful thing about the morning prayer is that you can make up your sunnah after you perform your mandatory or fardh portion of your prayer.
Let’s start inshaAllah with the adhan of the morning prayer because it is a little bit different than the others. In addition to the regular adhan that we hear everyday, in the morning prayers, in the fajr prayers, you hear “As-salatu khayrum-minen nawm” two times, meaning that prayer is more worthy or khayrun or better than sleep. So you need to wake up. This is the only one addition in the adhan for the morning prayer.
After we take our ablution and are ready with full concentration, we do first perform two raka’ah sunnah. After we perform two raka’ah sunnah, it is recommended that you recite your personal prayers and du’as while waiting to pray the fardh portion of the morning prayer. And again, you are performing two raka’ah sunnah and then two raka’ah fardh.
In regards to performing the prayer, let’s begin with the sunnah. As a matter of fact there is no difference, except for the intentions between the sunnah of the morning prayer and the fardh, the mandatory part of the morning prayer, the fajr prayer. It is performed the, same, according to Imam Hanafi (may God be pleased with him).
We first make our intention. When talking about the intention, according to Imam Hanafi, the intention should be by heart but if it is verbal that’s ok, for some madhhabs, for some Imams, the intention has to be verbal. According to Imam Hanafi it doesn’t have to be verbal. By intention, we mean you need to have full concentration. You need to know what kind of, I mean which prayer you are performing and what kind of prayer you are performing. You need to be conscious of the thing that you are about to do. That’s basically what intention means according to Imam Hanafi.
But if you want to make a verbal intention, which is also ok according to Imam Hanafi, you can say I intend to pray my fajr prayer or sunnah fajr prayer, which is two cycles for the pleasure of Allah (swt), Allahu akbar. That’s basically how your intention can go. So there is no specific type of or cliché way of saying your intention, as long as it indicates what type of prayer you are praying and for whose sake you’re praying. I think inshaAllah it should be ok.
And like every prayer, we start our prayer with takbir. Takbir means to say Allahu akbar. The important part is the sound, the words, not what you do with your hands. If you say Allahu akbar, but you do not move your hands, that is okay. However, it is recommended and the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to raise your hands up to your head, and say Allahu akbar.
Once you say Allahu akbar, you are in prayer. As in any other prayer, we bring our hands together under our belly button and remain standing. We start reciting by Subhanaka Allahumma or Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdik wa tabara kasmuk wa ta’ala jadduk wa la ilaha ghairuk.
And then a’udhu basmala, meaning isti’aza. A’udhu billahi minash shaitanir rajim. Bismillahir’rahmanir’rahim. And then recite Surah Fatihah. Then recite one zhamm-i surah, meaning a part of Qur’an. It has to be a part of Qur’an. And at least it has to be a verse from Quran. It can be a short surah, it can be a short chapter. But at least it has to be a short and complete verse from Qur’an. Half a verse is not accepted. It has to be a full verse from Quran.
Then you do your ruquh. Ruquh means you are bowing down. Ruquh is the only difference. There have been prayers, or salah or namaz in other traditions, like Christianity and Judaism, but ruquh is the distinction between other religions’ prayers and ours. Then we go to ruquh. During ruquh, we recite at least three times “Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym, Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym, Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym”. And then when we come up, of course before we go to ruquh, there is a command as you know “Allahu akbar”.
Each notion is started with a command of Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar, and then ruquh. And again recite three times “Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym, Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym, Subhana Rabbiyal Aziym”. Another “Allahu akbar”, we come back. And then “Semi Allahu Leman hamideh” that means Allah (jj) hears those who praise Him, those who give thanks to Him. “Rabbana Laka’l Hamd”. And Thanks to You o My Lord, o Our Lord. And “Allahu akbar” then we go to sajdah with another command. In sajdah we say “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la, Subhana Rabbiyal A’la, Subhana Rabbiyel A’la” three times at least. You can make it five or seven or nine as much as you can.
If there are prayers that you know, Qur’anic prayers or the prayers that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed during sajdah, you may also read those. But you cannot just make up prayers by yourself or dua by yourself. It has to be Quranic or Prophetic that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recited during the sajdah. You can also use these duas during sajdah. Then we go to the second sajdah. Allahu akbar. We sit a little bit and go to the second sajdah. Allahu akbar again. And again recite “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la, Subhana Rabbiyal A’la, Subhana Rabbiyal A’la” at least three times. And then Allahu akbar. We stand up. This is one cycle or one raka’ah.
So in the upcoming videos, when I talk about a cycle, this is a complete cycle, after two sajdahs and we get up. That is considered as a cycle. This is how you perform the morning prayer’s first cycle. The second cycle is performed the same. With the only difference being at the end, when we sit and recite “At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-Salawatu wat-Tayyibatu. As-Salmu’alaika ayyuhannabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Assalumu’alaina wa’ala ibadil-lahis-Salihiyn. Ashadu al-la ilaha illahu wa ashadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu.”
This is actually the conversation between Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Mi’raj. And we are commemorating this because each prayer is a Mi’raj for a believer.
And then we recite salawat, “Allahumma salli a’la sayyidina Muhammadin, kama sallayta ala sayyidina Ibraheem wa a’la aali sayyidina Ibraheem inneke hameedun majeed. Allahumme barek a’la sayyidina Muhammadin wa a’la aali sayyidina Muhammadin, kama barakta a’la sayyidina Ibraheem wa a’la aali sayyidina Ibraheem inneke hameedun majeed”.
And then we recite the Qur’anic du’a recommended by Prophet Muhammad “Allahumma Rabbena a’tina fid dunya haseneten wa fi’l akhirati hasanatan waqina azhaban nar. Rabbenaghfirleey wa lee walideyye wa li’l mu’mineeyn. Yawma yaqumul hesaab. Bi rahmetika ya Er-hamer’rahimeeyn. And then give salaam to the right and salaam to the left. And why are we giving salaam to the right and the left? It is for the people sitting on the right of you and left of you. And if you are alone, remember we are not the only ones who are praying. We are just joining the prayer of every servant beside human beings, like there are little creatures, angels, and there are a lot of beings who are praying to Allah (swt). They are all around us. And saluting them to the right and saluting them to the left is the way that we complete our morning prayer’s sunnah.
And this is exactly how the fardh or the mandatory part of the morning prayers have been performed, except for the intention. You just need to intend for the sunnah at the beginning. And for the second one we just need to intend for the fardh. But if there is an imam, you don’t have to worry about reciting Quran, because the imam recites it. And if you are praying by yourself, you just need to do the exact things that you did for the sunnah prayer.