Praise be to Allaah.
The opening takbeer is one of the pillars or essential parts
of the prayer, without which a person’s prayer is invalid and he has not
entered the prayer if he does not say it. The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No person’s prayer is complete
unless he does wudoo’ as it should be done and then says ‘Allaahu akbar.’”
Al-Albaani said: It was narrated by al-Tabaraani with a saheeh isnaad. Ibn
Qudaamah said: This is the view of the majority of scholars, past and
Al-Mughni, 2/126; see also
This is the first thing with which a person should start his
prayer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: “The key to prayer is purification, its opening is to say Allaahu
akbar and its closing is to say al-salaamu’ alaykum.” Narrated
by Ahmad, 1009; Abu Dawood, 618; al-Tirmidhi, 238; Ibn Maajah, 276.
al-Nawawi said: its isnaad is saheeh.
The phrase tahreemuha al-takbeer (translated here as
“its opening is to say Allaahu akbar”) means that this takbeer makes
it haraam for the worshipper to eat, drink or do other things that are
permissible outside of the prayer, or that one enters into the sanctity (hurmah)
of the prayer by saying the takbeer. See al-Majmoo’, ‘Awn
With regard to when the opening takbeer should be said, it is
the first thing that the person does in the prayer, so he should say it when
he stands to pray; he should turn to face the qiblah and then say the
takbeer, then recite the opening du’aa’, then seek refuge with Allaah from
the accursed Shaytaan, then start reciting Soorat al-Faatihah.
It is mustahabb to raise the hands when saying this takbeer,
raising them until they are level with the shoulders. This raising of the
hands is a confirmed Sunnah (Sunnah mu’akkadah). See Sifat Salaat al-Nabi
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by al-Albaani [Available in
English under the title The Prophet’s Prayer Described].
As the opening takbeer is
a pillar or essential part of the prayer, if a person omits it, deliberately
or by mistake, his prayer does not count, i.e., it does not come under the
rulings on prayer. See al-Mughni, 2/128.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked: If a person omits the opening takbeer by mistake, what is the
He replied: If a worshipper omits the opening takbeer, by
mistake or deliberately, his prayer does not count, because the prayer
cannot begin without the opening takbeer. If we assume that a person stands
in the row then starts with the opening du’aa’ and recitation of
al-Faatihah, and he continues with the prayer, we say that has not entered
prayer in the first place, even if he performs all the rak’ahs. Fataawa
With regard to the one who omits it and starts to pray
because he is unaware that it is obligatory, if the time for the prayer in
which he started to pray without the opening takbeer has not yet ended, then
he has to repeat the prayer, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) commanded the Sahaabi who was not at ease in his prayer
and did not pray properly to repeat the prayer in front of him and he told
him: “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.” (Agreed upon).
But if the time of the prayer which he prayed without the
opening takbeer out of ignorance has ended, then he should try to do what is
on the safe side, and repeat this prayer. Similarly if he had offered more
than one prayer in this fashion, he should do what is on the safe side and
make sure he has discharged his duty. That is because the basic principle
according to the majority of scholars is that if a person omits a duty
out of ignorance or forgetfulness, he has not discharged his duty until he
does it. See al-Qawaa’id wa’l-Usool al-Jaami’ah by Ibn Sa’di, p.
And the opening takbeer
is one of the duties that are enjoined upon the one who prays.
It is very unlikely that the one who was praying would do
this, especially if he was living in a Muslim land. It is very unlikely that
he would be unaware of such rulings. At the very least he would see the
Muslims around him doing that and would do the same as they do, or at least
he would ask about what they are doing.
And Allaah is the source of strength.