Preparing for Prayer Performing the Muslim Prayers Article Summary Questions & Answers Related Articles
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Prayer (salah; plural salawat) is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is incumbent upon all mature Muslims, and highly recommended for children aged ten and over, to complete their five daily prayers according to the method described here in order for them to be valid. It is believed that communication with Allah will bring life to the prayerful and bring them courage. Muslims believe that Allah speaks to us through the Qur’an, and salaah is our means of responding. Whether you’re just curious as to how Muslims pray or if you’re looking to learn for yourself, it’s never too early to start.
Part 1 Preparing for Prayer
- Ensure the area is clean and free of impurities.
This includes your body, your clothes, and the place of prayer itself.
- Perform wudu. You must be ritually pure before you go start praying. If you’re not, it’s required to perform Wudu before you do. If since your last prayer, you have urinated, defecated, passed gas, bled excessively, or fallen asleep while leaning against something, you need to perform wudu
- If you are praying in a masjid (mosque), which is highly encouraged for men, enter quietly–other fellow Muslims might still be praying and you don’t want to disturb them. Stand in a free space away from the entrance/exit.
- If you are unsure of the cleanliness of your area, spread a mat or cloth on the floor for good measure. This mat (or prayer rug) is very important to Islamic culture.
- Perform ghusl (full shower) if needed.
Certain circumstances will require that you perform ghusl instead of wudu to be cleansed after removing najas (impurities) and before praying. If you wish to pray after having sexual intercourse, ending your menstruation period or postpartum bleeding, giving birth, or ejaculating, you need to perform ghusl.
- To perform ghusl, you must wash your entire body and hair with water. It is recommended that you wash 3 times.
- Note that when you perform either wudu or ghusl, anything that prevents water from touching the obligatory areas of the body must be removed, including things such as nail polish, accessories, and waterproof mascara.
- Perform tayammum (dry purification) if needed.
If a Muslim is unable to use water, he or she may choose to perform tayammum instead of wudu or ghusl. This rite involves using clean soil or dirt that has not been used before to perform tayammum.
Face the Qibla. This is the direction all Muslims face to turn in prayer towards the Holy Ka’bah. The Holy Mosque in Mecca is the most revered place of worship for Muslims around the entire world. All Muslims are required to face the Ka’bah five times every day when offering their prayers.
- Pray at the proper time.
The five prayers of each day take place at very specific times.
For each one, there is a brief period of time it can be performed, determined by the rising and falling of the sun. Each salah takes about 5 to 10 minutes from start to finish, but should never be hurried.
- The five prayers are Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha. They are at dawn, immediately after noon, in the mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night, respectively. They are not at the same time each day, as they are timed by the sun, which changes path throughout the seasons.
- These are the amount of rak’ah (units) for each of the 5 salah:
- Fajr – Two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah fardh;
- Zuhr – Four rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then four rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkdah, then two rak’ah nafl;
- Asr – Four rak’ah sunnah ghayr mu’akkadah, then four rak’ah fardh;
- Maghrib – Three rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah nafl;
- Isha – Four rak’ah sunnah, then four rak’ah fardh, then two rak’ah sunnah mu’akkadah, then two rak’ah nafl, then three rak’ah witr, then two rak’ah nafl.
- Learn to say prayers in Arabic.
Salah must be performed in the Arabic language because this is the language that the Qur’an was revealed in. It also allows Muslims outside of Arabic-speaking countries to recite the prayers and understand what is being said. Speaking all prayers in the same language avoids the confusion of translating words into other languages.
- Use online sources to help you pronounce the obligatory prayer words, such as Rosetta Stone, Salaam Arabic, hosted by Pangaea Learning, Madinah Arabic or Youtube sources.
- Take a course in Arabic at your local college.
- Learn and practice the correct pronunciations with an Arabic speaker.
- Cover yourself.
Men and women must both cover themselves with material that covers the skin throughout the prayer. While women must cover everything but their faces and hands, men must keep the area between their navel and knees covered.
- The material must cover the body during prayer movements. So if, for example, bending causes a piece of material to slip and expose skin on a woman’s neck, she would need to ensure that her clothing is tucked in properly or put more clothing on before she can complete her prayer.
