Common Mistakes Before, During and After Salah (Prayer)

  • Delaying the salah intentionally – The salah should be done within its time.  Many people delay it due to laziness or some other unnecessary matter.  Each salah has fixed times within which it must be performed.
  • Walking too fast towards the masjid – A Muslim should not walk too fast or run towards the masjid in order to catch the salah.  Rather, he should walk calmly to it and make up whatever he has missed.

  • Leaving gaps in lines during congregational salah – A Muslim should try his best to assure that there are no gaps between him and his brother to the left and/or right.  If there are any gaps, he should close them by moving closer to his brother and asking the one next to him to move close to him as well.  The objective is to stand close to each other as much as possible without gaps.  This same rule applies to the sisters as well.

  • Saying out loud the intention – The intention’s place is in the heart and it should not be said out aloud.  There is nothing in the Qur’an and authentic sunnah that tells us to say out loud our intention for salah with specific words/phrases.

  • Eating bad smelling foods or not smelling good – A Muslim should not come to the masjid smelling bad. This disturbs and hurts the rest of the people in the masjid and goes against the rule of doing good towards each other.

  • Not turning off the phone or other loud devices – This is very common and is extremely distracting to other worshippers.  Please turn off the phones and other electronic devices before starting the salah.

  • Neglecting salah when one is sick or ill – Some Muslims believe that if one is sick, then he does not have to pray his salah.  However, this is a dangerous error because a Muslim must do his salah at all times when the salah time comes in.  The Prophet (pbuh) always did his salah even until his last days during his final painful illness.  In Islam, we are obligated to do our salah while standing (the obligatory salah), and if we cannot, then while sitting, and if we cannot even do that, then while we are laying down.  We must perform salah in whichever way possible in our given situations.  To intentionally miss one of the five daily prayers is a major sin.

  • Eyes not still and Closing the eyes (25848; 22174; – The eyes of the Muslim should always focus at the place of sujud (where he is going to place his head).  A Muslim should not be looking around here and there with his eyes.  This goes against kushu’ (concentration) in salah.  The eyes should remain still staring at the place of sujud in all positions except the tashhud (the sitting posture where Attahiyyatu… is read and the finger pointed).  During the tashhud, the eyes should focus on the finger.  As for closing the eyes, then this is disliked and should not be done unless there is something so distracting in the view that it is causing the person to not be able to concentrate in salah, in which case, he can close his eyes.
  • Not staying still during salah (12683) – Constantly fidgeting during salah, looking at a watch, fiddling with one’s fingers or clothes, constantly scratching one’s body parts, moving feet, or other parts of the body restlessly are all things which should be avoided.  When a Muslim stands before Allah, he should be still and not do such things.  All such things go against the kushu’ of salah.
  • Not moving the lips (70577) – The words of the salah, which include the Qur’an, supplications (du’a), tasbeeh, etc. need to be said by physically moving the lips and tongue.  The practice of doing salah internally in the heart without moving the lips or tongue is incorrect and against the sunnah.

  • Doing the adhkaar of salah too quickly (146675) – A Muslim should take his time when saying the different words or phrases of salah. He should not be hasty and remember that one is speaking to Allah, hence, he should be humble and respectful.
  • Moving too quickly between positions during salah (146675; 117779) – Many Muslims perform their salah very quickly and they shift between different positions of salah as though they are crows pecking at food.  A Muslim should remain calm and move between each position slowly and with humbleness.  The correct way to move between positions is to not do so until, at minimum, all the joints of the body come to rest in that position and then we should move to the next position.
  • Racing with the imam (33790) – A Muslim should neither move to the next position before the imam does, nor should he do so with the imam, nor should he delay it a long time after the imam has reached the position.  The correct way to follow the imam is to do so as soon as the imam reaches his position.  For example, if everyone (including the imam) is in ruku, a Muslim should remain in that position and not move until the imam has reached the next position.

  • Doing the bowing (ruku’) incorrectly – Some Muslims while doing ruku’ lower their heads excessively, others do not lower their heads enough, and others arch their backs during it.  All these are wrong.  The correct way to do so is to make a 90 degree angle of your back when doing it.  This angle should be so straight that a glass of water placed on such a person’s back would not fall over.  However, if one is not able to physically do so, then he should try to straighten his back to the best of his ability.

