How to pray
The Salah(prayer) is a special form of worship and is the second most important pillar of Islam after the Shahada (testimony of faith). The five daily prayers are obligated to the Muslims all over the world and were revealed to the prophet Mohammed s.a.w. (peace be upon him). Prayer was established after the Lailat Al Miraj (journey towards heaven) took place to worship Allah swt and there are many verses within the Quran revealing the importance of prayer. Here are two such verses:
‘’But those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of the reformers’’ (Sahih International 7:170)
‘’Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.’’ (Sahih International 29:45)
Before we will explain how to pray, we will give you some tips and tricks before you can start the prayer.
Tips and tricks
- Before you are initiating the Salat, it is important that you have the intention to pray.
- Fulfill all your personal needs before you commence your prayer. For example, if you need to go to the toilet, just go before prayer and then do the Wudu (Sahih Muslim Hadith 433, 436 Book of Purification).
- Pray in an environment free of noise and one where there is no distraction.
- It is forbidden to walk across in front of someone who is praying (Sahih Muslim Hadith 1023, 1025 Book of Prayers).
- Adorn yourself with clean and respectable clothes (Sahih al- Bukhari Hadith 366 Book of Prayer; Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 842 Book of Dress).
- Remind yourself continually that you are talking to your creator. Allah swt is in front of you. You are facing Him and you are involved in a dialogue with Him (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 305 Book of Actions while Praying).
- When you pray, be sure to focus on every step of your Salah and concentrate on every transitional position that you are in.
- Try to understand what you are reciting, as this will help with increasing your concentration.
- Continuously make dua. The best moment to make dua is when you are in sujud. Although your body is at its lowest point, your soul is standing at that moment right in front of Allah swt.
- Set alarms on your phone. This can act as a great tool to remind you to pray, as well as give you heads up on what time the next prayer is coming up (Sahih Muslim, Book of Prayers, Hadith 748, 751, 753, 1440).
- Avoid lifting your eyes towards the sky while supplicating in prayer (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 863 Book of Prayers).
Overview of the five daily prayers
SUNNAH (before fard)
SUNNAH (after fard)
2 + 2
2 + 2
Explanation how to pray
Step 1: Start the prayer
- Raise your hands between your ears and shoulders and say: ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ (Sahih Muslim, Book of Prayers, Hadith 758, 759, 761).
- The moment you say ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ the prayer will officially begin. From this point forward you should focus on the prayer and do your best to ignore all distractions.
Step 2: Lower your hands and place them over your naval. Your right hand should be placed over your left hand.
- Keep your eyes focused on the ground where you will do sujud (prostration) in front of you.
- Recite the opening chapter of the Quran (Sahih Muslim Hadith 771, 777, 778, 779 Book of Prayers). The first chapter of the Quran is called Surah Al Fatiha. You will begin by saying: ‘’A’udhu billahi minash- shaytaanir rajeem’’. This means ‘’I seek refuge in Allah swt from the accursed Shaytan (devil)’’. And then begin to recite the chapter verse by verse in Arabic.
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Rahiem
Alhamdoe lillaahi rabbil ‘aalameen
Maaliki Yawmid- Deen
Iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdina- Siraat Al- Mustaqeem
Siraata- ladina an’ amta ‘alaihim ghayril maghdoobi ‘alayhim wa lad dallien
- Say another Surah of your choice.
Step 3: Bow down. This is known as the ‘ruku’
- As you are bowing down say ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ (Sahih Muslim Hadith 764, 765 Book of Prayers). Make sure to keep your back straight, your hands on your knees, and your eyes focused on the ground where you will be prostrating.
- When you are in this position you will say this sentence three times ‘’Subhanna rabbi- al adhiem’’
- After this, you will stand up again.
Step 4: Return to standing up again
- As you are rising up from the Ruku position to a standing position you will say (Sahih Muslim Hadith 809, 811 Book of Prayers):
‘’Samee allahoe liman hameeda’’
- And when you are standing upright then say:
‘’Rabbana wa laka l hamd’’
- You need to hold your hands down the whole time. When you go down to perform prostration you need to bring your hands near to your ears.
Step 5: Go down to perform prostration. This is known as ‘sujud’.
- As you are moving into this position say ‘’Allahu Akbar’’.
- And also make sure your forehead, nose, palms of both hands, knees and both toes are touching the ground (Sahih Muslim Hadith 997, 998, 999 Book of Prayers).
- Say this sentence three times:
‘’Subhanna rabbi- al a’la’’
Step 6: Rise up from sujud and sit for a moment
- Say ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ as you rise from sujud and then sit on your left leg. Your left foot will rest on the floor while your right foot is upright. Place your hands on your knees.
- When you are in this position it is recommended to ask Allah swt for forgiveness. A simple and easy dua you can say is:
‘’Rabbigh- fir lee’’
This means: “My Lord forgive me’’.
Step 7: Return to the position of sujud
Say ‘’Allahu Akbar’’ and repeat step 5 again and perform a second sujud and say ‘’Subhanna rabbi- al a’la’’ three times again.
Step 8: Arise from the sujud to return to the standing position and say Allahu Akbar
- Congratulations, you have just completed one full rakah!
- The first rakah of every prayer is performed with these eight steps. When you reach the end of the second rakah you will perform the tashahud with step 9.
Step 9: Perform the tashahud at the end of every two rakah
- Instead of standing up after the two sujud, this time around you will sit on your legs and knees again. You will raise your right index finger and say (Sahih Muslim Hadith 793, 798 Book of Prayers):
At ta hijatoe lillahi was-salawatoe wa tajjibatoe
Assalamoe alaika ayyuhan nabi-oe
Wa rahmatoelahi wa barakatoehoe
Assalamoe alaina wa ‘ala ‘ibadilla-hi-salihiena
Ashadoe ella Ilaha Illa Allah
Wa ashadoe anna Mohammadan ‘abdoehoe wa rasoeloeh
Step 10: Tasliem
- If it is the final rakah in the prayer then you will end with the tasliem. When you do the tasliem you are actually greeting the angels that are praying with you.
- The tasliem is to look to your right and say:
‘’Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah’’
- And then look to the left and say it again:
‘’Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah’’
Fajr: two rakah ending with the tashahud + tasliem.
Sobh: two rakah ending with the tashahud + tasliem.
Dhor: two rakah – tashahud – two rakah – tashahud + tasliem.
Asr: two rakah – tashahud – two rakah – tashahud tasliem.
Maghrib: two rakah – tashahud – one rakah – tashahud + tasliem.
Isha: two rakah – tashahud – two rakah – tashahud tasliem.