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Salat

 

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SALAT

Prayer

Ritual of Worship (Ibadat) 1. Shahaada
2. Salat
3. Saum
4. Zakat
5. Haj

وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ وَارْكَعُواْ مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ

Be steadfast in Prayer,  Practice regular charity, and

Bow down with those who bow down (in worship) 2: 43

   

  Salat is a special Prayer in which we say certain words in a special manner, and we stand, kneel and bow down to the ground in a special way.

      Salat is said only in Arabic.  This means you will have to learn the words in Arabic.  You must learn the meaning of the words you say.  You will learn this slowly and gradually, as you study the short Surahs (Eleven Surahs Explained and the Islamic Arabic book) of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners, or similar books.

      Once you learn the words of the Salat and pray regularly it will become a routine and easy to do.  It is good to pray with parents at home, and in a group with other Muslims in the Mosque.  Don't be discouraged if the Arabic words seem to be difficult at first, because with practice you will soon learn to say them well.

 

WHY DO WE HAVE TO PRAY?

      Allah Almighty (God) wants us to pray.  Through prayer we will remember God and nothing else.  Through prayer we will worship Him, Allah Himself and nothing else.  When we pray we remind ourselves that we are good Muslims, and that we should live as Islam wants us to

live, the decent way.  When we pray, we are doing a sacred Islamic duty, a duty of worship, of obedience to Allah's order and His teachings.  When we pray, we sacrifice our time and whatever we are doing at the time, and we stand with all due respect praising the Almighty, asking His Guidance, and glorifying Him and nothing else.

  

HOW OFTEN DO WE PRAY?

As Muslims, we are to pray five times a day.  We pray:

1.   in the morning before sunrise,

2.   at noon,

3.   in the afternoon,

4.   shortly after sunset, and

5.   in the evening.

      We pray that often because Almighty Allah wants it that way.  He knows us best and He wants the best for us.  He wants us to pray five times a day so that we will acknowledge Him often.  When we do that, we remind ourselves often that we are Muslims and we ought to follow the rest of the teachings of Islam.

      Salat is a great pillar of worship in Islam.  Muslims all over the world do the Salat regularly.  Therefore when you perform the Salat, you will be joining millions of people who also are performing it.  All will be bowing to the Almighty and obeying His command.

      Salat is for our own good.  It purifies us and it helps us to be clean inside.  We need to pray five times a day, because we need it for our own good.

 

HOW MANY KINDS OF SALATS ARE THERE? go to top of page

There are at least two kinds of Salats (prayers). They are:

A. Obligatory Prayers consisting of the following:

  1. Morning Prayer, (Salatul‑Subh),  صلاه الصـبـح

  2. Noon Prayer, (Salatul‑Dhuhr),  صلاه الظـهر

  3. Afternoon Prayer, (Salatul‑Asr)   صلاه  العـصـر

  4. After‑sunset Prayer, (Salatul‑Maghrib صلاه  المــغرب

  5. Evening Prayer, (Salatul‑Ishaa)   صلاه  العـشــاء

 

B. Other (Sunnah) Prayers: These are performed following the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  They are usually optional, though some are not depending on the Islamic Schools of thought.

 

SALAT (Prayer)

Fardh

Morning

Noon

Afternoon

Shortly after Sunset

Evening

Others Salats

Sunnah, or Nafal

Friday Prayer

Eid ul Fitr

Eid ul Adha

Janaaza prayer

Mayyet prayer

Khusoof, Kusoof, etc.

 

HOW CAN THE SALATS BE PERFORMED? go to top of page

The obligatory prayers can be performed in two ways: 

  1. They can be performed alone, when others are not available to join us in the performance.

  2. They can be performed with the Jama'a (congregation,) in other words with other people when ready and available, be it in the Mosque or in other places.

On Friday, Noon Prayer is preferably done in congregation if at all possible.  The Sunnah prayers can be offered in the Mosque, at home or elsewhere.  In other words, a Muslim can perform his prayer alone, or with a group in the Mosque, at home or in other places.  It can be obligatory or Sunnah.

