New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: The Natural Human Instinct


The act of prayer at its highest is much more than abstract reflection.


Religion is not satisfied with mere conception; it seeks a more intimate knowledge of and association with the object of its pursuit. The agency through which this association is achieved is the act of worship or prayer ending in spiritual illumination.

The act of worship, however, affects different varieties of consciousness differently. In the case of the prophetic consciousness it is in the main creative, i.e. it tends to create a fresh ethical world wherein the Prophet (peace be upon him), so to speak, applies the pragmatic test to his revelations.

In the case of the mystic consciousness it is in the main cognitive. It is from this cognitive point of view that I will try to discover the meaning of prayer. And this point of view is perfectly justifiable in view of the ultimate motive of prayer. I would draw your attention to the following passage from the great American psychologist, Professor William James:

‘It seems to probable that in spite of all that ‘science’ may do to the contrary, men will continue to pray to the end of time, unless their mental nature changes in a manner which nothing we know should lead us to expect. The impulse to pray is a necessary consequence of the fact that whilst the innermost of the empirical selves of a man is a ‘self’ of the social sort, it yet can find its only adequate ‘Socius’ (its ‘great companion’) in an ideal world.

‘. . . Most men, either continually or occasionally, carry a reference to it in their breast. The humblest outcast on this earth can feel himself to be real and valid by means of this higher recognition. And, on the other hand, for most of us, a world with no such inner refuge when the outer social self failed and dropped from us would be the abyss of horror. I say “for most of us”, because it is probable that individuals differ a good deal in the degree in which they are haunted by this sense of an ideal spectator. It is a much more essential part of the consciousness of some men than of others. Those who have the most of it are possibly the most religious men. But I am sure that even those who say they are altogether without it deceive themselves, and really have it in some degree.’

A Natural Human Inclination

Thus you will see that, psychologically speaking, prayer is instinctive in its origin. The act of prayer as aiming at knowledge resembles reflection. Yet prayer at its highest is much more than abstract reflection.

Like reflection it too is a process of assimilation, but the assimilative process in the case of prayer draws itself closely together and thereby acquires a power unknown to pure thought. In thought the mind observes and follows the working of Reality; in the act of prayer it gives up its career as a seeker of slow-footed universality and rises higher than thought to capture Reality itself with a view to become a conscious participator in its life.

There is nothing mystical about it. Prayer as a means of spiritual illumination is a normal vital act by which the little island of our personality suddenly discovers its situation in a larger whole of life. Do not think I am talking of auto-suggestion. Auto-suggestion has nothing to do with the opening up of the sources of life that lie in the depths of the human ego.

Unlike spiritual illumination which brings fresh power by shaping human personality, it leaves no permanent life-effects behind. Nor am I speaking of some occult and special way of knowledge. All that I mean is to fix your attention on a real human experience which has a history behind it and a future before it. Mysticism has, no doubt, revealed fresh regions of the self by making a special study of this experience. Its literature is illuminating; yet its set phraseology shaped by the thought-forms of a worn-out metaphysics has rather a deadening effect on the modern mind.

Concrete Satisfaction

The quest after a nameless nothing, as disclosed in Neo-Platonic mysticism – be it Christian or Muslim – cannot satisfy the modern mind which, with its habits of concrete thinking, demands a concrete living experience of God. And the history of the race shows that the attitude of the mind embodied in the act of worship is a condition for such an experience.

In fact, prayer must be regarded as a necessary complement to the intellectual activity of the observer of ‘nature’. The scientific observation of Nature keeps us in close contact with the behaviour of Reality, and thus sharpens our inner perception for a deeper vision of it. I cannot help quoting here a beautiful passage from the mystic poet Rëmâ in which he describes the mystic quest after ‘reality’.

The Sëfi’s book is not composed of ink and letters: it is not but a heart white as snow. The scholar’s possession is pen-marks. What is the Sëfi’s possession?

