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Why do Muslims pray differently?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

If it is not too much trouble, could you please give us a translation of the Namaz? That is from the beginning, Woozo through the entire Namaz. I know that this must be quite a task that I am requesting, however, it will shed a lot of light on the meaning of our prayers.

Occasionally you have referred to parts of our Namaz like in the Azaan, which have given an insight to what we are saying when, we pray. Also could give us the form of Namaz that the Prophet Mohamed (saws) prayed and any explanations for the deviations thereof. Are there any other sects in the Islam that deviate from the original form of Namaz? If so, could you briefly explain their deviation?


Question previously asked on the forum:

I have a question regarding prayers to Allah. I fail to understand and hate to see all Muslims praying different. What is Allah's message from the Quran regarding prayers, is there one generic way of praying to him or is it upon the personalities that we follow to make the standards. What does the Quran speak about this?


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Why do Muslims pray differently?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


There are many aayahs in the Holy Quran regarding prayers, their virtues and their timings. Regarding the virtues of salaah,


Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 29 Surah Ankabut verse 45: and establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains one from shameful and evil deeds. And the remebrance of Allah, without a doubt, is the greatest thing. And Allah knows the deeds that you do.


The command to establish Regular Salaah appears several times throughout the Quran, and its importance is also signified to the extent that Salaah is considered one of the pillars of Islam.


The correct way to offer the salaah is the way the Prophet (saws) offerred them. The Prophet (saws) himself learned the rites of salaah directly from Gibrael (a.s.) at the very beginning of his (saws) term of Prophethood in Makkah. During that time the Prophet (saws) and the believers used to pray the salaah in two rakah formations. The commandment of the five obligatory prayers were received one year prior to the Hijrah, during the night of Isra-wal-Mairaaj (Night of Accession of the Prophet (saws) to the Heavens).


The Quran itself is silent on the actual rituals or acts of prayer. But this is an act, which was conducted by the Prophet (saws) five times a day until his (saws) death, and witnessed by tens of thousands of his companions (r.a.). Whatever the Prophet (saws) said, saw, did, approved and dissapproved, some noble companions (r.a.) wrote it down for future generations to follow.


There is actually no dispute between all the factions of Islam on the fundemental rites of salaah and almost all the sects pray in a similar manner. For instance, there are absolutely no disputes in the following matters in any sect of Islam:

To observe 5 obligatory prayers

The number of rakahs in each obligatory prayer.

To observe Taharat before the prayer. (wudoo, clean place, clean clothes, etc.)

To face towards the Kaabah.

To make intention before salah (Neeyah).

To make Takbeer before the start of prayer

To do qiyam(stand) during prayer.

To pray Surah Fateha and another Surah (in the first two rakahs only).

To make ruku (bow down) after every rakah.

To make two sajdah (prostrations) after every ruku.

To pray tashahood and taheeyat after every two rakahs.

To end the pray with the act of salaams.



There is absolutely no difference in the majority (maybe 99%) of the rites of salah in any school or sect of Islam. Yes, there are small differences in various sects and schools of Islam, like standing with ones hands folded or straight, etc., but these do not in any way negate the salah. If anyones intention is that either by folding his hands or keeping his hands straight in prayer, he is following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), there is absolutely no harm in either. But if one knows that an act he does in the salah is an innovation added by somebody to the rites observed by the Prophet (saws), then he should not do it.


It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: Whoever introduces a bida (innovation) in this deen brought by me (saws), it will be rejected.


Yes, what you ask is unfortunately true in Islam today, that it looks as if the Muslims are all praying differently, each according to their sects and schools of thought. One congregation refuses to pray behind the congregation of another imam and so forth. Each of them claims that they follow the exact tradition of the Prophet (saws). This is an Islamic fiqh (jurispudence) matter, and we leave the leaders and the personalities, who propagated the division of Islam into sects, to answer Allah on the Day of Judgement.


Just look at the Anger and Wrath of Allah described on those who break up their religion into sects:


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 23 Surah Muminoon verse 52-54: And you all belong to one and the same ummah, and I am your Lord; so fear Me Alone! Yet afterwards the people divided themselves into different sects, and each sect rejoices in what it has. Well, leave them deeply involved in their heedlessness up to an appointed time.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 30 Surah Rome verse 31-32: and turn wholly towards Allah, and fear Him, and establish Salah, and do not be of the mushriks (people who invoke others with Allah), who have set up their separate creeds and divided themselves into sects, each sect rejoicing in what it has.


The major issue in Islam today is not that one is doing his acts and rituals in this way or the other. The major issues are of aqeedah (belief), shirk (invoking others with Allah) and bida (innovation). What we need to do is come back to the guidance of the Holy Quran, and follow the traditions of the Prophet (saws).


The Prophet of Allah (saws) said in an authentic narration: I(saws) leave behind me two things, which if you (the believers) follow, you will never be misguided: 1.The Al Quran and 2.My Sunnah.


The deen of Islam is the same deen that was brought by all the Prophets of Allah, as revealed in the Holy Quran:



Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 11 Surah Hud verse 61: The Prophet said: O my people! Worship Allah Alone. You have no other deity other than He.


May Allah make us of those who understand and appreciate his blessing of making us muslim. May Allah make us of those who read, understand and appreciate His Divine Message, the Al-Quran, and follow the traditions and ways of our Prophet Mohamed (saws).

May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,










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