Salat Innovations

Although the Quranic model for the Salat is very simple and straightforward, considerable human innovation has been added over time to the Salat.

When the Muslims, who insist on such innovations are invited to follow what God decreed in the Quran, they reply saying that this is what they inherited from their forefathers. Others say that the Salat they follow cannot be a corrupted Salat since it has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation since the time of Abraham! The Quran predicts such replies would come from those who choose to desert the Quran and instead follow innovations that are not authorised by God:

Sura 2

170. And if they are told, "Follow what God has brought down (Quran)", they say, "We only follow what we found our fathers upon." What! Even if their fathers do not reason anything and were not guided?

171. The example of such disbelievers is that of those who repeat what they hear of sounds and calls without understanding. Deaf, dumb and blind; they do not reason.

we also read:

Or do they have partners who legislate for them religious laws which were not authorised by God? If it were not for a decisive decree, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed the transgressors shall have a painful punishment. 42:21

The following is a list of some of the major innovations:

1- Ignoring the four simple Quranic steps for ablution (5:6) and following a non Quranic ablution (8 or 9 steps). The hadith writers of the early centuries of Islam have tricked millions of Muslims into thinking that this more elaborate ablution was devised and followed by Prophet Muhammad in order to attain more cleanliness! Needless to say, this claim is an insult to both God and the Prophet. On the one hand, if the Prophet devised a more thorough method for ablution, this indirectly means that God's way is not good enough, and that the Prophet felt the need to 'improve it'! Equally, to add insult to Prophet Muhammad, the claim that he followed such an 'improved' ablution is to claim that he ignored God's ablution that was revealed through him personally (5:6) and instead followed his own ablution! It also paints the Prophet as a man who disobeyed God's command given to him to follow nothing other than the Quran which was revealed to him (46:9)! For more details on the subject of ablution, please check the following page: Purpose of Wudu (Ablution)

2- Imposing two extra non-Quranic prayers in the day: The Quran decrees three prayers per day (Fajr, Wusta and Isha). The majority of Muslims today follow un-Quranic teachings that decree five obligatory prayers per day. For more details please check the following page: Three Salat

3- Imposing specific number of rakas (24434) for the prayers: The Quran does not speak of any number of raka for the Salat. The amount of time one wishes to worship his/her Creator during the Salat is left to each one's desire and ability. The whole concept of raka is un-Quranic and the word raka, meaning a cycle of movements during Salat, does not appear in the Quran.

For more details on the issue of raka please check the following page: The raka innovation

4- Performing prayers outside their assigned times: The Quran tells us that God has set specific times for each Salat (4:103), yet many Muslims do their prayers outside their correct times in what they call (Salat Qada). Many Muslims have been falsely led to believe that if they miss any number of Salat they can still observe them at the end of the day collectively! Needless to say, such concession is not found anywhere in the Quran. Following such innovation is in violation of 4:103, which asserts that the Salat can only be observed during the specific times decreed in the Quran. Consequently, any Salat that is missed is gone forever.

5- Combining the times of prayers: This practice which occurs usually during Hajj is totally absurd and without any justification. During Hajj, the believers have all the time to observe each Salat in its correct time. The person observing Hajj has nothing to do during the days of Hajj other than to worship God! There does not seem to be any justification for combining 2 Salat together. The act of combining Salat is not authorised in the Quran in the first place.

6- Adding extra prayers such as 'sunnah', 'taraweeh', 'tahhajjud' and 'nawafil': Once again all these extra Salat that originate from hadith are un-Quranic. By preaching and advocating these extra Salat, the Imams and hadith scholars do nothing but place extra burden on those who wish to follow Islam. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite of what God told us in 73:20 not to do. In 73:20 God reprimanded Prophet Muhammad when he was burdening the believers with extra prayers during the night. For more details please see: The un-Quranic Extra Prayers

7- Forcing women to cover their hair during Salat, even if they are alone!

Is there any justification for this rule in the Quran? The straight answer is that there are no commands in the Quran for women to cover their hair while they are observing the Salat.

Let us go to the heart of this issue. Why should women cover their hair during prayer in the first place?

Some say to show respect for God, so let us analyse this claim.
It is God who created everything on a woman's body including her hair. Is there anything disrespectful or shameful about God's creation that needs to be hidden?

