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Prayer Invalidation

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I've had some trouble finding information on this. I've found many lists of what invalidates prayer, but where does this information come from? Why would anything invalidate prayer? I would think that some things might make it a less good prayer, but I don't understand how anything could make your effort worthless. Or do I misunderstand what people mean by invalidate?

Can anyone point me to some verses from the Quran or hadith on this topic? Thank you!

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This link will be really beneficial for you in relation to learning about salaah.


Check section 31 and 32 in relation to your specific question however there is quite a range of sections that deal with prayer so have a look at them now and then.

Yes the things that invalidate prayer come from the teachings of Muhammad pbuh. There are things that would invalidate the 5 prayers because the Prophet taught us how to do them in a specific way - its very much about discipline in our faith. Showing Allah that we have taking time out to worship Him and lets remember we are praying to Allah so we should do it as perfect as we can.


You will find the sources come from both the quran and our messenger. For example surah 4:43 deals with impurity and prayer. Another useful resource for you if you want to find the verses of the quran that deal with prayer but you don't where they are is to use this online search engine: http://www.searchtruth.com/search.php

so basically you would type in salat and it will bring up all the verses that contain the word salat..or some translations will probably have prayer. Anyway hopefully that helps somewhat.

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Good question , I would've thought it comes down to intention, meaning a person would not prayer to commit sin, makes no logical sense, you pray to Allah swt, he knows everything about you.


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Thanks for the links, Lost in Paradise. It's nice to know where some of this comes from. But still, it doesn't say that any of the listed things invalidates prayer, at least in the sections you pointed to. It just says what you should and shouldn't do.

"Al-Bukhari and Muslim record that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam told a bedouin who had not performed his salah well: "Return and pray for you have not prayed." (This hadith was mentioned earlier.)"

That's the only thing that explicitly says it, though it's vague on what for.

"Ibn al-Munzhir records that there is a consensus of opinion that laughing (during the salah) invalidates the prayer."

There's also things like this, but it's not someone quoting Muhammad.


I'm not sure why doing prayer with some mistakes would make it invalid, if you mean well. If I commit some sins in life, my life isn't invalidated. Though....I suppose unlike life, prayers can be repeated.


(Thanks again for the links! I'd wondered if there was something like those sites out there and now I know!)

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I'm not sure why doing prayer with some mistakes would make it invalid, if you mean well. If I commit some sins in life, my life isn't invalidated. Though....I suppose unlike life, prayers can be repeated.


Alsalamo alykom, sister


you can repeat a 2-5 minutes prayer but not many parts of your previous life.


in the hadeeth " Allah will not account my nation (Moslems) about, (un-intentional) mistakes, forgotting, what they been forced to do"...and so if the prayer mistakes are intentional then there will be no problem, tell you have the full knowladge of prayer. that will be a great reason not to despaire but it should not be a reason of lassiness in seeking the right knowlage in prayer and other issues.


the prayer is not that difficult, just watching a few videos about it, and you can get it in less than a week.


for a good person if he knew that, his god ordered him to do something which is not difficult, what may cause him not to do it?



every action in prayer is an obligation (fardh), standing straight, bowing down, ...., prostraighting,...sitting to the final Tashahood. if you missed one of those and knew that you have to repeat the prayer. [only three actions are highly recommended, raising the hands to the ears in the beginning, sitting to the intermidiate Tashahood, the final left Salam; and those will be corrected by two extra Raka'a after finishing the prayer]

on the other hand only three sayings are obligatory (the beginning Allah-o Akbar, recieting Alfatehah in each Rakaa, the final tashahood). every other saying is a highly recommended if you forgot any of it just add the two extra Rakaa.

the intension before the prayer is an obligation while consentration is highly recommended. the reward of the prayer is based on the right actions and sayings along with concentration and feelings.


it will be better, if you mentioned a specific point you like to ask about, so we may be able to find the proof.


may Allah complete his favor upon you and every Moslem in this life and the eternal life

Edited by AHMAD_73

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I would think that some things might make it a less good prayer, but I don't understand how anything could make your effort worthless.

