Salat al-Ayat and the Salat of a Traveller
Author: Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabataba\'i
The Salat al-Ayat (the salat of Allah\'s creation or signs) becomes wajib under any one of the four following conditions: (i) solar eclipse; (ii) lunar eclipse, although it may be partially eclipsed and even though it may not create fear among the people; (iii) earthquake, although it may not create fear for anyone: (iv) thunder, lightning. Red and black winds or storms, and the like which create \'fear among most people.
The Procedure for Reciting the Salat Al-Ayat
The Salatal-Ayat consists of two raka\'at There are five ruku\' in eachrak\'ah. The procedure for reciting Salat al-Ayat is as follows. After nuyyahand saying takbirat alihram, one should recite the Surat al-Hamd and another complete surah. He must then perform ruku\'. Standing erect at this point, he should once again recite the Surat al-Hamd and another surahand perform ruku\'. This procedure should be repeated five times. After the completion of the fifth ruku\', he should stand erect and then perform twosujud. At this point, the first rak\'ah is completed. He should then stand erect and perform the second rak\'ah exactly as the first one. The Salat al-Ayat is completed after the recitation of tashahhud and salam.
In the Salat al-Ayat, after the niyyah, takbirat al-ihram, and reciting theSurat al-Hamd, it is possible for the one who is reciting the salat to divide the Ayahs of a surah into five parts and read one Ayah or more before performing ruku\'. He should then stand up and recite the second part of the partially read surah without reciting the Surat al-Hammd. Then he should perform ruku\'. He should exactly follow this procedure until the fifth ruku\'and he must complete the surah by then. Afterwards, he must perform ruku\'and two sujud. The second rak\'ah of the salat is performed exactly in the same manner as the first one.
The Salat of a Traveller
A traveller must recite two raka\'at instead of his four rak\'ah salawat under the following six conditions:
(i) His journey must cover not less than eight farsakhs (each farsakh is of about 5.6 kilometres). Alternatively, if his going covers four farsakhs and his returning equals to four farsakhs.
(ii) He must have the intention to travel eight farsakhs prior to the start of his journey.
(iii) He must not change his mind in the course of his travel.
(iv) His journey should not be undertaken with an intention of committing a sin.
(v) He must not be a traveller by profession. Thus, a person whose profession requires travelling (like a driver) must recite his salat completely. However, if he stays in his house for ten days, for his three journeys, he must recite his 4-rak\'ah salawat as qasr (reciting two raka\'at instead of 4-rak\'ah salawat).
(vi) When he reaches the limit of the tarakhkhus (seeing off), i.e., he reaches a distance, from his hometown or from a place where he has intended to stay for ten days, from where he can neither see the walls of the city nor hear the Adhan of the city.