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Is Takbeeratul Ihram a necessary pillar of every wajib and mustahab prayer?

By: Allamah Sayyid Abdul Husayn Sharafuddeen
The Shia agreed, according to their pure imams, unanimously upon that takbeeratul ihram1 was a necessary pillar of every wajib and mustahab prayer. Without takbeeratul ihram the prayer would be invalid. The only form of takbeeratul ihram was (Allahu akbar). If the prayer began his prayer with anything else than Allahu akbar even if it had the same meaning, his prayer would be invalid. Also saying it in any language other than Arabic would invalidate the prayer. It was enough for us that takbeeratul ihram was obligatory that the Prophet (s) had never begun any of his prayers except with it. You already knew that the Prophet (s) had said: “Offer the prayer as you saw me offering it.”
The obligation of takbeeratul ihram was confirmed by the Quran, the Sunna and the consensus of the umma. Allah said: (And your Lord do magnify 74:3).2 The consensus of the umma agreed upon that the verse referred to takbeeratul ihram and the orders of Allah were to be obeyed obligatorily. According to the consensus of the umma too that other than saying (Allahu akbar) at the beginning of the prayer was not obligatory. The Prophet (s) said: “The key of the prayer is the tahoor,3 its tahreem4 is saying Allahu akbar and its tahleel5 is by saying tasleem.”6 This tradition was mentioned by Abu Dawood in his Sunan.
The Hanafites said that tahreem was not a pillar of the prayer but it was related to standing up towards the qibla. They said that it was not necessary to say takbeeratul ihram in Arabic and they permitted translating it into any language the prayer liked whether he was able or unable to speak Arabic. They said that takbeeratul ihram would be valid if the prayer said instead of (Allahu akbar) (subhanallah) or (la ilaha illallah) or any of the attributes of Allah the Almighty on condition that it was not to be said more than the attribute of Allah. The prayer could say (Allah), (ar-Rahman; the Beneficent) or any one of the other attributes of Allah to begin his prayer. This was their belief and their evidence for that was only approval!
1. Saying (Allahu akbar). It is the necessary (key) for the prayer to be valid.
2. The verse in Arabic is (wa (and) rabbaka (your god) fa-kabbir (say: Allahu akbar; Allah is great).
3. Tahoor is either pure water used for wudu’ or pure soil used for tayammum. Tayammum is ablution with soil when there is no water.
4. Tahreem is making the prayer as a sacred sanctum that saying or doing anything else than the prayer’s parts during offering the prayer will be haram.
5. Tahleel means making one free from the restrictions of the prayer.
6. Tasleem is saying (as-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh) to end the prayer.

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