Question: Should one make niyyah (intention) of salat in one’s heart or utter it by mouth?
The rulings in fiqh books regarding how one should make intention of salat are as follows in brief:
The place of the intention is the heart. When a person makes niyyah with his heart, it is good to make niyyah verbally also. If it is not uttered by the tongue, there is nothing wrong with it. (Al-Kafi, Fatawa al-Hindiyya)
It was not narrated that our Master the Prophet, his companions, or the next generation of Muslims even uttered the niyyah of salat. Likewise, in the book Hilya, there is no report from any of the four imams that one is allowed to utter the intention with the tongue. Some scholars said that verbal intention was bid’at, which was narrated by the author of the book Fath. It is written in Hilya: “Maybe the best explanation would be that it is a good innovation [bid’at-i hasana] to utter the intention with the tongue in order to focus one’s mind on salat.” (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
In the Hanafi Madhhab, the uttering of the niyyah of salah with the tongue is bid’at. It is permissible only when one tries to rid oneself of satanic whispers (waswasa). (Al-Fiqh 'Ala Al-Madhahib Al-Arba'ah)
In the book al-Ikhtiyar, in which the fatwas of Imam-i A’zam are written, is said, “Niyyah is a person’s knowing in his heart which particular salat he will perform. Uttering it with the tongue is of no importance.”
It is written in Durar wa al-Ghurar: “According to what is written in Hidaya, niyyah is a person’s knowing in his heart which particular salat he is performing. Verbal intention does not count. It is mustahab to utter it with the tongue as well to ready the heart.”
It is written in Halabi: “Niyyah is made in the heart. Verbal intention, in addition to the intention in the heart, is mustahab. There is nothing wrong if a person has his intention in his heart but does not pronounce it with his tongue.”
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, who is the apple of the eye of Islamic scholars, said the following in one of his letters he wrote to the mufti of Kabil:
“Islamic scholars said that it is mustahab for a person who makes niyyah with his heart to make niyyah verbally also. The truth of the matter is that there is not even a weak narration that our Master the Prophet or his companions or the next generation ever made verbal intention. Verbal intention is bid’at. This bid’at has been called bid’at-i hasana, but it annihilates not only the sunnat but also the fard because many people have been making niyyah only by tongue, without passing it through their heart. We must not add anything extra to the sunnat of the Messenger of Allah, and we must follow his blessed companions” (Vol. 1, Letter 186).
Hadrat Ibn Abidin states:
“Niyyah is made solely with the heart. It is bid’at to make it only verbally. It is permissible for a person who makes niyyah with his heart to make niyyah verbally also in order to be safe against doubts.”
Niyyah is made with the heart. Expressing it just in words is not considered niyyah. Some scholars said that it is permissible to make niyyah verbally also, provided that it is accompanied by the intention in the heart. If what is uttered goes against what is in the heart, the niyyah of the heart counts. There is no hadith-i sharif or narration saying that niyyah should be made with the tongue in acts of worship. Nor is there any report from the imams of the four madhhabs. (Ýslam Ahlaký)
When beginning to perform acts of worship, saying orally only is not called niyyah. A salat without the niyyah made by heart is not valid in the four madhhabs. No one heard the Messenger of Allah, the Sahaba, the Tabi’in, or even the four imams, make niyyah by tongue. In the Hanafi Madhhab, it is sunnat to intend through the heart when one is washing one’s face during wudu’. [It is written in Ibn ’Abidin’s book that it is sunnat, mustahab, or bid’at to intend orally also in addition to the intention in the heart. And it is written in Bariqa and Hadiqa as well as in Ibn ’Abidin’s book that when something is said to be sunnat or bid’at, it is better not to do it. For this reason, we must not intend orally.] (Se’adet-i Ebediyye)
In brief, the place of the niyyah is the heart. It is permissible for a person who makes niyyah with his heart to make niyyah verbally also in order to be safe against doubts
Question: Suppose that a person follows the Hanafi Madhhab normally, and he is following one of the rulings of the Maliki Madhhab too out of necessity. Should such a person, when beginning to perform salat, intend by heart or utter his intention in his heart with his tongue as well?
Niyyah is made with the heart in all of the four madhhabs. If a person has difficulty in making intention by heart, it is permissible for him to utter verbally the intention he made in his heart.
Question: Should a person make intention for salat while raising his hands up to his ears?
It can be made at that time, or alternatively, it can be made after he has raised his hands up to his ears and before he says “Allahu akbar.”
Question: When one performs the initial sunnats of Salat az-Zuhr, Salat al-Asr, and Salat al-Isha, or the fard of Salat al-Maghrib, is it permissible for one to also intend to perform Salat al-Subha, which is a voluntary salat offered after one has made wudu’, or Tahiyyat al-Masjid?
Yes, it is preferable. One can also combine the intention of performing Tahiyyat al-Manzil if one is to make a journey or has returned from a journey. One can, for example, make such an intention, “I intend to perform the fard of today’s Salat al-Maghrib, Tahiyyat al-Masjid, Tahiyyat al-Manzil, and Salat al-Subha.”
Question: If one, by mistake, intends to perform Salat al-Asr instead of Salat az-Zuhr, will this salat be considered valid?
It is fard on a person who will perform salat to know which particular salat he will perform and to intend accordingly. If he makes intention for Salat al-Asr instead of Salat az-Zuhr, his salat will not be valid. The place of the intention is the heart. If a person, before starting to perform Salat az-Zuhr, knows in his heart that he will offer the fard of Salat az-Zuhr but utters with his tongue by mistake that he will offer Salat al-Asr, in this case the intention in his heart counts, not his verbal intention. This salat, which has been offered with such an intention, will be valid then.