  • Doing the prostration (sujud) incorrectly – Seven bones must touch the ground during this position: nose and forehead (count as one bone), the two hands, the two knees, and the toes of the two feet.  Many Muslims don’t touch their nose on the ground nor their feet.  These things must touch the ground and your toes should be facing the Qiblah.  Some Muslims have a bad habit of playing with one foot against the other during this position, this should be avoided.  Another thing to avoid in this position is that the elbows should never touch the ground; rather, they should always remain standing.  Finally, the belly is also not to touch the thighs.

  • Getting up before imam completes the salam – Sometimes people who come late to the salah and miss a rak’ah (unit) or two of salah behind the imam get up before the imam even completes his taslim (when he says Asslam u Aliekum wa rahmatullah).  A Muslim should wait until the Imam finishes the taslim completely and then stand up to make up his missed portion of the salah.

    Mistakes After Salah


  • Neglecting to do dhikr after Salah – Many Muslims drop the dhikr after salah and do not engage themselves in the tasbeeh and other adhkaars mentioned in the authentic sunnah.  This dhikr after salah is like the dessert and the salah is the main meal, how can a Muslim refuse this beautiful dessert after the salah?  If all of the adhkaars mentioned in the authentic sunnah were said after a salah, a Muslim could spend a good 15+ minutes engaged in it.  Additionally, many rewards have been mentioned about the adhkaars after the salah.

  • Tasbeeh too quickly – It is seen in many places that one finds many Muslims doing tasbeeh, those who engage in it, very quickly without contemplating or concentrating.  A Muslim should take his time and do the tasbeeh after the salah with ease, focus and concentration.  It is recommended to do the tasbeeh with the right hand as it will be made to speak on the Day of Judgment and bear witness on behalf of the one who used to engage it with tasbeeh.

  • Making dua habitually in congregation after every salah – Some Muslims ignorantly think that the imam must make supplications (du’a) after the obligatory salah out loud while they say ameen behind him.  However, this is not the case.  There is no authentic narration that says that the Prophet (pbuh) ever did this act.  In fact, at that time the people used to engage in individual dhikr and supplications on their own and never in a congregational format.  Therefore, this should not be done and everyone should do their own individual dhikr and supplications after salah.  However, if this action is done once in a while without turning it into a habit, then there is no harm.

  • Du’a without paying attention – Many times one finds people making supplications (du’a) after salah without thinking or knowing what they are saying.  One of the conditions of supplications to be accepted is that one should be sincere in what he is asking and that one’s heart be in that du’a.  How can this be if the Muslim is not even concentrating or knowing what he is saying?  A Muslim should not make his supplications after salah into lip services or just a habitual chore, rather, he should know and understand what he is saying and put his heart and soul into it even if it means that most of his supplications are going to be in his native tongue.

  • Always shaking hands after finishing obligatory salah – The Muslims should not hasten to shake hands upon finishing the salah as some people do believing it to be part of the salah. It should be after saying the adkhar that people should exchange Salam by shaking hands with those on the right and left out of brotherhood and cooperation.  Also, after the obligatory salah, one should not make it a habit to shake hands or say, “may Allah accept from you and us.” But to do this occasionally, from time to time, is permissible.

  • Common, Oft-repeated Mistakes During Hajj and ‘Umrah

    By Asma bint Shameem

    The noble Sahabi, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman said, “People used to ask the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) about good things, but I used to ask him about bad things because I was afraid that they might overtake me.”

    What a beautiful example to follow! And thus, on a similar note, I have listed some of the extremely common mistakes that scores of people make, year after year, so that we can be weary of them and protect and prevent themselves from making them. This way our Hajj will be closest to the Sunnah, bi idhnillaah, and insha’Allah acceptable to Allah.

    Mistake #1. Thinking that du’a is accepted at first glance of the Ka’bah:

    Many people have the wrong notion that the first time they look at the Ka’bah, any du’a that they make will be answered. Not true! This has no evidence from the Sharee’ah. And any hadeeth that one may find regarding this matter is either extremely weak or fabricated. When asked about du’a being accepted at the first sight of the Ka’bah, Shaykh Sa’d al-Humayd replied:

    “This is not true; there has to be evidence for this to be true, because acts of worship should only be based on evidence. And that evidence must be saheeh in and of itself and it should be clear and unambiguous. And Allah knows best.”

    Mistake #2. “Kissing” the black stone from far away and stopping in mid-tawaaf to do so:

    Kissing the black stone is a beautiful Sunnah, and an honor indeed for the one who is able to do so. However, due to the immense crowds, a very large number of people are not able to reach it. So a large number of people try to “kiss” it from far away. When they are line with the black stone, they stop dead in their tracks in mid-tawaaf, stand facing the black stone, put up both hands on the side of their head and “kiss” the black stone in mid air, as if the black stone is right in front of them. Or they throw “flying kisses” at the black stone from far away, by kissing their hands and then “throwing” these kisses in the direction of the black stone. Besides being wrong, stopping the flow of tawaf causes disruption and unnecessary crowding in that area, and a LOT of inconvenience to fellow Haajis.

