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General Issues Pertaining to the Prayer
  On Articulating the Intention For the Prayer
Author: Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Source: Fataawaa al-Kubraa
Article ID : IBD050005  [18138]  
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This is why the later Legal Jurists differed over whether articulating the intention was something recommended alongside the intention in the heart. A group of the followers of Abu Haneefah, ash-Shaafi`ee and Ahmad considered it to be recommended while another group of the followers of Maalik, Ahmad and others did not consider it to be recommended, this being textually reported by Ahmad and others. Rather this latter group considered it to be a despicable innovation saying that had it been recommended then the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) would have done it or at least ordered it for he (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) explained everything that would cause one to draw close to Allaah, especially the prayer whose manner of performance is to be taken only from him. It is established from him in the Saheeh that he said, "pray as you have seen me praying." Therefore this group said that adding this articulation to the prayer is of the same level as adding new actions of worship (to the Religion) such as the one who adds the adhaan and iqaamah to the Eed prayers or the one who adds two rak`ahs of prayer on Marwah while performing the circuit between Safah and Marwah.

Furthermore they said that articulating the intention is also wrong according to the intellect for the saying of someone ‘I intend to do so and so’ is of the same level as him saying ‘I intend to eat this food so that I may satisfy my appetite’ or ‘I intend to wear these clothes so that I may cover myself’ and other such intentions which are already present in the heart and therefore repugnant to articulate. Allaah said,

"Say: would you teach Allaah your religion when Allaah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth?" [49:16]

A group of the Salaf said concerning the saying of Allaah,

"We feed you seeking only the Face of Allaah" [76:9] {1}

‘They did not say this upon their tongues rather Allaah knew this from their hearts and informed us of this.’

In summary: there is no difference concerning the necessity of having the intention in the heart, as for articulating the intention then there is a difference amongst the later scholars whether it is detestable or recommended. As for articulating it loudly then this is detestable, forbidden and not legislated by agreement of the Muslims, the same goes for repeating the articulation in a louder voice.

This is true for the one leading the prayer, the one following the imaam and the one who is praying alone. It is not legislated for all of these to articulate the intention loudly or repeat this articulation by agreement of the Muslims. Indeed they forbid this, rather it is not even allowed for the one who is praying alone to recite loudly in the case that this harms someone else. The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) went to his Companions while they were praying and said, "all of you are intimately conversing with his Lord so do not recite over each other." As for the one who is following an imaam then the Sunnah is for him to recite silently by agreement of the Muslims, but if he were to, on some occasions, say a part of the dhikr loudly then there is no problem in this. For example if the imaam were to sometimes say a verse loudly in a prayer which is to be read silently. It is established in the Saheeh from Abu Qataadah that he (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) would sometimes let them hear a verse in the Dhuhr and Asr prayers.

And it is established in the Saheeh that from the Companions who were following him (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) in prayer were some who would say the opening supplication loudly and say the supplication when rising from ruku` loudly and the Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) did not object to any of this.

The one who persists in performing a bid`ah and considering it to be good then it is desirable to punish him in such a way that would deter him and those like him from such things. Whosoever attributes something false to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) has erred and if he knows and does not repent then he is to be punished. It is not lawful for anyone to speak about the religion without knowledge or to introduce into the religion something that is not part of it.

As for the saying, ‘everyone can do in his religion what he desires’ then this is a serious statement that is obligatory to repent from and if it is not then its proponent should be punished, rather persisting upon the likes of this statement necessitates killing. It is not upon anyone to do anything in the religion except for that which has been legislated by Allaah and His Messenger and not to do anything based on his whims and desires. Allaah says,

"And who is more misguided then one who follows his desires without guidance from Allaah?"[28:50]

"And many are misguided by their desires through ignorance."[6:119]

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