Description of Ṣalātul Istisqāʾ (Prayer for Rain)

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin -may Allah be pleased with her-:

The people complained to the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) of the lack of rain, so he gave an order for a minbar. It was then set up for him in the place of prayer. He fixed a day for the people on which they should come out.

Aisha said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), when the rim of the sun appeared, sat down on the minbar, and having pronounced the greatness of Allāh and expressed His praise, he said:

You have complained of drought in your homes, and of the delay in receiving rain at the beginning of its season. Allāh has ordered you to supplicate Him and He has promised that He will answer your prayer.

‏{‏ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ * الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ * مَلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ‏}

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Master of the Day of Judgment.

Sūrah Al-Fātihah

“لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ الْغَنِيُّ وَنَحْنُ الْفُقَرَاءُ أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنَا الْغَيْثَ وَاجْعَلْ مَا أَنْزَلْتَ لَنَا قُوَّةً وَبَلاَغًا إِلَى حِينٍ ‏”

Nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allāh, Who does what He wills. O Allāh! You are Allāh, nothing deserves to be worshipped except You; You are the Rich, and we are the poor; send down rain upon us and make what You send down strength and satisfaction for a time.

He then raised his hands, and kept raising them till the whiteness under his armpits was visible. He then turned his back to the people and inverted or turned round his cloak while keeping his hands aloft. He then faced the people, descended and prayed two rak’ahs.

Allāh then produced a cloud, and the storm of thunder and lightning came on. Then the rain fell by Allāh’s permission, and before he reached his masjid streams were flowing. When he saw the speed with which the people were seeking shelter, he (ﷺ) laughed till his back teeth were visible. Then he said:

“‏ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهُ‏ ‏”

I testify that Allāh is Omnipotent and that I am Allāh’s servant and messenger.

Sunan Abi Dawud 1173, Graded Hasan by Al-Albāni

Definition of Istisqāʾ

Istisqāʾ linguistically means: To request another individual to pour water for oneself or someone else

Istisqāʾ in the Islamic legislation means: To seek rain from Allah during times of drought in a specific manner

Ways of performing Istisqāʾ

  1. The most complete form is to go outdoors (to the Muṣallā) and pray
  2. The beseeching of the imam for rain on Friday upon the minbar
  3. To make duʿāʾ to Allāh -the Most High- after their prayers and in solitude

Issues regarding Ṣalātul Istisqāʾ

  • It is recommended to specify a day to hold the congregational prayer.
  • Majority of the people of knowledge are of the view that the earliest time for Ṣalātul Istisqāʾ is after sunrise
  • There is no Adhān or Iqāmāh given as per consensus reported by Ibn Baṭṭāl and Imam an-Nawawi.
  • It is recommended to bring out the minbar and ascend it for the khuṭbah
  • The scholars differed between one khuṭbah and two khuṭbahs.
  • It is permissible to deliver a khuṭbah and then offer Ṣalāh and vice versa as per one opinion of Imam Ahmad and it was chosen by Shaykh Ibn Bāz. However, the correct view is to precede the Ṣalāh with the khuṭbah due to weakness of the narration mentioning the other way.

Description of Ṣalātul Istisqāʾ

The prayer is Sunnah Muʾakkadah (Repeated and confirmed) and consists of two rak’ahs in which the recitation is audible.

The scholars differed regarding the manner of praying the two rakahs as follows:

  1. Pray two rak’ahs like the ʿĪd prayer and pronounce seven Takbīrs in the first and five in the one after.
  2. Pray two rak’ahs with no takbīr pronounced like the Takbīrs of ʿĪd

The second manner is likely to be the correct one due to the narration of `Abbad bin Tamim: from his uncle who said,

“The Prophet (ﷺ) went out to invoke Allah for rain. He faced the qiblah invoking Allah. He turned over his cloak (inside out) and then offered two rak`at and recited the Qur’an aloud in them.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 1024

Khuṭbah and Supplications

Then he (the Imam) rises and gives a khuṭbah to the people in which he exhorts and reminds them, warns them of the causes of drought, warns them from sins; Because they are from the causes of drought, the reasons for withholding of the rain, and the causes of punishments. He warns people of the causes of punishments from sins and evils, consuming people’s money unjustly, injustice and other sins, and urges them to repent and seek forgiveness, and he recites to them the Āyāt and aḥādīth in regards to that.

Then he supplicates to his Rabb, raising his hands, and the people raise their hands supplicating, asking his Rabb for relief. From that is,

‏ ” اللَّهُمَّ أَغِثْنَا، اللَّهُمَّ أَغِثْنَا، اللَّهُمَّ أَغِثْنَا ‏”‏‏

O Allāh! Bless us with rain. O Allāh! Bless us with rain. O Allāh! Bless us with rain!

Sahīh al-Bukhārī 1014, Sahīh Muslim 897

اللّهُمَّ اسْقِـنا غَيْـثاً مُغيـثاً مَريئاً مُريـعاً، نافِعـاً غَيْـرَ ضار،عاجِـلاً غَـيْرَ آجِل

O Allāh! Shower upon us abundant rain, beneficial not harmful, swiftly and not delayed.

Sunan Abi Dawud 1169, Graded Sahih by al-Albāni

Exaggeration in raising hands in supplication and the way its done

Anas رضي الله عنه reported:

I saw the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) raising his hands (high enough) in supplication (for rain) that the whiteness of his armpits became visible.

Muslim 895

Anas bin Mālik reported that,

The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) prayed for rain pointing the back of his hands to the sky.

Muslim 896

Ibn Rajab -may Allah’s Mercy be upon him- said: They differed in the description of raising, according to the different narrations. The following ways of raising the hands in Istisqāʾ has been reported from the Prophet

  1. Pointing with the index finger towards the sky
  2. Raising both hands and extending them, facing the palms towards the sky
  3. Raising both hands, facing the palms towards the face and its back towards the qiblah
  4. Making the back of the hands facing the face (palms facing up).
  5. Turn the palms, making the back (of the hands) facing the sky and inner palms towards the earth, while cupping the hands and raising them to the sky.

Turning the cloak inside out

The imām faces the qiblah, turns his cloak inside out, placing what is on the right on the left, and that of the left on the right, while he continues to supplicate to Allah. Al-Daraqutny reported on the authority of Abu Ja’far Al-Baqir as a Hadith Mursal (a Hadith with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

He turned his cloak inside out so that the drought goes away.

This Hadith was mentioned by Al-Hafiz in his book called Al-Bulugh.

Many jurists said that the wisdom behind doing so is being optimistic concerning the alteration of adversity to prosperity.

Rulings extracted and summarized from:

– Chapter of Ṣalātul Istisqāʾ, Book of the Ṣalāt, Miskul-Khitām Sharḥ ʿUmdatil-Aḥkām (2/131-143), Authored by Our Shaykh Abū ʿAbdullāh Zayd bin Ḥasan bin Ṣaliḥ al-Waṣṣābī al-ʿUmarī حفظه الله-

Fatāwā of Shaykh Ibn Bāz -may Allah have mercy on him-

– Translated by Abu Āsiyah Muzaffar -may Allah forgive him, his parents, his mashāyikh and all the muslims

-May Allah benefit Islam and the Muslims by way of it-