Salah, also known as ‘Salat’, is the daily ritual prayer performed by Muslims. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the five religious obligations that are obligatory for all Muslims. Salah involves reciting verses from the Qur’an (known as ayahs) and repeating phrases in Arabic. Salah also involves physical movements such as Qiyam (standing), Rukoo (bowing), and Sujood (prostrating). The purpose of salah is to establish a connection with Allah (God) and to seek guidance, forgiveness, and protection. Muslims pray 5 times a day with varying lengths and at times that move slightly according to the position of the sun.
Allah states in the Quran:
“Establish regular prayers – at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Isra, 17:78)”
Why do Muslims pray?
Muslims pray to establish a connection with Allah and to seek guidance, forgiveness, and protection. Salah is also a way for Muslims to express gratitude and to remember the blessings that Allah has given them. In Islam, prayer is considered to be a form of worship. It helps to build a stronger relationship with Allah and to nurture a sense of inner peace and clarity. Additionally, salah increases awareness of His presence. Once we increase our awareness (Taqwa) then we are on the right path in becoming closer to Allah and as a result, obeying His commands becomes easier.
Prayer is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the five religious obligations that are mandatory for all Muslims. The other pillars are shahadah (profession of faith), zakat (charitable giving), sawm (fasting during the month of Ramadan), and hajj (the pilgrimage to Makkah). Together, these pillars form the foundation of the Islamic faith. The five pillars are seen as essential practices that help Muslims to live a life that is pleasing to Allah and in accordance with His teachings.
The Prophet Muhmmad (pbuh) stated in a hadith:
“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
How do Muslims pray?
Muslims perform salah, the daily ritual prayer, five times a day at certain times. The names and times are as below:
– Fajr: Early morning
-Asr: Late afternoon
When performing salah, Muslims face in the direction of the Kabah in Makkah, which is the most sacred site in Islam. Also, the Kabah is considered the center of the Muslim world and is the direction that Muslims all over the world face when they pray.
Salah begins with the intention to pray and the recitation of the opening prayer, known as the Takbeer. The Takbeer is the phrase “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is the greatest.” After the Takbeer, Muslims recite verses from the Qur’an. They stand, bow and prostrate, all in a certain order. Each prayer has a set number of rakahs (unit of prayer) which differ according to the Salah in question.
Towards the end of Salah, Muslims perform the tashahhud, in which they declare their faith in Allah and ask for His blessings. Salah ends with the Salam, which is the phrase “As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.” This means “May Allah’s peace and mercy be upon you.”
For a closer look at the actions during prayer, follow this link (this will open in Youtube).
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