Salat is a great act of worship. In it, a Muslim faces Allah, the Exalted, with his mind and body. It is therefore necessary (for him) to precede it by preparing himself and making his mind and body ready, in order for him to be devoted and to observe the prayer in a perfect manner. For this reason, the following are prescribed for the observation of Salat :
Allah says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him) and perform as-Salat and give Az-Zakah, and this is the right religion.” ( Al-Bayyinah: 5 ).
And Allah will not accept any deed, except that which is done sincerely for His sake without any showing off, seeking repute or any form of polytheism (associating partners with Allah).
This means being careful to perform ablution perfectly. It was reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah t, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Should I direct you to that with which Allah cleanses away sins and raises ranks?” They replied: “Yes, Oh Messenger of Allah.” The Prophetﷺ said: “Wetting perfectly all prescribed parts of the body in ablution during unpleasant conditions[ Unpleasant conditions, like cold weather.] (like cold weather), making several steps (walking) to the mosque, and waiting for another prayer after (observing) one, and that is Ar-Ribaat.[ Ar-Ribat : Persistently dragging one’s sole to keep performing any act of obedience to Allah]” [ Source: Muslim.]
This means going out early in order to attain the virtues of waiting for Salat . On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, he reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “And each of you is already in as-Salat, whenever he (arrives early) waiting for as- Salat.” [ Source: Bukhari.]
He (the one who observes Salat ) should remember Allah when leaving the house by saying: “ Bismil-Lahi tawakkaltu ‘ala-l-Lahi wala hawla wala quwwata illa-b-Lah” [ Source: Abu Dawud.] “Allahumma inni a’udhu bika an adhila aw udholu, aw azilla aw uzallu, aw adhlima aw udhlama, aw ajhala aw yujhala ‘alayya.” [Source: Abu Dawud.]
Meaning: “In the name of Allah, I put my trust in Allah, there is no power nor strength except that of Allah.” “Oh Lord, I seek refuge in you lest I misguide others, or I am misguided by others, lest I cause others to err or I am caused to err, lest I abuse others or be abused, and lest I behave foolishly or meet with the foolishness of others.”
He should remember Allah when going to the mosque by saying “Allahuma aj’al fi qalbi noran, wa fi lasani noran, wa aj’al fi sam’ai noran, wa aj’al fi basari noran, wa aj’al min khalfi noran, wa min amami noran, wa aj’al min fawqi noran, wa min tahti noran, allahuma a’atini noran.”
Meaning: “Oh Lord, bring into my heart light and to my tongue light, and in my ears light and in my sight light, and behind me light and before me light, and above me light and below me light. O Lord, grant me light.” [ Source: Muslim.]
This is due to the saying of the Prophet ﷺ : “When you hear the Iqamah (the call to commence the prayer), then walk (to the mosque) to observe the prayer, but (walk) with tranquility (as-sekeenah)[ As-sakinah: Tranquility while walking.] and calmness (al-waqaar)[ Al-waqar: Calmness, lowering one’s gaze and not looking left and right] and do not be hasty. Any part (of the prayer being observed) you meet (that others are praying in congregation) you should pray (with them), and (afterwards) complete what you missed. [ Agreed upon.]
While entering the mosque, he says ”A’udhu billahil’atheem, wa biwajhihi alkareem, wa saltanihi alqadeem min ashshaytanirrajeem,” meaning: “I seek refuge in Allah, the Most Great, by His Generous Face and by His Long-lasting Power, from Satan, the accursed.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
“Bismillahi, wasslato wasslamo ‘ala rasolillah,” “Allahummaftah li abwaba rahmatik.” Meaning: “In the name of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah,”[ Source: Abu Dawud.] “Oh Allah, open the doors of your mercy for me.” [ Source: Muslim.]
While leaving the mosque, he says: “Bismillahi, wassalato wassalamo ‘ala rasolillahi. Allahumma inni asaloka min fadhlik. Allahumma’asimni min ashshaytanirrajeem,” meaning: “In the name of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger of Allah. Oh Allah! I ask for Your Favors. Oh Allah, protect me from Satan, the accursed.” [ Source: Ibn Maja..]
This is due to the saying of the Prophet ﷺ: “When one of you enters the mosque, let him pray two rak ‘ahs before sitting down.” [ Agreed upon.]
Taken from the saying of the Prophet ﷺ: “When any of you performs ablution and performs it perfectly, then left to pray, heading to the mosque, he should not interlock his fingers because he is already in a state of prayer.” [ Source: Abu Dawud.]
Being occupied with the remembrance of Allah, prayer and recitation of the Qur‘an while waiting for Salat, without disturbing other people who have come to pray.
This is because Salat, without humility and devoutness, is like a dead body without a soul. Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The basis of humility includes making one’s heart soft, tranquil, humble, and lowering and demeaning oneself (in front of Allah). So when the heart has humility, the remaining parts of the body follow it, because they are its subjects.” [ Source: Al-Khushu’ by Ibn Rajab.] The position of humility is therefore the heart, while the remaining parts of the body show this, just as the tongue expresses it.
Prayer is a form of worship for which upholding the manners of the Prophet ﷺ is compulsory. So what the Prophet ﷺ did not do or say must not be done or said. This is because the Prophet ﷺ said: “Pray as you saw me pray.” [ Source: Bukhari.]