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How to perform the Islamic prayer
How to perform the Islamic prayer

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Published by: Abdul Khaliq Muhammad on Jun 25, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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 (lit. prayer, worship, pi. salawat. The verb from which it isderived is salla meaning to hallow); as an act of God it is translated asto bless; as an act of men it is translated as to pray. It is possible,since the word is used only in its so-called second mode, that it is notoriginally an rabic word, but one derived from ramaic). !alah is thecanonical, or ritual, prayer, as opposed to the spontaneous petitioning of God which is called du "a". It consists of a series of movements andrecitations, and is thus a ritual, more of a liturgy, or an act of worship,than the supplication usually associated with the word prayer in the #est. s an act of worship, the salah models the body, mind, and soul - thelatter in the form of speech - to the invisible prototype of awareness of God. The performance of the salah five prescribed times daily isobligatory (fard), beginning at the age of reason, which is deemed to beseven years. The performance of additional salah prayers is possible butnot obligatory. These voluntary prayers are called nawafil. The obligatorysalah is, however, one of the $ive %illars, and is clearly the mostimport-ant after the shahadah.The salah is composed of a series of movements repeated several times.&ach series, or cycle of sacred speech and movement, is called a ra'"ah, abowing. !ome prayers are silent in whole or in part; that is to say, thefatihah and the chosen surah of the uran are then not pronounced out loud.ther prayers are spo'en aloud throughout, and others again are mi*ed, twocycles aloud and the rest silent. %rayers which are performed aloud attheir correct time are performed in silence when they are made later.The obligatory prayers, and a simple method of determining their time, arethe following+
1. Salat as-subh, 
or morning prayer is two ra'a"at said out loud. Its timeis between the moment of dawning when a thread of light appears on thehorion, until the actual rising of the sun. This period of time is calledal-far which is also the name for a voluntary, silent prayer of twora'a"at which can be performed at this time. The same word, al-far isapplied to the canonical morning prayer itself. The !alat as-subh iscommonly performed as a missed prayer, that is to say, it is performed uponwa'ing, and in silence.
2. Salat at-thuhr,
 the noonday prayer is four silent ra'a"at. It isperformed after the moment when the shadow of a stic' set vertically in theground has reached its shortest length at noon and has begun to lengthen asthe sun passes its enith, until the time of al-"asr.
3. Salat al-'asr, 
the late afternoon prayer is four silent ra'a"at. It isperformed from the moment when the shadow of a vertical stic' is eual tothe length of the stic' and the minimum shadow of the stic' at noon, at thesun"s enith (from about /+/0 pm), until the setting of the sun. ccording
to hadith, once the "asr prayer is performed, no other prayer can beperformed until after the sunset prayer is completed.
4. Salat al-maghrib,
 or sunset prayer is three ra'a"at the first twora'a"at are out loud, the third silent. The prayer may be performed anytime during the period of appro*imately twenty minutes starting four minutes after the sin'ing of the sun below the horion until the last redglow in the s'y.
5. Salat al-'isha,
or night prayer is four ra'a"at, the first two out loud,the last two silent. It is per-formed after the onset of night until dawn,but is preferably accomplished before midnight. In congregational prayer it is accomplished within one and one-half hours after the sunset prayer.In polar regions, where special conditions prevail, the prayer times mustbe determined by some agreed convention such as, for e*ample, choosing theintervals that would occur at 2ecca.The obligatory (fard) prayer may be performed alone, or in groups led by anlmam.  call, the adhan, is made at the beginning of the prayer period tosummon people to the mosue for prayer. The iamah is the secondary callfor assembly and rising, which is made inside the mosue immediately beforethe prayer.There are moments when salah is forbidden+ at the rising of the sun; whenthe sun is overhead at the enith; and at the actual moment when the sun issetting.  prayer should not be begun at these moments, but may becontinued through these if begun before. n $ridays the thuhr prayer isreplaced by the congregational prayer (salat al-um"ah) for those presentin the congregational mosue; it consists of two ra'a"at prayed silentlyunder the leadership of an Imam. n a ourney (in the days of camelbac'travel the minimum distance of such a ourney was the euivalent of forty-five to si*ty miles, or seventy-five to one hundred 'ilometers) inwhich the traveler spends the night away from home, or spends less thanthree nights in one place, prayers of four ra'a"at may be shortened to twora'a"at. $rom the fourth night spent in one place the normal prayer lengthis resumed.To perform the prayer, the person must be in the state of ritual purityconferred by the greater ablu-tion (ghusl) and the lesser ablution (wudu").The prayer must be performed in a clean place (not, therefore in a bathhouse, cemetery, slaughter-house, and so forth) facing the iblah(direction of 2ecca), if this can be determined. If it cannot bedetermined, prayer can be performed in any direction (as it is done whenone is inside the 3a"bah).
  man"s body must be covered from the navel to the 'nees; a woman"s fromthe nec' to below the elbow and to the an'les. ll of the woman"s hair must be covered. !hoes are removed in a place of prayer, (!ome lmams wear slippers or sandals which they wear only inside a mosue.) If there iscoming and going, the space in front should be symbolically delimited bysome obect placed in front of the worshiper. $or this reason, thosepraying a solitary prayer choose for preference to stand before the wall or a pillar. The worshiper must formulate the intention of the prayer to beperformed by naming it.
The motions of the prayer are as follows:1.
!tanding with the feet only slightly apart, the worshiper raises hisarms to the level of his ears, palms open forward, and declares out loud llahu a'bar. This raising of the hands to the level of the head needs tooccurs only at this first ta'bir. This opens the prayer. Then the handsare placed at the sides, or clasped right over left at the waist above thenavel, or clasped at the center of the chest, or above the heart. ll of these have precedents in the !unnah of the %rophet, may peace be upon him.In this standing position, the worshiper pronounces the fatihah, which mayor may not be preceded by the basmalah. t the end of the fatihah, theworshiper says+ amin. If there is an lmam, and the fatihah has been said out loud, this amin is pronounced as a response by the congregation. Inthe first two ra'a"at of the prayer (but not in subseuent ra'a"at), after the fatihah, some verses from the uran are recited. This ended, theworshiper then says+ llahu a'bar (this is always said aloud), and bows,placing his hands upon the 'nees.
In this position, which is called the bow, he says silently+!ubhana-5lahi-l-athim (Glory to God the 2ighty) three times, or a similar formula.
6ising now to the standing position, the worshiper says out loudsami"a-llahu liman hamidah (God listens to him who praises 7im) Then he, or the congregation following an lmam, says as response+ 6abband wala'a-l-hamd (ur 5ord, and to Thee belongs praise).
 !aying+ llahu a'bar out loud while still standing upright, theworshiper then prostrates himself, touching the forehead to the ground andwith both palms on the ground. In this position, which is called sadah,he says silently+ subhana 6abbiya-l-"la (Glory to my 5ord the 2ost 7igh),or a similar formula, three times.

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