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Overview of the daily Obligatory Prayers, Salat

There are five sets of daily obligatory prayers or salawat (plural for salat) that are performed in three time slots.

A salat may be of 2, 3, or 4 rak‘ah or cycle.

The three time slots in which the salat needs to be performed are:

1. the early morning, which is the period of approximately two hours before sunrise, the start of which is referred to as the Fajr,

2. the afternoon, which is the period between midday/noon and sunset,

3. the evening, which is from time of maghrib, which is some 20 minutes after sunset, until midnight.

Although the relevant salat can be performed during the ascribed time slots mentioned above, we are highly recommended to perform the salat  on time at the beginning of each time slot.

You must be in a Position facing the direction towards Mecca (Qiblah)


 

1- The Fajr Prayer

The Fajr salat is a 2-rak‘ah one, and it must be performed between the Fajr and Sunrise. Depending on the geographical location, Fajr is about one-and-a-half to two hours before Sunrise.

2- The Dhuhr Prayer

The Dhuhr salat is a 4-rak‘ah one, and it must be performed between Dhuhr [midday/noontime] and sunset.

3- The Asr Prayer

The Asr salat is also a 4-rak‘ah one, and it must be performed after the Dhuhr salat, and before sunset.

4- The Maghrib Prayer

The Maghrib salat is a 3-rak‘ah one, and it must be performed between the time of Maghrib, which is about 20 minutes after Sunset, and midnight, save the time required to perform the ‘Esha salat that must follow the Maghrib one.

Midnight is defined as the midpoint between the time of Maghrib (Adhan of Maghrib) and the time of Fajr (Adhan of Fajr).

5- The Isha Prayer

The ‘Esha salat is a 4-rak‘ah one, and it must be performed after performing the Maghrib salat, and before midnight


Summary

A prayer may be of two, three or four Rak‘ah.

You declare the intention and then the Takbirat-el-Ehram, which marks the start of the prayers,

In the first Rak‘ah, recite the Surah of al-Hamd and another Surah, say, Tawheed, followed by roku’ and then by 2 Sajdah, and then stand up for the second Rak‘ah,

In the second Rak‘ah, recite the Surah of al-Hamd and another Surah, say, Tawheed, followed by Qunut, and then followed by roku’ and then by 2 Sajdah.

After the second Sajdah you sit up and perform the Tashah-hud. If this prayer is a 2 Rak‘ah prayer, you then perform the Salam, and finish the prayers.

If not, then after the Tashah-hud you stand up to perform the third Rak‘ah,

In the third Rak‘ah, recite the four-Tasbeeh, repeating it 3 times, followed by roku’ and then by 2 Sajdah.

If this is a 3-Rak‘ah prayer, i.e. for Maghrib, then after the second Sajdah you must sit up and declare the Tashah-hud and Salam, thus finishing the prayers.

If the prayer is not a 3-Rak‘ah one, then after the second Sajdah, you do not say the Tashahhud and salam, but stand up to perform the final Rakah.

In the fourth and final Rak‘ah, recite the four-Tasbeeh, repeating it 3 times, just like the third Rak‘ah, followed by roku and then by 2 Sajdah.

After the second Sajdah you sit up to declare the Tashah-hud and Salam, thus finishing a four-Rak‘ah prayer


Important Notes

All Surah must be recited starting by Bismillah er-Rahman er Rahim

Failure to recite the Bismillah would render the entire prayer void.

Hands must NOT be crossed in front of the body.

All sojud (prostration) must be carried out on earth, stone, any plant by-products (like wood or paper) or plants that are not edible.

Performing sojud on anything else would render the prayer void.

In sojud the forehead should come to rest on the place of Sajdah, which is earth, stone, etc. [It is desirable and recommended that one obtains a clay stone for sojud that is made from the earth of the land of Karbala, where Imam Husayn peace be upon him was killed and buried.]

When performing the salat of Fajr, Maghrib, and Esha’, it is mandatory for male individuals to recite the Surah of al-Hamd, and another Surah in the first and second Rak‘ah in audible voice.

The third and fourth Rak‘ah of the sala>t must be recited inaudibly. This is not mandatory for the female worshippers, and they may do so if non Mahram males are not present in the locality. In the case of the Dhuhr and ‘Asr salat, all the surahs must be recited inaudibly with the exception of the Bismillah er-Rahman er Rahim, of each of the surah, which is highly recommended to be recited audibly.

All prayers must be performed in the direction of Makkah. During the prayers, one may not talk to others if present in the vicinity, and may not turn his or her face to any direction other than that of Makkah.

Most important of all, no prayer is valid, unless one has performed the ritual washing of Wudu or Ablution.

There is the special ritual wash of the body from head-to-toe that becomes obligatory on certain occasions. This ritual wash is known as Ghusl. This Ghusl is required when one is considered as ritually “unclean”. There are different circumstances when a Ghusl becomes obligatory.

 

Updated on January 28, 2017

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