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How Do Muslims Pray? (Part 1)

How Do Muslims Pray? (Part 1)
Before beginning the Prayer, the worshiper must have the proper intention to pray. He should say in his heart his intention to pray a particular Prayer and how many rak‘ahs he will pray.

The Prayer is made of a series of postures and movements, each set of which is called a rak‘ah.

Each Prayer consists of two or more rak‘ahs (the Arabic plural is rak‘aat ). The Prayers must be said in Arabic (except for new Muslims who cannot yet do so).

Before beginning the Prayer, the worshiper must have the proper intention to pray. He should say in his heart his intention to pray a particular Prayer and how many rak‘ahs he will pray. Details of this will be given later.

First, let us see how the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer is performed. It consists of two rak‘ahs, and it is said aloud, not silently.

1. Face the qiblah, which is the direction of the Ka‘bah (the Holy House of Allah in Makkah). For the qiblah in your town, consult the local mosque or www.islamicfinder.com.

2. Raise the hands to the ears and say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. (This means: Allah is Greatest.)

3. Place the left hand on the chest and then place the right hand  over the left hand. Recite aloud Al-Fatihah (the Opening Surah of the Qur’an). Al-Fatihah must be said in every rak‘ah of every Prayer.

Bismillaahi-r-Rahmaani-r-Raheem.

Al-hamdu lillaahi Rabbi-l-‘aalameen.

Ar-Rahmaani-r-Raheem.

Maaliki yawmi–d-deen.

Iyyaaka na‘budu wa iyyaaka nasta‘een.

Ihdina-s-siraatal mustaqeem.

Siraatal-ladheena an‘amta ‘alayhim ghayr-il maghdoobi ‘alayhim, wa la-d-daalleen.

Ameen.

(This means: In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Master of the Day of Judgment.

You (alone) we worship; You alone we ask for help.

Show us the straight path,

the path of those whom You have favored, not (the path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who stray. Amen.)

4. Recite aloud any surah, or at least a few verses of the Quran.

For example, here is Surat Al-Ikhlas (number 112):

Qul huw-allaahu ahad,

Allaahu-s-Samad.

Lam yalid, wa lam yoolad,

wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad.

(This means: Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;

Allah, the Eternal, Absolute.

He begets not, nor is He begotten;

And there is none like unto Him.)

5. Raise your hands to your ears as you did at the beginning and say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. Then bow down, placing your hands on your knees and keeping your back straight. This position is called ruku‘, and in this position say silently three times:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-‘Azheem.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Supreme.)

6. Return to the standing position while saying aloud:

Sami‘a-llaahu liman hamidah. (This means: May Allah hear the one who praises Him.)

Then say silently:

Rabbanaa wa laka-l-hamd. (This means: Our Lord, for You is all praise.)

7. Raise your hands to your ears and say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. Then prostrate, with your forehead, nose, hands, knees, and bottoms of the toes touching the ground. Keep your forearms and elbows raised off the floor. This position is called sujud. While in this position, say silently three times:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-A‘laa.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High.)

8. Say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. Then sit up on your heels.

9. Again say aloud:

Allahu Akbar, and prostrate again. Again say silently while prostrating:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-A‘laa.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High.)

10. Say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. Then stand up.

You have now completed one rak‘ah (unit) of the Prayer. You will now repeat the steps, but you may recite different verses of the Quran after Al-Fatihah.

11. Place your hands on your chest as before and recite Al-Fatihah (the Opening Surah of the Quran) aloud. Remember that Al-Fatihah must be said in every rak‘ah of every Prayer.

Bismillaahi-r-Rahmaani-r-Raheem.

Al-hamdu lillaahi Rabbi-l-‘aalameen.

Ar-Rahmaani-r-Raheem.

Maaliki yawmi–d-deen.

Iyyaaka na‘budu wa iyyaaka nasta‘een.

Ihdina-s-siraatal mustaqeem.

Siraatal-ladheena an‘amta ‘alayhim ghayr-il maghdoobi ‘alayhim, wa la-d-daalleen.

Ameen.

(This means: In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Master of the Day of Judgment.

You (alone) we worship; You alone we ask for help.

Show us the straight path,

the path of those whom You have favored, not (the path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who stray. Amen.)

12. Recite aloud any surah (or a few verses) of the Quran. For example, you may recite Surat Al-Falaq (number 113):

Bismillaahi-r-Rahmaani-r-Raheem.

Qul A‘oodhu birabbi-l-falaq

Min sharri maa khalaq,

Wa min sharri ghaasiqin idhaa waqab,

Wa min sharri-n-naafaathaati fi-l-‘uqad,

Wa min sharri haasidin idha hasad.

(This means: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful.

Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak

From the evil of that which He created,

From the evil of the darkness when it is intense,

And from the evil of malignant witchcraft,

And from the evil of the envier when he envies.)

13. Raise your hands to your ears as you did at the beginning and say aloud:

Allahu Akbar. Then bow down with your hands on your knees (ruku‘). In this position say silently three times:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-‘Azheem.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Supreme.)

14. Return to the standing position while saying aloud:

Sami‘a-llaahu liman hamidah. (This means: May Allah hear the one who praises Him.) 

Then say silently:

Rabbanaa wa laka-l-hamd.

(This means: Our Lord, for You is all praise.)

15. Then say aloud:

Allahu Akbar, and prostrate as before (sujud). While in this position, say silently three times:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-A‘laa.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High.)

16. Say aloud:

Allahu Akbar, and then sit up on your heels as before.

17. Again say aloud:

Allahu Akbar, and prostrate again. Again say silently while prostrating:

Subhaana Rabbiy al-A‘laa.

(This means: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High.)

18. Say aloud:

Allahu Akbar, then sit on your heels as before.

19. While sitting, rest your hands on your thighs and say silently the words of the first part of the Tashahhud:

At-tahiyaatu lillaahi wa-s-salawaatu wa tayyibaat. As-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha-n-nabiyyu wa rahmatu-llaahi wa barakaatuh.

As-salaamu ‘alayna wa ‘ala ibadillaahi-s-saaliheen.

– Ash-hadu an laa ilaha illaa-llaahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduho wa rasooluhu.

(This means: All glorification is for Allah. All acts of good deeds and worship are for Him. Peace and the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you, O Prophet. Peace be upon us and all of Allah’s righteous servants. 

– I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.)

– It is recommended to point your right index finger forward while reciting this part.

20. Because this is a two-rak‘ah Prayer, you will now recite silently the second part of the Tashahhud:

Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta ‘ala Ibraheema wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed.

Allaahumma baarik ‘ala Muhammadin wa ‘ala aali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta ‘ala Ibraheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraheem. Innaka hameedun majeed.

(This means: O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You exalted Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Ibrahim. Verily You are full of praise and majesty. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.)

21. Now say the Tasleem to close the Prayer. Turn your head to the right and say aloud:

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah. (This means: Peace be on you and the mercy of Allah.) Then turn your head to the left and say aloud:

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah. This completes the Fajr Prayer of two rak‘ahs (units).

Prayers of More Than Two Rak‘ahs

Summary of the Five Daily Prayers

Name

Number of Rak‘ahs

Silent/Aloud

Fajr (Dawn)

2

Aloud

Zhuhr (Noon)

4

Silent

‘Asr (Afternoon)

4

Silent

Maghrib (Sunset)

3

First 2 aloud, third silent

‘Isha’

4

First 2 aloud, last two silent


About Dr. Wael Shehab

Dr. Wael Shehab has a PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University. He is currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada.

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