Five Daily Prayers
Salat, the obligatory Muslim prayer, is done at appointed times, fixed in relation to the sun’s position throughout the day, and fluctuates depending on the season. The time of Fajr, the morning prayer, begins at dawn and ends at sunrise. The time of Zuhr, the midday prayer, begins immediately after the sun crosses the high noon point and begins to descend. The Asr prayer begins in the late afternoon when the sun descends halfway between high noon and sunset. The time of the Maghrib prayer begins immediately after sunset. The Isha prayer begins after dusk has completely disappeared, giving way to total darkness of the night.
Fazail-I-Salat (Merits of Salat): After reciting Kalima (announcing the oneness of Allah and witnessing that Mohammad is Allah’s messenger), Salat is the second pillar of Islam. It provides us the best opportunity to communicate directly with Allah and to worship with the complete submission of heart, soul, mind and body to the will of Allah. This is the best form of Allah’s Dhikr (remembering Allah). We often become very busy in our daily life, and Salat provides us a moment to pause and remember Allah. Along with remembering our Creator, it also prevents us from indecent acts as noted in the Qur’an;
“And perform Salat, Indeed Salat prevents one from shameful and indecent acts”.
We are closest to Allah during our prayers. This point is stressed by Prophet Mohammad who said, “Worship your Lord as if you see Him during worship, and if you cannot do that, then worship as if He sees you.”
During our prayers, we can express our needs directly to Allah. Salat also gives us the opportunity to evaluate our past actions and prepare for the future. It teaches us punctuality and discipline that is important both for an individual and a community. Performing our Salat in a congregation is recommended as it develops love and understanding for each other. This congregation may be at home with the family, in the Masjid with community or any place where community people can gather. This helps create the feelings of brotherhood.
Conditions for performing Salat: Since Salat links us directly with our Creator and our loved one, we have to prepare ourselves to perform Salat. That preparation is called the conditions for performing Salat. Those conditions are as follows;
- Body and clothes should be clean (as explained in Cleanliness chapter).
- Conditions of Star (Covering of the body, for men it is from naval to knees, and for women whole body except face, hand and feet) should be fulfilled.
- Clean place, time of the prayer and facing towards Ka’ba.
- Wudhu or ablution.
- Intention for Salat.
Fard (obligatory) acts of Salat:  If for some reason, one misses a fard act of a Salat and then remembers it, he/she should repeat the Salat. Fard acts are as follows;
- Making an intention.
- Takbir-I-Tahrima (saying Allah-O-Akbar in the beginning of Salat).
- Qir’a (Recitation of Surah Al-Fatiha in every rakah)
- Making Ruku (bowing).
- Sujood (prostration, putting forehead, nose and hands on the ground).
- Q,ada (final sitting)
- Salaam (saying Salaam on both sides to finish the Salat).
Wajib (Required) acts of Salat: If someone forgets a wajib act and then remembers later in the Salat, by performing Sajda Sahw, Salat will be acceptable. The Wajib acts are as follows;
- Recitation of Surah Fatiha.
- Recitation of another Surah or part of a Surah after Surah Fatiha in first two rakah’s of a fard Salat.
- Qawmah (rising from ruku (bowing) and standing upright before going to Sujood).
- Making Jalsa (sitting in between two Sujood).
- Reciting Tash’had in Q’ada (while sitting after two raka’hs and four raka’hs).
- Reciting Dua Qunoot in witr prayer.
- Doing all the acts of a Salah in order.
Sunan (Sunnah) Acts of Salat: One should try to pray all the sunnah acts in Salat in order to make salat beautiful. However, if one leaves out sunnan acts in a Salat, it does not invalidate Salat. There is no need of Sajda sahw also. Some of these acts are Mustahibaat (preferred way) of Salat also and it is difficult to differentiate them. However, we should always try to pray Salat with enthusiasm and beauty by performing Sunna acts. Sunnan acts are as follows.
- Raising both hands while saying Takbir-ITahrima (Allah-o-Akbar).
- Putting both hands on the naval (right hand on top of left hand.)
- Reciting whole Thana in the beginning of first rakah.
- Reciting Tauz and Tasmiya.
- Saying Allah-o-Akbar while going for Ruku or Sajood.
- Reciting Tasbeeh (Subhana-Rabbi-Yalazeem) at least three times while in Rukuu.
- Reciting Tasbeeh (Subhana-Rabbi-YalAlaa) at least three times while in Sajda.
- Sitting on left foot while sitting, while right foot in upright position.
Mufsidat-I-Salat (Acts that Invalidate Salat): There are certain acts that are prohibited during Salat. Any one of those acts will invalidate the Salat and one should repeat the whole Salat. Those acts are as follows;
- Wudhu is broken during Salat.
