Salat al-Maghrib is the fourth, from amongst the five fardh (obligatory) prayers. The time for Maghrib Prayer occurs as the day transitions into the night, and the horizon explodes into brilliant hues at dusk. Maghrib time for most happens soon after a hard day’s work. It’s a time of togetherness, when families usually settle down into their homes, peacefully. In Blessed Ramadan, these much-celebrated few moments are considered a joyous time for breaking one’s fast.
This alteration has a degree of seriousness to it, for parents are asked to keep their children indoors during it. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When night falls (or it is evening), keep your children close to you for the devils spread out at that time. But when an hour of the night elapses, you can let them free. Close the doors and mention the Name of Allah, for Satan does not open a closed door” (Bukhari 3304).
Having established some of the realities of this precarious time, we will proceed to explain how to perform the (3 Rakat) Fardh of Salat al-Maghrib for beginners — leaving aside the two Sunnah for now. The goal is to report our findings based on the authentic prayers of the Prophet (PBUH), Allah-willing. For, after all, he is reported to have commanded the Muslims to pray as he prayed.
The time for Maghrib
The Maghrib time starts as soon as the sun sets at dusk and lasts until the red afterglow or twilight has faded. This occurrence should be taken as an indication of when not to pray Magrib, for its time would have ended. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) elucidated this point in Sahih Muslim (612) as follows: “…When you pray Maghrib, its time is until the twilight has disappeared…”
How to pray the Maghrib fardh. (3 Rakat)
Below, we are going to illustrate how to pray Namaz (Salah).
We stand facing the qibla. (Kabah)
The Niyyah (intention)
The intention is made in one’s heart and not verbally. We specify which prayer we intend to pray and how many rakat we will offer.
We say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) once, while raising both hands up to the shoulder or ear lobes. Then we place our right hand on top of the left on our chest. Our gaze fixed on the place of prostration.
Sana (The dua for beginning the salah)
We recite the following dua:
“Subhaanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika, wa tabaaraka ismuka wa ta’aala jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (Glory and praise be to You O Allah, blessed be Your name and exalted be Your Majesty, and there is no god but You).”
Surah Fatiha (The Opening)
We seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan by the following words:
“Aoodhu Billahi minash-Shaytanir-rajeem (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan).”
We recite the Tasmiyah:
“Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful).”
We then recite Surah Fatiha fully, with the Bismillah again. Salah is invalid without the recitation of Surah Fatiha in every rakah. It is worded as follows:
“Al hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alamin. Arrahmanir rahim. Maliki yawmiddin. Iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’in. Ihdinas siratal mustaqim. Siratal ladhina an’amta’alaihim, ghairil maghdubi’alaihim wa lad dhallin. (Aameen)”
“All praises and thanks belong to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, the most Gracious, the most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. You alone we worship, from You alone we seek help. Guide us onto the straight path – The path of those whom You favored, not of those who earned Your wrath or went astray.”
After the Surah, we must enter the bowing position saying: “Allahu Akbar” while placing both hands on the knees. Say: “Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim.” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times. Keeping the head in line with the back, look down to the place of sujood (prostration).
Rising from bowing
We should straighten up from the bowing position say: “Sami’Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears those who praise Him) and then rise saying: “Rabbana lakal hamd.” This means: (Our Lord, praise be to You)
We should go into prostration saying:“Allahu Akbar,” with seven parts i.e., the forehead, nose, palms of both hands, knees, and toes all touching the ground.
When in sujood we say: “Subhana Rabbiyal Aa’la.”
(How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times. Keeping our arms away from the sides of our body and the floor.
During every performance of sajda (sujood), we are in closest proximity to our Lord. We should, therefore, pour our hearts out to Him in sincere dua.
Next, we must rise from the ground while saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ and sit calmly in between both sujood.
As we sit upright, we should say: “Rabbigh-firlee.”
“O, my Lord! Forgive me.” (3 times)
Then we say “Allahu Akbar” and again go into sujood. Reciting “Subhana Rabbiyal Aala” three times. We then sit up from this position, saying “Allahu Akbar” again.
The first rakah of Salat al-Maghrib is now complete. The second rakah is performed in precisely the same way, but without the Sana (beginning dua).
Tashahhud in the position of Qaida (sitting)
Upon finishing the two sujood of the second rakat, we recite the Tashahud:
“Al-tahiyyatu Lillahi wa’l-salawatu wa’l-tayyibat. Al-salamu’ alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakatuhu. Al-salamu’ alayna wa ‘ala ‘ibad-Illah il-saliheen. Ash-hadu al laa ilaha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan’ abduhu wa rasooluhu (All compliments, prayers and pure words are due to Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allah. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and Messenger of Allah).”
After the tashahud we say Allahu Akbar and stand up again to complete the third and final rakat. In this rakat, we only recite Surah Fatiha, and without reciting any surah, we proceed to the ruku. We complete the ruku and sujood ditto to how they were performed in the first and second rakat.
We then recite the tashahud once again while sitting, as we did in the second rakat and then recite theDurood-e-Ibrahim as follows:
“Allaahumma salli’ ala Muhammad wa’ ala aali Muhammad kama salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa’ ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innak hameedun majeed (O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon Ibraaheem and upon the family of Ibraaheem); You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory).”
We may then add some other duas from the Quran and Sunnah until we are satisfied.
Taslim to complete the Salat
The Taslim “As-Salamu’ alaykum wa rahmat-Allah” once to the right and then to the left, brings the three fardh rakat of Maghrib prayer to a close.