Salat, The Prayer
 
Introduction

Salat, or prayer, is an important Islamic practice through which a connection between the faithful and Allah is cultivated. The fruit of this "cultivation" of prayer is the freedom of Man from tension and stress. It is the vehicle which moves the soul from egoism, temptation, and greed to the divine garden of peace, love, and unity.

The human being is the only creature who has been distinguished from other creatures with the instinct of knowing right from wrong. He is, therefore, the only one who is expected to know his Creator and become a perfect image of his attributes, as Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
"I have not created jins and humans but, for my worship"

SALAT or the method of worship is the main media through which a human can establish a relationship with his Creator and it is one of the main doors which leads to his complete submission to Allah's will."

Salat also prevents him from wrongdoings. Allah says: "Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil."
Which shows that Salat or prayer is a guarantee from Allah that if a worshipper observes prayer with all its conditions, he will be safe from evils, manifest or hidden, small or great.

The Holy Quran and hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad (p.b.h.) and the Imams (a.s.) are replete with examples of the importance of the daily prayers. According to them, true prayer is the source of salvation, success, peace and guidance. The Holy Quran quotes the Prophet Abraham (a.s.) as saying, "0 our Lord! surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Thy Sacred House, our Lord! that they may keep up prayer, (14:37).

Likewise, the Prophet Jesus (a.s.) said, "[30]He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet. [31]And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live. [32](He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. [33]"So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!" [34]Such (was) 'Isa the son of Maryam: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute." (19:30-34).

And as Allah commanded Prophet Moses (a.s.), "We inspired Musa and his brother with this Message: "Provide dwellings for your People in Egypt, make your houses into places of worship, and establish regular prayers, and give good news to those who are believers"(l0:87).

There is even a verse in the holy Quran in which Allah has told the holy Prophet (p.b.h.) to keep up the prayer even during times of danger "When thou (O Messenger) art with them, and standest to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with thee, taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear. And let the other party come up - which hath not yet prayed - and let them pray with thee, taking all precautions, and bearing arms: the Unbelievers wish, if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if ye put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because ye are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the Unbelievers Allah hath prepared a humiliating punishment. (4:102)"

Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: "When you pass (congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah's praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when you are free from danger, set up regular prayers: for such prayers are enjoined on Believers at stated times. (4:103)"


Allah says in the Holy Quran: "In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed signs for men of understanding;"

This verse beautifully tells us that when a worshipper reflects upon the structure of the Universe he becomes overwhelmed with the greatness of its Creator. The ENTITY Who created such an awe-inspiring structure with such detailed arrangement and accuracy. He is alone to be worshipped and so right for protection."Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire."

Just as performing Salaat is obligatory, learning to perform it in the prescribed way is also obligatory - and one should know what he/she is saying to his/her Lord.

Elements & Form of Prayer Niyyat (Intention of prayer)

Niyya is the intention of prayer by uttering the words of remembrance for the love of Allah and to be closer to Allah.

By this you say that why you are standing for prayer, which prayer, how many rakats and QURBATAN ILALLAH(to get closer to Allah). You can say it loud or in your mind.

Recite quietly: "I offer my (such as such) prayer of so many (2, 3 or 4) Rakaat (Wajib or mustahab, etc.) QURBATAN ILALLAH.

For example: I will pray the salat al-Fajr, two ra'akat, Wajib, gurbatan ila-llah, (to get closer to Allah).

It doesn't matter what language you say it, as long as you have the intention. This is the way you should stand and put your hands up during this stage:

Qiyam (Standing for prayer)

Qiyam is the act of standing for prayer when it is called.

(fig 1) 

Takbiratul Ehram (The pronouncement of Allaho Akbar (God is most great) before prayer)

Takbiratul Ehram is the pronouncement of Allaho Akbar (God is most great), which begins the prayer.

Raise both hands up to the ears, with fingers drawn together. When your mind has become focused, make the call of Allaho Akbar and your prayer has begun.

(fig 2) 

After you do your Takbiratul-Ehram (saying Allah Akbar) and drop your hands, from ears to your laps. Now you entered prayer officially and from this point till salam you can't talk, eat, or move out of prayer's form.

