Al-Ayat prayer (Arabic:صلاة الآيات, literally: prayer of signs) is among obligatory prayers and mukallaf people must perform it upon the occurrence of certain natural events. Al-Ayat prayer has two rak'as, each of which has five ruku' and its manner of performance is mentioned in the books of practical rulings. Its performance is to acknowledge that these events are signs of God's power and accurate order of natural world. It prevents human being from superstitions and vain fantasies, directs his attention toward God and takes away his fear and distress and calms down his heart.
"Ayat" in Arabic is the plural form of "ayah" meaning "sign". This prayer is called "ayat" because its performance becomes obligatory (wajib) when certain natural events occur.
In the past, some people believed in some superstitions upon the occurrence of natural events. For example, when Ibrahim, son of the Prophet (s) passed away, solar eclipse occurred and people thought that it happened because of the death of Ibrahim. It is narrated from Imam al-Kazim (a), "after Ibrahim (a) passed away, three traditions remained for Muslims: first, when he passed away, solar eclipse occurred. People said that it occurred because of the death of Ibrahim. When the Prophet (s) heard that, went up on the pulpit, praised God and said, 'O people! Solar and lunar eclipses are signs of God which take place following His order and do not occur because of someone's death. When they happen, you should perform al-Ayat prayer.' He (s) then came down the pulpit and performed al-Ayat prayer together with people. Since then, al-Ayat prayer became obligatory for Muslims..."
Conditions of the Obligation
If one of the following events take place where the person is present, one must perform al-Ayat prayer:
- Solar or lunar eclipses (partial or complete)
- Lightning, storm; yellow and red windstorms and other natural events if it causes fear among the majority of people.
By solar or lunar eclipses, those instances are meant which can be seen by naked eyes, but if it is so partial that it can be only seen by instruments or is very transient and ends soon, al-Ayat prayer would not be obligatory.
Time of al-Ayat prayer for solar and lunar eclipses is from the beginning of the eclipse until the full sun or moon appears. In complete eclipses, if the prayer is not performed in time, it must be done later as a compensation.
The time of al-Ayat prayer for earthquake and other events is until the end of one's life and its niyya (intention) should be as ada'; but, it should be performed as soon as possible.
Manner of Performance
Al-Ayat prayer has two rak'as, each of which has five ruku's. Before every ruku', Sura al-Hamd and another sura of the Qur'an should be recited and thus, in two rak'as, the Sura al-Hamd should be recited 10 times and the other sura also should be recited 10 times; however, one can also divide one sura to 5 parts and recites each part before every ruku' and thus, he would recite Sura al-Hamd twice and the other sura also twice. Other parts of the prayer should be performed like daily prayers and after the last ruku' in the second rak'a, the person should perform prostration twice and then recites tashahhud and salam.
|This section is a general introduction to the rulings of a fiqhi topic.|
- Al-Ayat prayer can be performed in congregation, in which only the imam will recite Sura al-Hamd and the other sura.
- If one of the causes of al-Ayat prayer happens in a city, only the people of that city should perform al-Ayat prayer and it is not obligatory for the people of other cities.
- If in one of the rak'as of al-Ayat prayer, the person recites Sura al-Hamd and the other sura 5 times and in the next rak'a, he recites Sura al-Hamd once and divides the other chapter to five parts, his prayer is correct.
- It is recommended that the person performs qunut before the second, forth, sixth and eighth ruku's, but it would be enough if the person performs Qunut before the tenth ruku'.
- Each of the ruku's of ayat prayer is a rukn and if it is increased or decreased, the prayer will be invalid.
- What are obligatory or recommended in daily prayers are obligatory and recommended in al-Ayat prayers too; but in ayat prayer, it is recommended to say "al-salat" (Arabic: الصلاة) three times instead of reciting adhan and iqama.
- In al-Ayat prayer, whether recited at night or on the day, it is recommended that Sura al-Hamd and the other sura would be recited in loud voice.
- The rulings about doubt in al-Ayat prayer are the same as doubts in daily prayers, except the doubt in ruku's for which the person needs to think that he has done less.
- Al-Ayat prayer is obligatory for every mukallaf, except for ha'id and nufasa', whom should perform it after they are clean of blood and do ghusl, out of caution.
- If several events, for which al-Ayat prayer is obligatory, occur, one must perform one al-Ayat prayer for each of them; for example, if solar eclipse and earthquake happen, the person must perform two al-Ayat prayers.
- Many aftershocks may occur after the main earthquake. If they can be sensed, one must perform al-Ayat prayer for them as well.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from نماز آیات in Farsi Wikishia.
Wajib: Daily Prayers • Essentials of Prayer • Friday Prayer • Eid Prayer • Al-Ayat Prayer • Funeral Prayer• Istijari Prayer