 

WHAT SHALL I THINK OF WHEN I AM PRAYING?

      When you pray, you know you are in the presence of the Almighty.  You are glorifying Him and bowing to Him.  Of course you ought to know the meaning of the words of the prayer and the meaning of each phrase you say.  When you do that you have a general idea of what is being said.  You say the words of the prayer in full respect and reverence, and you know you are performing the prayer out of obedience to the command of Allah (swt). You are performing it because He wanted you to do it regularly, everyday of your life, and wherever you are.  By performing it, you glorify Him and submit to Him, the Almighty Himself and nothing else.

 

WILL PRAYER HELP ME IN ANY WAY?

      Praying regularly will certainly help you a great deal.  It will make you feel that you are performing your Islamic duty faithful­ly.  It will help make you feel that you are renewing your promise to yourself of being a good Muslim.  It will help you in remembering God and dedicating yourself to His service.  It will remind you to keep performing what Almighty God had ordered you to do in Islam.  In so doing, you will hold to the Islamic values better, and you will apply them better.

      Prayers will remind you to avoid bad or evil acts.  Prayer is one way of letting you hold to the good, avoid the bad and indecent.  Prayer will help you hold to the directives of Allah, and to avoid indulging in worldly affairs.

 

ANYTHING ELSE?

      Prayer will make you remember Allah (swt) the All‑Powerful, the All‑Merciful.  It will make you God‑fearing.  It will remind you that you are obeying Him.  As a result, you will obey Him in your actions, in your daily affairs.  By so doing, you will do good to others.  Thus the community will be better off.  Prayer will also teach you discipline.  It will help you feel responsible, and it will help you build a respectable character.

▪    You will also learn to be regular,

▪    to watch your time, in other words, be precise,

▪    to do some exercise, and

▪    to clean certain parts of your body during Wudu.

 

 

WUDU    الوضوء  go to top of page

    Wudu is required of every Muslim before he prays.  Wudu is done in a special manner, where certain parts of the body are cleaned.

(Other schools of thought in Islam categorize the attributes differently, for more details see Way of Ahlul Bayt of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners.)

      The parts to be cleaned are the parts which often become dirty.  This way you are reminded of cleanliness not only of the body but also that of the spirit which the Islamic teachings are after.  Wudu is a way of purifying yourself before you stand to pray in the presence of God Almighty.  Thus, in so doing, you intend to purify yourself spiritually as well as physically.

 

HOW DO YOU DO THE WUDU?go to top of page

      Wudu is simple to do.  Your parents at home will show you how, and your teacher in the Islamic Religious School will also help show you how to perform it.  The Holy Quran in Surah 5: Ayah 6 says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ فاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُؤُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ

"O YOU WHO BELIEVE! WHEN YOU PREPARE FOR PRAYER, WASH YOUR FACES, YOUR HANDS (AND ARMS) TO THE ELBOW, AND WIPE YOUR HEADS (WITH YOUR WET HANDS), AND SO YOUR FEET TO THE ANKLES."

 

      As you can see, the Holy Quran teaches us that the essential parts of the Wudu consist of washing the face, the hands and arms up to the elbow, wiping the head and wiping the feet up to the ankles.

      You cannot pray unless you have performed Wudu, and learning how to do Wudu is the first step towards learning how to pray.  You not only follow a special order in washing or wiping the parts of your body mentioned above, but you also have to do it in a certain way.  It is best that the teacher does it in front of you and you do it in front of him or her.  If you make any mistakes, the teacher will correct you and help you do it right.

 

DO I HAVE TO DO WUDU WITH EACH PRAYER?

      You don't have to do Wudu with each and every prayer.  You may perform your prayer without having to do a new Wudu if you have not broken the previous Wudu.  There are certain conditions that break a Wudu and you should learn about them.

 

WHAT INVALIDATES A WUDU?

Certain conditions break a Wudu, some of which are:

  1. sleeping or taking a nap,

  2. going to the bathroom (to urinate or to have a bowel movement,)

  3. passing gas.