Qira’at (Recitation of chapters (suras) from the Quran)

Qira’a is the portion of prayer which is a recitation of two chapters of the Quran. The first chapter is always AlFateha. Start your prayer by reading Al-Hamd and the sura (fig 3). You have to say everything in arabic and learning it is very easy just need practice, you can ask some of the Muslims or people who know arabic to read the right pronounciation for you, or click on the photo to listen to it. In this part you would read two chapters, Reading the chapter al-Hamd is necessary but chossing the sura is up to you, people read the chapter of Ekhlas mostly. The way to stand and read is in the figure 3.

(fig 3) 

Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahim (In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful)

Alhamdo Lillahi Rabbil ‘alameen (All praise is due to Allah, Lord and Sustainer of all creation)

Arrahmannir Rahim (The most Beneficent, the most Merciful)

Maliki yow maddeen (Lord of the Day of Judgment)

Iyya kana ‘boddo wa iyyakana sta ‘een (You are the One we worship, and the [only] One to whom we turn [for help])

Ihdinas siratal mostaqeem (Guide us to the straight path)

Siratal ladhina an ‘amta ‘alahim (The path of those upon whom You have shown favor)

Ghayril maghdhubi ‘alahim waladhaalleem (Not the path of those whom You have cursed, or the ones who have gone astray)

The second most recited chapter, Surat Al-Ikhlas (Sura 112) is presented below, to be said after AI-Fateha:

Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahim (In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful)

Qulho Allaho Ahad (Say that Allah is One)

Allahos Samad(Allah is independent of all beings and has no need of their help)

Lain yaled walam youlad (He begot none, nor was He begotten)

Walam yakullaho kufuwan ahad (And no creatures are alike to or comparable with Him)

Upon completing qira’a, say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). Then enter to ruku’.

Ruku’ (Bowing)

After you read the Al-hamd and sura you bend by placing your hands on your knees, this is called Ruku'e. And you say a dhikr (praise to allah) recited in ruku’ is as follows:

SUBHANA RAB BI AL AZEE MI WA BI HAM DIH (Free from all defects is my All-Great Lord, and with His praise I adore Him)

To make it easy on the biginners, one could say SUBHAN-ALLAH (3 times) or one can refer to the people who pray for their thekr. Fig 4 explains how you have to do this part.

(fig 4) 

After ruku’ you stand up-righ and say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). Then you go to Sajdah

After ruku’ when you stand up-righ it is optional to say: SAMI ALLAH HU LIMAN HAMIDAH (God listens to one who praises Him) and then say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). Then you go to Sajdah

Sajdatayn (Two consecutive prostrations)

In this part you prostrate to allah. That means you place seven part of your body(forehead, palms, knees, and toes) touching the ground. Your forhead should be on a wooden or stone made object (see more details on this part). You do one Sajda, like in fig 5, And you say a dhikr (praise to allah) recited in Sajdah is as follows:

SUBHANA RAB BI AL A'LAA WA BI HAMDIH (Free from all defects is my All-Highest Lord, and with His praise I adore Him)

To make it easy on the biginners, one could say SUBHAN-ALLAH (3 times) or one can refer to the people who pray for their dhekr.

Then you sit like you are in Tashahood, and say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). you do another Sajdeh after that.

(fig 5) 

After Sajdatayn you stand up-righ for secound Rakat.

Men pushing off so the knees come off the floor before the hands.
Women pushing off so the hands come off the floor first.

Dhikr (Prescribed recitations in Ruku’ and Sajdatayn)

Dhikr (Prescribed recitations in Ruku’ and Sajdatayn)

Qunoot (Optional) (Du’a after the second Qira’a)

Qunut is the part you raise your hand and ask allah for what you need or just say a short grace. Qunut is performed after the Al-hamd and Sura recitation of the second rakat and it is not required (vajeb) but it is Mustahab (recommended). The way to do this part is explained in figure 6.

(fig 6) 

After Qunoot, say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). Then enter to ruku’ then Sajdatayn and Tashahhud.

Tasbihat Arba’ah (Praises said in the third and fourth rak’a’)

This part is for prayers other than Fajr prayer which have more than 2 Rakats and it replaces the reading of Al-hamd and the Sura. If you can not say Tasbihat Arba’ah (prefered), you can simply read the Al-hamd only with low voice. The way to do this part is explained in figure 7.