Part 2 Performing the Muslim Prayers
Make your intention known in your heart. Before initiating the salat, it is important that you have the intention to pray.
Raise your hands up to your ears and say Allahu Akbar (الله أَكْبَر). This translates to “Allah is the greatest.” Do this while standing (or sitting if you can’t stand).
- Place your right hand over your left hand.
Place your hands either on your navel, on your chest, or between the two; there’s difference of opinion between Islamic schools of thoughts. Keep your eyes focused on the place you are standing. Do not let your eyes wander.
- Recite the optional Istiftah Du’a (opening prayer):
Wabihamdika watabarakas-muka wataaaala
Judduka wala ilaha ghayruk.
A’auodu billaahi minash-shaytaanir rajeem
Bis-millaahir rahmaanir raheem
- Follow it with Surah Al-Fatiha (this Surah is recited in each Rak’ah):
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen
Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een
Siraatal-lazeena an’amta ‘alaihim
Ghayril-maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-daaalleen
- Recite any other surah or any part of the Qu’ran, such as Surah Ikhlas:
Qul huwal laahu ahad
Lam yalid wa lam yoolad
Wa lam yakul-lahu kufuwan ahad
- Reciting a surah after Al-Fatiha is not obligatory; it’s sunnah.
- Recite the optional Istiftah Du’a (opening prayer):
- Say “Allahu Akbar” and bend down.
Bend your body so that your back and neck are as straight as possible and level with the ground, keeping your eyes there. Your back and head should be in a 90 degree angle with your legs. You don’t need to make a perfect angle; your body should be relaxed. This position is called
- While bowing, say, Subhanna Rabbiyal Adheem three times. This translates to, “Glorious is my Lord the most great.”
- Stand back up (raise from ruku).
While rising up recite
Samiallah Huliman Hamidah with your arms beside you. This means “Allah hears those who praise Him”.
- While standing up, recite Rabana Walakal Hamd (Our Lord, all praise is for you) once. You can also add Hamdan Katheeran Tayyiban Mubaarakan Feeh” (praise which is abundant, excellent and blessed) after.
- Say Allahu Akbar and prostrate.
Place your head, knees and hands on the floor. This is the position called “sajdah.”
- When you are positioned fully, say Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laa (Glorious is my Lord, the most High) three times.
- Your forearms should not be on the floor.
- Rise from sajdah and sit on your knees.
Place your left foot from ball to heel on the floor. Your right foot should be toes on the floor only. Place your hands flat on your knees. You can recite
Allaahumma-ghfir lee warhamnee wajburnee, warfa’nee, wa ‘aafinee war’zuqnee (O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, strengthen me, raise me in status, pardon me and grant me provision).
- There are other du’as that you can recite in this position, such as Allahuma-ghfirlee twice (O Allah, forgive me).
- Return to sajdah and say Subhanna Rabbiyal a’laa three times.
- Say Allahu akbar and stand up.
You have completed one rak’ah. Depending on the salah, you may need to complete up to three more.
- In every second rak’ah, after the second sajdah, sit on your knee again. Recite:
- Tashahhud: At-tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa-salaawaatu wa-tayyibaat. As-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. As-salaamu ‘alayna wa ‘ala ‘ibaad-illaah-is-saaliheen. Ash-hadu al-aa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu
- “All compliments, prayers and pure words are due to Allaah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous slaves of Allaah. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger”.
- Durood: Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad, wa ‘ala aali Muhammad, kama salayta ‘ala Ibraaheem, wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innaka hameedun majeed. Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammad, wa ‘ala aali Muhammad, kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem, wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem, innak hameedun majeed
- “O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allaah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibraaheem and the family of Ibraaheem, You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory”.
- Finish the prayer with tasleem.
After the tashahhud, durood, and any du’a you wish to recite, end the prayer by:
- Turning your head to the right and saying, As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. The angel who records your good deeds is to this side.
- Turning your head to the left and saying, As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. The angel who records your wrongful deeds is to this side. The prayers have ended!
- Another variation of the tasleem is by saying As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.
How do I know what days I should pray in Islam?
You should pray five times everyday, especially on Friday, the best day of the week. You should try to perform the Jumu’ah prayer, which is done at noon.
What can I do to keep focused when I’m praying?
