Updated August 21, 2011,
My dear brothers and sisters in Islam,
Sometime ago, I posted an article on Salat-ul-Tasbih. I am reproducing and expanding it here because of its importance and the blessings that it brings, Insha Allah. I have also updated the answer on how to count during Salatul Tasbih. Please note that this prayer can be done at any time during your life, and not necessarily on potential nights of lailatul qadr.
Here is this expanded article again:
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, vol 2, # 33
‘Ikrimah reports from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdal-Mutalib: “O ‘Abbas, O Uncle, shall I not give you, shall I not present to you, shall I not donate to you, shall I not tell you ten things which, if you do, Allah will forgive your first and last sins, past and present sins, intentional and unintentional sins, private and public sins? The ten actions are: pray four rak’at, reciting in every rak’ah al-Fatihah and a surah. And when you finish the Qur’anic recitation of the first rak’ah, say, while standing, ‘Subhanallah, al-hamdulillah, wa la ilaha illallah, wa Allahu Akbar‘ ['Glory be to Allah. All praise is due to Allah. There is no God except Allah. Allah is the greatest.'] fifteen times. Then make ruku’, and while you are in ruku’, say the same ten times; then stand, and say the same ten times. Then go down and make sajdah, and while you’re in sajdah, say the same ten times. Then sit after the sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then make sajdah, and say the same ten times. Then sit after the second sajdah, and say the same another ten times. That is seventy-five [repetitions of the phrases] in each rak’ah. Do that in each of the four rak’at. If you can pray it once a day, do so. If you cannot, then once every Friday. If you cannot do that, then once a year. And if you cannot do that then once in your life.“
This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Khuzaimah in his sahih, and at-Tabarani. About this hadith al-Mundhiri says: “This hadith has been related through many chains and from a number of companions. The best of them is this one from ‘Ikrimah. A group of scholars have graded it to be sahih, including al-Hafez Abu Bakr al-’Ajari, (al-Mundhiri’s teachers), Abu Muhammad ‘Abdurrahim al-Misri, and Abu al-Hassan al-Maqdisi.” Ibn alMubarak says: “The tasbih prayer is a greatly desired act and it is desirable that one should punctually observe it and never neglect it.
1. You can pray it any part of the day and night except of course during the forbidden times for performing Salat. [The Prophet (s) said: “There is no prayer after the Fajr until the sun (sufficiently) rises; and there is no prayer after the ‘Asr until the sun completely sets.” [Muslim, 1041, agreed upon]. Again, in another hadith reported in Muslim 1040, it is narrated: “ Three were the times at while Allâh’s Messenger (s) forbade us from praying or burying our dead (ie. funeral prayer): when the sun begins to rise until it is fully up; when the sun is at its height until it passes the meridian; and when the sun begins to set until it is completely set. [Muslim, 1040]”
2. Your aim is to recite the above Tasbih 300 times in Four Rakah as stated in the hadith narrated above,
3. You can count by pressing down with your fingers on your forearm. For example, each of your finger joints may represent one tasbih, and five fingers on your right hand represent fifteen tasbihs.
4. For a more complete answer on counting, Sheikh Ismail Moosa compares several methods of counting by the companions of the Propeht (s) and one of the wives of Rasulullah (s), and quotes the following:
“Counting on ones fingers is better than using a rosary. But it is said, ‘if a person feels safe from erring, then it is better to count on his fingers. Otherwise, he should rather use a rosary.” (Mirqāt al-Maṣābīḥ, 4/54)
If one has committed an abominable sin, one may perform the Prayer of Repentance (Salat Al Tawba). For further information of Salat Al Tawba, and how to perform it, please click on the following answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.