(fig 7) 

Subhanal'lah (Allah is pure)

Wal-hamdule'lah (thanks to Allah)

Wala Elaha Elallah'u (no god but Allah)

Wa'llah'u Akbar (Allah is great)

There is four parts to it and that is why it is called Tasbeehat al-Arba'a. You can say this dhekr only once or three times.

After Tasbihat Arba’ah, say Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). Then enter to ruku’.

Tashahhud (Bearing witness after sajdatayn)

After performing your second sajdah on the second rakat of every prayer and the last rakat of the any prayer you are performing before saying the Salam and you finish salat, You perform Tashahud.

Example: if you are performing the Dohr, Asr, and Esha prayers which are four Rakats you do Tashahood in the end of second Rakat and at the end of fourth Rakat before saying the Salam.

And if you performing the Maghreb prayer which is three Rakat's, you do Tashahood at the end of second Rakat and the third Rakat before saying the Salam and finishing the prayer.

In this part you would sit in a way that your left foot is on your right and your palms are on your thighs. And you read Tashahood in arabic. The way to do this part is explained in figure 8.

(fig 8) 

ASH HADU AN LAA ILAHA IL LAL LAH (I bear witness that there is no God except Allah)

WAHDAHU LA SHARIKA LAHU (He is One, without any partner)

WA ASH HADU AN NA MUHAMMAD AN ABDUHU WA RASOOLUH (And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servent and Messenger)

ALLA HUMMA SAL LI ALA MUHAMMADIN WA AALI MUHAMMAD (O our God, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad)

Salaam (Salutation)

This is the end part of salat and by reciting this part you officially end your prayer. You would read Salaam at the end of the last Rakat (after Tashahhud) and you will finish your prayer. The way to do this part is explained in figure 9.

(fig 9) 

ASSALAM MU ALAIKA AYYUHAN NABIYYU WA RAHMAT UL LAHI WA BARAKATUH (Peace be unto thee, O Apostle and the mercy of God and His bounties)

ASSALAM MU ALAINA WA ALA IBAD DIL LAHIS SUALIHEEN (Peace be unto us and unto the virtuous servants of God)

ASSALAM MU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATUL LAHI WABARAKATUH (Peace be unto ye all, and the mercy of God and his bounties)

After reading this you would say three times Takbir: Allaho Akbar (God is most great). This part is explained in figure 10.

(fig 10) 

LA ILAHA IL LAL LAH (There is no God but Allah)

ALLA HUMMA SALLI ALA MUHAMMADIN WA AALI MUHAMMAD (O our God, bless Muhammad, and the Progeny of Muhammad) you would say this three times.

Tartib (Executing the prayer in the prescribed order)

Tartib (Executing the prayer in the prescribed order)

Units of Prayer (Rak’at)

NOTE: Niyya, Qiyam, and takbiratul Ehram are always performed before the prayer is begun.

1st Rakat: Qira’a - Ruku’ - Sajdatayn, then rise.

2nd Rakat: Qira’a - Ruku’ - Sajdatayn - Tashahhud, (if fajr prayer: Salaam, which end the prayer) then rise.

3rd Rakat: Tasbiha Arba’ah - Ruku’ - Sajdatayn - Tashahhud, (if magreb prayer: Salaam, which end the prayer) then rise.

4th Rakat: Tasbiha Arba’ah - Ruku’ - Sajdatayn - Tashahhud - Salaam, which end the prayer.

Tone of Voice

The way the prayer is said differs between those said alone in private (fard) and those said in congregation (jama‘a). In any case, one should be humble and soft-spoken in prayer.

Private: Fajr (morning) all aloud.

Private: Dhour (noon) and Asr (afternoon) all silent.

Private: Maghrib (dusk) and Isha’ (evening) all aloud except Tasbeehat' al-Arba'a.

Congregation: It is hard to overestimate the divine reward in praying in congregation. The prophet Mohammad (p.b.h.) has stated that, "If two people form a group for prayer, the thawab (divine rewards) for the both of them in each rak’a will be equal to one hundred-fifty rakat’s, and if they are three, the thwab of each rak’a will be six hundred prayers and if they are more than ten, then if the skies were paper, and the seas ink, and the trees all pens, and all men, jinn and angels were scribes, still they couldn’t enumerate the amount of thawab in one rakat.