Those who force women to cover their hair at all times in public, say that the woman's hair is a "Ourah" (sexual temptation) for men and so women should cover their hair to prevent arousing men in a non righteous way. For the details please see: The 'aurat' of women

3- When a woman covers her hair in prayer (even when she is praying on her own), whether it is to show respect towards God or for any other reason, can God not see what is beneath the head cover? Is the covered hair really hidden from God?

For more info on women's dress code please check the following page:
Women's dress Code

8- Prohibiting women from leading the prayers: This is an innovation derived from the effect of male dominated cultures on Islam. Needless to say, the Quran does not advocate such sexist preferential treatment.

9- Prohibiting women from observing their prayers while menstruating: This innovation too is derived from the male orientated cultures that perceive the women to be un-clean during menstruation. The Quran does not support or advocate such claim. The command in 2:222 is for married couples to avoid sexual contact during menstruation. Verse 2:222 is not related to the Salat in any way. Nowhere in the Quran are women prohibited from observing their Salat during menstruation.
For the full details, please see: Salat during Menstruation

10- Reciting a prayer (called "At-Tahiyaat" or "Tashahud") during the Salat to commemorate Prophets Muhammad and Abraham and their families and friends! The Quran commands believers to dedicate their Salat and all worship practices to the name of God alone (6:162, 20:14). To praise or commemorate any other name during the Salat immediately invalidates the Salat and turns it into an act of shirk.

11- Reciting a corrupt Shahada during Salat: God gave us the correct Shahada (Testimony) in the Quran (3:18). The Quranic Shahada is the one uttered by God Himself, the angels and all those endowed with knowledge. The corrupt innovation of adding the name of Muhammad to the Shahada is once again, an act of shirk. This corrupt Shahada is uttered during the Salat when the Quranic Shahada should be recited instead.

For more details on this subject please check the following page : Shahada

12- Inventing absurd rules for how to hold one's hands and fingers during prayer: To insist that the hands must be held on the sides of the forehead while reciting 'Allahu Akbar', or for the hands to be placed on the stomach while reading the 'Fatiha' (The key), or for the forefinger to point outwards while saying 'La ilaha Ila Allah' at sujood; all these are absurdities that were never required by God nor mentioned in the Quran.

13- Deterring believers from praying during some hours of the day: In accordance to one of the corrupt hadith followed by millions of people, it is falsely claimed that the Prophet discouraged people from praying during the hour just before sunset! Is it conceivable that a prophet of God would ever deter people from worshipping God at any time of the day? Obviously such a hadith is a gross lie which Prophet Muhammad is innocent of.

14- Not uttering specific words which we are commanded to utter during our Salat: The Quran commands believers to recite specific words during the Salat. These words are:

"Praise be to God who has never taken a son, nor did He ever have a partner in sovereignty, nor did He ever have any ally out of weakness" 17:110-111

For more details see: Words of the Salat

15- The Friday Sermon (Khutba): There is no authorisation anywhere in the Quran for the sermon which the Imam delivers during the Friday Prayer. The ritual of the Salat, as defined in the Quran, is an exclusive prayer observed by the believer and directed directly to God. It is certainly not a speech by one believer to the others! It would be acceptable to deliver a sermon, as long as it is totally separate from the Salat itself, either before or after. However, Muslims today regard the sermon as an integral part of the Friday Salat, and for that they observe 2 rakas during their Friday Salat instead of the usual 4 rakas they observe for the Zhuhr Salat. They explain this by saying that the sermon replaces the other 2 omitted rakas. Needless to say, the whole concept of raka is un-Quranic (please see point 3 above).

The un-Quranic sermon, practiced during the Friday prayer, is indeed used to promote hadith and to commemorate and glorify the Prophet and his companions. This is not the purpose of the Salat as defined in the Quran. In 20:14 we read that the purpose of the Salat is to commemorate the name of God alone:

I am God, there is no god but Me. Therefore, you shall worship Me and observe the Salat to commemorate Me. 20:14

16- Incorrect 'Ending of the Salat': The Quran gives us clear instructions of how to end our Salat. This has been totally ignored and an innovation is practiced instead. For more details please see the following page : Salat Ending

17- The innovation of 'voiding ablution': Muslims today have a list of 'voiders' which they claim will void the ablution when they happen. Those include touching women, passing gas, visiting the toilet and others. They thus claim that if any of these occur, the ablution is void and one must observe a new ablution.

