From the Sunan actions of the prayer are:
- Raise the Hands at the following Times:
- When saying Takbeer
- When going into Rukuh
- When rising from Rukuh
- When standing up for the third Rak’ah
- The Manner of raising the Hands:
- When raising and lowering the hands, the fingers should be close together, stretched out and with the palms of the hands facing the Qiblah.
- Raise the hands either to the side of shoulders or to the bottom of the ears.
- Place the right hand on the left or grasp the left wrist bone with your right hand.
- Look toward the place of prostration.
- Separate your feet to a comfortable distance when standing.
- Recite the Qur’an with Tarteel and contemplate on what is being said.
“And recite the Qur’an with Tarteel [measured recitation].”
[Al-Muzzammil 73: 4]
From the Sunan of Rukuh are:
- Grasping the knees with the hands while the fingers are apart.
- Extending the back so that it is flat.
- The head should be in line with the back without lowering it or raising it.
- Keeping the upper arms away from the side of the body.
From the Sunan of Sujood [prostration] is:
- To keep the upper arms away from the side of the body (i.e. the head should be in line with the straightened back)
- To keep the stomach away from thighs
- To ensure the thighs are away from the shins
- To separate the knees
- To keep the feet upright
- To ensure the toes face the Qiblah so that the joints of the toes rest on the floor
- To press the feet together for the duration of the prostration
- To place the hands in line with the shoulders or ears
- To straighten the hands
- To ensure the fingers are close together
- To ensure the fingers are pointing towards the Qiblah
The sitting (or Jalsah) between the prostration is of two types:
- The first is called Al-Iqaa’ which is to sit on the heels with both feet upright.
- The second is called Al-Iftiraash. This is to keep the right foot in an upright position and lay the left foot flat on the floor.
- The sitting for the first Tashahhud is also Al-Iftiraash, except that it is to sit on the left foot with the right foot upright.
- It is Sunnah to lengthen Jalash Al-Iftiraash:
“The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to lengthen this sitting, until a person would say, ‘Perhaps, he has forgotten (to continue).’”
- The other type of sitting is called Jalsah Al-Istiraahah. It is performed after the second prostration before standing up, in the first and third Rak’ah. There are no supplications in it and the Sunnah is to sit briefly.
The Final Tashahhud
- This final sitting has three forms:
At-Tawarruk: This is to keep the right foot upright, while placing the left foot under the right shin and to sit on the floor.
Sit in the same position as above, except that the right foot is not placed upright, but it follows the direction of the left.
To keep the right foot upright and to place the left leg between the shin and thigh of right leg.
- Place the hands of the thighs – the right hand on the right thigh and the left hand on the left thigh – with the finger outstretched and close together.
- Point with the index finger, during this Tashahhud from the beginning to the end and connect the thumb with the middle finger to form a circle. Focus the sight on the index finger.
- At-Tasleem: This is to turn the head to the right then left when finishing the prayer.
Summary of Actions in the Prayer:
There are twenty-five Sunan pertaining to the actions repeated in every Rak’ah. From among those Sunan that are not repeated in the prayer more than once or twice:
- To raise the hands with initial Takbeer
- To raise the hands to the shoulders up for the third Rak’ah, in prayer comprising of two Tashahhud.
- To point with the index finger from the beginning of the Tashahhud to the end of it, whether it is the first or second Tashahhud.
- Jalsah Al-Istirahah which is repeated twice in the prayer consisting of four Rak’aat, and once in the remaining prayers, whether it is an obligatory or voluntary prayer.
- At-Tawarruk: This is in the second Tashahhud, in a prayer with two Tashahhuds.
- To turn the head to the right and the left in concluding the prayer (Tasleem).
These Sunan are all repeated once except the pointing with the index finger during Tashahhud which is performed twice in every obligatory prayer and Jalsah Al-Istiraahah which is repeated twice in a four Rak’aat prayer.
These Sunan total thirty-four.
Strive to beautify your prayer by implementing these Sunan of speech and action so that your reward is increased and your status with Allah is raised.
General Words of Advice from Ibn Al-Qayyim:
“The servant is between the Hands of Allah in two situations. The first is during the time of prayer and the second is on the Day of Meeting (i.e. the Day of Judgment). So, whoever fulfills his duty in the first situation will have ease in the second, and whoever underestimates the importance of the first situation and does not fulfills its rights, will have hardships in the second.”
[Book: More than 1000 Sunan Every Day and Night (Adhkar Min Alf Sunnah Fee Al-Yawm Wa Al-Laylah, Dar-us-Salaam Publications)]