The Sëfi stalks the game like a hunter: he sees the musk-deer’s track and follows the footprints. For some while the track of the deer is the proper clue for him, but afterwards it is the musk-gland of the deer that is his guide. To go one stage guided by the scent of the musk-gland is better than a hundred stages of following the track and roaming about.

The truth is that all search for knowledge is essentially a form of prayer. The scientific observer of ‘nature’ is a kind of mystic seeker in the act of prayer. Although at present he follows only the footprints of the musk-deer, and thus modestly limits the method of his quest, his thirst for knowledge is eventually sure to lead him to the point where the scent of the musk-gland is a better guide than the footprints of the deer. This alone will add to his power over ‘nature’ and give him that vision of the total-infinite which philosophy seeks but cannot find.

Vision without power does bring moral elevation but cannot give a lasting culture. Power without vision tends to become destructive and inhuman. Both must combine for the spiritual expansion of humanity.


The article is excerpted from the author’s book “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”.


New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: Sayings and Acts of the Prophet

By Editorial Staff

Prayer is the daily ritual act of worship enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. A constant reminder throughout the day keeps believers mindful of God in the daily stress of life. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.


“Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).”

Jarir bin `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

“I pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to establish Salah, to pay the Zakah and to have the welfare of every Muslim at heart.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Any Muslim who fails to observe his prayers and has no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and a heinous sin.

The Messenger of Allah  said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).” (Muslim)


The obligatory (fard) Prayer in Islam includes the five daily prayers and the weekly noon congregational prayer; Friday Prayer.

It was narrated that `A’ishah said:

“The first time the Salah was enjoined it was two rak`ahs, and it remained as such when traveling, but the Salah while resident was made complete.” (An-Nasa’i)

Times of Prayer

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about the times of prayers. He said: The time for the morning prayer (lasts) as long as the first visible part of the rising sun does not appear and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from the zenith and there is not a time for the afternoon prayer and the time for the afternoon prayer is so long as the sun does not become pale and its first visible part does not set, and the time for the evening prayer is that when the sun disappears and (it lasts) till the twilight is no more and the time for the night prayer is up to the midnight. (Muslim)

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with a rak`ah of the prayer, then he has caught up with the prayer.” (An-Nasa’i)

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated:

I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “There is no prayer after the morning prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the `Asr prayer till the sun sets.” (Al-Bukhari)

In Congregation

A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a salah performed individually.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

The Messenger of Allah said: “If anyone goes out from his house after performing ablution for saying the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for hajj pilgrimage after wearing ihram (robe worn by the hajj pilgrims).

And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs `Umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in `Illiyyin (the highest levels of Heaven). (Al-Albani)

Friday Prayer

This weekly convention of Friday Congregation is compulsory upon every Muslim man who is required to observe the other five daily prayers and has no reasonable excuses to abstain. It falls on Friday of every week.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, with four exceptions; a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person.

Abu Dawud said: Tariq Ibn Shihab had seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) but not heard anything from him. (Al-Albani)

Women’s Prayer at Mosques

One of the wives of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to offer the Fajr and the `Isha’ Prayer in congregation in the mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that `Umar disliked it, and he has great self-respect. She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Messenger: ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slaves from going to Allah’s Mosques’ prevents him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Night Prayer

Many hadiths by the Prophet show the significance as well as importance of the Night Prayer and the merits attributed to those who regularly and properly perform it.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing sawm (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best salah (prayer) next after the prescribed salah is salah at night (Tahajjud prayers).” (Muslim)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing fasting after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

“Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said: “You should pray qiyam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.”(At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

Special Du`aa’

Ibn `Abbas narrated:

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up at night to offer the tahajjud prayer, he used to say:  (O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever   is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. (Al-Bukhari)

