Salah/Prayer

This is ritualistic act of worship that is one of the key pillar in Islam. The five prayers are spread over various parts of the day in accordance to the sun where the adherent is not only in contact with the Creator frequently and receives peace and blessings as his reward but also experiences physical well-being that has now been scientifically confirmed.[3,7,12] Importance of Salah can be appreciated from the following Hadith-The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) said: “The first thing that Allah made obligatory upon my Ummah was the five prayers; and the first thing from their acts of worship that shall be taken up will be the five prayers; and the first thing that they will be questioned about will be the five prayers (Kanzul Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18859). Each prayer has a certain number of repetitive units called Raka’a and a total of seventeen are prayed during the day. Each of the physical and spiritual movements of salah demonstrated by the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is accompanied by supplications to be recited in Arabic. The practice of all Muslims following the prayers globally in exactly the same manner and reciting the Qur’an in Arabic is unique to Islam and reaffirms its strong message of equality and universal brotherhood.

A brief look at each of the five prayers will illustrate this point. The first prayer of the day is at dawn before sunrise comprising of two units. Beginning the day with remembrance of Allah and seeking His protection from all that is evil for the day and asking for His benevolence tunes the attitude in the right direction and does wonders to the heart and mind of the individual. The noon prayer of four raka’a comes at a time when the individual is in the middle of his daily activities. The welcome break from materialistic aspects of life gives him an opportunity to return to God and seek guidance for righteous life and prosperity. The physical activity breaks the monotony of chores he is involved in besides being an excellent form of exercise. In the afternoon or midway between noon and sunset, when the worldly involvements are at a peak, the third prayer of four units befalls the believer. Just when the mind and the body are stressed from the pressures of daily involvements, the believer is rewarded once again with spiritual as well as physical benefits of the prayer thus, an opportunity to resume energizing. The fourth salat is offered in three units soon after the sunset when the day has folded successfully. It is time to express gratitude to Allah for a well ended day and seek his forgiveness for all sins. The four units of the night Salah are offered about an hour and half after sunset before the bed time. A look at the distribution of these prayers tells us how effectively remembrance of God is intermingled with the daily activities of man without having to stop one for the other. A few minutes of pause from the material world to go back to the spirit world at regular intervals in submission to Allah and to thank Him for all His bounties not only puts the believer in connection with God but also equips him better to go ahead with his worldly endeavors. Spiritual enlightenment and a sense of peace and tranquility relieve the worshiper from stress anxiety and negativity.

Prayer is a way to recharge and connect the soul to the source which is Allah.

Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits/washes/keeps away immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (29:45)

Any clothing that covers from the naval to the knees is ok for men but preferable to cover the shoulders. 

Any clothing that covers the full body (including the head) except the face, hands

The way to offer Salah is:

1.          Stand upright facing the direction of Al-Ka’bah.  This position is called Qiyaam (standing) and the direction is called Qiblah in Arabic.  The Qiblah in North America is towards the east with a slight angle towards the north.

2.          Make Niyyah (intention) in your heart for the prayer you want to pray.

3.          Raise your hands to your ears and say: “Allahu Akbar.” This means: (Allah is the Greatest). This is called Takbiratul Ihram

4.          Now place your right hand on top of your left hand on the chest and look downward to the place where your forehead will touch the ground in the Sujood (prostration) and recite silently: 

“Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.”

  

This means: “O Allah, how perfect You are and praise be to You. Blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your majesty. There is no god but You.” [Only recite this supplication, Subhanaka, at the beginning of the first Rak’ah]

Then recite silently:  “A’udhu billahi minash shaitanir rajim.”

This is called Ta’awwudh, and it means: “I seek shelter in Allah from the rejected Satan.” 

Then recite:  “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.”

This is called Tasmiyah, and it means: “In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.”

5.          After this, recite Suratul Fatihah (the opening chapter) of the Noble Qur’an: 

“Al hamdu lil lahi rabbil ‘alamin. Arrahmanir rahim. Maliki yawmiddin. Iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’in. Ihdinas siratal mustaqim. Siratal ladhina an’amta’alaihim, ghairil maghdubi’alaihim wa lad dhallin. (Amin)”

“All praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the most Gracious, the most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. You alone we worship, from You alone we seek help. Guide us along the straight path – the path of those whom You favored, not of those who earned Your anger or went astray.”

You must recite Surat Al-Fatihah in each unit (Rak’ah) of the prayer, if you pray alone.  However, if praying behind an Imam and he recites loudly, then it is not necessary for you to recite it.

6.    Now recite any other passage from the Noble Qur’an.

For example:  “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim 

Qul hu wal lahu ahad, allahus samad, lam yalid wa lam yulad, wa lam ya kul lahu kufuwan ahad.”

“In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.  Say, He is Allah, the One. Allah is Eternal and Absolute. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal unto Him.”