    “Distance kissing” is not from the Sunnah of course. All the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) did while doing tawaaf, was to kiss the black stone if he easily could do so, or touch it with his hand and kiss his hand. BUT, when there was a crowd, all he did was  point to it from far away and say “Allaahu Akbar”.  That’s it.

    It was narrated that Abu Tufayl (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performing Tawaaf around the House, touching the corner [where the Stone is] with a crooked staff which he had with him, then kissing the staff. [Muslim, 1275]

    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed Tawaaf on his camel, and every time he came to the corner [where the Stone is] he would point to it and say “Allaahu akbar.” [al-Bukhari, 4987]

    And that’s what we need to do. If you are far away from the black stone, all you do is to point to it with your right hand, say Allah Akbar and move on. No facing the Ka’bah, no “distance kissing”, no stopping dead in your tracks. Keep moving and don’t disrupt the flow of the tawaaf.

    “It should be noted that the tawaaf remains perfectly valid without kissing the Black Stone. If one does not or cannot kiss the Black Stone. it is sufficient simply to point to it, saying “Allahu Akbar” when one comes parallel to it, although one may be at a distance from it.” [Fataawa ibn Baaz]

    Mistake #3. Shouting out duas in unison

    Some people shout at the top of their voices, in unison, while making du’a during tawaaf. They follow an imam or a leader who says out different duas aloud, and then the followers all repeat after him in unison. This causes a lot of confusion and disturbs others engaged in their own duas,  making them lose focus and khushoo‘. And obviously, it is also not befitting that one should shout and raise his voice in a place so sacred as the Harram.

    The right thing to do is to know, before you go for tawaaf, the duas that you will be making, the Qur’aan you will be reciting, etc. so that you don’t have to follow anybody. Rather you will be making your own du’a, in your own language, from your own heart. This will give you better concentration and satisfaction. Plan your duas ahead of time, repeat them to yourself, with humility and khushoo‘. After all, you’re making du’a to the One Who hears all and sees all. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said:

    Each one of you is conversing with his Lord, so do not disturb one another or raise your voices over one another when reading [or he said] when praying. [Abu Dawood, saheeh by al-Albaani]

    Mistake #4. Designating specific duas for specific rounds:

    There are some people who make specific duas for each round and there are even books that have specific duas written for each specific round, with du’a #1 to be read for round #1 and so on. This is not something from the Sharee’ah. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) did not recite any specific du’a in any of the rounds, and neither did his companions. If there was such a thing, then he would have told us about it, and he would have done so himself first.

    The only du’a that he did specify during Tawaaf, was when he reached at the end of each circuit between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, and he would say: “Rabbana atina’ fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasana wa qina adhaban-nar. ” (Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Fire.)

    So the right thing to do in each round is to make sincere du’a from your heart about whatever it is that you make du’a to Allah for, in whatever language you like, in whatever words that you feel comfortable in, until you come to the Yamani (third) corner where you can say the above du’a prescribed in the Sunnah.

    Think about it. If you’re reading something from a book, in a language that you don’t understand, would that have the same effect on you or the same impact on your du’a as compared to something that you do understand? Imagine the power of the du’a that comes from deep within your heart and its effect. You are the one who knows your problems…you are the one who is afflicted…you are the one beseeching your Lord and He’s the One who knows what you’re asking for.

    And even if you did understand the duas, it would still be something not prescribed in the Sunnah.

    Mistake #5. Doing Tawaaf on someone else’s behalf:

    Many people make this mistake. They circumambulate the Ka’bah 7 times and then they donate the reward of this tawaaf  to their loved ones, their family members or their relatives who have passed away. Also, when people go for Hajj or Umrah, their relatives and friends specifically ask them to “do one tawaaf on their behalf”. This is not valid and there is no evidence for its permissibility.

    You see, Tawaaf is a kind of prayer and you cannot pray on someone else’s behalf. Can you? Similarly, you cannot do just tawaaf by itself on someone else’s behalf either. However, if you were doing an entire Hajj or Umrah on someone’s behalf, then the tawaf would be automatically be on the other person’s behalf anyway. But to do tawaaf by itself, meaning 7 rounds around the Ka’bah and donating the reward to someone else is not correct.