Midmost Prayer

Zaid ibn Thabit said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer the Zhuhr Prayer in midday heat; and no prayer was harder on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah than this one. Hence the revelation came down: “Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer” (Al-Baqarah 2:238). He (the narrator) said: There are two prayers before it and two prayers after it. (Abu Dawud)

Fajr Prayer

Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A prayer performed in congregation is twenty-five times more superior in reward to a prayer performed by a single person. The angels of the night and the angels of the day are assembled at the time of the Fajr (Morning) prayer.” Abu Hurairah added, “If you wish, you can recite:- “Verily! The recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn (Morning prayer) is ever witnessed (attended by the angels of the day and the night” (Al-Israa’ 17:78)” (Al-Bukhari)

Sunnah Prayer

Narrated `Abdullah Ibn `Umar:

I offered with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a two rak`ahs prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs after the Zhuhr Prayer, two rak`ahs after Jumu`ah, Maghrib and `Ishaa’ prayers. (Al-Bukhari)

`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) never omitted four rak`ah prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs prayers before dawn (Fajr) Prayer. [Al- Bukhari]

Narrated Hafsah:

When the muezzin pronounced the Adhan for Fajr Prayer and the dawn became evident the Prophet ordered a two rak`ahs light prayer (sunnah) before the iqamah (second call to Prayer) of the compulsory (congregational) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There is a salah (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salah between every Adhan and iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prohibited Actions in Prayer

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the Iqamah is called, no prayer should be performed except the obligatory prayer.” (Muslim)




New Muslims Worldview

Islam: A Religion of Quality


Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that unkempt, unclean and loutish individuals who spout distorted religious speculations as being wholly representative of Islam.

The Islamic world is wide-spread not only in its geography, but in its various traditions. However, when we look at the world of Islam today, a general coarsening has taken place.

At one time, Muslims were regarded as people of good character; in the Middle Ages, Saladin was regarded by the Crusaders, including Richard the Lionhearted, as a wise and noble figure worthy of respect. Islam led the world in the sciences, the arts and literature.

Now when we gaze upon the Islamic world, we see a degraded culture where shabby-looking men are held up as saints, where beautiful women are commanded by bigots to conceal their beauty, and where unkempt women are held up as paragons of virtue by the very nature of their appearance, as though having bad skin and uncombed hair somehow makes you pious.

It goes without saying that many, especially in the West, look at bedraggled men with long and disheveled beards, wearing rags and semi-literate, as examples of Islam. This occurs because the media has made them so, and these particular men love nothing more than to claim to speak for the whole of the Islamic world.

But it is not only in the West that this has happened; in the Islamic world, far too many Muslims see these same men and think to themselves, “Why, look! He wears filthy rags, and has a long and ungroomed beard. Surely this is a holy man!” Or they see a woman in stylish clothes, wearing makeup or having her hair uncovered, and the immediate reaction of far too many is, “Why, this woman is a prostitute, a Jezebel!”

This kind of foolish thinking is unfortunately commonplace in the Islamic world.

So how has it come to this? How is it that music, art and beauty is condemned, when music, art and beauty are gifts from God? Why are these gifts, which uplift and elevate the mind and soul, looked upon as curses from the devil himself?

Perhaps it is because we have allowed petty and small-minded provincials with peculiar ideas to rule the discussion for too long. We have allowed these people to enjoy a cultural dictatorship, a “tyranny of moral busybodies,” as the Christian writer C.S. Lewis so eloquently said.

We have allowed them to become cultural arbiters. And the results? A world without joy or beauty. A world where those men and women who wish to share the talents given to them by God are told their gifts are sins. What madness is this? Truly, a world in which there is no appreciation of beauty and aesthetics is little more than a manifestation of Hell itself.

There is nothing from the Qur’an that prohibits music or the arts. It is mistaken to say, “The Qur’an prohibits music!” This is bid`ah, or heresy, and those who introduce such things are committing a sin. As it says in the Qur’an:

Say, “Do you see that which God has provided for you – you make some of it unlawful (haram) and some of it lawful?” Say, “Did God allow you to do this, or do you tell lies about God?” (Yunus 10:59)

Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was a man of fine appearance and attribute, and he had an aesthetic appreciation for beauty. He used to grow roses around his house, and in a desert environment growing almost anything is a difficult task.