This innovation is not supported by any Quranic words. In actual fact, it is a result of confusing two Quranic commands into one.

The Quran has two separate commands:

a- Ablution
b- Washing
To analyse this issue we must read the two Quranic verses which deal with this subject:

O you who believe, when you rise to observe the Salat, you shall wash your faces and your arms to the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles. If you had sexual intercourse you shall purify yourselves. If you are ill, or travelling, or if any of you have come from the toilet, or have touched women, and you could not find water, you shall observe Tayammum by means of wiping your faces and hands with clean dry soil. God does not wish to impose any hardship on you, but He wishes to purify you and complete His blessing upon you so that you may be appreciative. 5:6

O you who believe, do not approach the Salat while intoxicated, until you know what you are saying, nor after sexual intercourse until you have washed; unless you are on the road travelling. If you are ill or travelling, or if any of you has come from the toilet, or had sexual contact with women, and you could not find water, you shall observe Tayammum by means of wiping your faces and hands with clean dry soil. God is Pardoning, Forgiving. 4:43

1- In 5:6 we read the instructions for ablution which are then followed with the words:

"If you had sexual intercourse you shall purify yourself." Note that God does not say "if you had sexual intercourse you should observe a new ablution"!

This clear command to 'wash' after sexual intercourse (rather than repeat ablution) is repeated in 4:43 with the words:
"until you have washed".

These words confirm that the command for ablution and that for washing are two separate commands.

2- The purpose of washing after sex, or after visiting the toilet, is to maintain good hygiene. This washing is not part of the Salat. We must perform this washing even if we do not intend to observe a Salat.

In contrast, the ablution is an integral part of the Salat, thus it must be performed immediately before every Salat.

The words "when you rise to observe the Salat" in 5:6 requires us to observe ablution immediately before every Salat and not an hour or two before. As a result, ablution is an integral part of the Salat that cannot be voided. The acts mentioned in 5:6 and 4:43 require washing, and that is independent of the command for ablution which must also be observed before every Salat. For more details, please see: Voiding of the wudu

18- Two Salat with one ablution?: One of the false practices that is derived from the un-Quranic innovation of 'voiding ablution' is that Muslims today are led to believe that as long as their ablution has not been invalidated, they can observe more than one Salat with the same ablution. They are often heard saying, my ablution is still good, so I need not do a new ablution for the next Salat!

Needless to say, this arrangement of 'two for the price of one', is a clear violation of the rule in 5:6

O you who believe, when you rise to observe the Salat, you shall wash your faces and your arms to the elbows and …..

The meaning is clear; whenever we rise to observe the Salat we must observe ablution. Thus, every Salat requires its own ablution.
Those who say: 'but we already observed ablution before the last Salat' are not any different from one who says: 'I have already faced Qibla during my previous Salat, so I do not need to repeat this in my next Salat'!
This corruption as we now know, originated from the man-made concept of 'voiding the ablution'. When we have the correct understanding that ablution cannot be voided, we would also understand that ablution is an integral part of the Salat and thus must be observed immediately before every Salat.

19- Inventing a ritual called Adhan: The words in 62:9 speak of "when the call for the Salat is announced on Friday". These words simply speak of an announcement that is made, in any shape or form, to let it be known that the time of the Salat is due.
In the days when the Quran was revealed, they only had the human voice to make such an announcement, but today the announcement for the time of the Salat can be made by means of the Radio, T.V., Internet, or even phone text. Most people in any case just look at a table they downloaded or bought from a bookshop.
The Quran never specified that a human voice must be used to make the announcement and certainly the Quran does not speak of a ritual called the Adhan which has a set wording!
For some reason, someone along the way invented the ritual called the Adhan, and that it must be uttered according to a specific wording!
Needless to say, none of this is found in the Quran and thus it is not a requirement from God.

20- Adding the non Quranic word "Ameen" to God's words: The word 'ameen', which Muslims add at the end of the Fatihah, originates from the word 'amen' which is a declaration of affirmation that comes from the Bible. It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns.
Going further back, it is also believed that the word 'amen' is a derivative of the name of the Egyptian god Amun (which is sometimes spelled Amen).
To add this word, or any word, to the words of God, such as at the end of the Fatihah, is an unrighteous act and is not one that any believer should do.
The interesting thing is that a large number of the Muslims, who have not bothered to investigate this matter, actually think that the Fatihah ends with the word 'ameen'!