Ḥammād b. ʿĪsā narrates: One day, Abū ʿAbd Allah [al-Ṣādiq] asked me: ‘Do you pray well, O Ḥamād?’ I said: ‘My master! I have in my keeping a valuable book on prayer.’ He said: ‘No problem. Stand up and pray!’
So I got up in front of him, facing the qibla, and I began to pray, bowing and prostrating.
Then he said: ‘O Ḥammād! You don’t know how to pray well. It is a shame that a man should have spent sixty or seventy years in this world without offering a single perfect prayer!’
Feeling embarrassed, I said: ‘May I be your ransom! Teach me how to pray.’
So Abū ʿAbd Allah stood up straight, facing the qibla, and placed both his hands upon his thighs with his fingers closed, and brought his feet together until they were only the distance of three spread fingers apart. His feet pointed forward without turning aside from the qibla. He stood perfectly still in awe. Then he said: ‘allāhu akbar’ and then recited [Sūrat] al-Ḥamd with clear enunciation, then he recited qul huwa allāhu aḥad (Sūrat al-Ikhlāṣ), then he
paused for a breath while standing before saying ‘allāhu akbar’ while standing.
Then he bowed and cupped his palms over his knees with their fingers spread out, and he pushed his knees back until his back was level, such that if you were to pour a drop of water or oil upon him it would not roll off [because of how level his back was]. He stretched out his neck and closed his eyes, before repeating ‘subḥānallāh’ three times with clarity and fluency, and then said: ‘subḥāna rabbī ’l-ʿaẓīmi wa biḥamdih.’
Then he rose, and when he was still, he said: ‘samiʿ allāhu liman ḥamidah.’ Then he pronounced takbīr while standing and raising his hands to either side of his face.
Then he prostrated, placing his hands on the ground with the fingers together, while his elbows were aligned with either side of his face, and said: ‘subḥāna rabbī ’l-aʿlā wa biḥamdih’ three times, and he did not put any part of his body on another part. He prostrated on eight points of his body: His forehead, his two palms, his knees, and the big toes of each foot. These seven are obligatory, but placing the nose on the ground is sunna and this is irghām.
Then he raised his head from prostration and when he was sitting up straight, he said: ‘allāhu akbar’ and sat, resting his weight on his left side, placing the top of his right foot over the bottom of his left. Then he said: ‘astaghfirullāh wa atūbu ilayh.’ Then he said a takbīr while sitting and prostrated again and repeated what he had said in the first prostration. And he did not rest on any part of his body on anything else while bowing or prostrating, and he allowed his elbows to point out sideways; he did not rest his arms on the ground.
He prayed two units (rakʿas) like this; then he sat in tashahhud with his fingers joined, and after he finished the tashahhud he said the taslīm.
Then he said: ‘O Ḥammād! Pray like this; do not turn from side to side or play with your hands or fingers, and do not spit on your left or right, or in front of you.’
* Mustadrak wasāʾil al-shīʿa, kitāb al-ṣalāt, abwāb afʿāl al-ṣalāt, bāb 1, tradition no. 1, and this tradition can be found in the same chapter and section of Wasāʾil al-shīʿa with minor differences in wording.