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How to Pray (Salah)

  1. One should make wudhu by using pure water, as Allah (peace be upon him) orders:

    "O you who believe! When you stand to offer Salah (the Prayer) wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, pass wet hands over your heads, and [wash] your feet up to ankles." (5:6)

  2. One must face the Qiblah, which is the direction of the Ka’bah, with his whole body and intend (with his heart) the specific prayer he is performing, without uttering it verbally.

  3. One must pronounce Takbeerat-ul-Ihraam by saying ‘Allahu Akbar’. He should do so while looking at the place he will prostrate in, raising his hands to the level of his shoulders or his earlobes, extending his fingers [with his palms] facing the Qiblah.

  4. One should put his hands on his chest, placing his right hand over his left, and recite the opening supplication (Du‘aa-ul-Istiftaah): “Subhaanak-Allahumma wa bi hamdika, wa tabaarak-Asmuka, wa ta‘aala jaddukka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka.” Meaning: Far removed are You from every imperfection, O Allah, and all praise belongs to You. Blessed is Your Name. Great and Exalted is Your Kingdom. None has the right to be worshipped except You.”

    One should then say:

    “A‘oodhu billaahi min ash-Shaytaan ir-Rajeem. Bismillaah ir-Rahmaan ir-Raheem.”

    Meaning: I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the Rejected One. I begin with the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, and the Bestower of Mercy.

    Then one should recite Surah al-Faatihah, saying ‘Ameen’ after finishing it; saying it aloud in the prayers in which he reads aloud and silently in the silent prayers. After this, one should recite whatever he can from the Qur'an.

  5. After completing recitation, one should bow (rukoo’) by bending the back forward. First he should say: “Allahu Akbar.”

    Meaning: Allah is the Greatest.

    He should raise his hands to his shoulders or earlobes while doing so. Then he should make rukoo’ (bowing posture) extending his back, making his head level with it. At this point he should place his hands with his fingers spread on his knees, keeping the elbows away from his sides. In the rukoo’, one should say three times:

    “Subhaana Rub-biyal-Adheem.”

    Meaning: Far removed is my Lord, the Most Magnificent, from every imperfection.

  6. One should raise his head [and upper body] from the rukoo, and raise his hands to his shoulders or earlobes, saying:

    “Sami‘allahu liman Hamidah.”

    Meaning: Allah answers the supplication of those who praise and extol Him.

    One should say this whether he is praying alone or leading others in Prayer. After fully returning to a standing position, one should say:

    “Rabanaa wa lak-al-Hamd.”

    Meaning: Our Lord, and to You belongs all praise.

    But if one is praying behind an Imam , he should say while standing:

    “Rabanaa wa lak-al-Hamd.”

    Meaning: Our Lord, and to You belongs all praise.

    It is recommended that one should place his hands on his chest as he did in the first standing before the rukoo’.

  7. Next, one must prostrate (Sujood) and say:

    “Allahu Akbar.”

    Meaning: Allah is the Greatest.

    He should not raise his hands [to his shoulders or ears]. He should descend, placing his knees on the ground before his hands -if it is not hard for him- and prostrate on his forehead and nose, his hands, his knees, and the bottom of the toes. The fingers and toes should face the Qiblah, and his fingers should be drawn together (not spread apart). He should keep his elbows away from his sides and his knees away from his stomach and his thighs away from his legs. He should lift his elbows and forearms off the ground and say (three times):

    “Subhaana Rub-biyal-A’laa.”

    Meaning: Far removed is my Lord, the Most High, from every imperfection.

    One should supplicate as much as possible in the sujood, for the Prophet said:

    “As for the rukoo’, aggrandize the Lord (l'Unique) and as for the sujood, make as much supplication as you can, for [it is the place where] it is most likely to be accepted.” (Muslim #479)

  8. One should raise his head from the sujood and say, “Allahu Akbar.” One should not raise his hands to his shoulders or earlobes while saying so. He should lay his left foot flat on the ground [pointing to the right] and sit upon it, and prop his right foot upright [with the bottom of his toes on the ground facing the Qiblah]. One should place his hands on his thighs and knees, and then say thrice:

    “Rabbighfir li.”

    Meaning: My Lord, forgive me.

    In addition to this, he may say:

    “Allahumm-aghfir li, warhamni, wahdini, warzuqni, wa ‘aafini, wajburni.”

    Meaning: O Allah, forgive me, have mercy upon me, grant me sustenance, keep me in a state of safety and wellbeing, and strengthen my weakness.

  9. One has to perform a second sujood saying, “Allahu Akbar,” without raising his hands. He should do as he did in the first sujood.

  10. Then one raises his head [from sujood] saying, “Allahu Akbar,” without raising his hands [to his shoulders or earlobes] and stand up and perform the second Rak'ah, supporting himself with his knees, if possible. If this is difficult, then he may stand up while supporting himself with his hands.

    After standing, he should recite Surah al-Faatihah and whatever he can recite from the Qur'an, just as he did in the first rak‘ah.

  11. If one is performing a prayer which consists of two Rak'aat, such as Fajr, Jumu‘ah, or ‘Eid, after the second prostration he should sit with his right foot propped up, sitting on his left foot laid flat [pointing to the right]. He should clench his right hand and place it on the lower part of his right thigh, and he should point with his finger during his supplication and mentioning Allah (the tashahhud) symbolizing His Tawheed. He should place his left hand on the bottom part of his left thigh and recite the tashahhud:

    “At-Tahiyyaatu lillaahi, was-Salawaatu, wat-Tayyibaatu, as-Salaamu ‘alayka ‘ayyuhan-Nabiyyu, wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. As-Salaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaad-illaah-is-Saaliheen. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluh.”

    Meaning: All Words of Praise and glorification are for Allah alone, and all Prayers and acts of worship, and pure words and attributes. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. May Allah send peace and security upon us, and upon all of Allah’s righteous slaves. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger.

    He should then seek refuge from four things:

    “Allaahumma innee a‘oodhu bika min ‘adhaabi jahannam, wa min ‘adhaab-il-qabr, wa min fitnat il-mahyaa wal-mamaat, wa min fitnat il-maseeh id-Dajjaal.”

    Meaning: O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the punishment of Hellfire, from the Torment of the Grave, from the Trials of Living and Dying, and from the Trials of the Pseudo-Christ (Dajjaal).

    One should ask Allah whatever he wishes, and desires from the good things of this life and next.

  12. Lastly, one should make the ‘Tasleem’ to the right, by turning his head to the right saying:

    “As-Salaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullaah.”

    Meaning: May the Safety and Mercy of Allah be upon you.

    Then he should make tasleem to his left, by turning his head to the left, saying “As-Salaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullaah.”

  13. If one is performing a three rak‘ah Prayer, such as Maghrib, or a four rak‘ah prayer, such as Dhuhr, ‘Asr or ‘Ishaa, after saying “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘Abduhu wa Rasooluhu,” in the Tashahhud mentioned previously, he should stand up and pray the third rak‘ah for a three rak'aat Prayer, or the third and fourth rak‘ahs for a four rak‘aat Prayer. He should stand, while supporting himself with his knees if he is able, and raise his hands to the level of his shoulders [or earlobes] saying, “Allahu Akbar.” He should place his hands on his chest, grasping the right hand over the left, and recite Surah al-Fatihah. He should do the same as he did in the previous rak‘aat. He should then sit for the last Tashahhud, and after its recitation, he should conclude his Prayer by making the Tasleem.