The Salah of 'Istisqa' Rainfall
  • Question:

    My sister has an Islamic Studies assignment regarding Salat Al Istisqa. It would be great help if you could please send me information that would explain the purpose of the salah alongside the full procedure. Jazakallah.

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    I hope your sister's assignment is completed successfuly. Please find the requested information below:

    Istisqa means to seek rain water by making supplication to Allah. This is usually performed when there is a drought or a shortage of water and water is required for the growth of crops and sustaining life of humans, animals and plants.

    There are various narrations that show the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed a special salah and made supplications for the rain water.

    Ruling on Istisqa Salah:
    This salah is considered an emphasized sunnah by the Shafie, Maliki and Hanbali schools. The Hanafi school regards the salah of istisqa a (mandub) recommended prayer at the time of drought and pressed need of rain water.

    Method of Istisqa Salah:
    The appointed imam will lead the salah of congregation consisting of two raka'ahs. Audible recitation will be conducted in both the raka'ahs. Thereafter the imam will deliver a sermon. Following this, the imam will face the qiblah and make the supplication. The imam will also flip his shawl/ ridaa (upper garment, cloak or sheet) -this is 'tafaaul' (positive omen or gesture) to signify the anticipated change from drought to prosperity-. The worshippers will not flip (or rotate) their sheets. (Mukhtasar Al Quduri, Kitaabul Fiqh Ala Madhahibil Arba'a)

    Due to variance in the narrations that discuss the method of the istisqa salah, the fuqaha have preferred certain methods over others. The above described method has been opted by the Hanafi and Maliki schools. The Shafie and Hanbali schools suggest that the salah of istisqaa is similar to Eid salah, meaning there will also be additional takbeerat in each of the two raka'ahs in addition to what was mentioned above.

    There is also an opinion in the Hanafi school that Istista is merely dua (supplication) and istighfaar (seeking forgiveness). Hence there is no requirement of a congregational salah. However dua is to be done collectively.

    Timing for the Salah
    The timing for the istisqa salah is anytime 'nafl' optional prayers are permitted. The Maliki school however, prefers that the istisqa salah be performed on the timing Eid salah is generally performed (after sunrise to just before zawal/ mid-day)


    "I (Prophet Nuh -pbuh-) said (to them): 'Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers."(Holy Quran Surah Nuh 9 - 12)

    Abdullah Ibn Zaid (ra) narrates, "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came out to the field of prayer and beseeched rain water (by praying to Allah). He fliped his sheet while facing the qiblah. He commenced with the salah before the sermon, after-which he faced the qiblah and supplicated" (Musnad Ahmed)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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