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. According to Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) said that we should keep our kids close to ourselves in the evening because that is when the devils spread out, but one hour after the night commences, we can let our children be free. We are supposed to shut our doors and say Allah’s Name, as Satan doesn’t open closed doors.
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 Maghrib, for its time would have ended. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) elucidated this point in Sahih Muslim, saying that the time for praying Maghrib lasts until the disappearance of the twilight.
Below, we are going to illustrate how to pray Namaz (Salah).
We stand facing the qibla. (Kabah)
The Niyyah (intention) for Maghrib
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.
Takbeer/Takbir to start Maghrib
We say Allahu Akbar (Mentioning Allah’s unmatched greatness) 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:
Subhaa naka Allaah umma wa biham dika, wa tabaa raka ismuka wa ta’aala jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghay ruka (Mentioning Allah’s unmatched greatness)
Surah Fatiha (The Opening)
We seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan by the following words:
Aoodhu Billahi minash-Shaytanir-rajeem
We recite the Tasmiyah:
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 rab bil ‘alamin. Ar rahman ir rahim. Maliki yawm iddin. Iyyaka na’ budu wa iyyaka nasta’in. Ihdinas siratal mustaqim. Siratal ladhina an ’amta ’alaihim, ghairil maghdubi ’alaihim wa lad dhallin. (Aameen)
In the Surah, Allah is first praised and thanked. He is the most Gracious and most Merciful. Allah is the Lord of the universe and Master of the Day of Reckoning. Then we state that we worship Allah alone and turn to none but Him for help. Then, we request Allah to guide us to the correct way, which is the path of those who were favored by their Lord, not of the ones who incurred His wrath or strayed from the path.
After the Surah, we must enter the bowing position saying: Allahu Akbar while placing both hands on the knees. Say: Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim. (Praising Allah the Supreme’s Perfection) 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 (this mean that Allah hears the ones who glorify Him) and then rise saying: Rabbana lakal hamd. (Praising Allah)
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.
(Praising Allah’s Perfection) 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 (Asking Allah to forgive us) 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-tahiy yatu 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. (Praising Allah and sending peace upon the Prophet (PBUH), along with Allah’s mercy and blessings. Peace be upon us and the righteous believers. Then we testify to Allah’s oneness and Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood.)
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:
Allaah umma salli’ ala Muhammad wa’ ala aali Muhammad kama salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa’ ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allaah umma baarik ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innak hameedun majeed. (Asking Allah to send prayers upon Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his relatives, as He sent prayers upon Ibrahim (PBUH) and his kinfolk. Praising Allah and again asking Him to send blessings upon Muhammad (PBUH) and his family as He did with Ibrahim (PBUH) and his relatives. It ends with praising Allah again.)
We may then add some other duas from the Quran and Sunnah until we are satisfied.
Taslim to complete the Salat of Maghrib
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.
How Allah Made Salah Obligatory for Muslims
We need to be aware of how Allah made the five daily salah obligatory for Muslims to be thankful toward Him and appreciate Him.
The incident took place in the early years of Prophethood, while Muhammad (PBUH) was still in Mecca. During one night, he was taken on a journey by Angel Jibril. First, they went on a winged horse to Masjid al-Aqsa, where Muhammad (PBUH) led the prophets in prayer. After that, the Prophet (PBUH) miraculously ascended to the Heavens.
As he went up to the different levels of the Heavens, we saw prophets on each level. One of them was Prophet Musa (AS). Eventually, the Prophet (PBUH) went beyond the last level of the Heavens to the farthest lote tree. There, he spoke to Allah directly though he didn’t see Him.
One of the things that Allah told him during this visit was about daily prayers. He announced an obligation of 50 prayers a day. The Prophet (PBUH) descended and informed Musa (AS) about this obligation, to which Musa (AS) expressed surprise. He said that it would be too much of a burden for the people and urged Muhammad (PBUH) to ask Allah to lessen the obligation.
The Prophet (PBUH) went back up and asked Allah for a reduction. Allah reduced the number of prayers by 5. Muhammad (PBUH) went down again, and Musa (AS) was once again dissatisfied, telling him to ask for more reduction.
This cycle continued until Allah the Almighty reduced the number of prayers to just five: Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha. Even then, Musa (AS) thought it was too much and asked the Prophet (PBUH) to try for more reduction, but Muhammad (S) felt that was enough. Thus, the obligation of five daily prayers began.