Uttering Intentions


May Allah be good to you.

Is it permissible to utter the intention when wanting to pray?

Like saying:

O Allah I intend to pray Thuhr?

What is the proof for it not being permissible if it’s the case that it isn’t?

May Allah preserve you.


The place of the intention is the heart by unanimous agreement of the Imāms of the religion; because it’s from the actions of the heart, and its place is not on the tongue for there to be any uttering of it.

The proof for that it’s not permissible to utter it, before the prayer and other acts of worship, is lack of evidence for it; because the basis of acts of worship is prohibition until evidence is established for it.

The basis of things is permissibility and  **** That of worship is prohibition except with permission from the legislator.

And due to the statement of the Messenger ﷺ:

(من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد)

“Who-so-ever performs an action which is not from our affair, is rejected.”

I.e rejected from it’s prepretrator.

For this reason the uttering of the intention is an innovation.

And there hasn’t been any thing narrated from the Prophet ﷺ nor his companions, while acts of worship reoccured day and night, that they would utter the intention or publicise it.

And the Imāms of the religion have uninamously agreed upon that it’s not legislated, rather that the uttering of the intention is a religious and intellectual deficiency.

As clarified by Shaykh-Ul-Islām, may Allah have mercy upon him, and he rebutted those from the Jurists that mentioned that it’s preferred to utter the intention discreetly, and he clarified the weakness of this and the mistake of what they have went towards.

Whereby Shaykh-Ul-Islām, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:

“The intention of ablution of Wudhū or Ghusl or Tayammum, and the prayer and fasting and Hajj and Zakāt and expiation, and other than these acts of worship, do not require the uttering with the tongue, by unanimous agreement of the Imāms of Islām.

Rather the place of the intention is the heart and not the tongue by their unanimous agreement, and if there was to be an uttering of the tongue in what contradicted what was in the heart, then what was in the heart is what is taken into consideration and not what was uttered, and none have mentioned any differing in this.

Except some of the latter companions of Ash-Shāfi’ē, may Allah have mercy upon him.

He put forth an understanding in this, and he was declared mistaken by the Imāms from amongst his companions.

The reason for his mistake was that Ash-Shāfi’ē said:

“It’s a must that the prayer has an uttering at its start.”
Ash-Shāfi’ē intended the obligatory Takbīr (the opening Takbīr); so this mistaken individual thought that Ash-Shāfi’ē intended the uttering of the intention, and all of the companions of Ash-Shāfi’ē declared him mistaken.

But the scholars differed: is it preferred to utter the intention silently, or not?

There are two well known positions of the Jurists in this.

A group of the companions of Abu Hanīfa and Ash-Shāfi’ē and Ahmed said: it’s preferred to utter it silently; because it’s more certain.

And a group of the companions of Mālik and Ahmed and other than them said: it is not preferred to utter it. Because it’s an innovation, it has not been relayed from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ nor from his companions, nor did the Prophet ﷺ order any from his nation to utter the intention, nor has he taught that to any of the Muslims, and if this was known and legislated, than the Prophet ﷺ would not have neglected it nor would his companions, especially as the Jmmah frequent (i.e worship) it day and night.

This position is the most correct of the positions.

Rather uttering the intention is religious and intellectual deficiency.

As for religion, then it’s due to it being an innovation.

As for intellect, then it’s due to it being the likeliness of someone who wants to eat food and says:

I intend to put my hand in this container of food and I want to take a handful to put it in my mouth, to then chew and swallow, to fill my self.

This is like someone saying:

I intend to pray this obligatory prayer at this present time, four units, in congregation, performing it for Allah, the Most High.

This is all foolishness and ignorance.

This is because intention is conveyed by knowledge, when a slave knows what he will do, it’s a must that intention has been made, it’s not possible to picture presence of knowledge in ones intellect, and then with him doing something without  their being an intention, and it is not possible for there to be a lack of knowledge and for intention to take place.

The Imāms have come together in agreement that publicising the intention and repeating it is not legislated, rather that whoever habitually performs it, is incumbent to be disciplined, so that the disciplining prevents him from worshiping upon innovation, and harming the people due to raising his voice.
In the hadith it says:

(أيها الناس كلكم يناجي ربه؛ فلا يجهرن بعضكم على بعض بالقراءة)

“O you people, you are all conversing with your lord, so do not raise your voices over each other by way of recitation.”

So what is the condition of he who disturbs the people with affairs besides recitation?, rather this person is saying: I intend to pray, a voluntary prayer of this or that sort, in this or that time. Actions which were not legislated by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”

[End of speech from “Fatāwa Al-Kubrā 2/95-96]

Answered by:
Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allah preserve him.


Answered on:
20th, Saffar, 1438H

Translated by:
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani.