Prayer (Salah) الصلاة

Salah is the daily ritual prayer enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam.  It is performed five times a day by all Muslims.  Salah is a precise worship, different from praying on the inspiration of the moment.  Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day:

·       Between first light and sunrise.

·       After the sun has passed the middle of the sky.

·       Between mid-afternoon and sunset.

·       Between sunset and the last light of the day.

·       Between darkness and midnight.

Each prayer may take at least 5 minutes, but it may be lengthened as a person wishes.  Muslims can pray in any clean environment, alone or together, in a mosque or at home, at work or on the road, indoors or out.  Under special circumstances, such as illness, journey, or war, certain allowances in the prayers are given to make their offering easy.

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life.  Muslims start their day by cleaning themselves and then standing before their Lord in prayer.  The prayers consist of recitations from the Quran in Arabic and a sequence of movements: standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting.  All recitations and movements express submission, humility, and homage to God.  The various postures Muslims assume during their prayers capture the spirit of submission; the words remind them of their commitments to God.  The prayer also reminds one of belief in the Day of Judgment and of the fact that one has to appear before his or her Creator and give an account of their entire life.  This is how a Muslim starts their day.  In the course of the day, Muslims dissociate themselves from their worldly engagements for a few moments and stand before God.  This brings to mind once again the real purpose of life.

These prayers serve as a constant reminder throughout the day to help keep believers mindful of God in the daily stress of work, family, and distractions of life.  Prayer strengthens faith, dependence on God, and puts daily life within the perspective of life to come after death and the last judgment.  As they prepare to pray, Muslims face Mecca, the holy city that houses the Kaaba (the ancient place of worship built by Abraham and his son Ishmael).  At the end of the prayer, the shahada (testimony of faith) is recited, and the greeting of peace, “Peace be upon all of you and the mercy and blessings of God,” is repeated twice.

Though individual performance of salah is permissible, collective worship in the mosque has special merit and Muslims are encouraged to perform certain salah with others.  With their faces turned in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, the worshipers align themselves in parallel rows behind the imam, or prayer leader, who directs them as they execute the physical postures coupled with Quran recitations.  In many Muslim countries, the “call to prayer,” or ‘Adhan,’ echo out across the rooftops. Aided by a megaphone the muezzin calls out:

The Muslim call to prayer (Adan)








How to perform Prayer (Salah):

Types of Prayers: Obligatory (Fardh), Required (Sunnah Mo’akadda) and Sunnah


Obligatory (fardh) prayers are of three kinds:


a) Morning Prayer (Dawn Prayer, Salat al-Fajr): The Morning Prayer is composed of four units (rakahs); two sunnah rakahs and two obligatory (fardh) rakahs. First the sunnah rakahs and then the obligatory rakahs are performed.

b) Noon Prayer (Salat al-Zuhr): It is ten rakahs in total. First, four first sunnah rakahs, and then four obligatory rakahs, and at the end, two last sunnah rakahs are performed.

c) Late Afternoon Prayer (Salat al-Asr): It is four rakahs. Four obligatory rakahs are performed.

d) Sunset Prayer (Salat al-Maghrib): It is five rakahs in total. First, three obligatory rakahs, and then two sunnah rakahs are performed.

e) Night Prayer (Salat al-‘Isha): It is six rakahs in total. Four obligatory rakahs, and then two sunnah rakahs are performed.

2. THE FRIDAY PRAYER (SALAT AL-JUM’AH): This prayer is performed on Friday instead of the Noon Prayer. First you listen to the speech the immam gives (khotba). then 2 rakhas are performed in the mosque (jama’a)

3. FUNERAL PRAYER (Salat Al Janazah): It is composed of prayer and invocation for a deceased Muslim. There is no prostration (Sajdah) or bowing down (Ruku). The funeral prayer is a collective obligation, it is obligatory on the community (fardh al-kifayah), (Salat al-Gha’ib): is performed only if  that person isn’t near or their body is lost.

B. Sunna Mo’akaddah Prayers

1) Festival Prayers (Salat-al-Eidain): The two yearly festival prayers consist of two rakahs. They are performed in congregation. Salat of Eid al-Fitr and Salat of Eid al-Adha.

2) Odd-Numbered Prayer (Salat al-Witr): It composed of one to three rakahs. It is performed daily after the Night Prayer (Salah ‘Isha).

3) Salat al-Duha: It is a two-to-eight rakahs prayer that is performed from around one hour after the sunrise and around one hour before the sun is at its highest point.


Sunnah prayers are those that our Prophet performed regularly other than the obligatory and wajib prayers. They are of two kinds, those that are connected to the obligatory prayers and those that are not:

1. Those that are connected to the obligatory prayers: Those are the sunnah prayers that are performed before or after the obligatory prayers.

a) The sunnahs of the ritual prayers: Those are the sunnah prayers that are performed before and/or after the obligatory rakahs of five daily ritual prayers. (For example the sunnah rakahs of the morning prayer).

b) The sunnahs of the Friday Prayer: Those are the sunnah rakahs that are performed before and after the obligatory rakahs of the Friday Prayer. (The first sunnah rakahs and the last sunnah rakahs of the Friday Prayer).

2. The sunnahs that are not connected to the obligatory prayers: Those prayers are the ones that are neither the first sunnah, nor the last sunnah of any of the obligatory prayers, but rather, they are independent from obligatory prayers. Some such prayers that our Prophet performed include:

a) Tarawih Prayer (Salat-al-Tarawih): It is a twenty-rakah prayer that is performed during the month of Ramadan between the Night Prayer (Salat al-‘Isha) and the Odd-Numbered Prayer (Witr)

b) Salat al-Tahajjud (Night Prayer): It is a two-to-twelve rakahs prayer performed after the Night Prayer (Salat al-‘Isha) and before the time of the Morning Prayer (Salat al-Fajr), that is, before dawn.

c) Salat al-Awwabin: It is a two-to-six rakahs prayer that is performed between the Sunset Prayer (Salat al-Magrib) and the Night Prayer (Salat al-‘Isha).

d) Prayer for Respectful Entrance to the Mosque (Tahiyyat al-Masjid): It is a two-rakah prayer that is performed by those who enter before sitting to “greet” the mosque.

e) Prayer for Respectful Entrance into the state of ritual purity (Tahiyyat al-Wudhu’): It is a two-rakah prayer that is performed right after a fresh ablution (wudhu’). One first stands toward the Qiblah, raises the right index finger, utters the shahadah, and says: “O Allah, make me one of those who purify themselves, and make me one of your righteous servants” (Allahumman ij’alni min al-mutatahhirin, wa-ij’alni min ‘ibadi- k a al-salihin). Then one enters prayer.

f) Salat Al-Shukkr: The thanking prayer, when something happy happens and you pray to thank God for it.

g) Salat al-istekhara: The choice making prayer, when you’re hesitated about something you do this prayer and carry on with the decision you feel more comfortable with. Its a normal 2 Rakahs prayer then after tasleem you make this dua’:

اللهُمَّ إنِّي أسْتَخيرُكَ بعِلْمِكَ، وأسْتَقْدِرُكَ بقُدْرَتِكَ، وأسْألُكَ مِنْ فضلِكَ العَظِيم، فإنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ ولا أقْدِرُ، وتَعْلَمُ ولا أعْلَمُ، وأنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الغُيوبِ، اللهُمَّ إنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أن هذَا الأمرَ ويسمي في الشيء الذي يريده خَيرٌ لي في دِيني ومَعَاشي وعَاقِبَةِ أمْري عَاجِلهِ وآجِلِهِ فاقْدُرْهُ لي ويَسِّرْهُ لي، ثمَّ بَارِكْ لي فيهِ، وإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أنَّ هذا الأمْرَ شَرٌّ لي في دِينِي ومَعَاشي وعَاقِبَةِ أمري عَاجِلِهِ وآجِلِهِ فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي، وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، واقْدُرْ لِيَ الخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ، ثُمَّ أرْضِنِي بِهِ

h) Salat al-Tawbah: The repenting prayer (Tawbah prayer), it’s performed when someone decides to stop doing something bad like Adultery, and considers a new beginning, removing everything before it (this doesn’t include major sins, like killing etc).

i) Salat Al Shafi’: two Rakhas or any even numbered prayer, prayed after isha and before salat al-witr

j) Salat al-Tasbeeh: Tasbeeh means “Subhan allah, wa al-Hamdu lillah, la Ilaha Illallah, allah Akbar”. In which those tasbeehs are read. Prophet  Muhammad (SAAS) advised to pray this salah for at least one time in their life. (Click here to learn how to pray it)

k) Rain Prayer (Salat al-istiksa’): The asking for rain prayer, it’s performed during droughts and when it didn’t rain for a long time. (Click here to learn how to pray it)

l) The eclipse prayer (salat al-Khusoof): when a lunar or a solar eclipse happens. (Click here to learn how to pray it) & (click here) to know when is the next Eclipse in your region

♦ Now, these aren’t prayers, but instead, special types of prayers applied only on main prayers or Frood:

The prayer of fear (Salat al-Khawf): when in war or a fearful situation, and there might be an enemy behind Muslims, they can’t all pray at once, and let them come from behind and kill everyone… So, the group splits in half, a half prays first while the other guards their back, and then they switch.

The shortened prayers (Salat al-Gamii wa al-Qasr): while travelling, people get tired, so they can pray shortened prayers, this also only applies on main prayers.

Note: when you are ill, or in a fearful situation you can pray lying down or sitting down.