This following has been prepared particularly for those new Muslims who cannot read the Holy Quran in Arabic. By uttering "the Shahadah", they confirm their faith in the Oneness of God and declare their total submission to His Commandments, as revealed to His last Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This is the first of the five fundamental principles of Islam. Next in importance is the glorious principle of praying five times a day in a prescribed manner, called the "Salat" (also called "Salah").
The five-time prayers become obligatory from the moment a person embraces Islam. This is an extremely important tenet of Islam and has been enjoined with a great emphasis both in the Holy Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). According to one of his sayings, it is the borderline between a Muslim and a non-believer. As a matter of fact, it is a form of worship that establishes the link between man and his Creator and Benefactor, Allah. Through 'Salat' a person communes with his Lord, the Creator and the Sustainer of the Universe.
Just as performing 'Salat' is obligatory, learning to perform it in a prescribed way is also obligatory so that one should know what he is saying to his Lord, and enjoy the full blessings and benefits of praying. In the performance of Salat all the prayers have to be said in Arabic besides reciting some verses of the Holy Quran. Therefore, it becomes essential for a new Muslim to start learning those prayers in Arabic as well as some short 'Suras' (chapters) of the Holy Quran immediately after embracing Islam so that he can perform his Salat in the proper manner.
The best way of learning is from a Muslim teacher, which is a time-honored Islamic tradition. But for those who might find themselves in a non-Muslim environment where a Muslim teacher is not readily available, this booklet has been prepared. All the necessary prayers and the verses of the Holy Quran have been put in the Roman script along with the translation of their meanings into English. Since the Roman script cannot fully and accurately convey the Arabic sounds, we have prepared audios to go with it wherein the same prayers have been recorded in Arabic. In order to learn the prayers with proper Arabic pronunciation, please concentrate more on listening rather than following the Roman script. It might be a good idea to have your pronunciation of the prayers checked by a Muslim teacher at the first available opportunity.
This booklet is by no means an elaborate book on 'Salat'. It is only an attempt to supply the very basic information to a new Muslim to enable him to start praying in Arabic as early as possible. Further information is necessary to perform 'Salat ' under abnormal conditions i.e. sickness, travel etc. Some concessions have been granted by Almighty Allah in these conditions Similarly, the manner of a woman's 'Salat' is slightly different than that of a man.
Before starting the prayer, a person is required to pay due attention to certain aspects e.g. cleanliness of the body (Ghusal), ablution (Wudu), cleanliness of clothes and the place of prayer. Further study is recommended in order to understand all these aspects of salat. Readers might find a book named 'lslam in Focus" by Dr. Hamouda Abdul A'ati extremely useful.
Prayer timings do not remain constant as they are determined by looking at the sun. Consequently, the time of a particular prayer would be different in different parts of the World. Prayer Time Tables are easily available at the mosques and Islamic Centers throughout the World. Nowadays web services like IslamiCity PrayerTimes are available which can tell the prayer times of nearly any major cities in the World. They are particularly helpful to Muslims traveling to non-Muslim countries. However, the following general timetable for prayers can fairly be observed in almost any part of the World. There are five obligatory prayers which are performed at five different times of the day.
(1) Salat-ul-Fajr. The morning Prayer
It is the first of the Five obligatory prayers of the day. lt can be performed at any time between the breaking of the dawn till sunrise. It consists of two raka's (two units as explained through the accompanying postures).
(2) Salat-ul-Zuhr. The noon prayer
It consists of four raka's, (4 units); Its time begins after the sun declines from its zenith until it is about midway from setting.
(3) Sa la t-ul -Asr. The afternoon Prayer
It consists of four raka's (4 units). Its time begins soon after the time for Zuhr prayer ends and extends to just before sunset
(4) Salat-ul-Maghrib. The evening prayer
It consists of three raka's (3 units). Its time begins just after sunset and extends to a period of an hour and a half.
(5) Salat-ul-lsha. The night prayer.
It consists of four raka's (4 units) and its time begins about an hour and a half after sunset and extends to dawn.
Of the 5 obligatory prayers mentioned above, one of them contains two raka's, three contain four raka's and one containing three raka's Each kind has been explained separately. All the prayers (to be recited in Arabic) and the postures in which to recite each prayer have been explained with the help of the given figures. The figures have been drawn in the order in which each posture is assumed and the particular prayer recited. In order to memorize the prayer for each posture the reader only needs to look at the number of the figure and listen to the tape while looking at the transcript which gives the Arabic prayer in Roman letters.
The Prayer Performance
ALL THE PRAYERS HAVE BEEN TRANSLATED FROM ARABIC TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING.
Salat: How to Perform Daily Prayers
(I) Allah is Great.
(A) Praise and glory be to you O Allah. Blessed be Your Name, exalted be Your Majesty and Glory. There is no God but You.
(B) I seek Allah's shelter from Satan, the condemned.
(C) In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
(D) Praise be to Allah, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds;
Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgement
Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek,
Show us the straight way,
the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace,
Those whose(portion) is not wrath,
And who go not astray.
(E) "Glorified is my Lord, the Great".
(F) Allah Listens to him who praises Him"
(G) "Our Lord, praise be for you only".
(H) "Glorified is my Lord, the Exalted"
(I) O my Lord forgive me and have Mercy on me"
(J) "All our oral, physical and monetary ways of worship are only for Allah. Peace, mercy, and blessing of Allah be on you, O Prophet. May peace be upon us and on the devout slaves of Allah. I testify that there is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger".
(K) "O God send your mercy on Muhammad and his posterity as you sent Your mercy on Abraham and his posterity. You are the Most Praised, The Most Glorious".