At that time there existed a fragrant oil and our Prophet used to use olive oil as well as that oil mixed with a beautiful smelling rose extract; he used to wear this in his hair as a brilliantine, and it made him appear more youthful. It is said his clothes, his frock and shirt were white and always kept clean and in good repair. His teeth (owing to the use of a miswak, a natural toothbrush) were white and clean.

All of these descriptions of his appearance come from the hadiths. All these descriptions are notably different from what we so often see, and all are notably different from what we see in Muslim extremists as well.

So to my fellow Muslims, please do not allow yourselves to fall into the trap of thinking that by looking shabby and scowling, that this makes you a more devout Muslim. Do not fall prey to the notion that forbidding music or art or beauty is somehow the commandment of God.

Do not think for one moment that by treating your wife as an object of scorn or contempt, or as your occasional beast of burden when you go to the shops, that you are living the truth of Islam. You are not. You are behaving in an ugly and boorish manner, and this behavior is fodder for those who seek to portray Muslims as savages.

And above all, do not fall into that trap of utopian nonsense which says that if the Muslims were simply to go back to the life of the seventh century A.D., then all would be well in the world, and we would all live in perfect contentment forevermore. This rejection of the modern world is not only profoundly silly and highly reactionary, it is dangerous.

And for the Western reader, I ask you not to fall into the trap of thinking that unkempt, unclean and loutish individuals who spout distorted religious speculations mixed with their own superstitions and cultural peculiarities as being wholly representative of Islam. They are not; overall, they are a minority. They get the attention they do simply because they manage to talk over everyone else.

And do not fall into the trap of the anti-Muslim bigots; while they like to claim they are only opposed to “extremists” and “radicals”, they portray this vocal and extremist minority as representative of the entirety of Islam, when in fact the opposite is true. Extremists speak only for themselves; they are a majority only in their fevered delusions.




New Muslims Prayer

Muslims Prayer Reduces Back Pain, Eliminates Stress: Study Finds

Five times a day, roughly 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, bow, kneel, and place their foreheads to the ground in the direction of the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Islamic prayer ritual, the Salah. The ritual is one of the five obligatory elements of the faith set forth by the Qur’an.

Muslims Prayer

The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints.

According to research at Binghamton University, State University of New York, the complex physical movements of the ritual can reduce lower back pain if performed regularly and properly.

The study found that not only does quiet prayer eliminate physical anxiety, but that proper knee and back angles can be an effective clinical treatment.

“One way to think about the movements is that they are similar to those of yoga or physical therapy intervention exercises used to treat low back pain,” said Professor and Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Department Chair Mohammad Khasawneh, who is one of the authors of the paper entitled “An ergonomic study of body motions during Muslim prayer using digital human modeling”.

Acts of Worship

The research used computer-generated human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women to look at the effect on lower back pain.

While the research focused specifically on Islamic prayer practices, similar movements are also found in Christian and Jewish prayer rituals along with yoga and physical therapy.

The paper was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Working with Khasawneh, an interfaith team of Assistant Professor Faisal Aqlan from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Penn State Behrend, Assistant Professor Abdulaziz Ahmed from the Business Department at the University of Minnesota Crookston, and Performance Improvement Consultant Wen Cao from the Department of Operational Performance Improvement at the Peninsula Regional Medical Center were all co-authors of the paper. All three are alumni of the Industrial and Systems Engineering doctoral program at Binghamton University.

Between Prayer and Vigilance

“Physical health is influenced by socio-economic, lifestyle and religious factors. Moreover, studies indicate that there is a strong association between prayer and vigilance about maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle,” said Khasawneh.

“Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.”

Researchers analyzed statistics based on the movements of computer-generated digital human models of healthy Indian, Asian, and American men and women, and models with lower back pain.


The group found that (ruku`) the bowing portion is the most stressful on the lower back, but for individuals with low back pain, using proper knee and back angles during the ritual can reduce pain. The angles are based on individual body shapes.

“The maximum compression forces created during prayer postures is much lower than National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety limits, and the movements can be safely considered a clinical treatment for low back pain, as it requires different movements of the human body on a regular basis,” Khasawneh said.

“Based on the pain level, a combination of back and knee angles can be identified.”

For those with back pain, maintaining exact prayer postures may not be possible. According to Islamic traditions and practices, if individuals cannot stand, they are allowed to pray seated or laying. If they are able to stand, they should maintain correct postures as much as they can.


“The kneeling posture (sujud) increases the elasticity of joints. It is recommended for these individuals to spend more time in the kneeling posture,” Khasawneh said.

According to the research team, using incorrect angles and movements can increase pain. The team also suggested that further study is needed for physically handicapped individuals, those with more extreme body types and women — especially pregnant women — to find the best movements for these groups. The group plans to further validate the findings with physical experiments using sensors and cameras to track the stresses on the individual body parts during the prayer ritual.


Source: sciencedaily &


New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: Between Worship and Day-to-day Life

The basic and most important act of worship among those which Allah has taught us to perform is salah, or the prayer. It prepares us to worship Him in our entire lives – the purpose for which He has created us.

Consider carefully why it is so important, what is its true meaning and significance.


Prayer prepares us to worship God in our entire lives.

Prayer.. Remembering God

The Prayer is an act of worship. We should, therefore, first recollect what worship means.

Worship means revering, serving and obeying God in our whole lives. Being born as God’s servants, we cannot give up serving Him at any time or under any circumstances and still remain His servant as God wanted us to be when He created us.

Just as you cannot say that you are creatures of God for a particular time only, so you cannot say that you will spend only a certain amount of time in worshipping Him and be free to spend the rest as you please. You are born to worship Him. Your whole lives should therefore be spent in `ibadah, you should not neglect it for a single moment.

It is precisely for this reason that worship does not require giving up the day-to-day world and sitting in a corner chanting God’s name. Worship means that whatever you do in the world should be in accordance with God’s guidance. Whether you sleep, are awake, eat, drink or work – in fact, whatever activity you do – you worship Allah if these are done in obedience to Him.

When you are at home with your wives and children, brothers and sisters and relatives, behave towards them exactly as God has laid down, when you talk to your friends and amuse yourselves, remain conscious that you are servants of God, when you go out to work and have dealings with other people, keep in view God’s commandments about what behavior is proper and legitimate and what is not.

When in the dark of night you feel you can commit a sin which nobody in the world can see, then is the time to remember that God is seeing you and it is He, and not your fellow humans, who deserves to be feared.

When you find yourselves in a place where you can commit a crime without fear of the police or any witnesses, then again it is time to remember that God sees everything and refrain from doing anything for transient gain which would displease Him.

And when following the path of truth and honesty causes you material loss or otherwise puts you at a disadvantage, accept this ungrudgingly in the knowledge that you are pleasing Allah by obeying Him and that your gain from Him will far outweigh any temporary, earthly loss.

True Worship

Abandoning the world and sitting in secluded places counting rosary beads is, therefore, not real worship at all. Worship is to be engaged in everyday affairs and yet follow the way of God. What does remembering God (dhikr) mean?

It does not mean merely the continual chanting of ‘Allah, Allah!’. The real remembrance of God consists in recalling to mind the name and will of Allah when you are caught up in day-to-day worldly activities. Being engaged in pursuits which could tend to make you forget God and yet not forgetting Him is in fact remembering Him.

In this life, where opportunities abound for disobeying God and where temptations of huge profits lurk, you must unfailingly remember God and remain steadfast in following His law.

This is the true remembrance of God. This is the kind of remembrance the Qur’an refers to thus:

Then, when the Prayer is finished, disperse on earth and seek God’s bounty; but remember God often, so that you may attain success (Al-Jumu`ah 62: IO)

Keep in mind this comprehensive meaning of `ibadah and see how the prayer helps us realize the qualities which are necessary to live in such `ibadah, what blessings it confers upon us.


The article is excerpted from the book “Let Us Be Muslims” by Abul A`La Mawdudi.



New Muslims Prayer

Prayer: The Basic Duty and Pivotal Concept in Islam

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai

Remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. O Believers! Seek help with patience and Prayer. For Allah is with the patient ones. (Al-Baqarah 2:152-153)

Prayer (Salah) being one of the five pillars of Islam is mentioned many times in the Qur’an as an obligatory duty for every adult Muslim. It is to be offered five times a day and certain prerequisites are to be met before offering it.

Praer in Islam

monotheism permeates both the concept and form of prayer in Islam, as it is devoted wholly to Allah.

In the above Qur’anic passage, however, the focus is on the essence or underlying spirit of prayer, which helps one grasp this basic duty and pivotal concept in Islam.

Needless to add, prayer in some form features in every religious tradition. Some of its popular forms are: incantations, spells and devotional acts and rituals. It varies from being silent to vocal, often assuming the form of meditation.

In Christianity, it is prayer to God the Trinity; to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. It may include elements of adoration, confession, intercession, petition or thanksgiving, following the pattern of the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” which Jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 6:9-15, Luke 11:2-4) and other biblical examples of prayer, especially those found in the New Testament epistles and the Old Testament psalms. Use is also made of the prayers of saints and spiritual writers. Posture in prayer varies. Some traditions teach kneeling, some standing, some sitting. Forms and types of prayer also vary.

One True God

By comparison, monotheism permeates both the concept and form of prayer in Islam, as it is devoted wholly to Allah, the One True God.

Like any other Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed the same prayer, bowing and prostrating to Allah.

Furthermore, unlike other faiths which recommend private or public forms of prayer, which usually turn into exercises in inner contemplation or meditation, Islam prescribes prayer as an obligatory duty, to be performed in congregation in a mosque, a particular structure set apart for this specific purpose. It is to be offered at appointed hours and in a particular manner, of which details are to be found in the Qur’an and Hadith, and as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

His Companions faithfully followed the way he said prayers and the same has been the practice of billions of Muslims down the ages. Remarkably, its form and features have remained unaltered all along.  Every Muslim performs it alike at the same hours, regardless of the place of his residence and in the same direction of Makkah.

Both literally and symbolically prayer has been the most distinct bond of Muslim fraternity in all time and place.

Conditions for Prayer

Certain prerequisites must be fulfilled before offering prayer. For example, the washing of some body parts is a precondition for prayer:

O you who believe! When ye rise up for prayer, wash you faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or you have had contact with women, and you find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that you may give thanks. (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

If one is in a state of impurity, one should take a bath,

O you who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when you are drunken, till you know that which you utter, nor when you are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till you have bathed. And if you be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or you have touched women, and you find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving. (An-Nisaa’ 4:43)

Likewise, one should put on clean clothes when offering prayer, O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals. (Al-A`raf 7:31) One should also face the direction of prayer, “And from wherever you go out (for prayer), turn your face toward Al-Masjid Al-Haram”. (Al-Baqarah 2:150)

It is imperative that prayer be said at its appointed hours – at dawn (Fajr), at noon (Zhuhr), in the afternoon (`Asr), after sunset (Maghrib) and in the late evening (`Isha’), (An-Nisaa’ 4:103, Hud 11:114, Al-Israa’ 17:78-80 and Ta-Ha 20:130-132).

It is preferable and more rewarding to pray in congregation, (Al-Baqarah 2:43 and al-Nisa’ 4:102).

