A lady asked Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa about the method of performing salat at-tasbih and how one should complete the 300 tasbihat during the four rak‘ats of this prayer. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 25 July 2021, provided the following reply to this question:
“It is absolutely evident from the ahadith narrated about salat al-tasbih, that the Holy Prophetsa himself never performed this prayer, nor is there any evidence regarding the Rightly-Guided caliphs having done so. Similarly, we do not find any narration about performing this prayer from the life of the Promised Messiahas, the ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa who was sent for the Second Revival of Islam.
“However, it is mentioned in some ahadith that the Holy Prophetsa taught this prayer to some of his Companionsra and advised them to observe it. Thus, classical scholars have two types of opinions regarding the ahadith about Salatul Tasbeeh; some have declared these hadiths acceptable while others have called them fabricated [maudu‘], questioning the authenticity of their asnad. Hence, there is also a difference of opinion among the four imams on this point. Hazrat Imam Ahmadrh ibn Hanbal does not even give the status of mustahabb to this prayer, while other jurists call it mustahabb and are also convinced of its excellence.
“In my opinion, it is not necessary to observe this prayer, however, if a person wants to offer it, then we should keep in mind the following instruction of Hazrat Alira which is also narrated by the Promised Messiahas: A person was praying at a time when it is not permissible to offer prayers. When Hazrat Alira received a complaint about this, he replied that he did not want to be the subject of the following verses:
اَرَءَيۡتَ الَّذِيۡ يَنۡهٰ عَبۡدًا اِذَا صَلّٰي
“‘You see the one who forbids the servant to offer a prayer.’ [Surah al-Alaq, Ch.96: V.10-11]
(Musannaf of Abd al-Razzaq, Kitab salat al-‘idain, Bab as-salati qabla khuruji l-imami wa ba‘d, Juz’ III, Hadith no. 5626 as cited in Al-Badr, No. 15, Vol. 2, 1 May 1903, p. 114)
“Thus, if someone wants to offer this prayer alone, we do not stop them. However, performing this prayer in congregation is an innovation and is prohibited.”
The method of performing Salat at-Tasbih
“As far as the method of performing Salat at-Tasbih is concerned, it is narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud by Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbasra that Allah’s Messengersa said to Hazrat Abbasra:
1. ‘[…] You should pray four rak‘ahs, reciting Surah al-Fatihah in each one and [another portion of the Holy Quran.]
2. When you finish the recitation […] you should say the following 15 times while standing: سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَلَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ (i.e. ‘Holy is Allah.’, ‘All praise belongs to Allah.’, ‘There is no god but Allah.’, ‘Allah is the Greatest.’)
3. Then you should bow down and say it ten times while in ruku‘).
4. Then you should raise your head after ruku‘ and say it ten times.
5. Then you should kneel down in sajdah (prostration) and say it ten times while in sajdah.
6. Then you should raise your head after the prostration and say it ten times [in the qa‘dah between the two sajdahs].
7. Then you should perform another sajdah and say it ten times [in that sajdah].
8. Then you should raise your head after sajdah and say it ten times […].
9. [Thus, there will be 75 tasbihat in each of the four rak‘ahs.]
10. If you can observe this prayer once daily, do so; if not, then once every Friday; if not, then once a month; if not, then once a year; if not, then once in your lifetime.’
(Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab as-salat, Bab salati t-tasbih)”