Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 1, Purification and Prayer, Fiqh 1.122.

Section : Obligatory acts of prayer, One Who Cannot Recite Properly.

Says al-Khattabi, “Basically, one’s prayer does not suffice if he does not recite al-Fatihah. If one can recite neither al-Fatihah nor other portions of the Qur’an, he should recite at least seven verses of a similar meaning from the Qur’an. If he can not learn any part of the Qur’an (due to some innate inability, poor memory, or because it’s a foreign language), he should say the tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah – Glory be to Allah), the tamheed (al-Hamdu lillah – All praise is due to Allah), and tahleel (La ilaha illal-lah – There is no God except Allah). It is related that he said, “The best remembrance after the speech of Allah is Subhaan Allah, al-Hamdu lillah, La ilaha illal-lah and Allahu akbar.” This is supported by Rafa’ah ibn Rafa’, who narrated that the Prophet said, “If you have something from the Qur’an, recite it. If not, then say the tamheed, takbir and the tahleel and then bow.”

This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa’i and al-Baihaqi. The former considers it as hassan.