Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Salatul Istisqa, prayer for rain
This prayer is taken recourse to when seeking rain from Allah during timesof drought. It may be performed in one of the following manners:
-1- The imam prays, with the followers, two rak'at during any time exceptthose times in which it is not desirable to pray. In the first rak'ah, the imamrecites al-A'la after al-Fatihah. And in the second rak'ah, he readsal-Ghashiyah after al-Fatihah, and he delivers a khutbah before or after thesalah. As soon as he finishes the khutbah, the people present should turn theirouter garments around, each placing its left side on his right side and itsright side on his left, face the qiblah, supplicate Allah and raise their handswhile doing so.
Ibn 'Abbas reports: "The Messenger of Allah went out [to make thesalatul istisqa'] wearing old clothes, in a humble and lowly manner, and prayedtwo rak'at as he prayed the 'id, but he did not give a similar khutbah."This is related by the five. At-Tirmizhi, Abu 'Awanah, and Ibn Hibban grade itsahih.
'Aishah says: "The people complained to the Messenger of Allah aboutlack of rain, so he gave orders for a pulpit, and when it was set up for him,he appointed a day for the people to gather. He came out on that day when thesun had just appeared and sat down on the pulpit. He extolled Allah's greatnessand praised Him. Then he said: 'You have complained of drought in your areasand of delay in receiving rain at the beginning of its season, but you have beenordered by Allah to supplicate Him and He has promised that He would answeryour prayers.' Then he said: 'All praise is for Allah, the Compassionate, theMerciful, the King of the Day of Judgment. There is no God but Allah Who doeswhat He wishes. O Allah, there is no God except Thee. You are theSelf-sufficient and we are the poor. Send down rain upon us and make it asource of strength for us and satisfaction for us.' He then raised his handsand kept raising them till the whiteness of his armpits could be seen.
After this, he turned his back to the people and inverted his cloak, keepinghis hands raised. Finally, he faced the people, descended from the pulpit, andprayed two rak'at. At that time Allah produced a cloud, thunder, and lightning.And, by Allah's permission, it rained and before he reached the mosque therewas flooding. Then he saw how quickly the people were running for shelter, helaughed until his molar teeth could be seen. He said: 'I bear witness thatAllah has power over all things and I am Allah's slave and Messenger.'"This is related by al-Hakim who classifies it to be sahih and by Abu Dawud whosays: "This hadith is ghareeb and its chain is good."
It is furthermore related from 'Ibad ibn Tamim from his uncle 'Abdullah ibnZaid al-Mazni that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam went out to praysalatul istisqa' and prayed two rak'at reciting them aloud. This is related bythe group. And Abu Hurairah says: "The Prophet of Allah went out one dayto make salatul ishtisqa' and prayed two rak'at with us without any azhan oriqamah. Then, he addressed us and supplicated Allah and turned his face towardthe qiblah, with his hands raised. Next, he reversed his cloak, placing itsleft side on his right side and its right side on his left side." This isrelated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi.
-2- The supplication for rain can also be made on the occasion of salatuljumu'ah. In this case, the imam makes supplications during khutbatul jumu'ahwith the people of the congregation saying (Ameen).
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Shuraik on the authority of Anas that aman entered the mosque on Friday while the Prophet was addressing the people.The man said: "O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and wehave no transport to the market place. Supplicate for us for rain." TheProphet raised his hands and said: "O Allah, give us rain. O Allah, giveus rain. O Allah, give us rain." Anas said: "By Allah, at that timethere were no clouds in the sky and there was no house or building between usand the mountain. From behind the mountain came a cloud looking like a shield.By the time it reached the middle of the sky, it burst and started to rain. ByAllah, we did not see the sun for one week. Then, on the next Friday, a manentered the mosque from that (same) door while the Prophet was making theaddress. The man faced the Prophet and said: 'Our livestock is dead and thepaths are unpassable. Ask Allah to make it stop.' The Prophet raised his handsand said: 'O Allah, around us and not upon us. O Allah, make it upon the hills,small mountains, bottom of the valleys, and plantations.' The rain stopped andwe walked out in the sunshine."
