INTENTION IS A PRE-REQUISITE FOR SALAAH

1. It is not necessary to make a verbal intention. If a person thinks in his heart that I am reading the fard of zuhr for today, or if it is a sunnah, then I am reading the sunnah of zuhr; then this will be sufficient. All those lengthy intentions which are popular among the people are not necessary at all.

2. If one wants to make a verbal intention, it is sufficient to say thus: “I am making intention for today’s fard of zuhr, or, I am making intention for the sunnah of zuhr.” To say: “I am reading four rakaats for zuhr salaat, facing the qiblah, etc.” is not necessary. If one wishes, he could say so, if not, then he does not have to.

3. In his heart a person has the intention of zuhr salaat, but when he utters his intention, he mistakenly says asr salaat. Even then his salaat will be valid.

4. If he mistakenly says six rakaats or three rakaats instead of four rakaats, his salaat will still be valid. If a person has missed several salaats and decides to make qadha of them, he should specify the time of the salaat when making his intention. That is, he should make intention in this way: “I am offering the fard of fajr salaat.” If it is the qadha of zuhr, then he should say: I am offering the fard of zuhr salaat. In the same way, he should make the intention of whichever salaat he wishes to make qadha of. If in his intention he merely said: I am offering qadha salaat, and did not specify which salaat it is, then this qadha will not be valid. It will have to be repeated.

5. If salaat of several days has been missed, one should also specify the day and date when making the intention. For example, a person missed the salaats of Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. When making his inte­ ntion it will not be proper for him to merely say that he is making qadha of fajr salaat. Instead he will have to make intention in the following way: I am making qadha for the fajr salaat of Saturday. When zuhr time comes, he must say: I am making qadha for the zuhr salaat of Saturday. In this way he should continue making intention. Once he completes making the qadha of all the salaats of Saturday, he should say: I am making the qadha for the fajr salaat of Sunday. In this way he should offer all his qadha salaats. If he is making qadha for several months or years, he should also specify the month and year and say: I am offering the qadha of fajr salaat of a particular day in a particular month and in a particular year. Without saying it in this way, the intention will not be correct. (This is the original ruling in this regard. However, if someone offered any qadha salaat without specifying the day and date, then the ruling will be that if he can repeat the salaat, he should do so. But if it is difficult to do so, then those qadhas that he had offered will suffice.)

6. If a person does not remember the date, month or year, he should make his intention as follows: “Of all the fajr salaats that I have to make qadha of, I am making qadha of the first one that I had missed, or, of all the zuhr salaats that I have to make qadha of, I am making qadha of the first one that I had missed.” He should make his intention in this way and continue offering his qadha salaat. Once the heart is satisfied that qadha of all the missed salaats has been made, he can stop offering qadha salaat.

7. For sunnah, nafl and taraweeh salaats; it will be sufficient to merely say: “I am offering salaat.” It will be proper even if he does not mention whether it is a sunnah or nafl salaat. However, caution demands that he makes a specific intention for the sunnah of taraweeh salaat.

8. It is a prerequisite for the muqtadi to make the intention of following the imam.

9. As for the imam, he has to make intention for his own salaat only and does not have to make an intention for imaamat. But if a woman wishes to follow him in salaat, and she is standing in line with the men, and the salaat is not a janaazah, jumu’ah, or eid salaat, then in order for her iqtidaa to be correct, he will have to make the intention of imaamat for her. But if she is not standing in line with the men, or the salaat is a janaazah, jurnu’ah, or eid salaat; then this will not be a prerequisite.

10.The muqtadi does not have to specify the imam by name, that he is fol­ lowing Zayd or Umar. Instead, it is sufficient for him to say that I am offering salaat behind this imam. If he specifies the imam by name, and later learns that he was someone else then his salaat will not be valid. For example, a person made intention that he is offering salaat behind Zayd when in actual fact the imam is Khalid, then this person’s salaat will not be valid.

11. The following intention should be made for the janaazah salaat: “I am offering this salaat for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and as a dua for this deceased person.” But if the person does not know whether the deceased is a male or female, it will be sufficient for him to say: “For whomever my imam is offering this salaat, I am also offering it. “According to some ulama, the correct procedure is that apart from fard and wajib salaats, it is sufficient to make a general intention for all the other salaats. It is not necessary to specify that it is a sunnah or mustahab salaat. Nor is it necessary to specify that the sunnah is for fajr time or zuhr time, or that this sunnah is tahajjud, taraweeh, kusuf or khusuf. However, the preferred opinion is that one should make a specific intention.

Source: Behisti Zewar