Salah (Arabic: صلاة‎ ṣalāh, genitive: ṣalāt; pl. صلوات ṣalawāt) is the practice of formal prayer in Islam. Its supreme importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Sunni Islam, of the Ten Practices of the Religion of Twelver Islam and of the 7 pillars of Musta‘lī Ismailis. Salah is a ritual prayer, having prescribed conditions, a prescribed procedure, and prescribed times. Performing salah is obligatory, with a few dispensations for those for whom it would be difficult. For those whom it is difficult they can perform Salah in a way which is suitable for them. They can perform Salah while sitting down (in case of illness or any situation like traveling in a vehicle, on a horse, etc), while lying down (in case of illness) and even with indication. To perform valid Salah, Muslims must be in a state of ritual purity, which is mainly achieved by ritual ablution according to prescribed procedures. The place of prayer should be clean. In a few cases where blood is leaving the body, Salah is forbidden until a later time. Women are not allowed to prayer during their menses nor for a period after childbirth, and this gave rise to a famous quote of Muhammad, that "Women are deficient in intellect ('aql) and religion (deen)"[1][2] because in matters of shariah (Islamic law) the witness of two women is equal to one man in matters of property, but completely unaccepted in criminal matters, and the aforementioned hindrance in ability to pray for a certain time each month.[3][4][5]

Salah consists of the repetition of two or more units of a prescribed sequence of actions and words. One complete sequence is known as a raka'ah (pl. raka'āt). The number of obligatory (fard) raka'āt varies according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational prayers). The minimal, obligatory raka'at may be supplemented with acts which are optional but are considered meritorious. There are also dispensations from some or all of the prescribed actions for those who are physically unable to complete them. The prescribed words of the prayer remain obligatory.

After Salah, often duas and munazats are held. Ceratin hadiths recommends reciting Ayatul Kursi, Al-Falaq, Al-Nas , etc. after Salah for protection.[citation needed]

For Sunnis and Musta'lids, salah is prescribed at five periods of the day, which are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are: near dawn (fajr), just after noon (dhuhr), in the afternoon (asr), just after sunset (maghrib) and around nightfall (isha'a). Under some circumstances prayers can be shortened or combined (according to prescribed procedures). In case a prayer is skipped, it must be made up later. Shia doctrine permits two sets of these prayers to be performed in succession.[6][7] Sufis often perform dhikr after the conclusion of prayers.



Painting of Muslims praying in Cairo, Egypt, in 1865

"Salah" is an Arabic word whose basic meaning is "connection". In its English usage the reference of the word is almost always confined to the Muslim formal, obligatory prayer described in this article.

Translating "salah" as "prayer" is not usually considered precise enough, as "prayer" can indicate several different ways of relating to God. In the past salah has been called “the contact prayer”, “the obligatory prayer”, “the formal prayer”, and so on, but normal academic practice in English is now to refer to the prayer by the Arabic term.

Muslims themselves use several terms to refer to salah depending on their language or culture. In many parts of the world, including many non-Arab countries such as Indonesia, the Arabic term salah is used. The other major term is namāz (نماز‎), used by speakers of the Indo-Iranian languages (e.g., Persian, Bengali, Urdu), the South Slavic languages, Albanian languages and Turkic languages. The related Pashto term lmunz (لمونځ) is used by Pashtuns. (namāz and lmunz derive from the Sanskrit root namas (नमस्) meaning 'to bow or prostrate'.) In the south Indian language Malayalam, the term Niskaaram or Namaskaaram is used; which means to pray.

Purpose and importance

Bosnian Muslims praying, ca. 1906

The chief purpose of prayer in Islam is to act as a person's communication with God. By reciting "The Opening", the first chapter of the Qur'an, as required in all prayer, the worshipper can stand before God, thank and praise Him, and to ask for guidance along the Straight Path.

In addition, the daily prayers remind Muslims to give thanks for Allah's blessings and that Islam takes precedence over all other concerns, thereby revolving their life around Allah and submitting to His will. Prayer also serves as a formal method of remembering Allah, or dhikr [1].

