To Make Niyyat For Salat

[1] To make niyyat (to intent) for salat means to pass through heart its name, time, qibla [1], to wish to follow the imam (when performing salat in jama'at), to mean to perform salat. Knowledge only, that is, knowing what is to be done will not be niyyat. In Shafi'i Madhhab it is necessary to remember the rukns (fard in salat) of salat.

When beginning to worship, saying orally only is not called niyyat. Worships done without the niyyat made by heart are not acceptable in the four Madhhabs [2]. No one heard Rasulullah, the Sahaba [3], the Tabi'in [4], or even the four imams [5], make niyyat by tongue. Hadrat [6] Imam-i Rabbani (rahmatullahi 'alaih) says in the hundred and eighty-sixth letter of Mektubat, "Niyyat is made by heart. It is bid'at [7] to make niyyat orally. This bid'at has been called hasana (good, useful). But this bid'at annihilates not only the sunnat [8] but also the fard [9]. For, many people have been making niyyat only by tongue, without passing the niyyat through their heart. Thus niyyat through heart, one of the fards (principles) of salat, has been neglected, and salat has been nullified. This faqir (hadrat Imam-i Rabbani means himself) do not recognize any bid'at as 'Hasana'. I see no beauty in any bid'at. " It is sunnat to make niyyat orally in Shafi'i and in Hanbali Madhhabs. It is stated in Ibni Abidin, "That it is fard to make niyyat when beginning salat has been stated unanimously. Niyyat is made only with the heart. It is bid'at to make it only in words. It is permissible for a person who makes niyyat with his heart to make niyyat verbally also in order to be safe against doubts.

[1] qibla: direction towards the Ka'ba. The direction turned towards during worshipping (in Islam, toward the Ka'ba).
[2] madhhab: all of what a profound 'alim of (especially) Fiqh (usually one of the four-Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki, Hanbali) or iman (one of the two, namely Ash-ari, Maturidi) communicated.
[3] Sahaba: if a Muslim has seen the Prophet, or talked to him, at least once when the Prophet was alive, he is called Sahabi. Plural form of Sahabi is Sahaba or As'hab. The word Sahaba-i kiram includes all those great people each of whom has seen the Prophet at least once. The lowest of the Sahaba is much higher than the highest of other Muslims. If a person has not seen the Prophet but has seen or talked to one of the Sahaba at least once, he is called Tabi'. Its plural form is Tabi'in. In other words, the Tabi'in are the successors of the Sahaba. If a person has not seen any of the Sahaba but has seen at least one of the Tabi'in, he is called Taba'i Tabi'in. The Sahaba, the Tabi'in and the Taba'i tabi'in altogether are called the Salaf-i salihin (the early savants).
[4] Tabi'in: see Tabi'un and Sahaba.
[5] imam: i) profound 'alim; founder of a madhhab; ii) leader in congregational salat; iii) caliph.
[6] Hadrat: title of respect used before the names of great people like and Islamic scholars.
[7] bid'at: (pl. bida') heresy; false, disliked belief or practice that did not exist in the four sources of Islam but which has been introduced later as an Islamic belief or 'ibada in expectation of thawab (blessings) ; heresy.
[8] sunnat: i) act, thing that was, though not commanded by Allahu ta'ala, done and liked by the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) as an 'ibada (there is thawab if done, but no sin if omitted, yet it causes sin if continually omitted and disbelief if disliked; the Sunna; i) (with fard) all the sunnas as a whole; ii) (with the Book or Qur'an al-karim) the Hadith ash-sharif; iii) (alone) fiqh, Islam.
[9] fard: an act or thing that is commanded by Allahu ta'ala in the Qur'an al-karim. Fard (or fard) means (any behaviour or thought or belief which is) obligatory. Islam's open commandments are called fard (pl. faraid).