An effort in f a c i l i t a t i o n

Meaningful Salah, Part 2

Assalamu Alaikum. This is the continuation of Part 1 from here. At the end of this part, you will find a pdf link to download both the parts. Jazakallahu Khayra.


Introduction to Tashahhud 

  • Tashahhud is the sitting part of the salaah and the supplication recited in it 

  • Tashahhud is one of the most critical (important) parts of the prayer

  • Discussions about salaah usually deal with its fiqh [understanding/rulings], but hardly ever the meaning and eloquence of the salaah

  • 5 variations of tashahhud mentioned in ahadeeth (each named after sahaabee who narrated it)

Now will study the one narrated by Ibn Mas’ood – he narrates the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam) taught him with his hand in between the Prophet’s two hands. Ibn Mas’ud later taught his student Alqamah the tashahhud in the same way, and then Alqamah taught it to Ibraheem an-Nakhaa’ee in the same way, and Hammaad ibn Salamah, and then Abu Haneefah.

  • Ibn `Abbaas, Ibn Mas’ood, and others narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam) taught them the tashahhudas he would teach a soorah from the Qur’an. This emphasizes the importance of 1) importance of tashahhud, 2) necessity of memorizing tashahhud

Narration of Tashahhud by Ibn Mas’ood:

At-tahiyyaatu lillaahi wa’s-salawaatu wa’t-tayyibaatu

as-salaamu `alayka ayyuha’n-nabiyyu wa rahmatu’llaahi wa barakaatuh

as-salaamu `alaynaa wa `alaa `ibaadi’llaahi’s-saaliheen

ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa’llaahu wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa’r-rasooluhu.

Meanings of Tashahhud:

At-tahiyyaatu lillaahi wa’s-salawaatu wa’t-tayyibaatu


  • “the greetings”

  •  plural of tahiyyah (greeting)

  • from root hayaat (life) – because in times of pre-Islamic jahiliyyah would greet each other with hayaakallaah, makingdu`aa’ for the life of that person. The Prophet then taught us the greeting of Islam (as-salaamu `alaykum), but the wordtahiyyah remains the same.


  • for Allaah

What does that mean?? We don’t greet Allaah, as He is as-Salaam, right?

  • A scholar `Abdullaah b. Saalih al-`Ijlee narrated a story. He said he was really interested in finding out what this meant. He went to a scholar named al-Kisaa’ee, and he said it meant “barakaat” (blessings). So then he said, then what does barakaat mean? Al-Kisaa’ee said he could not tell him any more than this. Al-`Ijlee wasn’t satisfied, and went to Muhammad b. Hasan ash-Shaybaani and asked him the meaning of at-Taahiyyatu lillaahi, and he said “this is a word we use to worship Allaah,” and that’s all he could tell him. He still was not content. Then, he came across Muhammad b. Idrees ash-Shaafi’ee, and asked him the same question, telling him everyone he went to asking this. Ash-Shaafi’ee says, “Why did you ask them? They don’t know poetry!” (because Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee was a brilliant poet). He said that when you go to the court of a king, you offer royal compliments (“your royal highness,” “your majesty,” “your greatness”). When we say at-Taahiyyaatu lillaahi, we are making royal compliments exclusively for Allaah.

  • It means: “royal compliments fit for a king are exclusively for Allaah.” – saying this is like entering into the court of Allaah and praising Him as the King!


  • Plural of salaah

  • i.e. “and our prayers (are exclusively for Allaah)”

  • signifies all the `ibaadah we do


  • pl. of tayyib

  • means “beautiful things, appealing things”

  • used in conjunction with salawaat (`ibaadah), it indicates all of the beautiful things we do, all of our beautiful character, mannerisms, and dealing with others, are for Allaah.

Look at the comprehensiveness of these four words!

Benefit: This also ensures sincerity, and that one will continue to conduct oneself in a noble manner. Even the way we conduct ourselves in public is based on our commitment to Allaah, not based on your perceptions of other people, or how they may treat you.

 as-salaamu `alayka ayyuha’n-nabiyyu wa rahmatu’llaahi wa barakaatuh


  • peace and safety

  • islaam comes from same root, because by submitting to Allaah we achieve peace and safety

  • sullam, referring to stairs or a ladder, comes from the same root. Why? Stairs and ladders are something precarious, so they named then sullam so that the first thing to come to a person’s mind would be to think of safety.


  • “upon you” (i.e. a du`aa “may as-salaam be upon you”)

  • more emphatic and emotional (ismiyyah form) than Allahumma sallim `ala fulaan, which used to be used.


  • “O Prophet”

  • nabee comes from one of two roots

naba – news that is 1) very important and 2) relevant to you. Benefit: Therefore, nabee is one who brings news that is very important and relevant to you. Nothing the Prophet said (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam) is unimportant or irrelevant.

nabwun – elevation or protrusion. The Prophet said (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam) is at an elevated status than the rest of the people.

