Does one need to make verbal intention?
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:
Is it wrong to say niyat before salat like for eg :- i am praying 2 rakat fajr namaz facing towards qibla behind the imam for allah allahu akbar or should one not say it and just say allahu akbar.
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever 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.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 4.38a (part)
Certain requirements must be met for a valid prayer, and failure to meet any of these may invalidate the prayer. These requirements are given below:
The real intention is what is in the heart, and its verbal utterance is not legally required. Allah says in the Qur'an (98:5): "And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in (faith)." And the Prophet (saws) said: "Verily, all deeds (of a person) will be judged in the light of the intentions behind them, and every person will attain what he intends." (Related by Bukhari and Muslim)
The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) was that he would make the intention in his heart for the prayer he was about to offer, raise his hands above his shoulders with his palms facing inwards towards his ears, and start his prayers by declaring aloud the takbeer of Allah-o-Akbar.
Your Question: Is it wrong to say niyat before salat
If the question is whether it is specifically forbidden or is it considered a sin to verbally state aloud the neeyah or intention before the prayer, then the answer is: no. When the time of prayer has approached, and when one has done his wudu with the intention to offer his prayers, and when one has gone to the mosque, and when one has stood in line with the congregation with the intention to offer his prayers; it does not seem right or logical that now one makes a verbal declaration of what one is about to do, and that too to the One Who is All Knowing!
Neither did the Messenger of Allah (saws) make a verbal declaration of his intention aloud before the start of every prayer, nor is it a legal requirement to declare ones intention aloud; thus it is best if the believers follow the example of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and make the intention in their hearts, and start their prayer with the declaration of the takbeer of Allah-o-Akbar.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21: There is indeed the best example for you to follow, in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
But if one does make his intention aloud, there is no harm and his prayer will be valid. But to make or consider or believe that the declaration of the intention before the start of every prayer to be made aloud is a legal condition of prayer, that belief would be wrong.
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 in Islam,