Salah (salat) is the Arabic word for prayer. Muslims are required to pray Salah(Salat) five times a day to show their submission to Allah. It is one of Islam’s five pillars.

The five obligatory(mandatory) prayers in Islam are:

Fajr #

This is the first prayer of the day and its timing begins from pre-dawn and ends when the sun starts to rise (sunrise).

Dhuhr #

This is the second prayer of the day, and its time begins after the sun starts declining from its peak and ends at Asr time.

Asr #

This is the third prayer of the day, and it starts when a person’s shadow is equal in length to his height and lasts until the sun becomes pale before sunset.

Maghreb #

This is the fourth prayer and its timing begins right after sunset, and should be prayed as soon as possible, although it will be still valid until Isha.

Isha #

This is the fifth prayer and its time starts when the redness of twilight (the reddish afterglow along the horizon after the sunset– has disappeared. It can be prayed until midnight.

Here is a summary of how each of the five daily prayers is different from one another:

The following conditions should be met before performing Salah/Salat:

  • Salah is compulsory for anyone reaching puberty.
  • Salah will not be accepted without Wudu or Ghusl.
  • Clothes should be clean and free from impurities.
  • Men and women need to cover their private parts. Women should also cover their hair and all their bodies except for their faces and hands. Men must cover their bodies from the navel to the knees.
  • Salahs need to be prayed at their designated times only.
  • Muslims must face the Qiblah (Holy Kaaba) when praying Salah.

Requirements for Salah Acceptance #

Fajr2 Rakahs/Units
Dhuhr2 Rakahs/Units
Asr2 Rakahs/Units
Maghreb2 Rakahs/Units
Isha2 Rakahs/Units

How to Perform Salah/Salat #

Step 1 – Make an intention to pray and face the Kaaba (Qiblah) #

The first step before starting any prayer is the intention to pray to Allah. This is called ‘Niyyat’. As soon as the prayer starts, all of your attention should be on it alone.

Step 2 – Saying Takbeer #

In this step, you raise your hands to your ears with the palms facing outwards and say ‘Allahu Akbar’ which means “Allah is the Greatest”. This is the official start of the rakah of a prayer.

Step 3 – Recite opening Dua #

Lower your hands, then put your right palm over the left one under the chest and over the navel. For women, the placing of hands is a little different. They should place their hands over their chests.

Recite the following dua:

’Subhanak Allahumma wa bihamdika, wa tabaarak-asmuka, wa ta-‘aala jadduka, wa la ilaaha ghayruk”.

Translation: ‘O Allah, glory and praise are for you, and blessed is your Name, and exalted is your Majesty, and there is no God but You.”

Step 4 – Recite Surah Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Holy Quran #

Surah Fatihah:

Bismillaahir ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem
Maaliki yawmid deen
Iyyaaka na’aboodu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdeenas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alayhim
Ghayril maghduubi’ alayhim waladawleen

Translation: In the name of Allah, the merciful, the entirely merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Master of the Day of Recompense (Judgement Day).
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
The path of those whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

After this, staying in the same position, you can recite a Surah or Chapter of your choice from the Quran.

Step 5 – Ruku #

Say ‘Allahu Akbar’ again, bow down, and put your hands on your knees. Now recite this three times:

Subhanna Rabbee al Adheem

Translation: ‘How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent’

Step 6 – Stand up straight again #

Go back to standing up straight again while reciting:

Samee Allahu leeman hameeda

Translation: ‘Allah hears those who praise him’

Keep your hands to your sides and recite the following:

Rabbana walak-al hamd

Translation: ‘Our Lord, to You is all praise’

Step 7 – Sujood (Prostration) #

After saying Takbir (‘Allahu Akbar’), move to the prostration position by lying on the floor in such a way that your knees, toes, hands, forehead, and nose touch the floor (Sujood). While in Sujood, say this three times:

Subhanna rabbeey-al ‘aalaa

Translation: ‘How perfect is my Lord, the Most High’

Step 8 – Sitting #

Say Takbir again and sit up from Sujood to rest on your left leg. Your left foot will be on the floor while your right foot is upright. Place your hands on your knees.

Step 9 – Sujood #

Say Takbir again and perform Sujood for a second time exactly as mentioned in step 7. After the Sujood for a second time, say Takbir again and stand up. This completes one full Rakah or unit of Salah/Salat.

Step 10 – Second Rakah and Tashahud #

After saying Takbir and standing up from completing the first Rakah, you repeat the same steps, starting from step 3 to step 9. But after the second Sujood, you say Takbir and sit on your legs and knees and place your hands on your knees. Now recite this:

At Tahiyyaatu lillaahi was Salawaatu wat tayibaatu
Assalaamu ‘alaika ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakaatuh
Assalaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ebaadillaahis saaliheen

Translation: “All greetings or salutations are for Allah, and all prayers and goodness. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and his blessings. Peace be upon us and the righteous slaves of Allah”.

Now, raise your right index finger and say:

Ash hadu allaa ilaha illa Allah Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhuu wa rasuuluh

Translation: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and the Messenger of Allah”.

Step 11 – Durood (Abrahamic Prayer) #

If this is the final Rakah, then you will add this Abrahamic prayer to Tashahud:

Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammad
Kamaa salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibrahim
Innaka Hameedun Majeed
Wa baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammad
Kamaa baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibrahim
Innaka Hameedun Majeed

Translation: “O Allah, let Your mercy come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you let it come upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. Truly you are Praiseworthy and Glorious.”

Step 12 – Tasleem #

In this last step, you look to your right and say:

As-salaam Alaykum wa rahmat-ullahi wa barakaatuh

Translation: “May peace, the mercy of Allah, and his blessings be upon you”

And then to look to the left and repeat it again:

As-salaam Alaykum wa rahmat-ullahi wa barakaatuh

After this, the prayer has finished, and you have completed two Rakahs.

How to pray three and four Rakahs #

If you are praying three Rakahs, do all the same steps for two Rakahs, but the difference comes during Tashahud: you get up before saying the Abrahamic prayer. Instead, you say Takbir and stand up to perform one or two more Rakahs, and then complete the prayer as mentioned before.


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