Some other conditions governing prayer are that Allah’s excellent names and attributes be mentioned and a portion of the Qur’an be recited in prayer.

Furthermore, the Qur’an recitation should be in a distinct tone, (Al-Israa’ 17:110, Al-`Ankabut 29:45 and Al-Muzzammil 73:4).

An extensive account of these and other norms to be observed during prayer feature in standard works on Muslim theology and jurisprudence.

The passage we are concerned with here examines only the spirit of prayer defining what it is, its components and its benefits for man. For its better appreciation this passage should be read together with the following Qur’anic extracts which bring into further relief the objectives and essence of prayer:

Successful are the Believers, those who humble themselves in Prayer. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-2)

And seek (Allah’s) help in patience and Prayer. Surely it is hard, except for those who fear Allah. (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Those who pray, they are constant in their Prayer, and in whose wealth there is a portion for the beggar and the poor. They testify to the Day of Judgment and are fearful of their Lord’s punishment. (Al-Ma`arij 70:23-27)

Woe be to such performers of Prayer, who are negligent of their Prayer, who aim to be seen and who withhold even common items from others. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-7)

The ayah cited at the outset opens with the exhortation that man should remember Allah.

Since He is man’s Creator, Sustainer and Benefactor par excellence, it is perfectly in order that man’s mind and heart be filled with the thought of His majesty, glory and numerous favors.


The article is an excerpt from Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s book “The Qur’an: Essential Teachings”, published by the Islamic Foundation, 2005/1426 H.


Acts of Worship New Muslims

A Beginners Guide to Prayer in Islam

By Editorial Staff

We, as Muslims, have to purify ourselves before offering prayer. Therefore, a Muslim is required to follow certain purification procedure known as wudu’ (ablution). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah does not accept prayer of anyone of you if he does hadath (passes wind) till he performs the ablution (anew). (Al-Bukhari)

Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud.

But before ablution, you have to perform Istinja’ whenever one passes impurity from any of passages (front & back). One can use either stone (tissue in modern times) or water. To perform it with water is preferred.  The best is to combine both water and tissue, first by wiping with the tissue and then washing.

How to Perform Istinja’

First it is preferred to use toilet paper three times. If Istinja’ is being done on a hot day, then the person should start from the front to the back and then from the back to the front and the third time from the front to the back. If Istinja’ is being done on a cold day, then he should begin from the back to the front.

The female would always wipe first from the front (part closest to the vagina) wiping towards the back, and with the second stone (tissue) wiping from the back to the front and so on.

Then, one should wash both his/her hands in case of any impurity that could be on the skin.

After that, one should pour water over the anus area and rub the area using the inner part of one’s fingers. One should continue until all the impurity and smell is removed. (Nur Al-Idhah, pp. 27-30)

This completes the first step of purification that precedes the prayer. Now, you are ready to perform ablution

Wudu’ or ablution means using clean and cleansing water on certain parts of the body.

How to Perform Ablution

1- Make intention (niyyah) to perform ablution for prayer.

2- Say, “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah).

3- Wash both hands up to the wrist three times and make sure that water has reached between fingers.

4- Take a handful of water; rinse your mouth three times and spit it out every time.

5- Inhale water into your nostrils and then exhale it, three times.

6- Wash your face three times from one ear to the other, and from the forehead to the chin.

7- Wash both your arms up to the elbows, starting with the right and then the left three times.

8- Wipe over head with your wet palms from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.

9- Wash the front and back of your ears by using your index and thumb fingers.

10- Finally, wash both feet to the ankles starting from the right, making sure that water has reached between the toes and all other parts of the feet.

Note: You do not have to repeat ablution unless it is nullified.

Note: Hadath refers to what emanates from the body of wind, urine, stool, seminal fluids, menstrual blood or post-natal bleeding.

