Offering prayers for rain (salaat al-istisqa’) is Sunnah, as confirmed by saheeh hadeeths and the practice of the early generations of Islam. Ibn Qudaamah said:
Prayer for rain is a confirmed Sunnah, proven by the practice of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and of his successors (the caliphs – may Allah be pleased with them).
- End quote from al-Mughni, 2/148
Abu Dawood (1165), at-Tirmidhi (558), an-Nasaa’i (1506) and Ibn Maajah (1266) narrated that:
Ishaaq ibn Abdillah ibn Kinaanah said: al-Waleed ibn ‘Uqbah, who was the governor of Madinah, sent me to ask Ibn ‘Abbaas about the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) for rain (istisqa’). He said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ went out wearing modest clothes, walking humbly and beseeching Allah, until he reached the prayer place, where he ascended the minbar, but he did not give a khutbah like this khutbah of yours; rather he continued to offer supplication (du‘aa’), beseech Allah and recite takbeer, then he prayed two rak‘ahs as he used to pray at Eid.
- Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood
It is recommended (to observe the Salat) after the sun rises and has ascended up to the length of a spear; which is about 20 mins after sunrise, which is the time of Salatul-‘Eid (the Salat observed in the first day of Eid). However, due to any limitations, Salat Al-Istisqa can be performed any time during the times when optional prayers (Nawafel) are permitted.
The Sunnah is for it to be observed outdoors and not inside the mosque, in accordance with the Prophet’s ﷺ Sunnah, except when there is need to do otherwise.
1- It should be prayed as a two-raka’at Salat with neither the Adhan nor Iqamah. Recitations of Quran in both raka’ats are said aloud.
2- The imam says the takbeer seven times in the first rak’ah after the initiating takbeer. In the second rak’ah, he says five takbeers apart from the one he says while standing up from the prostration.
3- Imam raises his hands with each takbeer, praises Allah and extols Him. He also seeks blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ between each takbeer.
4- After the Salat, the imam delivers a single sermon in which he seeks a great deal of forgiveness and recites Quran over and over. Thereafter he supplicates (the authentic supplications of the Prophet ﷺ) with insistence, showing humility, helplessness and demonstrating how powerless people are in front of Allah.
5- The imam 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.
1- For it to be preceded with preaching and reminding the people with that which softens their hearts, like talking about repentance from sins and avoiding any ill-gotten properties by returning them to their rightful owners. This is because sin is the cause of scarcity of rain, but repentance, seeking forgiveness and piety are causes of acceptance of one’s prayers and the receiving of (Allah’s) favors and blessings. He should also urge them to give alms, as that is also a cause of mercy.
2- A specific day should be set aside for going out for Salatul-Istisqa so that people can prepare for it.
3- It is the Sunnah when going to the pray to proceed in humility, submissiveness, servitude and subservience, while making one’s need for Allah clear. This is why it is not permissible to beautify oneself or go out perfumed. Ibn ‘Abbas said while describing the manner in which the Prophet ﷺ used to go to seek rain:
“Indeed the Messenger of Allah ﷺ went out wearing modest clothes (mutabadh-dhila[ Mutabadh-dhilan : Not well dressed or not in his finery]); (walking) in a humble and lowly manner until he arrived at the praying ground.“
- Abu Dawud
4- To seek a great deal of forgiveness and supplicate much, while the two hands are raised, during the course of the sermon.
It is recommended to first stand in the rain, at the instance of the start of the rain, and to allow it to touch one’s body as was done by the Prophet ﷺ. Anas, narrated thus:
“Rainfall befell us while we were with the Messenger of Allah. Then the Prophet ﷺ spread his clothes until they were wet from the rain. Thereafter we asked: “Oh Messenger of Allah, why did you do this?” He said: “Because, it (the rain) just departed from its Lord, the Most High.”
- Saheeh Muslim