There are other conditions besides the above, but no need to mention them here, you should learn about them as you grow in Islam.

Now suppose that you have done your Wudu and that you have prayed, if you have not had any of the conditions that break a Wudu by the time your next prayer is due, then you can do your next prayer without having to do a new Wudu.

 

SUPPOSE THERE IS NO WATER, HOW CAN I DO WUDU?

      Don't worry about that, because sooner or later you may be in a situation where water may not be available.  In that case, you do what is called:

 

Tayammum  التـيـمم . go to top of page

      Tayammum consists of a few easy steps.  Your teacher will show you how to do it.  Water is not required with Tayammum, all that you need is a clean, natural spot of ground.  You touch this area with the palm of your hands, then you wipe certain parts of your body.  Your teacher will do it in front of you and you better do it in front of him so that he knows you are doing it correctly.

      Tayammum will give you a feeling that you have prepared yourself spiritually for the prayer, without having available the water for the Wudu.

 

WHAT KINDS OF DAILY PRAYERS ARE THERE?

      As you have learned by now, there are the five obligatory prayers.  They are called:  Fardh (or obligatory)فـرض  .

 

Obligatory Salats consist of:

▪    Morning Prayer

▪    Noon Prayer

▪    Afternoon Prayer

▪    After Sunset Prayer

▪    Evening Prayer 

In addition you may voluntarily pray (Optional Prayers) the:

▪    Sunnah Prayer or          .  

▪    Nafal Prayer     .  

It is up to you if you want to do so or not.

 

ARE THERE OTHERS BESIDES THE DAILY PRAYERS?  go to top of page

Yes, there are special prayers for certain occasions.

  1. There is the weekly prayer on Friday.  It is called: Jumu'ah Prayer   صلاة الجمـعه

  2. There is a special prayer on the occasion of the Eid celebrating the end of Ramadhan, and one at the Eid of Sacrifice, celebrating the occasion of the Haj.  They are respectively called:  Eid‑ul‑Fitr Prayer   عـيـد الـفـطر   and Eid‑ul‑Adha Prayer عـيـد الأضـحى  

  3. There is also a special prayer for someone who dies.  If the body is present, the Prayer is done differently and is called: Janaaza Prayer   صـلاه الجـنازه.

  4. If the person is already buried, the special Prayer in his name is called: Mayyet Prayer   صـلاه المـيـت.

These prayers are done in a special manner.  You will learn about them later or as the occasion arises.

 

TELL ME ABOUT JUMU'AH (FRIDAY) PRAYER go to top of page

      Jumu'ah (Friday) Prayer is a special prayer, done at noon, on every Friday.  It is always done with other Muslims in congregation.  A short talk is given at such an occasion, to be followed by the Prayer.  The short talk and the Prayer are delivered by the person who will lead the prayer.  He is called the Imam.  The talk, consisting of two parts, is called:  Khutba   خـطـبه .

Friday Prayer should preferably be done in the Mosque.

 

WHY IN THE MOSQUE? go to top of page

      The Mosque is a good gathering place for Muslims.  By doing Jumu'ah (Friday) Prayer in the Mosque, you get to know the other Muslims better.  Thus you may cooperate with and help each other.

      The Mosque is a center for better understanding, for worshipping in a group, and having a feeling of belonging to the good Muslim community.

 

WHAT ELSE WILL JUMU'AH PRAYER TEACH US?

      Jumu'ah (Friday) Prayer in congregation means many things.  When people come for Friday Prayer, they stand on an equal footing, as is the case in other Congregational Prayers.  Allah (swt) sees people as equal, and people practice that equality in the Mosque, be they:

▪    Wealthy or Poor

▪    Powerful or Weak

▪    Black or White

      There is no status symbol in the Mosque, you simply take a place in the line of praying people.  Shoulder to shoulder you stand, humble and in reverence, praying together.

 

ATHAN  أذان   go to top of page

Before you pray, you have to say the Athan.  The Athan is the "Call for Prayer".  A person who calls worshippers for the Prayer is called:

Mu'ath'thin  مؤذن

With a loud voice, he will say the Athan so that he can be heard loud and clear.  He will say certain words, in a certain order.  You ought to learn how to say these words and their meanings since this will be your second step in learning how to do your prayer.