    Shaykh ibn Baaz said: Tawaaf around the Ka’bah cannot be done by proxy, so no one can do tawaaf on behalf of someone else, unless he is doing Hajj or ‘Umrah on his behalf, in which case he may do it on his behalf along with the rest of Hajj or ‘Umrah.  [Fataawa Ibn Baaz]

    What the best thing to do is to do as many tawaaf as you can for your own self. Tawaaf is an Ibaadah that cannot be done anywhere else except Mecca and this is a golden opportunity.

    Mistake #6. Going to Tan’eem again and again for multiple Umrahs:

    Some people perform multiple Umrahs after finishing their own, going outside Mecca either to masjid Aaisha (Tan’eem) or other meeqaat points, put on a new Ihraam and repeat Umrahs again and again. Some of them do an Umrah a day, some even more! This is also NOT from the Sunnah. And NOT the practice of the Sahaabah.

    If it was good to do multiple Umrahs all in one trip, surely the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) would have done so himself and the Sahaabah would have done so too. But we see that although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) stayed in Mecca for 19 days after the conquest of Mecca, yet he did NOT leave Mecca to do `Umrah, even though he could have easily done so.

    Sheikh al-`Uthaymeen said: “Ibn Taymiyah mentions that the Salaf are agreed that making multiple `Umrahs is disliked. In any case, leaving Mecca and going to the boundary of the sacred precincts to make a second or third `Umrah is an unfounded practice that was unknown during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The only exception to this was the case where `A’ishah sought permission to make a single `Umrah after Hajj because of special circumstances. If it was generally recommended to leave Mecca to perform `Umrah in this way, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have encouraged his Companions to do so.”

    Actually, instead of making multiple Umrahs, the better thing to do and the worship that will earn more rewards, bi idhnillaah, is to perform as many tawaaf as you can for yourself. Like I said before, tawaaf is an Ibaadah that cannot be done anywhere else except Mecca and this is a golden opportunity.

    Ibn Taymiyah said: “The Salaf agree that performing voluntary tawaaf is superior to going to al-Tan`îm or to the boundaries of the sacred precincts and making `Umrah. [Majmu` al-Fataawa]

    Mistake #7. Thinking that the Jamaraat are Shayaateen:

    When some people go to stone the Jamaraat, they think they are going to stone the devils. In fact, they think they are stoning Iblees himself! They even call this ritual, “stoning the SHAYTAAN.” That is NOT TRUE. The Jamaraat are NOT shayaateen and to call the Jamaraat “Shayateen” is also wrong.

    All we do when we stone these Jamaraat is an act of remembering Allah, following the Messenger of Allah(Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) as an act of worship. That’s it. No need to get emotional, no need to cuss at the Jamaraat, no need to push and shove.

    Mistake #8. Touching or wiping over the Ka’bah, any part of masjid al-Haraam or Masji an-Nabawi:

    Some people try and touch any part of the Ka’bah or Maqaame Ibraaheem, thinking that there is blessing or barakah in it. Or they touch or wipe their hands on the different parts of masjid al-Haraam or masjid an-Nabawi, and then they wipe over themselves, thinking that this is something good or it will be source of blessing for them. But again, this is another act with no basis in the Sharee’ah of Islam. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam)  did not touch any part of Ka’bah except the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner. If it was good, he would have done so. But he didn’t and so we don’t either.

    Dear brother/sister, just think about it. Blessings come from following what Allah and His Messenger (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) have prescribed, and NOT from following innovations.

    Mistake #9. Thinking that praying forty prayers in Madeenah is compulsory:

    Some people think that you have to complete forty prayers in the Prophet’s masjid and that this is necessary and part of Hajj. It’s not. This is based on a weak hadeeth. Neither is it necessary to complete forty prayers there nor is visiting Madeenah a part of Hajj. Obviously it is good if you can spend as much time as you can in Madeenah and pray as much as you can in masjid an-Nabawi. But to think that one has to complete forty prayers there is not correct. You can pray one day or one hour  or one month or whatever is according to your hajj program. It does not have to be forty prayers.

    Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “With regard to the widespread idea that the visitor should stay for eight days so that he can offer forty prayers in the Mosque is wrong. Although it says in some ahaadeeth “Whoever offers forty prayers therein Allah will decree that he is safe from the Fire and free from hypocrisy,” this hadeeth is da’eef according to the scholars and cannot be taken as proof or relied upon. There is no set limit for visiting the Prophet’s Mosque. If a person visits for an hour or two, or a day or two, or for more than that, there is nothing wrong with that.”  [Fataawa Ibn Baaz]