Prayer is the second pillar of Islam. The second pillar of Islam is the religious duty to perform five daily prayers. It is believed that all adult Muslims should perform five prayers, before which the body should be cleaned at various intervals of the day. The Qur’anic references also mention the acts of standing, bowing, and prostrating during prayers, and facing a certain direction, which is called qiblah. The Muslims first encountered Jerusalem during prayers, but in Muhammad’s lifetime, they were already ordered to face an ancient Kaaba mosque in Mecca. There is a recitation of some parts of the Quran in prayer.
What is Prayer (Salah) in Islam
Muslims believe that we are born for the sole reason of worshiping Allah. This goal is achieved through daily prayers. This is a special form of worship which is the second most important pillar of Islam after Shahadah. This is an essential form of prayer that is performed five times a day which was revealed in the Holy Qur’an and taught by Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Importance of Prayer (Salah) in Islam
Within Islam, there are essential duties that Muslims must strive to fulfill. As prayer is the second pillar of Islam so all Muslims follow the five pillars of Islam.
Time of Prayer (Salah) in Islam
There are 5 prayers in Islam and all have their different times which are as follows
FAJAR: The first prayer that begins in a day is offered in remembrance of Allah at the dawn time before sunrise.
Total 4 Rakaat: There are 2 Rakahs Sunnah (Moaqda) and 2 Raka’t Fard (compulsory)
ZUHUR: Praying for the remembrance of Allah and His guidance depends on the time of year, either before or afternoon
Total 12 Rakaat: 4 Rakahs Sunnah (moaqda) then 4 Raka’ats Fard (compulsory) then 2 Rakats Sunnah (moaqda) and 2 Rakats Nafl
ASR: This prayer takes place in the late afternoon.
Total 8 Rakaat: 4 Rakahs Sunnah (Gher-Moaqda) then 4 Raka’ats Fard (compulsory)
MAGHRIB: The fourth prayer takes place not long after the sun sets and when the day finishes.
Total 7 Rakaat: 3 Raka’ats Fard (compulsory) then 2 Rakats Sunnah (Moaqda) and 2 Rakats Nafl
ISHA: The last prayer of the day, before going to bed and before resting, you should take time to pray and give thanks for the mercy, guidance, and forgiveness of Allah.
Total 17 Rakaat: 4 Rakahs Sunaah (gher-moaqda) then 4 Raka’ats Fard (compulsory) then 2 Rakahs Sunaah (moaqda) and 2 Rakats Nafl then 3 Raka’ats Wajib-ul-Vitr (compulsory) and 2 Rakats Nafl
JUMMAH: On Friday, there is a Jummah Prayer instead of Zuhur
Total 14 Takaat: 4 Sunnah (moaqda), 2 Farz (compulsory), 4 A Sunnah (gher-moaqda), 2 Sunnah (moaqda), 2 Nafal
After purifying yourself through ablution, you can proceed to pray. Ablution is a formal cleansing. However, before you start your prayers, you must make sure that you have a clean place to pray, and that you are wearing clean clothes. Minimal clothing required during prayers is different for males and females as described below:
For male: Any clothing that covers from the naval to the knees. It is better to cover the shoulders
For females: Any clothing that covers all parts of the body (including the head) except the face, hands, and the front of the fingers and toes.
The prayer takes place in the following steps
- Stand upright facing the Kabah. This position is called Qiyaam and the direction is called qiblah in Arabic.
- Make intention in the heart for the prayer one’s want to pray.
- Start your prayer with a saying ‘Allah u Akbar’ which means that Allah is the greatest of all. Perform this action by raising your hands to your ears.
- After this, place your hands on your chest with a right hand above the left hand. Look down towards the ground and recite silently.
- Now recite Sana سُبْـحانَكَ اللّهُـمَّ وَبِحَمْـدِكَ وَتَبارَكَ اسْمُـكَ وَتَعـالى جَـدُّكَ وَلا إِلهَ غَيْرُك (“Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.”) silently and Surah Al Fatiha.
- After this, recite any portion of Quran.
- To perform Rukoo, bow down with saying of “Allahu Akbar” with your hands on your knees and look down at the place of Sajdah.
- Stand up by saying “Sami’Allahu liman hamidah”, “Rabbana wa lakal hamd” with your hands straight downwards.
- Now bow down with your forehead touching the ground by saying “Allahu Akbar” silently.
- Sit up with your hands on your knees by saying “Allahu Akbar”.
- Again do Sajda according to step no 9
- Now stand up for a second Rakat by saying ‘Allah u Akbar’.
- In second Rakat, we don’t need to recite Sana (Subhanaka) Just recite Surah Al Fatiha and any surah of the Quran
- In the second Rakat, don’t stand up after the second sajdah sit by saying ‘Allah u Akbar’ you sit on the left leg while keeping the right foot upright and put your right hand on the right thigh, with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Stick the index finger straight out. Put your left hand on the left thigh Then Recite Tashahhud
- If it’s only 2 Rakat’s prayer, then recite Durood e Ibrahim after Tashahhud then Recite Dua e Masura after Durud e Ibrahim.
- If it’s 3 Rakat’s prayer, then only recite Tashahhud and stand up by saying ‘Allah u Akbar’ and repeat step 14 in the third Rakat.
- If it’s 4 Rakat’s prayer, then only recite Tashahhud and stand up by saying ‘Allah u Akbar’ and repeat step 14 in the fourth Rakat.
- If it’s 3 Rakat’s Wajib-ul-Vitr prayer: in the third Raka’at, after Surah Fatiha and any surah of Quran, Raising your hands to your ears and say ‘Allah u Akbar’ (like we do when starting Salat (Namaz)) then recite Dua e Qunoot, then go to Rukuh and rest is same as the last Raka’at of namaz.
Rules and Guidelines about Salah:
There are certain rules about salah as following:
- A person can start praying only when he is sure that the time has been fixed or when two just people have informed that the time has been fixed.
- If a person cannot be sure about the time for prayers due to his blindness or personal disability such as being in prison, then he should wait for the prayer till he is sure that the time has come.
- If a person is satisfied on the basis of any of the above methods in which the time for prayers has been fixed and he starts offering prayers, but then during the prayers, he realizes that the time has not been fixed yet, then his prayer is void.
- If a person is unaware of the fact that he has prayed after believing that the time has come, and if he finds out after the prayer that he has performed the whole prayer in congregation, then his prayer is valid
What is the purpose or benefits of Salah:
Salah is a shield against evil: Man is weak and without the help of Allah, it would be impossible to refrain from evil. That is why Allah made prayer so that man can save himself from evil deeds. There is no doubt that he who stands before Allah will be different from the one who does not. How can one commit the same sins if he stands before Allah 5 times a day?
Salah makes a man humble: In prayer, the Muslim places the highest part of his body and the source of his intellect, his head, on the ground. In this way, he is not proud of himself but bows down to earth.
Salah enriches the soul: Prayer fulfills our spiritual need to stay in touch with our Creator. It gives peace and contentment to the soul.
Solve our problems: Salah is the solution to all our problems. Man faces many trials and tribulations. Once we focus on strengthening our relationship with our Lord, He, the Almighty, will solve our worldly problems.
Wash our sins: Everyone commits sins; however, Allah has provided a way to erase these sins in prayer. Praying five times a day and night cleanses us of our sins, just as bathing five times a day and night cleanses our body of all kinds of dirt.