I'm not sure why doing prayer with some mistakes would make it invalid, if you mean well. If I commit some sins in life, my life isn't invalidated.


Salam 'Alaykum Elaine,


A couple of great questions there; the answer does not lie entirely in ritual jurisprudence however because you are questioning on a philosophical or theological basis...you are not just asking how or what but why...


The key to this is found in the two testimonies of faith:

None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah


The first tells us that any devotion enacted in our heart or upon our limbs should be directed to our only creator, lord and deity, Allah, the Most High.

The second tells us that the manner of this devotion should be in accordance to what Allah has legislated and shown us via His messengers, the last being the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.

So, do not worship other than Allah and do not worship Him in away other than how He wants you to worship him.


This is His right not ours as the reality of the relationship is one of master and slave; ours is to do but our master's bidding. We will be questioned for our deeds and not Him for His actions.


So yes there are matters that make a prayer of less reward:

"Verily the slave prays a prayer of which nothing is written down for him except a tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, quarter, third or half of it." (hadith in the collections of Sunan Abi Dawud and al-Nasai)


but also there are maters that invalidate it:

Once, "he (the Prophet) was praying, when he glanced out of the corner of his eye at a man not settling his backbone in bowing and prostration. When he finished, he said, O assembly of Muslims! Verily, the prayer is not valid of the one who does not settle his spine in rukoo' and sujood." (hadith in the collections of Sunan Ibn Majah and Musnad of Imam Ahmad) - this is concerning one who does not pause in these positions and instead no sooner does he bow or prostrate he moves again straight away...


Why does this invalidate the Prayer? Because our Lord declared that so upon the tongue of His messenger.


On the RItual Jurisprudence side, we do need to ask however what are these matters that could invalidate the prayer? And they could only be matters that are backed by evidence.


In general without going into the details they are of two types:

[1] Matters outside the prayer, known as conditions (shurut; singular: shart); an example would be one who prayed without being in a state of ritual purity.

[2] Matters within the prayer, known as pillars (arkan; singular: rukn); an example would be starting and entering the prayer by saying, 'Allah Akbar.'


Proofs for both these matters:


The Prophet ordered 'the man who prayed badly' to do likewise; he said to him: Verily, the prayer of a person is not complete until he has made an ablution which has included the necessary parts of the body and has then said: 'Allaahu Akbar'.' (al-Tabarani)

He also used to say: The key to the prayer is purification, it is entered by takbeer (saying Allah Akbar) and exited by tasleem (saying Salam 'Alaykum). (abu Dawud & al-Tirmidhi)



As also stated these things apply to intentional and deliberate omissions.

and Allah knows best.

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      Numbers of rak’ahs in Taraaweeh prayer

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      Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, when speaking about the matter of one who prays ten rak’ahs with the imam, then sits down and waits for Witr and does not complete the Taraaweeh prayers with the imam:
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      Two groups have gone to extremes with regard to this matter. The first group denounced everyone who prays more than eleven rak’ahs and said that doing so was bid’ah. The second group denounced those who do only eleven rak’ahs and said that they are going against scholarly consensus (ijmaa’).

      Let us listen to what Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
      Here we say that we should not go to extremes or be negligent. Some people go to extremes in adhering to the number mentioned in the Sunnah, and say that it is not permissible to do more than the number mentioned in the Sunnah, and they aggressively denounce those who do more than that, saying that they are sinners.
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      We have no doubt that their intentions are good and they are doing their best to come to the right conclusion, but that does not mean that they are correct.
      The other group does the opposite. They sternly denounce those who pray only eleven rak’ahs and say that they have gone against scholarly consensus. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
      “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell — what an evil destination!”
      [al-Nisa’ 4:115]

      All the generations who came before you only knew the number as twenty-three rak’ahs, and they denounce anyone who says anything different.

      Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 4/73-75
      With regard to the evidence quoted by those who say that it is not permissible to do more than eight rak’ahs in Taraaweeh, they quote the hadeeth of Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan, who asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “How did the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pray during Ramadaan?” She said: “He did not pray more than eleven rak’ahs in Ramadaan or at other times. He would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray four, and do not ask how beautiful and long they were, then he would pray three. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will you sleep before you pray Witr?’ He said, ‘O ‘Aa’ishah, my eyes sleep but my heart does not.’”
      Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1909; Muslim, 738
      They said: This hadeeth indicates that the Messenger of Allaah was consistent in his prayers at night in Ramadaan and at other times.
      The scholars refuted this use of the hadeeth as evidence by saying that this is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did, but the fact that he did something does not imply that it is obligatory.
      The evidence that there is no set number for prayers at night – which include Taraaweeh – is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar according to which a man asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about prayer at night. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Prayers at night are to be offered two by two (two rak’ahs at a time). If any of you fears that the time of dawn is approaching then let him pray one rak’ah as Witr.”
      (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 846; Muslim, 749)
      If we look at what the scholars of the prominent schools of thought said, you will clearly see that this matter is broad in scope and that there is nothing wrong with doing more than eleven rak’ahs.

      Al-Sarkhasi, who is one of the imams of the Hanafi school, said:

      It is twenty rak’ahs, apart from Witr, in our view.
      Al-Mabsoot, 2/145
      Ibn Qudaamah said:
      The favoured view according to Abu ‘Abd-Allaah (i.e., Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on him), is that it is twenty rak’ahs. This was the view of al-Thawri, Abu Hanfeefah and al-Shaafa’i. Maalik said it is thirty-six.
      Al-Mughni, 1/457
      Al-Nawawi said:

      Taraaweeh prayer is Sunnah according to scholarly consensus. Our view is that it is twenty rak’ahs with ten tasleems, and it is permissible to pray it individually or in congregation.

      Al-Majmoo’, 4/31

      These are the views of the four imams concerning the number of rak’ahs of Taraaweeh prayer. All of them said something more than eleven rak’ahs. Perhaps the reasons why they said something more than eleven rak’ahs include the following:

      1- They thought that the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah did not mean that this was the specific number.
      2- A greater number was narrated from many of the salaf. See al-Mughni, 2/604; al-Majmoo’, 4/32

      3- The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray eleven rak’ahs and make them very lengthy, so much so that it used to take him most of the night. Indeed, one night in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led his companions in praying Taraaweeh, he did not end his prayer until just before dawn, and the Sahaabah feared that they would miss suhoor. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) loved to pray behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and they did not feel that it was too long. The scholars thought that if the imam made the prayer so long, this would be too difficult for the members of the congregation and that might put them off. So they thought that the imam should make the recitation shorter and increase the number of rak’ahs.  
      The point is that the one who prays eleven rak’ahs in the manner narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is doing well and is following the Sunnah. Whoever makes the recitation shorter and increases the number of rak’ahs is also doing well. A person who does either of these two things is not to be denounced. Shaykh al-Islam
      Ibn Taymiyah said:
      If a person prays Taraaweeh according to the madhhabs of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad, with twenty rak’ahs, or according to the madhhab of Maalik, with thirty-six rak’ahs, or with thirteen or eleven rak’ahs, he has done well, as Imam Ahmad said, because there is nothing to specify the number. So the greater or lesser number of rak’ahs depends on how long or short the qiyaam (standing in the prayer) is.
      Al-Ikhtiyaaraat, p. 64
      Al-Suyooti said:
      What is narrated in the saheeh and hasan ahaadeeth is the command to observe night prayers during Ramadaan, which is encouraged without specifying a particular number. It is not proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed twenty rak’ahs of Taraaweeh, rather that he prayed at night, with an unspecified number of rak’ahs. Then he delayed it on the fourth night lest it become obligatory for them and they might not be able to do it. Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said: There is no saheeh report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed twenty rak’ahs of Taraaweeh. The narration which suggests that he “used to pray twenty rak’ahs” is extremely weak (da’eef).
      Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 27/142-145

      So you should not be surprised that people pray Taraaweeh as twenty rak’ahs. There have been generation after generation of those imams (who used to pray twenty rak’ahs), and all of them are good.

      And Allaah knows best.
      Islam Q&A
      Source: http://islamqa.info/en/ref/9036