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10 Common Mistakes in Salah, Prayer, Salat: A Perfect Guide

by | Nov 1, 2023

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Salat (Salah, Namaz) or Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam; Allah Almighty will question it on the Day of Resurrection. Performing Prayer is obligatory for every adult Muslim. Salah is a ritual prayer having prescribed conditions, and one must perform Salaah while fulfilling those conditions. We often perform Prayers or Salah as a practice or as a part of habit but tend to forget the fundamental essence of Namaz and make many mistakes during Prayer. 

Ten common mistakes and errors in Prayers or Salah are as follows:

  • Delaying the Salah intentionally

While busy in worldly affairs, we often delay the Salah from its preferred time. Deferring Salah is the most common mistake in Prayer made by most of us. We think that Praying is the last thing to do, and we must attend to other matters first. Many workers delay Zuhr and Asr Prayer till night-time. AlQuran speaks strictly on guarding our Salat:

“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e., Asr Prayers)” [2:238]

Here, safeguarding the Salat means performing it at its prescribed time and steadfastly upon it. Narrated Ibn Umar (R.A): Allah’s Messenger (P.B.U.H) said:

“Whoever misses the Asr prayers (intentionally), then it is as if he lost his family and property.” [Al-Bukhari]

Another Hadith explains the importance of praying on time. Narrated Abu Al-Malih (R.A):

“We were with Buraidah in a battle on a cloudy day, and he said, “Offer the Asr prayer early as the Prophet (P.B.U.H) said, “Whoever omits the Asr prayer, all his (good) deeds will be lost.” [Al-Bukhari]

  • Reciting Holy Quran fast in the Prayers

We must pause and take breaks while reciting the Holy Quran during Salat. We should not recite the Surah so fast that the verse gets intermingled. One of the Hadith emphasizes this issue:

“The Prophet (P.B.U.H) used to pause after each verse of Surah al-Fatiha. [Abu Dawood]

  • Mistake in moving before the Imam in congregational prayers

One should not race with the Imam, i.e., try to move before the Imam or with the Imam, because the correct ruling is when Imam says Allahu Akbar. The person following the Imam in Prayers should say, Allahu Akbar. Not before Imam or with Imam. This Hadith of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) states:

“Surely the imam is there to be followed” [Muslim]

Another Hadith states:

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

Does not the one who raises his head before the Imam does fear that Allah would transform his head into a donkey’s head” [Muslim]

  • Performing the Salah hastily

One should perform Salat slowly and calmly. One should perform Rukoo or Sujood calmly. To complete the Rukoo, one must stay in Rukoo posture long enough to recite “Subhan Rabbi you Adtheem” at least three times. Similarly, the person should say “Subhan-a Rabbi yal-ala” three times slowly for the Sujood. This Hadith commands to complete the Rukoo and Sujood correctly:

The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) said:

“The worst thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” People asked: ‘Messenger of Allah! How could one steal from his Prayer?’ He said: “By not completing its rukoo and sujood” [at-Tabarani]

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“He who does not complete his rukoo and sujood, his prayer is void” [Abu Dawood]

  • Gazing right, left, or upward during Salat

While performing Salah, one should concentrate on looking to the point where the head is placed during Sujood rather than looking upwards because this may lose concentration. In the Hadith recorded by Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“Let those who raise their gaze during prayer stop doing so, or else their sights would not return to them” (i.e., they will lose their eyesight) [Muslim]

  • Performing Sujood improperly

The most common mistake observed in Prayers is to perform Sujood by resting only the tip of the head on the floor.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“I am commanded to prostrate on seven bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet” [Muslim]

  • Not performing Prayers during illness or while traveling

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) always performed Prayer even during His last days before death. He (P.B.U.H) never neglected it, even during combats. Prayer is obligatory and must be performed in any condition. If a person cannot perform ablution due to his illness, he may perform tayammum (dry ablution). He may perform Salah while sitting or even lying down if he cannot stand in Prayer. The same is the case while traveling. The person can combine 2 Salah while traveling, i.e., Zuhr Prayer and Asr Prayer. or Maghrib Prayer and Isha Prayer.

  • Crossing in front of a person who is performing Salah

The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him” [Bukhari]

  • Going to Mosque to perform Salah with a quick walk

When Prayer approaches, some person fears that he might miss his Salah; for this fear, most of us try to walk quickly or run for fear of missing some part of the Prayer; this is not allowed, according to Hadith. The Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) said:

“When prayer has already started, do not walk quickly to join in. Proceed calmly and reposefully; then join in whichever part you catch up, and complete whichever part you missed”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

  • Eating food with a foul smell before performing Prayers

Consuming foods with a terrible smell like garlic or onion should not be taken before the Salah because the bad breath may irritate the angels and the praying people. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said:

“He who eats from the smelly plant [garlic or onion], let him come not near our mosque; the angels are bothered by that which bothers men” [Muslim]

May Allah guides us to perform our Salah perfectly and help us to guard our Salat so when on the Day of Judgment we are questioned about our prayers, we may succeed. Ameen.


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