Does the Obligatory Prayer have to be said out loud?

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Does the Obligatory Prayer have to be said out loud?

Postby dragonaxe » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:06 pm

I work in an office with a number of other people, and sometimes I'm not able to find a private place to say my obligatory prayer (normally at lunch time). I find it preferable to do it at this time, as when I get home there is often so much going on, with the children, etc, that I often forget. it acceptable to sit facing east and say my prayer in my mind? or does it have to be said (intoned) out loud?

Ian Mayes
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Re: Does the Obligatory Prayer have to be said out loud?

Postby Ian Mayes » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:52 pm


I don't know the answer to your question. I look forward to seeing what the answer is, since I too struggle with this same problem.

One thing, however, which I would like to suggest to you right off the bat - how about you say the Obligatory Prayer very early in the morning, before other people are awake? I have done this myself a few times, waking up at 5:30am to do the ablutions, say my prayers and the 95 Alláh u Abhás. I find it really refreshing and rejuvenating when I do that, a really wonderful way to start off the day.

I am wishing you all the best with this!

- Ian

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Re: Does the Obligatory Prayer have to be said out loud?

Postby nharandi » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:41 pm

some things: ... ayer#2XXII
"XXII. With regard to the Obligatory Prayer, this should be said individually, but it is not dependent on a private spot."

Ian, that is good advice. However, it would only be applicable to either the medium or long prayers. I'm assuming that he was speaking of the short prayer, which we are asked to say between noon and sunset.

The short obligatory prayer is also generally recited standing up.

As far as the actual question of silent vs. out loud, I am not sure. Even if you were to do it out loud, it doesn't have to be very loud, but just at the bottom of one's voice. Also, how about a bathroom or side room of some sort?

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Re: Does the Obligatory Prayer have to be said out loud?

Postby brettz9 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:06 pm

Hello all,

I really suggest using or possibly also as a starting point to find general guidance on such topics (though in this case, the answer wasn't admittedly categorized as it should have been).

"The daily prayers are to be said each one for himself, aloud or silent makes no difference..."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 31, 1949: Bahá'í News, No. 220, June 1949, pp. 2-3)

If you were curious, there is also this:

"Reciting" the Greatest Name means to repeat it over and over, silently or out loud...."

(On behalf of? Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 450)

There is also:

To someone who asked whether prayer was necessary, since presumably God knows the wishes of all hearts, `Abdu'l-Bahá replied: --

If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that that friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it? ... It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man's love to God.
... Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and action. But if this love and this desire are lacking, it is useless to try to force them. Words without love mean nothing. If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, finding neither love nor enjoyment in the meeting, do you wish to converse with him? (article in Fortnightly Review, Jul.-Dec. 1911, p. 784 by Miss E. S. Stevens).

(Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 94)

and another at ... th_love.29

There is also a quote on how reading aloud is generally a positive thing, but it was in Star of the West which we don't have online yet beyond the first volume (volunteers anyone?). But it is the love that is important--sometimes that love might be the exertion to break out of our mold and say the prayers out loud, and sometimes it might be to enjoy the sincerity of saying it silently when we wish for the subtlety of silence. As Baha'u'llah states about another potential burden, reading too many verses, we should read to the point where there is joy:

Pride not yourselves on much reading of the verses or on a multitude of pious acts by night and day; for were a man to read a single verse with joy and radiance it would be better for him than to read with lassitude all the Holy Books of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Read ye the sacred verses in such measure that ye be not overcome by languor and despondency. Lay not upon your souls that which will weary them and weigh them down, but rather what will lighten and uplift them, so that they may soar on the wings of the Divine verses towards the Dawning-place of His manifest signs; this will draw you nearer to God, did ye but comprehend.

(Kitab-i-Aqdas, par. 149)

Also came across a quote on the importance of privacy, even though privacy is not required for even the obligatory prayer as nharandi pointed out:

"The reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be animated with His Spirit, and not be shut out as by a veil from thy Best Beloved. Let not thy tongue pay lip service in praise of God while thy heart be not attuned to the exalted summit of Glory, and the Focal Point of communion. Thus if haply thou dost live in the Day of Resurrection, the mirror of thy heart will be set towards Him Who is the Day-Star of Truth; and no sooner will His light shine forth than the splendour thereof shall forthwith be reflected in thy heart. For He is the Source of all goodness, and unto Him revert all things. But if He appeareth while thou hast turned unto thyself in meditation, this shall not profit thee, unless thou shalt mention His Name by words He hath revealed. For in the forthcoming Revelation it is He Who is the Remembrance of God, whereas the devotions which thou art offering at present have been prescribed by the Point of the Bayan, while He Who will shine resplendent in the Day of Resurrection is the Revelation of the inner reality enshrined in the Point of the Bayan--a Revelation more potent, immeasurably more potent, than the one which hath preceded it."

(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, pp. 93-94)

best wishes,

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