Question: Some people say:
“Shar’i day starts when the time of imsak sets in. For this reason, when one makes intention for a fast before imsak time, one must say, ‘I intend to offer the fast of tomorrow.’ However, when one makes intention for a fast after imsak time, one must say, ‘I intend to offer the fast of today.’ Therefore, if one says before imsak time ‘I intend to offer the fast of today’ meaning the fast of the following day, one’s intention will not be considered valid. If one intends a fast after imsak time but does not specify the day, one’s fast will not be valid either because one did not state which day one meant. Similarly, if one, before starting to perform Salat az-Zuhr, says ‘I intend to perform Salat az-Zuhr’ but does not add the word ‘today’s’, one’s salat will be invalid because one did not specify which day’s salat it was.”
Is what they say true? If one, before or after imsak time, makes intention to fast but does not specify the day (today or the following day), will one’s fast be invalid? Likewise, if one, when performing Salat az-Zuhr or any other salat, does not state clearly that one is performing today’s Salat az-Zuhr, will one’s intention be considered invalid?
Only the definition of the meaning of a Shar’i day is correct. All of the other statements are false. It is explained in fiqh books that one’s intention is valid when one makes intention to fast because one knows the fact that one will offer a fast of Ramadan, as well as the day when one will fast. For this reason, if one says by mistake “I intend to fast tomorrow” instead of saying “I intend to fast today” or if one, when intending at night, says by mistake “I intend to fast today” instead of saying “I intend to fast tomorrow,” one’s fast will be valid.
One, when making intention for any salat, does not have to specify that one will perform today’s salat because one knows that one will perform today’s salat. One’s intention is valid even if one does not state it.
If a person intends to perform Salat az-Zuhr in his heart but utters by mistake that he will perform Salat al-Asr, he is considered to have intended Salat az-Zuhr. What he uttered with his tongue does not count.
Likewise, when one is performing salat, it is a condition to face the qibla and to know that the qibla is the Ka’ba. However, it is not a condition to utter them with the tongue before salat. That is, one does not have to say, “I face the qibla, and my qibla is the Ka’ba,” for a Muslim knows that the qibla is the Ka’ba. If his prayer rug is not positioned correctly, he puts it right. However, if he starts a salat without making any effort to find the qibla, his salat will not be valid even if he has found out the qibla by chance. He does not have to state that he is facing the qibla. That is, it is not a condition to say “I intend to offer the fast of today” or “I intend to offer today’s Salat az-Zuhr” or “I face the qibla.” (Radd-ul-mukhtar, Durar wa al-Ghurar)
Question: Though it is written in the book Endless Bliss in its section dealing with intention for salat, “No one heard Rasulullah, the Sahaba, the Tabi’in, or even the four imams, make niyyat verbally,” it is also narrated in it that it is sunnat to make intention verbally in the madhhabs of Shafi’i and Hanbali. As Imam-i Shafi’i and Imam-i Ahmad bin Hanbal did not make intention verbally, how can verbal intention be sunnat in these two madhhabs?
This is the preferred qawl (conclusion, ijtihad for the solution of a religious matter) of those scholars who are mujtahids within these two madhhabs. Everyone must obey the preferred qawl of the madhhab he or she follows.
Question: What are the cases that allow one to combine two or more intentions in one salat?
There are permissible and impermissible intentions:
Impermissible intentions are as follows:
When a person intends to perform the current fard salat, he is not allowed to also intend to perform the sunnat of it. If he combines these two intentions, he will be considered to have performed only the fard, not the sunnat. When performing the current fard salat or its sunnat, he is not allowed to also intend a salat he made a nadhr (vow) to offer.
Permissible intentions are as follows:
When intending to perform the sunnat of the current fard salat, a person can also make the intention to make up a missed salat. When he enters a mosque, he can combine several intentions, such as to perform the sunnat of the fard salat, Tahiyyat al-Masjid, Salat al-Subha (if he has made a fresh wudu’), Salat ad-Duha (if he is within the time of duha), Tahiyyat al-Manzil (if he is to go on a journey). Even if he does not combine these intentions, he will earn the rewards of all these salats. However, when he makes separate intentions, he will also earn rewards for each of his intentions. (Ýslam Ahlaký)
Question: I was told that it was written in Ýslam Fýkhý Ansiklopedisi [Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence] that it is permissible to combine intentions for multiple voluntary (nafilah) salats in a single salat. Is it possible?
Yes, the following is written under the heading “Multiple Objectives in a Voluntary Salat” of that encyclopedia:
If one who makes wudu’ at the time of duha makes the intention to perform two rak’ats of voluntary salat to give thanks for wudu’ and at the same time makes the intention to perform Salat ad-Duha, will one be considered to have performed both? According to fiqh books, a single voluntary salat may represent several voluntary salats, provided that one makes intentions.
It is written in Sharh an-Nur-ul-Idhah that the salat offered to greet the mosque (Tahiyyat al-Masjid) is considered to have been offered when one performs a fard salat, or even with any salat according to Zaylai and Kasani. (58 Tahtawi 320; Molla Husraw, Durar 1/116 (Hashiyah of Sharnblali); Namankani 1/146)
Tahtawi quotes from Sharh al-Mishkat, “If one, after making a fresh wudu’, performs a fard salat, one is considered to have also performed the salat of thanksgiving thanks to it.” (59 Tahtawi; M. Zihni Efendi 404)
It is not a condition that the salat that will release a person from offering a voluntary salat be a fard one. (Hashiyah Durar 1/79; Ibn Abidin N/18-19)
Ibn Nujaym says in his discourse on niyyah: “If one makes intention for two voluntary salats, one will have performed both.” (60 b)