Salat al-Istisqa (Arabic: صلاة الإستسقاء) is a prayer for rain, performed when there is a drought and dire need of rain water. The prayer has two Raka'at and can be offered in congregation or individually, preferably in an open space or ground under the sky.
Salat al-Istisqa is done during a period of prolonged absence of rain where lack of it can start to cause environmental damage and even start affecting the lives of people. The performance of this prayer requires a lot of courage and sacrifice since if the prayer is not accepted and there is no rain, it can cause embarrassment to ones honour and reputation. If however, rain is delayed after performing it, it is highly recommended to perform it again as Allah (swt) has knowledge of matters that we do not and on the contrary it may be in the best interest of the people. Either way, one should not lose hope in God during such a situation.
The prayer for rain is similar to the Eid prayers, as it has two raka'at (segments), where the first raka'ah has five qunut (raising hands in prayer for supplication) while the second raka'ah has four. In each raka'ah after Surah al-Fateha, one should recite another surah of their choice. After the recitation of the second surah, there are five takbirs followed by a qunut. After the takbirs, the person should go into ruku (bowing) and then continue on to the sajda (prostration) twice. In the second raka'ah, the actions of the first raka'ah are repeated, but only with four takbirs. The prayer is then completed at the second sajda of the second raka'ah with the tashahhud and salaam.
When the prayer itself is finished, the imam (person leading the prayers) should mount the pulpit, hang his cloak or place it on his back or shoulder and then recite takbir a hundred times. Then he should face the people on the right and recite Subhan-Allah (Glory be to Allah) a hundred times and thereafter turn towards the people on the left and recite La Ilaha Illallah (there is no God but Allah) a hundred times. Finally, the imam should then face the people in the front and recite Alhamdolillah (All praises due to Allah). Once the imam is done, the imam and the people should raise their hands in supplication and ask Allah for their relevant desires. The imam should then deliver a sermon and further request God for rain. It is highly recommended to recite the supplication of Istiska by Imam Ali - the first Shia Imam.
الحمد لله سابغ النعم و مفرج الهمم و بارئ النسم الذي جعل السماوات لكرسيه عمادا و الأرض للعباد مهادا و الجبال أوتادا و ملائكته على أرجائها و حملة عرشه على أمطائها و أقام بعزته أركان العرش و أشرق بضوئه شعاع الشمس و أطفأ بشعاعه ظلمة الغطش و فجر الأرض عيونا و القمر نورا و النجوم بهورا المصباح ثم تجلى فتمكن و خلق فأتقن و أقام فتهيمن فخضعت له نخوة المستكبر و طلبت إليه خلة المستمكن اللهم فبدرجتك الرفيعة و محلتك الوسيعة و فضلك السابغ و سبيلك الواسع أسألك أن تصلي على محمد و آل محمد كما دان لك و دعا إلى عبادتك و وفى بعهدك و أنفذ أحكامك و اتبع أعلامك عبدك و نبيك و أمينك على عهدك إلى عبادك القائم بأحكامك و مؤيد من أطاعك و قاطع عذر من عصاك اللهم فاجعل محمدا ص أجزل من جعلت له نصيبا من رحمتك و أنضر من أشرق وجهه بسجال عطيتك و أقرب الأنبياء زلفة يوم القيامة عندك و أوفرهم حظا من رضوانك و أكثرهم صفوف أمتك في جنانك كما لم يسجد للأحجار و لم يعتكف للأشجار و لم يستحل السباء و لم يشرب الدماء اللهم خرجنا إليك حين فاجأتنا المضايق الوعرة و ألجأتنا المحابس العسرة و عضتنا علائق الشين و تأثلت علينا لواحق المين و اعتكرت علينا حذابير السنين و أخلفتنا مخايل الجود و استظمأنا لصوارخ القود فكنت رجاء المستيئس [المبتئس] و الثقة للملتمس ندعوك حين قنط الأنام و منع الغمام و هلك السوام يا حي يا قيوم عدد الشجر و النجوم و الملائكة الصفوف و العنان المكفوف و أن لا تردنا خائبين و لا تؤاخذنا بأعمالنا و لا تخاصمنا [تحاصنا] بذنوبنا و انشر علينا رحمتك بالسحاب المنساق و النبات المونق و امنن على عبادك بتنويع الثمرة و أحي بلادك ببلوغ الزهرة و أشهد ملائكتك الكرام السفرة سقيا منك نافعة محيية تامة مروية هنيئة مرية عامة طيبة مباركة مريعة دائمة غزرها واسعا درها زاكيا نبتها ناميا زرعها ناضرا عودها ثامرا فرعها ممرعة آثارها غير خلب برقها و لا جهام عارضها و لا قزع ربابها و لا شفان ذهابها جارية بالخصب و الخير على أهلها تنعش بها الضعيف من عبادك و تحيي به الميت من بلادك و تضم بها المبسوط من رزقك و تخرج بها المخزون من رحمتك و تعم بها من نأى من خلقك حتى يخصب لإمراعها المجدبون و يحيى ببركتها المسنتون و تترع بالقيعان غدرانها و تورق ذرى الآكام رجواتها و يدهام بذرى الآكام