How To: Salah (prayer)

bismillah al rahman ir rahim

[In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate]

Salat guide pdf

Salah is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority in Islam and there are no priests. Prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur’an and is generally chosen by the congregation.

The five prescribed prayers contain verses from the Qur’an, and are said in Arabic, the  language of the Revelation. Personal supplications, however, can be  offered in one’s own language and at any time.

Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may  pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities. Oftentimes visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.

A translation of the Adan or Call to Prayer is:

God is Great. God is Great. God is Great. God is Great.
I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success! Come to success!
God is Great! God is Great!
There is none worthy of worship except God.


Before we perform Salah we must first prepare ourselves. This preparation includes making sure that we are clean from any physical impurities and performing Wudu. Wudu (ablution) is required for performing Salah.  We cannot offer our Salah without first making Wudu. I have another page with the step-by-step instructions onn wudu.

Status of Salah – Why is it so important?

  • It is the main pillar after shahada
  • The only act of worship prescribed in Heaven, directly from Allah
  • The first matter of accounton the Day of Judgment
    • “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment I the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. If it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [At-Tabarani}
    • The best of all deeds of worship
      • “Abdullah ibn Mas’ud narrated, ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah which deed is most beloved to Allah? He said: Salah at its appointed times.’ Then Abdullah asked, ‘And then what?’ The Messenger said, ‘Then kindness to parents.’ Then he asked, ‘And then what?’ The Messenger said, ‘Jihad in the way of Allah.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

Linguistic definition

  • Dua and istighfar – Supplication and Seeking Forgiveness
    • Prayer is like a furnace which burns and erases our sins
      • Every day we have a promise from Allah to forgive us

History of Prayer

  • Prayer was obligated during the times of Ibrahim, Ismail, Musa, and Isa alayhis salaam
  • There are mentions of sujood and ruku mentioned in the Bible and Torah
    • “And Abram fell on his face and God talked with him, saying..” [Genesis 17:3 and 17:17]
    • “And Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped.” [Exodus 34:8]

Big Points:

  • Muslims were not the first or only people who performed salah
  • The actions of salah are universal, not exclusive
  • These actions represent humility and humbleness, signs of devotion

Prayer in Islam: Prayer was prescribed gradually

  • Stage 1 – first 3 years of the Message
    • there were only 2 prayers – one in morning and one in evening
    • Qiblah was towards Jerusalem (stayed this way for 13 years)
  • Stage 2
    • Obligatory night prayer: every single night for one year
    • After one year, it became voluntary
  • Stage 3 – 3 years before the Hijrah
    • 5 daily prayers were prescribed (equal to 50)
    • Times of the 5 prayers – taught by Angel Jibril
    • Prayers were only 2 rakkat
    • Talking during salah was allowed
  • Stage 4 – 2ndyear after the Hijrah
    • Qibla changed towards Mecca
    • Salah was enhanced, number of rakkats increased
    • Traveling prayers stay the same, only two
      • Talking during salah prohibited

Big Points:

  • Allah showed His Mercy by prescribing prayer gradually and decreasing the number of prayers from 50 to 5, still with the same amount of reward
  • The sahabah prayed Qiyam ul-layl every single night for an entire year

Types of Salah

  • Fard (obligatory)
    • Fajr              2 rakkat     aloud      lateral brightness
    • Zuhr            4 rakkat     silent      when sun declines from zenith – mid afternoon
    • Asr               4 rakkat     silent      shadow = object, or X2
    • Maghrib     3 rakkat     aloud      sun is completely set
    • Isha             4 rakkat     aloud      various opinions
    • *(Witr)          odd #       aloud
  • *Hanifa believes obligatory; other believe recommended sunnah
  • Prophet Muhammad never missed witr or 2 sunnah before fajr

Big Points:

  • Humans were created out of two ingredients
    • Soul “ruh” from the heavens
    • Body from the dirt
      • In order to take care of ourselves, spiritual and physical we need to nurture and sustain our bodies. For our physical body we eat three meals a day. For our spiritual part we have five spiritual meals
      • Prayer is a frequent reminder of the purpose of our life, worshipping Allah
      • Prayer is a life organizer, a tool to teach us self discipline


  • Muslim
  • Age of puberty
  • State of sound mind

Rulings for Abandoning Salah

  • First case: Neglecting salah denying it as an obligation
    • Unanimous agreement, this person is a kafir
  • Second case: Neglecting salah out of laziness or other reasons
    • This person is disobedient (Abu Hanifa, Malik, Sahfi)
    • This person is a kafir (Ahmad)

Forbidden Times

  • After fajr (after you pray fajr)
  • When the sun is rising
  • When sun is at its zenith
  • After asr (after you pray asr)
  • When the sun is setting

Exception (all except Hanafi): you may pray during these times if you have a salat that needs to be prayed with reason à example: enter the masjid

Arkan (integrals) of the salah – if you miss one of these, your prayer is invalid

1)    Standing for those who are able

2)    Opening takbir

3)    Recitation of the Quran

4)    Ruku

5)    Rising up from ruku

6)    Sujood

7)    Coming up from sujood

8)    Sitting calmly between the two sajdahs

9)    Sitting during the last tashahhud

10)  Recitation of the last tashahhud

11)  Recitation of the salawat al-Ibrahimiyyah

12)  The taslim

13)  Being tranquil in every rakkat

14)  Maintaining the order of the arkan

Sunnahs in the prayer

  • Folding the right hand over the left in qiyam (standing)
  • Looking down at the spot of prostration
  • Saying “ameen” after Surah Al-Fatiha
  • Reciting a surah after Surah Al-Fatiha
  • Reciting dua between the sujoods
    • “rabigfirlee rabigfirlee”
    • Placing hands on thighs during tashahhud
    • Point with the right index finger during shahada

Makrooh Acts during Salah: (lessen the reward)

  • Omit one of the obligatory acts on purpose
  • Moving without any excuseable reason
  • To close the eyes (unless going to be distracted)
  • Look away from the spot of one’s prostration
  • To pray while needing to go to the bathroom
  • Yawning
  • To spread the forearms on the ground
  • To be dressed untidily
  • To wear clothes that have distracting patterns or designs
  • To wear tight clothing

Beauty of our prayer

  • Opening takbir:
    • “Allahu Akbar”- reminder that there is nothing more important than praying to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
    • We throw everything behind us
  • Standing:
    • Eyes should be focused on the place of prostration
    • We are standing in a position, showing our humility
    • We should perfect our recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha
  • Ruku:
    • In this position we level our heart with our intellect
    • Black is flat, hands on knees, knees are locked, elbows out if praying alone but if in congregation elbows should be in
    • Eyes: Hanifa – between the feet          Other: place of prostration
    • Do not make dua during this
  • Standing from ruku:
    • Square shoulders (stand up straight), arms rest by your sides
  • Sujood:
    • During the time when we are the lowest to the ground, we say in Arabic “Glory be to Allah, the most High”
    • 8 bones/parts of the body that should touch
      • Hands (palms) level with shoulders
        • Elbows out when alone, in while in congregation
        • Nose
        • Forehead
        • Knees
        • Toes – pointing towards Quibla, ankles and feet together
        • Taslim: saying salaam to the right and left
          • Should say it to the right and then the left

