952. Prayer should be offered with the intention of attaining proximity to God, as previously mentioned in the section on wuÃÙ, and it should be offered with sincerity. It is not however necessary to pass the intention through the mind, nor is it necessary to verbalize it. For example, it is not necessary to say: “I am offering four rak‘ah Ûuhr prayer in obedience to the Lord’s command.” In fact, it is not permissible to verbalize the intention for the iÎtiyÁÔ prayer.
953. If a person makes the intention to offer a four rak‘ah prayer, either Ûuhr or ‘aÒr, without vaguely or distinctly specifying whether it is Ûuhr or ‘aÒr, his prayer is invalid. An example of vaguely specifying the intention is while intending to offer Ûuhr prayer, a person commences with the intention of that which was made obligatory on him first, rather than make the intention of Ûuhr prayer itself. Another example is when the qaÃÁ of Ûuhr prayer is obligatory on a person, and he wishes to offer the qaÃÁ prayer or the Ûuhr prayer during the time of Ûuhr prayer, he should specify in his intention the prayer he is offering, albeit in a vague manner. For example, in the case of the qaÃÁ prayer of Ûuhr, he should make the intention that he is offering the prayer that was first to be made his responsibility.
954. A person should hold on to his intention from the beginning to the end of his prayer. If therefore, a person becomes negligent during prayer to such a degree that if one were to ask him what he is doing, he would not know what to reply, his prayer is invalid.
955. Prayer should be offered solely for the Lord of the worlds. Therefore, if a person ostentatiously offers prayer—that is, prays to show off to people—his prayer is invalid, regardless of whether he offered prayer solely for the people, or whether he offered it for God and the people.
956. Even if a part of a person’s prayer is offered ostentatiously, his prayer is invalid. Rather, if a person offers his prayer for God, but ostentatiously offers it in a particular place, such as a mosque, or a particular time, such as its prime time, or in a particular mode, such as in congregation, his prayer is invalid. Obligatory precaution dictates that even if the recommended components of prayer, such as the qunÙt, are offered ostentatiously, the prayer is invalid.