Allah has revealed in the Quran that when the Quran is being recited, the people should listen quietly. Thus, when we are praying in congregation, we are silent for all the prayers when the Quran is being recited (qira’a). During the other sections, men should recite ruku’, qunoot, sajdatayn, tashahhud and salaam, softly along with the prayer leader (main). Women should pray silently for all congregational prayers

Clothing and Cleanliness (including hejab)

Personal hygiene and appearance are virtues in Islam. There is a saying by the prophet Mohammad (p.b.h.) which says, "Allah is Beauty, and Allah loves the beautiful."

"An Nazafat Al Menal Eiman" (Cleanliness is from Eiman - Islamic Faith)

It was encouraged 1400 years ago to shower often, especially on Fridays. The holy Prophet (p.b.h.) once said, "I would have made brushing teeth obligatory on my people before every prayer, but I feared that it would be an undue hardship on them." Consider how you dress when you want to present yourself in front of judges and presidents. You choose your best clothes. It is no different when we stand before Allah for our prayers. For He (glory be to Him) is higher than any official on earth, yet He listens to us any time day or night without an appointment.

CLEANLINESS (Tahira)

If your clothes become stained with any of the items listed in table, you should rinse the stained area at least twice under tap water, or remove them for prayer and wear something else. The clothes, should be washed in due course.

Part of the cleanliness in Islam involves cleaning ourselves with water after going to the bathroom due to the impurity of urine and stool. After urination, pour clean water on the urethral orifice in order to properly cleanse that area before prayer. Your prayer will be incorrect if this is not done.

CLOTHING (Satr)

MEN: It is required (wajeb) to be covered from the navel to the knee. However, it should be stressed again that it is highly recommended to wear clean, modest clothing, long pants and a long sleeved shirt at all times.

WOMEN: When a women is praying or she is in Public or with non-familial men, she should wear Hejab. Hejab is to covere her entire body except the hands and roundness of her face (the hair should not show), if she does not have make-up. There is no single correct way for a woman to dress modestly in Islam. Modest clothing is more a reflection of cultural traditions than of jurisprudence.

Note: Many of the scholars of Islam have stated that for precaution, a some type of outer covering, like a rain coat, or loosely fitting clothes should be worn so that her hips and bosom are not apparent in public. This is more preferable than simply wearing ordinary (and possibly revealing) clothes with a hejab.

Direction and Times of Prayer Direction of Prayer (Qiblah)

All Muslims, throughout the world, will face Mecca, Saudi Arabia when they pray. (Shortes distance on straight line)

Allah, choose us a direction Qiblah the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba is the House of Monotheism built by the prophets Abraham(a.s.) and Ishmael(a.s.) to honor Allah, and Allah only, in worship and dedication. Mecca is the birthplace of the final revelation of Allah, and the birthplace of the final messenger of Allah. By facing the Ka’ba, we are facing up to the Abrahamic struggle of sacrificing everything and all to be in peace and submission to our Lord.

Naturally, the qiblah will vary depending on what part of the world you are living.

Qiblah in Atlanta - USA: "38°" degrees North-East.

If you are not sure about what the Qiblah is in your area, check with your local mosque. If a mosque is not currently in your area, a special compass can be purchased through mail-order catalogues.

Times of Prayer

The best time to pray is at the earliest time permissible for that prayer. Your area mosque normally has a listing of the prayer times for your area. If such a listing is not available in your area, simply check the times of sunrise and sunset in your local newspaper. The time of sunrise tells you the latest moment that the fajr (morning) prayer can be said. The sunset time (plus eighteen minutes) tells you the earliest time that your maghrib prayer can be perform. These times also supply you ample margin to say your dhuhr (noon), ‘asr (afternoon) and esha’ (evening) prayers.

Morning prayer: The morning prayer is to be said between dawn and sunrise. "False dawn" is the moment when a column of whiteness rises upward from the eastern horizon. "True dawn" is when this column of whiteness spreads across the horizon. This is the best time for fajr prayer. When the sun begins to rise above the eastern horizon, the time for fajr prayer has past. In general, true dawn begins about 80 minutes before sunrise.

Noon and Afternoon prayers: If you place a long, straight object on steady ground, as the sun rises in the east, it will cast a long west-bound shadow. As the sun rises, the shadow will decrease in length and move eastward. Noon is the moment that the sun has reached the highest point in the sky. After that, the shadow of the pole will begin to extend eastward as the sun begins to move towards the western horizon. The time of the noon and afternoon prayers, then, is from the time that the shadows of objects begin to point eastward until sunset.