شجرها و تعشب بها أنجادنا و تجري بها وهادنا و تخصب بها جنابنا و تقبل بها ثمارنا و تعيش بها مواشينا و تندي بها أقاصينا و تستعين بها ضواحينا منة من مننك مجللة و نعمة من نعمك مفضلة على بريتك المرملة و وحشك المهملة و بهائمك المعملة اللهم أنزل علينا سماء مخضلة [مخضلة] مدرارا و اسقنا الغيث واكفا مغزارا غيثا مغيثا ممرعا مجلجا واسعا وابلا نافعا سريعا عاجلا سحا وابلا تحيي به ما قد مات و ترد به ما قد فات و تخرج به ما هو آت اللهم اسقنا رحمة منك واسعة و بركة من الهاطل نافعة يدافع الودق منها الودق و يتلو القطر منها القطر منبجسة بروقه متتابعا خفوقه مرتجسة هموعه سيبه مستدر و صوبه مسبطر و لا تجعل ظله علينا سموما و برده علينا حسوما و ضوءه علينا رجوما و ماءه رمادا رمددا اللهم إنا نعوذ بك من الشرك و هواديه و الظلم و دواهيه و الفقر و دواعيه يا معطي الخيرات من أماكنها و مرسل البركات من معادنها منك الغيث المغيث و أنت الغياث المستغاث و نحن الخاطئون من أهل الذنوب و أنت المستغفر الغفار نستغفرك للجاهلات من ذنوبنا و نتوب إليك من عوام خطايانا يا أرحم الراحمين اللهم قد انصاحت جبالنا و اغبرت أرضنا و هامت دوابنا و تحيرت في مرابضها و عجت عجيج الثكالى على أولادها و ملت الدوران في مراتعها و الحنين إلى مواردها حين حبست عنها قطر السماء فدق لذلك عظمها و ذهب شحمها و انقطع درها اللهم فارحم أنين الآنة و حنين الحانة فإليك ارتجاؤنا و إليك مآبنا فلا تحبسه عنا لتبطنك سرائرنا و لا تؤاخذنا بما فعل السفهاء منا فإنك تنزل الغيث من بعد ما قنطوا و تنشر رحمتك و أنت الولي الحميد
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. Praise is for Allah who has completed the bounties, dispelled the sorrow, given life to the bodies who for His great throne has made sky as a pillar and for His creatures earth as a carpet and mountains as a tent-pet, the angels who rotate the earth and those holding the skies are on their mounts, and the pillars of the earth are withheld by His Honour. Illuminated the universe by the Sun, and by its rays dispelled the dark nights, and made the water flow on the earth, gifted the moon with light and the stars with sparkle, then He rose and manifested His Power and Created the earth. Then the strong and the arrogance was broken and was seeking the needs of the indigent people. O Allah! For the sake of Your Honoured position and High Status and the safe standard send blessings on Mohammed and His progeny as they have manifested Your obedience and invited people towards You, have fulfilled Your covenant, have implied Your laws, have treaded the path of Your signs. He is Your creature, the trustworthy of Your covenant, the caller towards Your laws, a witness of the caller towards Your obedience and the refector of the excuses of the disobedient. O Allah! Bestow bounty on Prophet Mohammed in such a measure that You have reserved for anyone singly, and have illuminated their faces by Your light, make their faces more illuminated and give him a position more nearer than all other prophets, grant him the greatest share of Your Pleasure and arrange his nation in the maximum rows because they have never bowed before the idols, never prayed before trees, neither drank wine nor blood. O Allah! We have left from Your presence when darkness of distress had spread all over and the signs of poverty made people helpless and we were made to subdue because of the humiliation of relatives. And the group who lied were unitedly against us and famine had struck turning everyone as lean and slender who stood against us, the clouds also cut our hopes for rains and we are thirsty for the rains from water filled clouds and You are aware of all the troubles and a hope for all requests our faith in You cries to You when people have lost hopes, and clouds have dispersed and the lives are destroyed. O the living and self-existing, trees, stars, rows after rows of angels, and the stationed group of clouds questions You, don't return us unsuccessful, don't account for our deeds, don't punish us for our sins, and spread the clouds by Your mercy which are full of water and are clearly seen, and oblige the creatures by growing various fruits and flowers and after budding of flowers make the civilization alive, and call to witness Your Honoured angels, the rains should be such that it is beneficial, create greenery, bring pleasure, and bringing life, and prosperity with abundance forever, with big drops, which gives birth to pure farms with extended stem, fresh and green, with spreaded branches giving a good atmosphere with a large