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Prayer in Islam

It is obligatory upon you to establish the prayer (Salaah) for it is the backbone of the religion; without it, one’s Islam would not be complete. The Prophet said [striking an example between the religion and a camel]:

“As for the head of the religion, it is Islam (the Shahadataan); as for its backbone, it is the Salaah, and as for the highest part of its hump, it is Jihad .” (Tirmidhi #2616)

The Salah is a term which denotes a group of words and actions which start with takbeer (saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, meaning: ‘Allah is the greatest’) and end with tasleem (saying ‘As-Salaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullaah).

  1. Reward of Prayer(Salaah)
  2. Prayer Times
  3. Prayer Chart
  4. The Pre-Requisites of Prayer (Salaah)
  5. How to Pray?
  6. Voluntary Prayers
  7. Forbidden Times of Prayer

The Reward of Prayer(Salaah)

When one establishes the Salaah, he benefits in the following ways:

  1. Spiritual joy: The Salaah establishes a relationship between the slave and Allah. He enters a private conversation with Him, supplicating Him in sincere humbleness.

  2. Peace of heart and tranquility. The Prophet said:

    “Women and perfume have been made beloved to me, and the Salaah has been made the delight of my eyes.” (Nasa'ie #3940)

  3. The Salaah prevents one from all sinful and immoral deeds. Allah says:

    "And We have not sent you (O Muhammad «peace be upon him») except to all of humanity, as a giver of glad tidings and a warner, but most people know not." (34:28)

  4. The Salah strengthens the bonds of love and unity among the Muslims. It breaks down all social differences that may exist between them; they all stand together side by side in rows, the old and young, the rich and poor, the noble and ignoble. All people are the same, humbling themselves before Allah, facing the same direction (the Qiblah ) performing the same actions, reciting the same recitation, all at the same time.

Prayer Times

There are five prayers during the day and night which are obligatory upon every Muslim. All men should establish Salaah in congregation (jamaa‘ah) in the Masjid, unless they have a valid excuse; while women should pray in their homes.

The Messenger of Allah said:

“The time of Dhuhr is when the sun declines from its zenith until a person’s shadow becomes equal to his height, as long as the time of ‘Asr is not due. The (recommended) time of Asr is until the sun starts to turn yellow [at which point it becomes makrooh ]. The time of Maghrib remains until the red color of the horizon disappears, and the time of ‘Ishaa´ remains until the middle of the night, and the time of Fajr prayer is when the pre-dawn light appears until the sun starts to rise. If the sun starts to rise, then abstain from prayer, for indeed it rises between the two horns of Shaytaan.” (Muslim #612)

Prayer Chart

## Name & Type of Recitation Rak‘ahs Prayer Time Sunnah Prayers
1 Dhuhr (Noon) Silent 4 It starts from the time the sun starts to descend towards the west after its zenith, and ends when the length of an object’s shadow is equal to the actual object’s height. 4 rak‘ahs before and 2 rak‘ahs after.
2 ‘Asr (Afternoon) Silent 4 It starts when the time of Dhuhr ends, and ends when the sun sets. None
3 Maghrib (Dusk) Audible 3 It starts when the Sun has totally set, and ends when red color of dusk disappears. 2 rak‘ahs after
4 ‘Ishaa´ (Night) Audible 4 It starts when the time of Maghrib ends, and ends at the first appearance of light before dawn. 2 rak‘ahs after
5 Fajr (Dawn) Audible 2 It starts at the first appearance of light at dawn, and ends when the sun starts to rise. 2 rak‘ahs before

Sunnah Prayers: These are the Sunnah prayers which are emphasized; there are others related to each prayer which the author did not mention for the sake of brevity.

The Pre-Requisites of Prayer (Salaah)

Know that the Salaah has certain prerequisites; if one leaves them, his prayer is invalid. They are as follows:

  1. Praying them in their proper times.

  2. One must purify himself from minor and major impurities. Allah, the Exalted, says:

    "O you who believe! When you intend to offer the Salah, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, pass wet hands over your heads, and [wash] your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of janaabah (state of major impurity), purify yourself (bathe your whole body)." (5:6)

  3. One’s body must be clean from any impurities. The Prophet said:

    “Be careful to keep yourself clean from urine, for indeed majority of the punishment of the graves is due to people not doing so.” (Haakim #654 and verified)

    One must keep his clothes pure from any impurities. Allah says:

    "And purify your garments." (74:4)

    One must make sure that the place he is praying in is free from impurities. A Bedouin once urinated in the Masjid, and the people stood up to confront him and the Prophet said:

    “Leave him and pour a bucket of water where he urinated, for you have been sent to make things easy, not to make things hard.” (Bukhari #217)

  4. Covering one’s ‘awrah . For a man, it is the area between the navel and the knees, but in Salah, it includes both his shoulders. As for a woman, it is her whole body, but in Salah, she does not need to cover her face and hands. Allah says:

    "O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing clean clothes), while praying." (7:31)

  5. One must face the Qiblah. Allah says:

    "So turn your face to the direction of al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah). And wherever you are, turn your faces (in prayer) to that direction." (2:144)

    A woman in her menstrual period, or postpartum bleeding should not pray until her bleeding stops. Thereupon, she should perform a complete bath (ghusl) and resume praying, and perform ablution (wudhu) for each prayer if she invalidates it. She should not make up any prayers she missed while bleeding.

Voluntary Prayers

There are certain prayers known as as-Sunan-ur-Rawaatib , by which one would get extra reward and raise his level in Jannah. Through them, one makes up for any of his faults in the obligatory prayers, which have been mentioned in the table. The Witr Prayer is also a Sunnah Prayer, and it consists of at least one rak‘ah. It should be the last prayer one performs at night.

Forbidden Times of Prayer

Voluntary prayers other than those mentioned may be performed at any time other than those specifically forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). They are as follows:

  1. After the Fajr Prayer until the sun rises a spear’s length.

  2. The time when the sun reaches its zenith until it descends.

  3. After the ‘Asr prayer until the sun sets.