Prayer for Rain(salatul istisqa)
Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
A person entered the mosque through the door situated on the side of Dar Al-Qada' during Friday (Prayer) and the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was delivering the sermon while standing. He came and stood in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, our belongings have perished and we have no means left; so supplicate Allah to send down rain upon us. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) raised his hands and then said: O Allah, send down rain upon us; O Allah, send down rain upon us; O Allah, send down rain upon us. Anas said: By Allah, we did not see any cloud or any patch of it, and there was neither any house or building standing between us and the (hillock) Sal'a. There appeared a cloud in the shape of a shield from behind it, and as it (came high) in the sky it spread and then there was a downpour of rain. By Allah, we did not see the sun throughout the week. Then (that very man) came on the coming Friday through the same door while the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was standing and delivering the sermon. He stood in front of him and said: Messenger of Allah, our belongings have been ruined and the passages have been cut. Supplicate Allah to stop the rain. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) again raised his hands and said: O Allah, let it (rain) fall in our suburbs and not on us, O Allah (send it down) on the hillocks, the small mountains, the valleys and at the places where trees grow. The rain stopped, and as we stepped out we were walking in sunshine.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Salatul Istisqa, prayer for rain
This prayer is taken recourse to when seeking rain from Allah during times of drought. It may be performed in one of the following manners:
-1- The imam prays, with the followers, two rak'at during any time except those times in which it is not desirable to pray. In the first rak'ah, the imam recites al-A'la after al-Fatihah. And in the second rak'ah, he reads al-Ghashiyah after al-Fatihah, and he delivers a khutbah(sermon) before or after the salah. As soon as he finishes the khutbah, the people present should turn their outer garments around, each placing its left side on his right side and its right side on his left, face the qiblah, supplicate Allah and raise their hands while doing so.
Ibn 'Abbas reports: "The Messenger of Allah went out [to make the salatul istisqa'] wearing old clothes, in a humble and lowly manner, and prayed two rak'at as he prayed the Eid, but he did not give a similar khutbah."            related by the five. At-Tirmizhi, Abu 'Awanah, and Ibn Hibban grade it sahih.
'Aishah says: "The people complained to the Messenger of Allah about lack of rain, so he gave orders for a pulpit, and when it was set up for him, he appointed a day for the people to gather. He came out on that day when the sun had just appeared and sat down on the pulpit. He extolled Allah's greatness and praised Him. Then he said: 'You have complained of drought in your areas and of delay in receiving rain at the beginning of its season, but you have been ordered by Allah to supplicate Him and He has promised that He would answer your prayers.' Then he said: 'All praise is for Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment. There is no God but Allah Who does what He wishes. O Allah, there is no God except You. You are the Self-sufficient and we are the poor. Send down rain upon us and make it a source of strength for us and satisfaction for us.' He then raised his hands and kept raising them till the whiteness of his armpits could be seen.
After this, he turned his back to the people and inverted his cloak, keeping his hands raised. Finally, he faced the people, descended from the pulpit, and prayed two rak'at. At that time Allah produced a cloud, thunder, and lightning. And, by Allah's permission, it rained and before he reached the mosque there was flooding. Then he saw how quickly the people were running for shelter, he laughed until his molar teeth could be seen. He said: 'I bear witness that Allah has power over all things and I am Allah's slave and Messenger.'" related by al-Hakim who classifies it to be sahih and by Abu Dawud who says: "This hadith is ghareeb and its chain is good."
It is furthermore related from 'Ibad ibn Tamim from his uncle 'Abdullah ibn Zaid al-Mazni that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam went out to pray salatul istisqa' and prayed two rak'at reciting them aloud. This is related by the group. And Abu Hurairah says: "The Prophet of Allah went out one day to make salatul ishtisqa' and prayed two rak'at with us without any azhan or iqamah. Then, he addressed us and supplicated Allah and turned his face toward the qiblah, with his hands raised. Next, he reversed his cloak, placing its left side on his right side and its right side on his left side." related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi.