      When the people around hear the Athan, they will hurry to gather quickly and quietly for the prayer.

 

HOW DO WE SAY THE ATHAN?

      Being the call for prayer, the Athan is said in a melodic loud manner.  You ought to learn the meaning of it too so that you know what you are saying.  It is said as follows:

Allah is the Greatest     

Allah is the Greatest     

Allah is the Greatest     

Allah is the Greatest     

الله أكـبر

 الله أكـبر

 الله أكـبر

 الله أكـبر

I declare that there is no deity except Allah

I declare that there is no deity except Allah

أشـهد أن  لا إله إلا الله 

أشـهد أن  لا إله إلا الله 

I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

I declare that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

أشـهد أن محـمداً رسـول الله

أشـهد أن محـمداً رسـول الله

Hasten for Prayer

Hasten for Prayer  

  حـى على الصـلاه

  حـى على الصـلاه

Hasten for Spiritual Gain

Hasten for Spiritual Gain

حـى على الفلاح

حـى على الفلاح

Allah is the Greatest

الله أكـبر

Allah is the Greatest

الله أكـبر

There is no deity except Allah

لا إله إلا الله

 

  Four Islamic schools of thought (Sunni) say the Athan as above.  Two other Islamic schools of thought (Shi'a) add one phrase (obligatory) and a second one (optional).

   

      While four schools of thought in Islam say the Athan as mentioned above, two others add another phrase (obligatory).  If you or your parents belong to these schools of thought, should learn the phrase.  It is said following the phrase of assemble for success, and it is also said twice.  It goes this way:

 

Hasten for the best deed

Hasten for the best deed

حـى على خـيرالعـمل 

حـى على خـيرالعـمل

I declare that Ali is the devotee of Allah

I declare that Ali is the devotee of Allah

 أشـهد أن عليـاً ولي الله

 أشـهد أن عليـاً ولي الله

 

For the morning prayer, you add the following phrases to the wording of Athan just before you say the last Allah is the Greatest

 

Prayer is better than sleep

Prayer is better than sleep

 ألصلاه خيـر من النـوم   

 ألصلاه خيـر من النـوم  

  

 

IQAAMA   go to top of page

      Just before you want to pray, you say the Iqaama which announces the start of the prayer.  The words said are the same as in the Athan.  The number of the phrases is different from that of the Athan.  But the easiest way to say it is as the Athan, adding the following phrase twice, just after saying Hasten for Spiritual Gain.

 

Prayer has started

Prayer has started

  قد قامت ألصلاه

  قد قامت ألصلاه

 

In two schools of thought in Islam, all the phrases of the Iqaama are said twice each except for the last one.  Again if your parents belong to this school of thought, you should learn it the way they want you to.

 

WHICH DIRECTION SHALL I FACE WHEN I PRAY?  go to top of page

      When you pray, you and every Muslim must face the same focus called:   Ka'ba     ألكـعـبـه 

      The Ka'ba is the focus that all Muslims turn to.  This way, you and all the millions of praying Muslims will have something in common.  Not only are you joining them in your act of worship, you also are sharing with them the focus you are directing yourself to when you pray.  Your direction is called:  Qibla  القبـله

      Wherever you are in the world, your Qibla has to be towards the Ka'ba.  This means that your direction may be towards the north, south, east, or west depending on where you are located.

      The Ka'ba is in the holy city Mecca, which is in Arabia.  It is the same place we go to perform our pilgrimage.

 

WHAT DOES A SALAT (PRAYER) CONSIST OF?

      Each Salat (prayer) consists of two or more units.  A unit is called:  Rak'a    ركعـه

      A Rak'a (unit) means standing in the presence of the Almighty in a solemn and respectful manner.  You also say certain phrases in a special order.  You will learn about that through your parents and/or teacher in the Madresa.