Keep your heart pure and focused on God and what you’re praying for. Do not zone out; focus on the place of prostration and do not look around.
Why do I have to pray five times?
In Islam, praying is an act done to praise God. It allows one to gain benefits from it by pleasing God. It is strictly stated in the Quran that a Muslim must pray five times a day regularly if he is able to–not as an act to benefit God, but to benefit oneself.
What do I do if I make mistake in prayer?
God is the most forgiving, so ask God for forgiveness or pray that prayer again.
When praying in Islam, do they sing songs or play music?
When Muslims are performing Salah (prayer in Islam), they do not sing or play music. They recite verses from the Qur’an (Islamic scripture which is believed to be the verbatim word of God).
How can I stop myself from avoiding prayer because of laziness?
You may need to look within yourself to find motivation to pray. Ask yourself why you pray, what you hope to get out of it, etc. Reminding yourself of your reasons for prayer might encourage you to be more mindful about it.
Should I salaam the prayer mat when I have finished praying?
After you finish praying, you can make dua, pray sunnah, and other stuff. But you only salaam the angels on your shoulders.
Do Muslims read anything while praying?
When Muslims are performing Salah (prayers), it is strongly recommended that they read the first chapter of the Quran, called Al-Fatiha (The Opening).
Can men wear the gown on part 2 on the first one?
Men can wear any clothing when praying, as long as it is clean and covers the “awrah”, which is from the naval to the knee. Most tend to wear the Islamic thobe, as this covers the whole body, but you can wear anything as long as your body isn’t exposed; for example, your lower back when you prostrate if your shirt is a bit too short.
Can I recite Surat al-fatitha and other surah in all the rakat?
Surah-al-Fatiha is compulsory to pray in the beginning of every rakat, and any other surahs that you are aware of, then yes you can pray in Namaz.
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- Consider using a smartphone or computer app to prevent missing prayers.
- Try your best to pray all your salah every day, especially if you’re mature – you are accountable for your deeds. If you’re at school or work, and there are no provisions for you to pray there, you can catch up the prayer when you return home.
- There are different terms to describe rak’ahs. A fardh rak’ah refers to one that is compulsory; a sunnah rak’ah is one that was done by the Prophet and is highly recommended; a nafl rak’ah is one that is rewardable but not obligatory; and witr refers to the highly recommended prayer performed after Isha.
- If in doubt of prayer time, use the position of the sun and the current time as a guide. If the sun is towards the east below the horizon, then it is likely Fajr. If the sun is directly above, then it is likely Dhuhr. If the sun is above the western horizon, then it is likely ‘Asr. If the sun is towards the west below the horizon, then it is likely Maghrib. And if it is completely dark, then it is likely ‘Isha.
- Always try to use your time in the mosque efficiently. Don’t use it as a place of social gathering.
- Plan your daily life around the five salaah, not the other way round.
- Don’t talk during your salah and always maintain focus.
- Don’t disturb others if they are praying or stand/walk in front of someone who is praying. The Prophet forbade that.
- Never talk loudly in a mosque; this might disturb others in prayer. In fact, it is disliked to speak about worldly matters because that defeats the purpose of the mosque, which is for worship, obedience and seeking knowledge.
- Make sure your body and cloth are clean and smells good before going to mosque or practicing salah. It is disliked to have an unpleasant smell while praying and if this smell is so bad to the extent that it annoys other worshippers, this is forbidden. In particular, garlic is disliked.
Before you can pray in Islam, ensure your prayer area, body, and clothes are clean. You must first perform wudu. If you’re in doubt about the cleanliness of your space, lay a mat, or prayer rug, down to pray on. Before you can start praying, find the Holy Ka’bah, the sight of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, and face that direction. Prayer in Islam occurs five times daily: at dawn, immediately after noon, in the mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night. For detailed instructions on how to pray in islam, read on…
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Deutsch: Beten im Islam, Português: Orar em Islã, Français: prier en Islam, Italiano: Pregare nell’Islam, Русский: молиться в исламе, Español: orar en el islam, Bahasa Indonesia: Sholat Seorang Muslim, العربية: الصلاة في الإسلام, Čeština: Jak se modlit v islámu, Nederlands: De salat uitvoeren, 日本語: イスラムの礼拝をする, Türkçe: Namaz Nasıl Kılınır
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We offer prayers for teachers because teachers have the enormous responsibility of imparting knowledge to our children, and their job is often difficult!