(K) "O God, send your Blessings on Muhammad and his posterity as you have blessed Abraham and his posterity. You are the Most praised, The Most Glorious".
(L) "Our Lord, grant us the good of this world and that of the Hereafter and save us from the torture of hell.
(M) Peace and mercy of Allah be on you".
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PERFORMING PRAYERS
HOW TO PRAY TWO RAKA'S
position 1: this posture is called Qiyam and it is assumed after having made the intention to pray. Raising both hands up to the ears (palms facing the Qiblah) "Allah-o-Akbar" (1) is said and then holding the left hand with the right hand on top. This position is assumed as shown in position 1. In this position, the following prayers are recited: (A) Thana (B) Ta'awaz (C) Tasmia (D) Al-Fatiha, and any short sura or a few verses from the Holy Quran.
position 2: Saying Allah-o-Akbar this position is assumed as shown in the position. This position is called 'Ruku' and the prayers as given under (E) are recited.
position 3: While going back to "Qiyam" position the prayer as given under (F) is said. Then having taken this position prayer (G) is said.
position 4: This position is called 'Sajda'. Saying Allah-o-Akbar one prostrates as shown and then prayer (H) is said.
position 5: Saying Allah-o-Akbar and rising from the 'Sajda' position this posture is assumed and prayer (I) is said.
position 6: Saying Allah~~Akbar the Sajda position is resumed and prayer (H) is recited.
This completes one 'Raka'.
position 7: Saying Allah-o-Akbar this position of 'Qiyam' is assumed once again to begin the second Raka, and the following prayers are recited:
(1) 'Al Fateha' as given under (D) and
(2) Any short sura or some verses of the Holy Quran.
positions 2,3,4,5 and 6: These are to be assumed as in the first raka and the same prayers to be recited.
position 8: In this posture, these prayers are to be recited
(J) called "Tashahud"
(K) Salat Alan-nabi
(L) A short prayer
position 9: Having said the above-mentioned prayers, turning the face to the right. This prayer is recited as given under (M).
position 10: Then turning the face to the left prayer (M) is said again.
This completes a two-raka' prayer.
In order to perform a THREE RAKA' PRAYER. All the postures and the prayers are the same upto position 8. But this time in this posture only prayer (J) will be recited and then the Qiyam position (position 1) will be resumed to begin the third raka'. This time only Al Fatiha (prayer D) alone will be recited without adding any sura of the Holy Quran. Then all prayers and postures are the same as shown from positions 2 to 6 and then 8 to 10..
In order to perform a FOUR RAKA' PRAYER
Positions 1-6 complete the first raka' then positions 7,1 through 6, and 8 complete the second raka'. In position 8 only prayer (J) will be recited and the Qiyam position 1 will be resumed. In position 1 only prayer (D) will be recited without adding any sura. Up to Figure 6 all the prayers are the same as in the first raka'. In Figure 8 only prayer (D) will be recited. Then from position 2-6 all prayers are the same as given for each posture. In position 8 prayer (J), (K), (L) will be recited. Then positions 9-10 are to end the prayer.
Before offering the prayer one must be in good shape and pure condition. It is necessary to wash the parts of the body which are generally exposed to dirt or dust or smog. This performance is called ABLUTION (Wudu') and is preferably carried out as follows:
1. Declare the intention that the act is for the purpose of worship and purity, start by saying Bismillah.
2. Wash the hands up to the wrists, three times.
3. Rinse out the mouth with water, three times, preferably with a brush whenever it is possible.
4. Cleanse the nostrils of the nose by sniffing water into them, three times.
5. Wash the whole face three times with both hands, if possible, from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.
6. Wash the right arm three times up to the far end of the elbow, and then do the same with the left arm.
7. Wipe the whole head or any part of it with a wet hand, once.
8. Wipe the inner sides of the ears with the forefingers and their outer sides with the thumbs. This should be done with wet fingers.
9 Wash the two feet up to the ankles, three times, beginning with the right foot.
At this stage, the ablution is completed, and the person who has performed it is ready to start his prayer. When the ablution is valid a person may keep it as long as he can, and may use it for as many prayers as he wishes. But it is preferable to renew it as often as possible. It is also preferable to do it in the said order, although it will be accepted by those who fail to keep this order. Ablution in the said way is sufficient for prayer unless it is nullified.by any reason.
Nullification of the Ablution
The ablution becomes nullified by any of the following
1. Natural discharges, i.e., urine, stools, gas, etc...
2. The flow of blood or pus and the like from any part of the body;
4. Falling asleep;
5. Losing one's reason by taking drugs or any intoxicating stuff.
After the occurrence of any of these things, the ablution must be renewed for prayer. Also, after natural discharges, water should be applied because the use of toilet tissues may not be sufficient for the purpose of purity and worship.
The Complete Ablution (Ghusl/Bath)
The whole body with the nostrils, mouth, and head must be washed by a complete bath before commencing prayer in any of the following cases:
1. After intimate intercourse;
2. After wet dreams; or night discharge;
3. Upon expiration of the menstruation period of women;
4. At the end of the confinement period of nursing women, which, is estimated at a maximum of forty days. If it ends before, complete ablution should be done.
It should be pointed out that at the start of the bath or ablution the intention must be clear that it is for the purpose of purity and worship. Also, a person who is performing an ablution, partial or complete, should combine his performance with some utterances glorifying God and asking Him for true guidance. The forms of such utterances are described in detail in the elaborate sources of the religion. One, however, can say one's own best utterances if one does not know the exact wording. That is sufficient as long as it is in the praise of God and is said with sincerity.