 How to Offer Prayer in Islam

There are five obligatory prayers that are offered at certain times during the day and the night. They are called Fajr (Dawn) prayer, Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer, `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer, and `Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer. These five daily prayers become obligatory once a person converts to Islam.

After performing ablution, make sure that you are covering your `Awrah (what is between navel and knees for male, and the whole body including the head except the face and hands for female). You have to make sure that your clothes and the place of prayer are free from impurities.

Now You Are Ready to Pray;

  • Make the intention in your heart for the prayer you want to pray.
  • Stand up right and face the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah).
  • Raise your hands to your shoulder or ears level and say in a moderate voice “Allahu Akbar” which means Allah is the greatest.
  • Place your right hand over the left on your chest. Look downward at the place of prostration.
  • Recite the opening supplication in the first rak`ah only, “Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.” It means, “O Allah, how perfect You are and praise be to You. Blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your majesty. There is none worthy of worship except You.”

Then recite, “A`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaitan Ar-rajim.”

Then, recite, “Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-rahim.”

  • Recite Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter of the Qur’an).

“Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil-`alamin, ar-rahma nir-rahiem, maliki yawmiddin, iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nastain, ihdinas-siraatal mustaqim, siraatallazina anamta alaihim, ghairil maghdoobi alahim wa ladalin.”

  • Bend down and place your palms on your knees (ruku`) while your head and back are straight. Look downward at the place of prostration. Then recite silently, “Subhana Rabbiyal `Azhim” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times.
  • Stand up from bowing (ruku`) and say, “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears the one who praises Him). Then say, “Rabana Walak Al-hamd (Our Lord, Praise be to You), just one time.
  • Prostrate and place your forehead, nose, palms, knees, and toes on the floor (sujud) while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Then say, “Subhana Rabbiyal Al-`Ala” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times.
  • Rise from prostration while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright, and place your palms flat on your knees. Then say, “Rabb ighfir li” (O my Lord! Forgive me.)
  • After that, make another prostration in the same manner

Now, you complete one rak`ah (unit of prayer). Stand up while saying “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. Do it in the same manner as you did the first one, but without reciting the opening supplication.

  • After the second prostration of the second rak`ah, sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright. Place your palms on your thighs with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud:

“At-Tahiyatu lillahi Was-Salawatu Wat-Tayyibatu. As-Salamu `alaika ayiuh-annabiyu wa-rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Assalamu `alaina wa`ala ibadil-Lahi As –Salihin. Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh.”  

It means:

“All respect, worship and all glory is due to Allah alone. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you. Peace be on us and on those who are the righteous servants of Allah. I testify that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger”.

  • In the three-rak`ah prayer (as in Maghrib) or the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’), after performing the second rak`ah and the first tashahhud, stand up while raising your hands and say, “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. In case you are performing a four-rak`ah prayer, you perform two rak`ahs after the first
  • In case of Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, after offering two rak`ahs and reciting tashahhud, you recite “Allahumma salli `ala Muhammad wa-`ala aali Muhammad kama sallaita `ala Ibrahim wa-`ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed, wabaarik `ala Muhammad wa `ala aali Muhamad kama barakta `ala Ibrahim wa `ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed.”

It means:

“O Allah! Praise Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as You Praised Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. And send blessings on Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as you sent blessings on Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.”

  • After that, you turn your face the right side saying, “As-salamu `alikum wa Rahmatullh” (peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) and then to the left repeating the same words.
  • In case of the three-rak`ah prayer (as Maghrib), you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the third rak`ah.
  • In case of the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’) you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the fourth rak`ah.

Times and Number of Rak`ahs of Each Prayer

Name Rak`ahs Time
Fajr (Dawn) Prayer Two From dawn to sunrise.
Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer Four From noon until mid-afternoon.
`Asr (Afternoon) Prayer Four When the shadow of a vertical stick equals its length to sunset.
Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer Three From sunset to the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky.
`Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer Four From the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky to dawn.