 Wa rahmatu’llaah

  • “and mercy of Allaah” i.e. may the mercy of Allaah also be upon you

 Wa barakaatuhu

  • “and His blessings”

  • barakah, in its root, indicates blessings that are long-lasting – longevity

  • a pond of water that had been sitting around for a long time birkah

  • “and may His long-lasting blessings also be upon you”

as-salaamu `alaynaa wa `alaa `ibaadi’llaahi’s-saaliheen

As-Salaamu `alaynaa

  • peace be upon us

wa `alaa

  • and upon

 `ibaadi’llaahi’s-saaliheen –

  • the righteous slaves of Allaah


  • Pl. `abd (slave). Two plurals in Qur’an:

`ibaad – only used when referring slaves of Allaah (e.g. `ibaadu’r-Rahmaan,ibaadu’llaah)

`abeed – general plural, may refer to slaves in general


  • “righteous”


  • We make du`aa’ in plural form – emphasizes unity of Muslims…the ummah

* Benefit: Salaah is ultimate display of and means of cultivating unity – everyone stands next to each other without consideration of race, ethnicity, financial status, educational level

Benefit: We should not be selfish in our du`aa’, but we should be sensible/practical. We make du`aa’ for ourselves first, then others. Think: airplane emergency briefing, they tell you if the oxygen masks fall you should put your own mask on and then help somebody else. Example from Qur’aan: “save yourselves (1) and your families (2)”

Benefit: Did we make du`aa’ for all `ibaadillaah, or a certain group? A certain group: `ibaadillaahi’s-saaliheen – motivational technique. Every Muslim is making this du`aa’ in the salaah, everytime and anywhere in the world. If I inculcate righteousness in myself, then I will be included in the du`aa’ of every praying Muslim in the world, for generations to come, and generations in the past!

Ashhadu an-laa ilaaha illa’llaahu wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rusooluhu


  • Root shaheeda – to witness something

  • “I bear witness, I give testimony”

  • shaahid (witness) is called such because he is present at the scene of a crime or presents himself to give testimony in court

Shaheed (martyr) – presents himself for the ultimate sacrifice, and when the shaheed falls, angels are present with him

An = that

Laa ilaaha illa’llaah

Laa = no

  • Special laaimplies “absolutely no” – no possibility

 ilaah = something worshiped

Illa = except


Wa = and

Ashhadu = I bear witness, I testify

Anna = that (most definitely)

  • More emphasis than an

  • Why more emphasis here? Because in the first statement, the “special” laa gives the emphasis, so it is not needed. There is balance.

  • In another narration: ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa’llaah wa anna Muhammadur-Rasoolullaah. In the one we are using (Ibn Mas’ood’s), there is a repetition of ashhadu. Why is it there? Is it redundant or unnecessary? It is there so that both statements are given equal importance.


  • Root hamd – to praise

  • One who is very frequently praised

  • Ahmad – one who is praised in a very beautiful and elaborate manner.

  • “Muhammad” only said four times in the Qur’aan – not referring to him directly, but speaking about him (and in 3 of those instances,rasool occurs in the same aayah)

* In the Qur’an, when Allaah speaks to other prophets, he refers to them by name (yaa Ibraheemyaa Moosayaa `Eesa), but when referring to the Prophet he refers to him by titles – yaa nabeeyaa rasool.

`Abduhu = His slave

  • Very powerful. We mentioned that nabee refers to someone who is at a higher station than the rest of the people. Yet, even he is the slave of Allaah!

  • Nobility and distinction are from being a slave of Allaah.

wa Rasooluhu = and His messenger

  • Rasool from root that means, “to send a message from a higher authority”

  • Linguistic difference from nabee? In the Qur’aan, when nabee is used – referring to a high station and delivering important and relevant news – it is used in the context of interactions with people (e.g. “O Prophet…” “…tell your wives,” “…tell the believing women,” etc.). When it is used in context of being sent from Allaah, rasool is used. (e.g. “Say: O people, verily I am the Messenger of Allaah who has been sent to all of you,” “O Messenger, deliver the message that has been revealed to you”)


Narration of Tashahhud by Ibn `Abbaas


salaamun `alayka ayyuha’n-nabiyyu wa rahmatu’llaahi wa barakaatuhu

salaamun `alaynaa wa `alaa `ibaadillaahi’s-saaliheena

Ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa’llaahu wa anna Muhammadan rasoolu’llaah.

Differences with tashahhud narrated by Ibn Mas’ood:


  • Same root as barakah

  • “blessed things”

  • means that all blessed things are from Allaah

 At-tahiyyaatu’l-mubaarakaatu’s-salawaatu’t-tayyibaatu (no Waaw separating the words)

  • a Letter Waaw implies separate items (e.g. “a toaster and an oven”)

  • omission of waaw indicates one item serving both functions (e.g. “a toaster oven”)

  • all of these components together comprise one individual – our devotion to Allaah consists of all of these things, but includes multiple facets

lillaah [for Allah] is at the end instead of the beginning

  • if I say, “Khaalid is my friend, and Zayd and `Amr,” it implies they are all my friends, but gives more importance to Khaalid

  • in the tashahhud of Ibn Mas’ood: at-tahiyyaatu lillaah – “royal compliments are for Allaah, and prayers and beautiful things”

  • this tashahhud (Ibn `Abbaas’) combines all of them equally


  • instead of as-salaamu

  • as-salaamu is definite – “the peace,” or the ultimate peace

  • salaamun is indefinite – it implies peace of all types and varieties, from all angles and all situations

ashhadu an laa ilaaha illa’llaah wa [omits second “ashhadu” (‘I bear witness’)] anna Muhammadan [omits “abduhu” (‘His slave’)] rasoolu’llaah (“Allaah’s Messenger”) [rather than “rasooluhu” (“His Messenger”).

  • rather than two separate elements, it brings Allaah and Muhammad together – believing in Allaah and believing in the Messenger go hand in hand

  • although abduhu is left out, rasoolu’llaah is more powerful than rasooluhu – includes the power of Allaah’s name

This is the end of Explanation Tashahhud, and the praise is for Allah.

Download Part 1 and 2 as pdf

Courtesy: Br. Nouman Ali Khan’s linguisticmiracle.com

July 25, 2012 - Posted by | Salah: MeaningFULL | , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Your comments, if any...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s