How to Pray in Islam
; plural salawat), also called salat
, is one of the Five Pillars in the faith of Islam and an obligatory religious duty upon all mature Muslims, and highly recommended for children aged ten and over, to complete their five daily prayers according to the method described here in order for them to be valid. It is believed that communication with Allah will bring life to the prayerful and bring them courage. Muslims believe that Allah speaks to us through the Qur’an, and salaah is our means of responding. Whether you’re just curious as to how Muslims pray or if you’re looking to learn for yourself, it’s never too early to start.
Each of the 5 prayers have different number of units (Raka’at) for each.Preparing for Prayer
Fajr (Dawn Prayer) is 2 units (Raka’at)
Dhor (Noon prayer) is 4 units (Raka’at)
Asr (Afternoon prayer) is 4 units (Raka’at)
Maghrib (Sunset prayer) is 3 units (Raka’at)
Isha (Night prayer) is 4 units (Raka’at)
1. Ensure the area is clean and free of impurities.
This includes your body, your clothes, and the place of prayer itself.
- You must be ritually pure before you start praying. If you’re not, it’s required to perform Wudu before you do. If since your last prayer, you have urinated, defecated, passed gas, bled excessively, or fallen asleep while leaning against something, you need to perform wudu. Certain circumstances will require that you perform ghusl instead of wudu to be cleansed after removing najas (impurities) and before praying. If you wish to pray after having sexual intercourse, ending your menstruation period or postpartum bleeding, giving birth, or *, you need to perform ghusl. If a Muslim is unable to use water, he or she may choose to perform tayammum instead of wudu or ghusl. This rite involves using clean soil or dirt that has not been used before to perform tayammum.
- If you are praying in a masjid (mosque), which is highly encouraged for men, enter quietly–other fellow Muslims might still be praying and you don’t want to disturb them. Stand in a free space away from the entrance/exit.
- If you are unsure of the cleanliness of your area, spread a mat or cloth on the floor for good measure. This mat (or prayer rug) is very important to Islamic culture.
2. Face the Qibla.
This is the direction all Muslims face to turn in prayer towards the Holy Ka’bah. The Holy Mosque in Mecca is the most revered place of worship for Muslims around the entire world. All Muslims are required to face the Ka’bah five times every day when offering their prayers.
3. Pray at the proper time.
The five prayers of each day take place at very specific times. For each one, there is a brief period of time it can be performed, determined by the rising and falling of the sun. Each salah
takes about 5 to 10 minutes from start to finish, but should never be hurried.
- The five prayers are Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha. They are at dawn, immediately after noon, in the mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night, respectively. They are not at the same time each day, as they are timed by the sun, which changes path throughout the seasons.
- These are the amount of rak’ah (units) for each of the 5 salah:
- Fajr – Two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah fardh;
- Zuhr – Four rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then four rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkdah, then two rak’ah nafl;
- Asr – Four rak’ah sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah, then four rak’ah fardh;
- Maghrib – Three rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah nafl;
- Isha – Four rak’ah sunnah, then four rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah nafl, then three rak’ah witr, then two rak’ah nafl.
4. Learn to say prayers in Arabic. Salah
must be performed in the Arabic language because this is the language that the Qur’an was revealed in. It also allows Muslims outside of Arabic-speaking countries to recite the prayers and understand what is being said. Speaking all prayers in the same language avoids the confusion of translating words into other languages.
- Use online sources to help you pronounce the obligatory prayer words, such as Rosetta Stone, Salaam Arabic, hosted by Pangaea Learning, Madinah Arabic or Youtube sources.
- Take a course in Arabic at your local college.
- Learn and practice the correct pronunciations with an Arabic speaker.
- There are many of people in this group that will gladly help you to learn and recite prayers and the quran
5. Cover yourself.
Men and women must both cover themselves with material that covers the skin throughout the prayer. While women must cover everything but their faces and hands, men must keep the area between their navel and knees covered.