illumination which is not without the rains nor there remains any white piece without rains, nor any drop which passes by it light and cold and is not beneficial for man. Your light drops intoxicates, Your dead civilization comes to life, the scattered sustenance gathers at one place, Your treasures of bounties are manifested so that it reaches to all of Your creation who are perfect so much so that it reaches the famine covered area and those dead by the circumstances comes back to life and the lakes and dams overflow, and the peak of hills turn green and the green plants slant growing abundantly, our farms turn green and fresh stream flows from dry areas, our near and far areas turn green, our fruits heavy, our cattles alive and those settled away are satiated and our villagers become strong and best obligation of all the obligation and the greatest bounties among all on those creatures upon whom dust pours and from the fear of those animals who roam freely to those animals who are useful. O Allah! Send such rains that the earth becomes wet and continues to pour and make us contented with those clouds which brings forth heavy rains which is helpful, grants greenery and freshness its big drops, benefits, faster, smoky, dark and heavy rains, that the dry things are satiated and wasted things becomes useful once again, and those to be born are ready. O Allah! Fill us with Your bounties, and favour us with the blessings of the beneficial clouds which brings water in darkness and gloomness which put cover upon cover and shine upon shine continuously and clouds spread over and do not make the swords of chillness and its lightening and its water mud and stones. O Allah! Save us from polytheism and its wrath, oppression and its destruction, poverty and its results, O the one to make goodness reach its destination, and the tone to send grace to the treasurers one of the beneficial bounty is rains, You are the listener of the complaints, we are sinners and You are the one from whom repentance is sought and You forgive, We seek pardon from You. O the Merciful of all the mercifuls. We ask You to forgive us for the sins due to ignorance and seek Your pardon for our mistakes. O Allah! Our mountains have dried and our earth has become dust and the animals have turned mad and are standing in their stables and are crying so loudly as if a mother cries on the death of her youth, they are tired of roaming in the barren pasture ground and seeing the dry water wells because they have not received a drop of rain. Now their bones have rotten. The fats in their bodies have melted and the milk has also dried. O Allah! Have mercy on the one who is moaning and the restless because our hopes are on You, and we have to return to You, therefore don't discontinue the rains on us, as You are aware of our secrets, and don't call to us for accounting those deeds, which has been done by our fools. "Because You bring down the rains even when people have lost hope completely and You spread Your mercy and You are the guardian and worth the praise.
The prayer for rain has its own set of recommended acts that are highly desirable to carry out before and after the prayers. Some desirable acts for those who will be performing the prayers are as follow  :
- Reciting the prayer out loudly
- Fasting 3 days before the prayers and coming out on the third day in a way that it is a Monday. If that is not possible then it is desirable for the day to be a Friday
- Gather in a vast open space which is clean
- The people should come out in an attire that may attract divine Mercy of God, such as being bare-footed
- Bringing the pulpit along to the open space where prayer will be performed
- Letting the callers to prayer (muadhin) accompany them
- Bringing the old men and women as well as children and cattle
- Separating the children from their mothers so that they may increase their crying and bewailing which may cause to attract divine Mercy
- They should not let the unbelievers go with them
- ↑ Prayer According to Five Islamic Schools of Law By Allama M. J. Maghniyyah
- ↑ Tahrir al-Wasilah by Imam Rouhullah Khomeini
- ↑ خطبة الاستسقاء لعلي Misbah al Kaf'ami
- ↑ His supplication for rains known as Isteska Sahifa Alaviya
- ↑ Tahrir al-Wasilah by Imam Rouhullah Khomeini
- ↑ The Radiance of the Secrets of Prayer by Muhsin Qara'ati