Each Rak'a consists of the following order of acts:

  1. Standing, followed by

  2. bowing with your hands on the knees, then

  3. getting up for a short while, then

  4. kneeling down twice in such a way that your forehead touches the floor.

With each of the above steps you say certain words, beautiful words that glorify the Almighty.  You will learn about the words later on (See book of Salat of the Series of Islamic Books for Beginners, or similar ones).

 

HOW MANY RAK'AS ARE THERE FOR EACH SALAT?  go to top of page

      The number of Rak'as differs according to the special Salat (prayer) you intend to perform.  They are easy to remember, especially when you start praying regularly.  Notice what the different Salats (prayers) consist of the following Rak'as:

Subh (Morning) Prayer consists of:

Two Rak'as

Dhuhr (Noon) Prayer consists of:

Four Rak'as

Asr (Afternoon) Prayer consists of:

Four Rak'as

Maghrib (After‑sunset) Prayer consists of:

Three Rak'as

Ishaa (Evening) Prayer consists of:

Four Rak'as

 

ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS?

      Yes, there are exceptions.  For instance, if you are traveling you cut short the prayers which require four Rak'as.  Instead, you do only two.  This means that when you are traveling, all the Prayers will consist of two Rak'as except one.  The exception is for the After‑sunset prayer (Maghrib) which remains three Rak'as.

 

SUPPOSE I MISS A SALAT, WHAT SHALL I DO?

      It is hoped that you perform your Salats (prayers) regularly.  However, every once in a while you may miss one.  This can happen especially in the morning when you may sleep until after sunrise.  In such cases, you can perform your prayer in compensation.  This is what we call:  Qadhaa Prayer  قضــاء

 

HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE BEFORE I SHOULD PRAY REGULARLY?

      You should start praying regularly when you reach the age of physical maturity.  This means when a boy starts with his wet dreams or a girl starts with her monthly period.  If boys have not started that by the age of fifteen years, and girls by nine then prayer becomes obligatory anyway by virtue of their age.

 

CAN I PRAY BEFORE I BECOME THAT OLD?  go to top of page

      By all means, it is very good for you to do that.  You ought to say it out loud with your parents, so that in case you make a mistake they can correct you.  It takes praying many, many times before you will be able to say the Salat correctly.

      You have to learn how to say and perform the Salat early in your life.  You ought to practice it often with your parents, so that the prayer becomes a part of you.

      Prayer is a must.  It is a great pillar of worship in Islam.  Allah (swt) will reward you for it.  Salat is for your own good.

 

WILL GIRLS PRAY LIKE BOYS? go to top of page

      Basically girls pray like boys but the manner of dress is different.  Girls are to cover their heads and make sure that only their faces, hands and feet are visible.

      When males and females worship together in congregation, the females have to stand behind and to the side of the line of males, so that they cannot be seen by the male congregation.  There is a special reason for that.

 

 QUESTIONS  go to top of page

  1. What is Salat?

  2. May you say the Salat in English?  Why?

  3. Can you perform Salat with your parents?

  4. Why do we pray?

  5. How often a day do we perform the Salat?

  6. Why do we pray that often?

  7. How many kinds of Salats are there?

  8. Name the five obligatory Salats in Arabic and English.

  9. Does Allah (swt) need our Salat?

  10. Who reaps the benefit of the Salat?

  11. Can you perform the obligatory prayers alone?

  12. How will Salat help you?  Give three points.

  13. Can Jumu'ah Salat be performed alone?

  14. What is Wudu?

  15. How do you do Wudu?

  16. Do you have to do Wudu with each Salat?

  17. What breaks a Wudu?  Give three causes.

  18. What is Salat of the Sunnah?

  19. What is Tayammum?

  20. How do you do Tayammum?

  21. How many kinds of daily prayers are there?

  22. What is the weekly Prayer on Friday called?

  23. What is Eid‑ul‑Fitr Prayer?

  24. What is Janaaza Prayer?

  25. What is Athan?

  26. Say the Athan.

  27. What is Iqaama?

  28. Say the Iqaama.

  29. What is Ka'ba?  Which town is it in?

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