Dhikr after Salah

  • There was no specific routine of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
  • Best thing to do: stay on the same spot for as long as you can after the fard salah – Allah swt will assign angels to ask for forgiveness for you until you stand up or break wudu
  • Recommended to say – [SubhanAllah (10), Alhamdulillah (10), Allahu Akbar (10)], or Ayat Al-Kursi, or personal duas
Allahu akbar
God is the Greatest
Audhu billahi
minash shaitanir rajeem
I seek Refuge with Allah
from Satan, the acursed
Subhanaka Allahuma
wa bihamdika
wa tabarak asmuka
wa ta ala jaduka
wa la ilaha ghairuk
Purity (from imperfection belongs) to you, my God
And the praise (also belongs to you)
Blessed is Your Name
Your Majesty (Glory and Might) is Exalted
there is no diety but You
1. Bismilahi rahmani rahim
2. Alhamdu lillahi rabbil alamin
3. Ar-rahmanir rahim
4. Maliki yaumi din
5. Iyaka na’budu wa iyaka nastain
6. Ihdina siratal mustaqim
7. Siratal lazina an amta alaihim
Ghairil maghdubi alaihim wa lad-dalin
1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
2. All the praises are for Allah, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
3. the Beneficent, the Merciful,
4. Lord of the Day of Judgment.
5. You alone do we worship and You alone do we ask for help
6. Lead us along the straight path,
7. the path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favours,
not of those who incurred Your wrath, nor (of those who) went astray!
Bismilahi rahmani rahim
1. Ina atainak al-kauthar
2. Fa salli li rabbika wanhar
3. Inna shaniaka huwal abtar
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
1. To you have We granted the Fount (of Abundance)
2. Therefore to your Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice
3. For he who hates you, he will be cut off (from Future Hope).
Bismilahi rahmani rahim
1. Qul hu walahu ahad
2. Allahus samad
3. Lam yalid wa lam yulad
4. Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
1. Say: He is God, One
2. God, the Shelterer
3. He begets not. Nor is He begotten
4. And there is no compeer unto Him
In Ruqu
Subhana Rabbiyal Adheem
Glory be to my Lord, the Almighty
From Ruqu
Sami Allahu liman hamidah
God hears those who praise Him
Rabbana wa lakal hamd
Our Lord, praise be to You
In Sajda
Subhana Rabbiyal ala
Glory be to my Lord, the Most High
Rabbi ghfir lee, ghfir lee
My God forgive me, forgive me
At taheyatu lil-lahi was salawatu wa taiyibatu
As salamu alaika ayuhan nabi
Wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
As salamu alaina
Wa ala ibadil lahis salihin
Ash hadu an la ilaha ilallah
Wa ash hadu anna muhamadan
abduhu wa rasuluh
All compliments, prayers and beautiful expressions are for God.
Peace be on you, O Messenger,
and God’s mercy and blessings.
Peace be on us
and on all righteous servants of God.
I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except God.
And I bear witness that Muhammad
is His servant and Envoy.
Allahuma sali ala muhamadin wa ala ali muhamad
Kama sallaita ala ibrahima Wa ala ali ibrahima
Inaka hamidun majid
Allahuma barik ala Muhamadin wa ala ali Muhamad
Kama barakta ala Ibrahima wa ala ali Ibrahima
Inaka hamidun majid
My God, honour Muhammad and Muhammad’s family
as you honoured Abraham and Abraham’s family
Surely, you are praiseworthy, the Great
My God, bless Muhammad and Muhammad’s family
as you bless ed Abraham and Abraham’s family
Surely, you are praiseworthy, the Great
Prayer from the Quran
Allahumma rabana
atena fid dunia hasanatan
Wa fil-aherati hasanatan
wa kina ‘adhaban-nar
Rabbana gfirli
wa le waledaya we lel-momenena
Jawma jakomol hesab
My Allah, our God
give us goods in this world
and goods in the hereafter
and guard us from the torment of fire
Our God, forgive me,
my parents, and the believers
the Day we shall be held accountable
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
God’s peace and blessings be upon you

وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُواً أَحَدٌ   And there is none co-equal to Him

Video for learning the Arabic of Salah

One Response “How To: Salah (prayer)” →
  1. How To: Salah (prayer) Tales of A Modern Hijabi was added to my own bookmarks. I can not wait to learn more about this subject.


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