how to join and complete the salah without errors

Q: Salam alaikum Imaam,

So I am confused as to what specifically we do when we come in the middle of a prayer:

1. say for Maghrib, a person came after the Second Rakah was completed. Meaning they only did One rakah in Jami’ah, how does the person complete the other two? (Would there be an Atahyat in between the two rakahs?)

2. Say for Asr, the person came after the Third Rakah was completed and only completed One rakah in Jami’ah, how does the person complete the other three rakah? (Would there be an Atahyat in between? After which rakah?)

Also, would the person have to say a short surah in any of the rakahs?

Please, what other differences should we take into account?

And  if a person already missed so much of the current prayer (i.e. already into the 3rd rakah), should they still join it, or just start one separately?

Jazakumullahu Khair in advance
Time: Tuesday May 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Answers: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
I appreciate your question. More significantly, i appreciate you wanting to do the correct thing as it relates to salah. This is admirable.

The following would apply based on your question. I shall make it as simple as possible.
Magrib: In the case wherein you  need to make up two rakats: once the second rakat has been completed by the Imaam (person leading the prayer), naturally you would stand up for the third rakat with the imaam. You would read this third rakat of the imaams as a follower of the Imaam just as you always read a third rakat behind an Imaam. Once the Imaam makes salam to complete his salah, you would stand up and read one more rakat and this one rakat would be read just as you read the first rakat of that given salah. (sbhanakallhuma, tawooz, etc would now be read by you. For in essence this is your first rakat.) After this rakat you would then sit again and read tashahood. Then stand up again and read your final rakat and this final rakat you would read surah fathiha and a surah.
(Practice the above with a friend to make matters easy for you. Better yet, always be on time!)

Asr: Get up after the Imaam made salam and read that first rakat on your own as if it is your first rakat of salah. (sbhanakallhuma, tawooz, etc would now be read by you in this first rakat.) Then you would sit and take part in the tashahood. Thereafter you would read the last two rakats just as you read the last two rakats of any other Asr Salah.

  • Under general circumstances, it is best to join the salah with Jamat, for we do not know when it remains the time of acceptance.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

p.s. Please do not flood with me by saying: Allah looks at the intention. The scholars of hadith and fiqh that have established some of these rules knew the hadith of intention/heart etc. better than 99% of us!

If you still  not sure, ask again. After-all, it is your salah!

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