Evening and night prayers: The time for maghrib and esha’ prayers is from when the redness in the eastern sky has subsided after sunset until midnight. " We wait for approximately eighteen minutes after the stated time of sunset. This is done to ensure that we do not say our evening prayers too early due to variations in the time of sunset throughout a time zone. Midnight is the last moment that the night prayer can be said and still be considered to be punctual.

Midnight is determined by calculating the time between dusk and dawn, or add 12 hours to the noon time.

Places of Prayer

The best place for prayer is in a mosque. If you live in the neighborhood of a mosque, it is highly desirable to attend group prayer when it is held. Like the Friday prayer (salat al-Jumuiah) it helps create cohesiveness for the community and serves as a forum for discussion, contacts and the like. You will often find the regular attendees of communal prayer to be knowledgeable and eager to answer any questions you might have about prayer and Islam in general.

If a mosque is not is your area, or you are not able to attend communal prayer, it is suitable to pray in your house. It is recommended that a particular room, or corner of a room be set aside for prayer only. This way, the only association you have with that environment is one of meditation, peace, and devotion to Allah.

Any figurines, busts, or other sculpted items of animals or humans should not be in your line of sight of the Qiblah. This is so the worshippers of Allah never return to idol worship again or anything resembling it.

If possible, do not pray in front of an open door or in the line of public path.

The place in which you choose to pray should be level and solid (e.g. praying on a mattress, or on tall grass is not recommended).


Wudhu, Ablution
 

Salat, or prayer, is an important Islamic practice through which a connection between the faithful and Allah is cultivated. The fruit of this "cultivation" of prayer is the freedom of Man from tension and stress. It is the vehicle which moves the soul from egoism, temptation, and greed to the divine garden of peace, love, and unity.

The human being is the only creature who has been distinguished from other creatures with the instinct of knowing right from wrong. He is, therefore, the only one who is expected to know his Creator and become a perfect image of his attributes, as Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:
"I have not created jins and humans but, for my worship"

SALAT or the method of worship is the main media through which a human can establish a relationship with his Creator and it is one of the main doors which leads to his complete submission to Allah's will."

Salat also prevents him from wrongdoings. Allah says: "Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil."
Which shows that Salat or prayer is a guarantee from Allah that if a worshipper observes prayer with all its conditions, he will be safe from evils, manifest or hidden, small or great.

The Holy Quran and hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad (p.b.h.) and the Imams (a.s.) are replete with examples of the importance of the daily prayers. According to them, true prayer is the source of salvation, success, peace and guidance. The Holy Quran quotes the Prophet Abraham (a.s.) as saying, "0 our Lord! surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Thy Sacred House, our Lord! that they may keep up prayer, (14:37).

Likewise, the Prophet Jesus (a.s.) said, "[30]He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet. [31]And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live. [32](He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. [33]"So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!" [34]Such (was) 'Isa the son of Maryam: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute." (19:30-34).

And as Allah commanded Prophet Moses (a.s.), "We inspired Musa and his brother with this Message: "Provide dwellings for your People in Egypt, make your houses into places of worship, and establish regular prayers, and give good news to those who are believers"(l0:87).

There is even a verse in the holy Quran in which Allah has told the holy Prophet (p.b.h.) to keep up the prayer even during times of danger "When thou (O Messenger) art with them, and standest to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up (in prayer) with thee, taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear. And let the other party come up - which hath not yet prayed - and let them pray with thee, taking all precautions, and bearing arms: the Unbelievers wish, if ye were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to assault you in a single rush. But there is no blame on you if ye put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because ye are ill; but take (every) precaution for yourselves. For the Unbelievers Allah hath prepared a humiliating punishment. (4:102)"

Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: "When you pass (congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah's praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when you are free from danger, set up regular prayers: for such prayers are enjoined on Believers at stated times. (4:103)"


Allah says in the Holy Quran: "In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed signs for men of understanding;"

This verse beautifully tells us that when a worshipper reflects upon the structure of the Universe he becomes overwhelmed with the greatness of its Creator. The ENTITY Who created such an awe-inspiring structure with such detailed arrangement and accuracy. He is alone to be worshipped and so right for protection."Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire."

Just as performing Salaat is obligatory, learning to perform it in the prescribed way is also obligatory - and one should know what he/she is saying to his/her Lord.

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