- Talking or laughing during a Salat.
- Missing a fard act of Salat.
- Uncovering the private parts of the body.
- Eating or drinking during Salat.
- Intentionally turning away from the Qibla (direction of Ka’ba) during Salat.
- Interruption of Salat for any other activity.
Steps of Reading Four Fard Salat: These steps are given here in order to remember the compulsory acts during Salat.
- Make intention.
- Raise hands up to ears and say Allahu-Akbar (This is called Takbir-I-Tehrima)
- Fold arms on stomach (or naval) by putting right hand on left hand.
- Read Thana as follows;
“Glory and praise is for You Oh Allah and Your name is full of blessings and Your Highness is the wisest and there is no one to worship except You.”
- Recite Tauz and Tasmiah.
- Recite Surah Al-Fatiha.
- Recite any other Surah or at least three Ayahs from the Qur’an.
- Do rukuh (bend down) by saying Allah-o-Akbar, put hands on the knees and say;
Subhanaa Rabbi-yl-Azeem (Glory to my Lord, the Great) three times. This is called Tasbeeh of Rukuh.
- Stand up and say Sami-Allah hullaman hammida (Allah listens whoever praises Him) and Rabbana-lakalhamd (Oh my Lard, all the praise is for you).
- Go down by saying Allahu-Akbar and do Sajdah (Bow down on hands and knees by touching the ground with face and nose) and say Subhana-rabbi-yllala (Glorified is my Lord, the Highest) three times. This is called Tasbeeh of Sajda). Then say Allahu-Akbar by sitting and lifting face and nose from the ground.
- Say Allahu-Akbar and repeat step number 10.
- Say Allahu-Akbar, Stand up and repeat steps 3 to 10 in order, without reading Thana.
- Sit down and read Tashhud as follows.
“All the greetings and prayers are for Allah, Oh Prophet, Salaam and Allah’s blessing and mercy on you. Peace be upon us and all the good people of Allah. I witness that there is no one to worship but Allah and I witness that Mohammad is His servant and messenger.”
- Say Allah-Akbar, stand up and repeat steps 3 to 10 by reading just Sura Fatiha.
- Repeat step 14.
- Repeat step 12 and read Darood as follows;
“Allah Humma Salle Ala Mohammadiyon Wa Ala Ale Mohammadin Kama Sallaita Aala ibraheema Wa Ala Aalay ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed. Allah Humma Baarik Aala Mohammadiyon Wa Ala Ale Mohammadin Kama Barakta Ala ibraheema Wa Ala Ale ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed
“Oh Allah, send your blessings on Mohammad and his family as You sent blessing on Ibrahim (A) and his family. Indeed You are the most Praiseworthy and Glorious. Oh Allah, send your grace on Mohammad and his family as You sent your grace on Ibrahim (A) and his family. Indeed You are the most Praiseworthy and Glorious.”
- Read any dua. One common dua is as follows;
“Oh my Lord, make my family and me regular in our Salat. Oh my Lord, accept my prayers (Dua). Oh my Lord, forgive me and my parents and all the believers on the day of judgment”.
- Turn face toward right and say Assalamualaikum wa-rehmatulla and then turn face toward left and again say Assalamualaikum warehmatulla.
At this point the Salat is complete. One can recite more supplications and do extra tasbeeh.
Mustahibbat (Admirable acts) and Makroohat (undesired acts) of Salat (Acts that make Salat excellent and/or deficient): There are certain acts during a Salah which are not obligatory, but transform a Salah from the level of the routine fulfillment to an excellent rank. These acts are called Mustahibbat of Salah. Most of the Mustahibat (admirable acts) are Sunan acts of Salah and are difficult to differentiate. Similarly many acts that are close to Mufsidaat (acts that invalidate salat) are also called Makroohaat.
Some of the admirable acts are as follows:
- While performing Salah, one should look at the place of Sajda during Qyam, at the feet during ruku and at the lap during jalsa and Q’ada; and not on any other side.
- While praying in a congregation (Jama’t), people should make straight lines.
- Raising hands during first Takbir-tahrima.
- After recitation of Surah Fatiha, saying A’amin.
- Try to stop the coughing and close the mouth while yawning.
- Be attentive during Salat.
Praying Salat by keeping these factors into consideration enhances the quality of Salat. Acts opposite to these admirable ones are called Makroohaat (undesired acts).
 Surah 29 (Al-Ankboot), Ayah 45,
 Hadith Bukhai.
 In some schools of thought, Wajic acts are considered as Fard as well.
 In some schools of thought, making intention is considered as Fard whereas in Hanafi School it is considered as a condition for Salat.
 There is some variation of Wajib and Fard acts depending upon different Schools of Thought.