Performing the Muslim Prayers
- The material must cover the body during prayer movements. So if, for example, bending causes a piece of material to slip and expose skin on a woman’s neck, she would need to ensure that her clothing is tucked in properly or put more clothing on before she can complete her prayer. no one wants to see your buttcrack while praying
1. Niyah - Make your intention known in your heart.
Before initiating the salat
, it is important that you have the intention to pray.
2. Takbeer e Tehreema - Raise your hands up to your ears and say Allahu Akbar (الله أَكْبَر).
This translates to “Allah is the greatest.” Do this while standing (or sitting if you can’t stand or laying if you can’t sit).
3. Qiyam - Place your right hand over your left hand.
Place your hands either on your navel, on your chest, or between the two; there’s difference of opinion between Islamic schools of thoughts. Keep your eyes focused on the place you are standing. Do not let your eyes wander.
- Recite the optional Istiftah Du’a (opening prayer):
Wabihamdika watabarakas-muka wataaaala
Judduka wala ilaha ghayruk.
A’auodu billaahi minash-shaytaanir rajeem
Bis-millaahir rahmaanir raheem
- Follow it with Surah Al-Fatiha (this Surah is recited in each Rak’ah):
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen
Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een
Siraatal-lazeena an’amta ‘alaihim
Ghayril-maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-daaalleen
- Recite any other surah or any part of the Qu’ran, such as Surah Ikhlas:
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Qul huwal laahu ahad
Lam yalid wa lam yoolad
Wa lam yakul-lahu kufuwan ahad
- Reciting a surah after Al-Fatiha is not obligatory; it’s sunnah.
4. Ruku - Say “Allahu Akbar” and bend down.
Bend your body so that your back and neck are as straight as possible and level with the ground, keeping your eyes there. Your back and head should be in a 90 degree angle with your legs. You don’t need to make a perfect angle; your body should be relaxed. This position is called ruku.
- While bowing, say, Subhanna Rabbiyal Adheem three times. This translates to, “Glorious is my Lord the most great.”
5. Stand back up (raise from ruku).
While rising up recite Samiallah Huliman Hamidah with your arms beside you. This means “Allah hears those who praise Him”.
- While standing up, recite Rabana Walakal Hamd (Our Lord, all praise is for you) once. You can also add Hamdan Katheeran Tayyiban Mubaarakan Feeh” (praise which is abundant, excellent and blessed) after.
6. Sajdah - Say Allahu Akbar and prostate.
Place your head, knees and hands on the floor. This is the position called “sajdah.”
- When you are positioned fully, say Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laa (Glorious is my Lord, the most High) three times.
- Your forearms should not be on the floor just the palms of your hands.
7. Rise from sajdah and sit on your knees.
Place your left foot from ball to heel on the floor. Your right foot should be toes on the floor only. Place your hands flat on your knees. You can recite Allaahumma-ghfir lee warhamnee wajburnee, warfa’nee, wa ‘aafinee war’zuqnee (O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, strengthen me, raise me in status, pardon me and grant me provision).
- There are other du’as that you can recite in this position, such as Allahuma-ghfirleetwice (O Allah, forgive me).
- Return to sajdah and say Subhanna Rabbiyal a’laa three times.
8. Say Allahu akbar and stand up.
You have completed one rak’ah. Depending on the salah
, you may need to complete up to three more.
- In every second rak’ah, after the second sajdah, sit on your knee again. Recite:
Tashahhud: At-tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa-salaawaatu wa-tayyibaat. As-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. As-salaamu ‘alayna wa ‘ala ‘ibaad-illaah-is-saaliheen. Ash-hadu al-aa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu
“All compliments, prayers and pure words are due to Allaah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allaah. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger”.
- Durood: Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad, wa ‘ala aali Muhammad, kama salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem, wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammad, wa ‘ala aali Muhammad, kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem, wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innak hameedun majeed
“O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allaah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory”.
9. Finish the prayer with tasleem.
After the tashahhud, durood, and any du’a you wish to recite, end the prayer by:
- Turning your head to the right and saying, As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. The angel who records your good deeds is to this side.
- Turning your head to the left and saying, As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. The angel who records your wrongful deeds is to this side. The prayers have ended!
- Another variation of the tasleem is by saying As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.