How to Offer Salāh al-Hajāt
Dr. `Ujail Jasim An-Nashami
In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Muslim scholars state that Solāh al-Hajāt is recommended act of worship. It is a prayer offered for the accomplishment of a particular purpose or need. According to the majority of scholars, it consists of two rak`ahs (prayer units).
Dr. `Ujail Jasim An-Nashami, Professor of Shari`ah at the University of Kuwait, states:
“Muslim scholars unanimously agree that Solāh al-Hajāt is recommended act of worship. They base their view on the hadith, which is reported on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn Abi Awfa (radiallāhu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam), said:
"If any one among you has any kind of need, be of Allāh or of a human being, let him perform wudu' (ablution) and offer two rak`ahs (prayer units). Then he should praise Allāh; invoke His blessings on the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) and say the following du`a':
“Lā ilāha ill-Allāhil-Halīmil-Karīm. Subhān-Allāhi Rabbil-‘arshil-‘azīm. Al-hamdu Lillāhi Rabbil-‘Ālamīn. As’aluka mujibaat rahmatika wa ‘azā’im maghfiratika, wa’l-ghanīmata min kulli birrin wal-salāmata min kulli ithmin. Lā tada’ li dzanban illā ghafartahu wa la hamman illā farrajtahu wa la hājatan hiya laka ridan illa qadaytahā, yā arham al-rahimīn.”
(There is no god but Allāh, the Ever-Clement, and the Most Generous. I celebrate the Glory of Allāh, the Lord of the Magnificent Throne. All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds. I beseech you, seeking that which will draw me closer to Your mercy, and that which will make certain for me Your Forgiveness. O Allāh, grant me protection against any sin, and a share of every virtue. Do not leave me a sin without forgiving it, a worry without relieving me of it, or a need that meets with Your pleasure without providing for it, O Most Merciful Lord.)
[Narrated by al-Tirmidzi: said this is a gharib hadith; the fact that Fa’id ibn ‘Abdal-Rahman (Abu’l-Warqa’) is among the narrators makes the hadith very weak]
Al-Hakim (rahimallāh) said: “Fabricated ahādith were narrated from Ibn Abi Awfa.”[Mishkat al-Masabih, 1/417] This hadith was also narrated by Ibn Mājah, may Allāh have mercy on him, in his Sunan, 1/144, also via Fa’id ibn ‘Abdal-Rahman. Al-Albani classified it “(It is) very weak.”[Da’ief Sunan Ibn Majah, no. 293]
But Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said that Solāt al-Hajat is not prescribed in shari’ah. [Fatawa Noor ‘ala’l-Darb, 1/169]
If a Muslim in distress and need help, seek Allāh's help in prayer
Notwithstanding the above, al-Qurān and other ahādith clearly prescribes that if a Muslim is in state of distress and in need of help, he should take wudhu’ and perform nawafil solah make a dua’ to seek Allāh’s mercy to reduce his stress and misery. There are no restrictions on number of rak’ahs and kinds of supplications.
Allāh Subhanahu wa ta'ala says: “….And seek help in patience and prayer…” [Al-Baqarah, 2:45]; And Allāh also says: “And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible” [Ghafir, 40:60]
And the hadith of Abu ad-Darda’ (radiallahu'anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:
‘He who makes wudhu’, and does it properly, then prays two rak'ahs, Allāh will grant him whatever he may pray for, sooner or later.’"
[Narrated byAhmad: Sahih (Musnad al-Qāba'il); The narrators of this hadith named Maimun or Abu Muhammad al-Mara'ii at-Tamimi, a person who was majhul unsure of his status by the 'ulama' of hadith. Even Yahya ibn Abi Kathir was tsiqah but sometimes he narrated mudallas hadith and sometimes he narrates hadith with broken chain of narrators (Mursal). So there is a narrator who majhul and another is not firmed. So, it is a weak hadith cannot be used as strong evidence; but Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq classified Sahih in his Fiqh As-Sunnah]
Hudzaifah (radiallahu ‘anhu) reported:
“When anything distressed the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), he would pray.”
[Reported by Abu Dawud in his Sunan, and classified as hasan in Sahih al-Jaami’, 4703)]
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallāhu ‘anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) used to say, when he felt distressed:
“Lā ilāha ill-Allāh al-‘Azīm ul-Halīm, Lā ilāha ill-Allāh Rabb il-‘arsh il-‘azīm, Lā ilāha ill-Allāh Rabbis-samawāti wa Rabb il-ard wa Rabb il-‘arsh il-Karīm”
(There is no god except Allāh, the All-Mighty, the Forbearing; there is no god except Allāh, the Lord of the Mighty Throne; there is no god except Allāh, Lord of the heavens, Lord of the earth and Lord of the noble Throne)
Anās Ibn Mālik (radiallāhu ‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to say, when something upset him:
“YāHayyu Yā Qayyuum, bi Rahmatika astaghīth”(O Ever-Living One, O Everlasting One, by Your mercy I seek help)
Asma’ bint ‘Umays (radiallāhu‘anha) said: The Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to me: “Shall I not teach you some words to say when you feel distressed? [Say:]
“Allāh, Allāh, Rabbi Lā ushriku bihi shay’an” (Allāh, Allāh, my Lord, I do not associate anything with Him).
‘Abdallāh ibn Mas’ūd (radiallāhu'anhu) reported that the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) said:
“No person suffers any anxiety or grief, and says:
“Allāhumma innī ‘abduka wa ibn ‘abdika wa ibn amatika, nāsiyati bi yadika, maadin fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadā’uka, as’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw ‘allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista’tharta bihi fi ‘ilm il-ghaybi ‘andak an taj’ala al-Qur’āna rabī’ qalbi wa nūr sadri wa jalā’a huzni wa dzahāba hammi”
(O Allāh, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your female slave, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’ān the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety)
But Allāh will take away his sorrow and grief, and give him in their stead joy.”
As for the number of rak'ahs in this prayer, scholars hold different views. The Mālikis, Hanbalis, Ash-Shāfi’es – in the famous view – and some Hanafis say that it consists of two rak`ahs. Some other Hanafis say that it consists of four rak'ahs and others say that it is a twelve-rak'ah prayer.
According to Al-Shāfi’es the Solāt al-Hajāt falls under nawafil solah established by individuals. The Nawafil prayer in performed in congregation is such as Prayer 'Eid al-Fitri and Prayer' Eid al-Adha, Istisqa’ (Prayers for Rain) and the Eclipse Prayer. Hence, Solāt al-hajāt is a naafil prayer performed in preferably to be done individually.
Imam an-Nawawi (Rahimullah) agree upon it and hold it (Solāt al-Hajāt) as a good deed.
Allāh Almighty knows best.
[Excerpted with minor modification from Q&A published in Islam Online (Ask About Islam)]