7.          Now bow down saying: “Allahu Akbar” and place your hands on your knees and say silently: “Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim.” This means: (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times.  This position is called Rukoo’. Keep your head in line with your back, and look downward to the place of Sujood. (See step 9)

8.          Stand up from the bowing position saying: “Sami’Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears those who praise Him)”Rabbana lakal hamd.” This means: (Our Lord, praise be to You).

9.          Prostrate on the floor saying:  “Allahu Akbar” with your forehead, nose, palms of both hands, your knees, and toes all touching the floor.  Then recite silently: “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la.”

(How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times. This position is called Sujood. Keep your arms away from the sides of the body and the ground.

10.        Sit up from the floor saying Allahu Akbar. Sit upright with your knees bent and palms placed on them and say: “Rabbighfir li.”

“O my Lord! Forgive me.”

Say “Allahu Akbar” and again prostrate in the Sujood position. Recite “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la” three times. Sit up from this position saying “Allahu Akbar”

This completes the first Rak’ah, cycle or unit of Salah.  Now stand up for the second Rak’ah and perform it in the same way, except that you do not recite Subhanaka at the beginning, and after the second Sujood (prostration) you sit on the left leg while keeping the right foot upright and put your right hand on the right thigh, with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Stick the index finger straight out. Put your left hand on the left thigh. Now recite Tashahhud silently: 

“At-Tahiyyatu lillahi              “Greetings, prayers and 

was- Salawatu wat-Tayyibatu.              goodness belong to Allah. 

As-Salamu ‘ alaika                                                Peace be on you,

ayyuhannabiyyu                                                               O Prophet

wa rahmatullahi                                          and the mercy of Allah

wa barakatuhu.                                                    and His blessings.

Assalamu ‘alaina wa’ala                              Peace be on us and on

ibadil-Lahis -Salihin                      the righteous servants of Allah

ash hadu al-La ilaha                                           I bear witness that

il-Lal lahu                                                there is no god but Allah,

wa ash hadu anna                                           and bear witness that

Muhammadan abduhu                          Muhammad is His servant

wa rasuluhu.”                                                        and Messenger.”

In a three-Rak’ah Salah (as in Maghrib) or a four-Rak’ah Salah (Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha) you stand up for the remaining Rak’ah(s) after you have done Tashahhud. For a two-Rak’ah Salah you remain seated after Tashahhud and then recite silently Assalatul-Ibrahimiyah: 

“Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin            “O Allah, let Your mercy come upon Muhammad

Wa ‘ala ali Muhammadin                                 and the family of Muhammad

Kama sallaita ‘ala Ibrahima                             as You let it come upon Ibrahim

wa ‘ala ali Ibrahima                                           and the family of Ibrahim

wa barik ‘ala Muhammadin                             O Allah, bless Muhammad

wa ‘ala ali Muhammadin                                  and the family of Muhammad

Kama barakta ‘ ala Ibrahima                          as You blessed Ibrahim

Wa ‘ ala ali Ibrahima                                         and the family of Ibrahim.

Fil a’lamina Innaka                                           Truly You are

hamidun Majid.”                                               Praiseworthy and Glorious.”

After this say silently: “Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min adhabi jahanam wamin adhabil qabri wamin sharri fitnatil mahya wal mamat wamin sharri fitnatil masihid dajjaal. Rabbi-ghfir li waliwalidayya, rabbi-rhamhuma kama rabbayani saghira.”

This means: “O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the torment of the Hellfire, from the torment of the grave, from the trials and afflictions of life and death, and from the deception of the False-Christ. O my Lord! Grant me and my parents forgiveness, and bestow Your mercy upon them, just as they brought zme up when I was small.”

11.        Now turn your face to the right saying: “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” (peace and the mercy of Allah be on you) and then to the left repeating the same words.

This completes the two-Rak’ah Salah. 

In the three or four-Rak’ah prayers (Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha) the whole procedure is repeated in the remaining Rak’ah(s), except after Tashahhud, you say “Allahu Akbar” and  stand up and only recite Surat Al-Fatiha in Fard prayers and no other Surah, then continue doing the rest of the actions as you have done before (Rukoo’, rising, Sujood).  Then stand again for the fourth Rak’ah.  

Also, in the last Rak’ah of any prayer, after you have made your Sujood, sit up and silently recite both Tashahhud and Salatul Ibrahimiyyah. At the end of any prayer, you must finish by making Tasleem. 

When to Recite Aloud or Silently:

During obligatory Fajr prayers, you recite the Qur’an aloud in both Rak’ahs. You also recite the first two Rak’ahs of the obligatory prayers of Maghrib and ‘Isha aloud as well.  

However, the third and fourth Rak’ahs are always recited silently during obligatory prayers.  Also, in the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, the recitation is always silent for all four Rak’ahs. 

Furthermore, the one who leads Jumu’ah prayers (Friday prayer in place of Dhuhr) will recite the Qur’an aloud.