-3- One may also make a supplication (for rain) without it being Friday andregardless of whether or not the prayer takes place inside or outside themosque. Ibn Majah and Abu 'Awanah record that Ibn 'Abbas said: "A Bedouincame to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I come to youfrom a people whose shepherds do not have any fodder and whose prize stallioncannot move its tail due to the [drought].' The Prophet mounted the pulpit,praised Allah and said: 'O Allah, give us saving rain which leads to somethinggood and which is productive - a general heavy rain - now and not later.' Then,he descended from the pulpit. People came from every direction saying that itwas raining." This is reported by Ibn Majah and Abu 'Awanah and its chainis sound, but Ibn Hajar is silent about it in his Al-Talkhis.
Shurahbil ibn as-Simt said to Ka'b ibn Murrah: "O Ka'b, relate to ussomething from the Messenger of Allah." Ka'b said: "When a man cameand said to the Prophet of Allah, 'Seek rain for the tribe of Muzhar,' I heardthe Prophet say: 'You are a bold man. You want me to seek rain for the tribe ofMuzhar?' The man said: 'O Messenger of Allah, you have sought victory fromAllah and He gave you victory. You supplicated Allah and He answered you.' TheMessenger of Allah raised his hands and said: 'O Allah, give us a saving rain,good and productive, general and heavy, now and not later, beneficial and notharmful.' Allah responded to his supplication. It was not long before thepeople came complaining about the profusion of rain, and damage to theirdwellings. The Messenger of Allah raised his hands and said: 'O Allah, aroundus and not upon us.' The clouds began dispersing left and right." This isrelated by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, al-Baihaqi, Ibn Shaibah and al-Hakim. The latergrades this hadith as hasan sahih and holds that its chain meets the conditionsof al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Ash-Sha'biy says: "'Umar went out to make ishsqa' and he did no morethan seeking Allah's forgiveness. The people said: 'We did not see you makingishsqa'.' He said: 'I sought rain by what makes it descend (i.e., istighfar orseeking forgiveness of Allah), unlike those (Arabs of days of ignorance) whosought it by the stars of the sky.' Then, he recited the following two 'ayat:'Seek forgiveness of your Lord. Lo! He is Ever-Forgiving. He will let loose thesky for you in plenteous rain.' and: 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn toHim (in repentance): He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain.'"This is related by Abu Sa'id in his Sunan, 'Abdurrazzaq, al-Baihaqi, and Ibnabi Shaibah.
The following are some of the supplications that have been transmitted.
Ash-Shaf'i states that it has been related from Salim ibn 'Abdullah, on theauthority of his father that the Prophet would say for ishsqa': "O Allah,give us a saving rain, productive, plentiful, general, continuous. O Allah,give us rain and do not make us among the despondent. O Allah, (Your) slaves,land, animals, and (Your) creation all are suffering and seek protection. Andwe do not complain except to You. O Allah, let our crops grow, and let theudders be refilled. Give us from the blessings of the sky and grow for us fromthe blessings of the earth. O Allah, remove from us the hardship,starvation,and barrenness and remove the affliction from us as no one removesafflictions save Thee. O Allah, we seek Your forgiveness as You are theForgiving, and send upon us plenteous rains." Ash-Shaf'i said: "Iprefer that the imam would supplicate with that (prayer). "
Sa'd reported that for ishsqa', the Prophet would supplicate: "O Allah,let us be covered with thick clouds that have abundant and beneficial rain,frequently making a light rain upon us and sprinkling upon us with lightning. OAllah, You are full of majesty, bounty and Honour." This is related by Abu'Awanah in his Sahih.
'Amr ibn Shuaib relates from his father, on the authority of hisgrandfather, that for istisqa', the Prophet would say: "O Allah, providewater for Your slaves and Your cattle, display Your mercy and give life to Yourdead lands." This is related by Abu Dawud.
It is preferred for the one who is making this supplication to raise hishands with the back of his hands toward the sky. Muslim records from Anas thatthe Prophet would point with the back of his hands during ishsqa '.
It is also preferred, upon seeing the rain, to say: "O Allah, make it abeneficial rain" and he should uncover part of his body to the rain. Onthe other hand, if one fears that there is too much rain, one should say:"O Allah give us mercy and do not give us punishment, calamaties,destruction or flooding. O Allah, make it upon the woods, farms and trees. Makeit around us and not upon us."
All of this is authentic and confirmed from the Prophet sallallahu alehiwasallam.