Perfecting worship - the laws of purity and prayer

Through a set of 4 modules, students will be introduced to the spirituality and practice of Islamic worship. These modules will also be used as a basis to explore the guiding principles of the legal methodology and legal maxims that aid Muslims in navigating the many religious and secular challenges they face.

Purity Prf 101-i

Seeking Purity

The ‘seeking purity’ module provides students with an introduction to the laws relating to ritual purity in Islamic law. Students will be provided with a detailed insight into the theory and practice of how to attain ritual purity and the spiritual aspects of cleanliness, as well as focusing on modern issues that relate to taharah.

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions explored.

  • A history of purity in Islam.
  • What is pure and what is not - considering the different substances encountered day to day.
  • Reconnecting with the spirit; how does attaining purity of the body relate to purity of the soul - al-Ghazali on the various levels of purity.
  • Text in focus: how to purify different objects, with a case study on synthetic alcohol.
  • When can I recite the Qur’an and when can I not; understanding the ramifications of impurity.
  • Text in focus: in-depth case study on the issue of wiping over ‘socks’.
  • How do I attain purity if I am ill; the nature of dispensations.
  • Reconnecting with the spirit; the metaphor of purity and prayer - the hidden meanings of worship and cleanliness.


By the end of this module, students will:

  • Have the confidence to worship knowing that it is based on a sound base of knowledge.
  • Understand the basis upon which actions are performed.
  • Be able to discuss differences of opinion based upon knowledge of what the great scholars have said.
  • Be equipped to teach the basics of purity to friends and family, in detail.
  • Learn the etiquette with which scholars of the past discussed issues of importance.

Prayer 1 Prr 201-i

Setting the base for worship

“The whole edifice of the prayer corresponds to a structure for which sincerity is like the spirit.
In the same way that God created Adam in the best form and then blew into him the spirit that he may become alive, Adam and his progeny were ordered to establish the outward form of the prayer and then told to blow into it the spirit of sincerity. He created Adam “from dried clay formed of fetid black mud” [15:26]. His outward form had no value until the spirit was blown into him. Similarly, the outward form of the prayer has no value if it does not have the spirit of sincerity” [Abi Abdillah al-Bukhari, Mahasin al-Islam]

The first prayer module will provide students with an understanding of the theory and practice of prayer, examining the most important elements that make up daily worship. It will cover the preconditions necessary before one prays, as well as the pillars of the prayer, without which there is no prayer. The importance of performing the prayer, as well as the way to rectify mistakes will be covered, together with the necessary spiritual awareness that is at the core of heartfelt worship.

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions explored.

  • A history of prayer.
  • How essential is the prayer, and what if one doesn't pray by making excuses?
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: the metaphor of the prayer - blowing the spirit into the outward form.
  • Text in focus: missed prayers that have not been made up - in depth case study on the issue of missed prayers.
  • Do all scholars agree on the times of the prayer? If not, why not?
  • An insight into the pillars and essential conditions of the prayer: how are they arrived at, and why is it important?
  • Text in focus: case study on the status of reciting the surah fatiha in the prayer.
  • What kind of mistakes can be corrected whilst praying, and what kind of mistakes cannot?
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: al-Ghazali on the spirit evoked by the acts of prayer.


By the end of this module, students will:

  • Learn the etiquette with which scholars of the past discussed issues of importance.
  • Lay the basis for worship based on understanding.
  • Be able to understand the areas of the prayer that scholars disagree upon and why.
  • Reconnect to the Divine through heart-felt worship.
  • Learn practical steps to improving their prayer.

Prayer 2 Prr 301-i

Perfecting the Prayer

“Az-Zahidi said, ‘The way with which to restrain oneself from yawning in prayer is to remind oneself that the Prophets never yawned. Al-Qaduri said, I have tried this out many times and have found it to work. [Ibn Abidin said] ‘I have also tried this out and found that this is indeed true” [Ibn Abidin, Hashiyyah].

The second prayer module sets out the manner in which the prayer is perfected, focusing on the prophetic manner of praying. This includes case studies on prayer for women and the significance of the numerical reward given to the congregational prayer, as well as the benefits of sending salutations upon the Prophet and the night prayer vigil (tahajjud).

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions looked at.


  • What was the prophetic manner of praying?
  • Why do scholars differ on the details of the Prophet’s prayer?
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: the blessing of prayer on the Prophet.
  • Text in focus: case study on the prayer of women. Is there any difference?
  • A practical description of the prayer from beginning to end.
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: al-Ghazali on the cure for having distracting thoughts in prayer.
  • The prayer in congregation - scenarios explained.
  • Text in focus: case study on reconciling mutually conflicting opinions.
  • How to pray if one is ill: are all illnesses given the same rulings?
  • Special prayers for special occasions: nawafil prayers
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: Imam al-Haddad on the spiritual intimacy of the night vigil prayer (tahujjud).


By the end of this module, students will:

  • Know that the actions in prayer are based on the understanding of recognised scholarly positions.
  • Discover the connection one has to the Prophet in the actions of prayer.
  • Have the confidence to worship knowing that it is based on knowledge.
  • Perfect the act of prayer and teach it to others.
  • Realise the importance of the optional prayers in spiritual life.
  • Wonder at the skill with which scholars discuss issues of law.

Prayer 3 Prr 501-i

Returning to the Homeland

The third Prayer module will look at the theory and practice of the jum’ah and travelling prayer, with a case study on combining prayers.  It will finish with practical considerations of what is done when someone dies, from the throes of death through to sending rewards of good actions to the deceased once they have been buried. This also includes a detailed case study on the concept of bidah (innovation) in classical Islamic law.

At a glance. Just some of the issues and questions explored.

  • Why is jum’ah described as a day of Eid? - The significance of the day the Adam was created.
  • Need to pray Jum’ah? Here’s the lowdown. English khutbah or Arabic?
  • Reconnecting with the spirit: Imam al-Khattabi on the power and significance of supplication: pre-requisites and conditions.
  • Left home? The detailed rules of the travel prayer, with practical examples.
  • Text in focus: Imam al-Nawawi on the hadith regarding combining prayers.
  • Saying farewell: performing the funeral prayer with respect.
  • Text in focus: in the shadow of “every innovation is a misguidance..”.
  • Accepting death - from the last breaths, mourning, burial and donating acts of charity to the dead.


By the end of this module, students will:

  • Be able to discuss differences of opinion based upon knowledge of what the great scholars have said.
  • Finally understand the orthodox position on innovation and what the hadith really means.
  • Have a deepened  appreciation of the benefits of learning. 
  • Be able to practically conduct a funeral, from washing the body to the burial.
  • Focus on the important things in life by reflecting on the nature of death.