Doubts on the Validity of Prayer
Ustadh Salman Younas dispels misgivings on performing certain acts in prayer.
I’m one who frequently questions the validity of the prayer and genuinely questions whether I have committed a mistake. This has recently been magnified by my reading of that delaying a necessary act by the length of three tasbih is itself a wajib. Now I constantly question whether or not I have left too long a gap.
I used to take long pauses to reflect on prayer and now no longer do. This has been particularly problematic because I often make mistakes and/or stutter in my prayer and thereafter repeat the line, whether it be a takbirat or a verse, but now I am unsure if this would mean I am leaving this wajib.
Specifically: When performing Isha today in my third or fourth rak‘a when saying “Rabbana laka al-hamd,” I believe that I trailed off, failing to say the end. So I repeated “Rabbana laka al-hamd.” I then immediately went into sujood but then I questioned whether this would be classed as delaying the necessary act. Do I repeat the prayer?
A second question: I led my younger brother in prayer for maghrib, but I didn’t know then that the imam does not say “Rabbana laka al-hamd,” so I said it. Must this prayer be repeated?
You are suffering from waswasa, or baseless migivings. You must ignore these baseless misgivings otherwise you will find yourself in a situation where they will likely increase and make your life even more difficult.
You should ignore the three tasbih ruling. Even though scholars deemed it as wajib, leaving a wajib does not invalidate the prayer. There is no reason for you to focus on this minor wajib act to the point of constantly questioning whether you have contravened the ruling.
Further, this ruling of delaying a necessary act applies to completely finishing one act and then moving on to another. If you are still reciting, or correcting your recitation, etc., this is not counted as a “delay.”
Here, it should be pointed out that you are also suffering from baseless misgivings when it comes to recitation. Why the constant need to correct yourself? The rulings of recitation in the Hanafi school are extremely relaxed. “Trailing off” does not require repetition of the word, nor does it invalidate your prayer. The imam saying “Rabbana laka al-hamd” is also harmless. Stuttering does not require repetition either. Neither do common errors in tajwid. You should stop repeating your recitation for such mistakes.
It is extremely difficult to invalidate the prayer in the Hanafi school. My advice to you is pray a normal prayer and stop thinking too much and hyper-analyzing your prayer.
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.