Prayers for teachers are to be said for and by them, to bring guidance and divine support so that they may bring the word of God to others. The prayers are for Sunday school and religious educators, but apply in principle to all teachers.
There is also a prayer that teachers may say to request guidance for difficult and troubled students.
“Luke 6:40: There is no disciple who is superior to his teacher; but every one whose instruction is complete will be like his teacher.”
The following has been submitted by Olga de Juana. Thanks Olga!
Help me to be a fine teacher,
to keep peace in the classroom,
peace between my students and myself,
to be kind and gentle
to each and every one of my students.
Help me to be merciful to my students,
to balance mercy and discipline
in the right measure for each student,
to give genuine praise as much as possible,
to give constructive criticism
in a manner that is palatable to my students.
Help me to remain conscientious
enough to keep my lessons always interesting,
to recognize what motivates each of my students,
to accept my students’ limitations
and not hold it against them.
Help me not to judge my students too harshly,
to be fair to all,
to be a good role model,
but most of all Lord help me
to show your love to all of my students.
Sunday School Teacher’s Prayer
Father in Heaven, I thank You that
You have called upon me to take part in
the instruction of young people. See that
I am fit to do this honored work before me.
Grant me a clear understanding of Your word.
Teach me, that I may teach others. Help me
to realize the solemnity of instructing immortal
souls, and give me aptness to teach. Enable me
to set before my students a pious example.
Make Your word quick and powerful in the
hearts of all. Bless, I pray You, each of the
students committed to my care. Grant that
they may receive with all readiness of mind
the lessons of Your word, that they may be
brought to the full knowledge of Your grace
and to the true faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, bless also their parents. Help them
to bring up their children under the care and
admonition of the Lord. Sanctify them, that
they may feel a pious concern for the salvation
of their children. Grant Your blessing upon the
instruction and admonition of both parents and
teachers, that all these children may become full
members of Your church, and heirs of Your salvation.
May these children be motivated to also say
prayers for teachers as well. Bless, O Lord, the
superintendent and the pastor. May our school
and church prosper to the praise of Your holy name,
and to the salvation of all the members,
for Jesus’ sake, amen.
Prayer of a Sunday school student
Dear Father in Heaven, I pray for Your blessing.
I thank You for this Sunday school, where I may
learn more about You. I thank You that You
have called upon me into Your covenant by
baptism. Help me to remember my Creator
in the days of my youth, that I may not depart
from Your ways.
Bless our school, officers,
teachers and students alike. Help us to learn
Your truth with joy. Open our hearts that we
may receive Your word. Help us to love and
obey Your truth.
O Lord, bless my teacher
and give him or her much joy in teaching us.
Bless my parents, and help me to obey them
in Your name. Please forgive all my sins,
and help me to be Your obedient,
faithful child, for Jesus’ sake.
Prayer for Troubled Kids
Almighty God, Heavenly Father, whose mercies are new unto us every morning, and Thy faithfulness every night, grant us. we pray Thee, Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily acknowledge Thy merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Thy benefits, and serve Thee in willing obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Merciful God, we pray on behalf of these children and youths, that they may be more and more renewed by Thy Holy Spirit. Grant that they may receive with all readiness of mind the lessons of Thy word, that they may be brought to full knowledge of Thy grace and to the true faith in Jesus Christ. Cause all sinful affections to die in them, and all things belonging to the Spirit to live and grow in them. Give them strength to gain the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. Defend them against temptation and every pitfall. Let Thy fatherly hand supply their wants for this life, and let Thy Holy Spirit guide them in the way of Thy commandments. Make them living members of Thy Holy Church, and heirs through hope of Thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty and gracious God, we ask Thy blessing upon all Thy servants to whom Thou hast committed the work of teaching the young; guide them, O Good Shepherd of the sheep, that they may be able to guide the lambs of Thy flock in the way of life; and give them Thy continued grace, that they may persevere in the good work which they have undertaken; reward them abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen!
Read Bible Verses about Teachers
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Click here to read more Bible Verses about Teachers.
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