-2- The supplication for rain can also be made on the occasion of salatul jumu'ah. In this case, the imam makes supplications during khutbatul jumu'ah with the people of the congregation saying (Ameen).
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Shuraik on the authority of Anas that a man entered the mosque on Friday while the Prophet was addressing the people. The man said: "O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and we have no transport to the market place. Supplicate for us for rain." The Prophet raised his hands and said: "O Allah, give us rain. O Allah, give us rain. O Allah, give us rain." Anas said: "By Allah, at that time there were no clouds in the sky and there was no house or building between us and the mountain. From behind the mountain came a cloud looking like a shield. By the time it reached the middle of the sky, it burst and started to rain. By Allah, we did not see the sun for one week. Then, on the next Friday, a man entered the mosque from that (same) door while the Prophet was making the address. The man faced the Prophet and said: 'Our livestock is dead and the paths are unpassable. Ask Allah to make it stop.' The Prophet raised his hands and said: 'O Allah, around us and not upon us. O Allah, make it upon the hills, small mountains, bottom of the valleys, and plantations.' The rain stopped and we walked out in the sunshine."
-3- One may also make a supplication (for rain) without it being Friday and regardless of whether or not the prayer takes place inside or outside the mosque. Ibn Majah and Abu 'Awanah record that Ibn 'Abbas said: "A Bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I come to you from a people whose shepherds do not have any fodder and whose prize stallion cannot move its tail due to the [drought].' The Prophet mounted the pulpit, praised Allah and said: 'O Allah, give us saving rain which leads to something good and which is productive - a general heavy rain - now and not later.' Then, he descended from the pulpit. People came from every direction saying that it was raining." reported by Ibn Majah and Abu 'Awanah and its chain is sound, but Ibn Hajar is silent about it in his Al-Talkhis.
Ash-Sha'biy says: "'Umar went out to make istisqa ' and he did no more than seeking Allah's forgiveness. The people said: 'We did not see you making istisqa .' He said: 'I sought rain by what makes it descend (i.e., istighfar or seeking forgiveness of Allah), unlike those (Arabs of days of ignorance) who sought it by the stars of the sky.' Then, he recited the following two verses : 'Seek forgiveness of your Lord. Lo! He is Ever-Forgiving. He will let loose the sky for you in plenteous rain.' and: 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance): He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain.'" related by Abu Sa'id in his Sunan, 'Abdurrazzaq, al-Baihaqi, and Ibn abi Shaibah.
The following are some of the supplications that have been transmitted.
The Prophet peace be upon him would say for istisqa : "O Allah, give us a saving rain, productive, plentiful, general, continuous. O Allah, give us rain and do not make us among the despondent. O Allah, (Your) slaves, land, animals, and (Your) creation all are suffering and seek protection. And we do not complain except to You. O Allah, let our crops grow, and let the udders be refilled. Give us from the blessings of the sky and grow for us from the blessings of the earth. O Allah, remove from us the hardship, starvation, and barrenness and remove the affliction from us as no one removes afflictions save You. O Allah, we seek Your forgiveness as You are the Forgiving, and send upon us plenteous rains." Ash-Shaf'i said: "I prefer that the imam would supplicate with that (prayer). "
"O Allah, let us be covered with thick clouds that have abundant and beneficial rain, frequently making a light rain upon us and sprinkling upon us with lightning. O Allah, You are full of majesty, bounty and Honour."
"O Allah, provide water for Your slaves and Your cattle, display Your mercy and give life to Your dead lands." related by Abu Dawud.
It is also preferred, upon seeing the rain, to say: "O Allah, make it a beneficial rain" and he should uncover part of his body to the rain. On the other hand, if one fears that there is too much rain, one should say: "O Allah give us mercy and do not give us punishment, calamities , destruction or flooding. O Allah, make it upon the woods, farms and trees. Make it around us and not upon us."
With the compliments of
Collected and Prepared
Hamadi Al-Aslani
Manager of Editing and Translation
 Jeddah Dawah Center