In the Qur'an, it is written that: "The true believers are those who feel fear in their hearts when God is mentioned. And when His Revelations are recited to them, they find their faith strengthened. They do their best and then put their trust in their Lord." [Quran 8:2]

"To those whose hearts, when God is mentioned, are filled with fear, who show patient perseverance over their afflictions, keep up regular prayer, and spend (in charity) out of what We have bestowed upon them." [Quran 22:35]

Prayer is also cited as a means of restraining a believer from social wrongs and moral deviancy. [Quran 29:45] According to a hadith in the collection Sahih Bukhari, the prophet Muhammad considered salah "the best deed".[8]

Differences in practice

The prayers (salat) practiced by one Muslim may differ from another's in minor details, which can affect the precise actions and words involved. Differences arise because of different interpretations of the Islamic legal sources by the different schools of law (madhhabs) in Sunni Islam, and by different legal traditions within Shi'ism. In the case of prayers these differences are generally minor, and do not necessarily cause dispute.[9] It is important to note the reason why Sunni Muslims have a basic agreement on the necessary part of the Prayer. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad practiced, taught, and disseminated the worship ritual in the whole community of Muslims and made it part of their life. The practice has, therefore, been concurrently and perpetually practiced by the community in each of the generations. The authority for the basic forms of the prayers is neither the hadiths nor the Qur'an, but rather the consensus of Muslims.[10] Differences also occur due to optional (recommended rather than obligatory) articles of prayer procedure, for example which verses of the Qur'an to recite.


View of the prayer hall of the Great Mosque of Kairouan (also called the Mosque of Uqba) considered as the oldest mosque in the Western Islamic World.[11] At the bottom of the central nave of the prayer hall there is a niche (the mihrab) which indicates the qibla. The Great Mosque of Kairouan is located in the city of Kairouan in Tunisia.

The compulsory prayer is obligatory for those who meet these three conditions:[12]

  • are Muslim
  • are of sound mind
  • are 9 for girls and puberty age for boys years of age or older (beginning at age seven is recommended).[13]

There are five elements that make a prayer valid:[12]

  • Confidence of the time of prayer. Being unsure invalidates even if the time turns out correct.[citation needed]
  • Facing the qibla, with the chest facing the direction of the Ka'ba. The ill and the old are allowed leniency with posture.
  • Covering the awrah [14]
  • Clean clothes, body, place of prostration.
  • Pure from hadath (wudu, tayammum, ghusl)
  • Praying in front of a sutrah.[15]


Cleanliness and dress

Islam advises that the prayers be performed in a ritually clean environment [Quran 5:6]. When praying, the clothes that are worn and the place of prayer must be clean. Both men and women are required to cover their bodies (awrah) in reasonably loose-fitting garments. The well-known adage or hadith by al-Nawawi that "purity is half the faith"[16] illustrates how Islam has incorporated and modified existing rules of purity in its religious system.

Ritual ablution

Before conducting prayers, a Muslim has to perform a ritual ablution.

The minor ablution is performed using water (wudhu), or sand (tayammum) when water is unavailable or not advisable to use for reasons such as illness.

Wudhu is performed by Muslims according to the instructions of God given in the Qur'an[Quran 5:6]:

"O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful."

More specifically wudhu is performed by Muslims by washing the hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, hair, ears,(often washing the hair is merely drawing the already wet hands from the fringe to the nape of the neck) and feet three times each in that order. (It is not obligatory to wash the hair three times, once is sufficient, and men must also wash their beards and mustaches when washing the face).


The person should be conscious and aware of the particular prayer that is being offered, whether it is obligatory, if it is a missed (qadha) prayer, performed individually or among the congregation, a shortened traveller's prayer etc. The explicit verbalization of this intention is not required, though it can be helpful. The person should think his prayer to be the Last Prayer so that he may perform the best he can.

How to pray

Important positions during salat.

Each prayer is made up of a repeating unit or cycle called a raka'ah. The number of raka'ahs for the five daily prayers can be found below. A basic raka'ah is made up of these parts.


A Muslim raises his hands to recite Takbeeratul-Ihram in prayer
  • If this is the first raka’ah, the prayer is commenced by the saying of the takbir, which is الله أَكْبَر (transliteration "Allahu-akbar", meaning God is Greater). The hands are raised level with shoulders or level with top of the ears, with fingers apart and not spaced out or together. This is done before, with or after the takbir.[17][note 1]
  • Both arms are placed over the chest, with the right arm over the left.[18]
  • If this is the first raka’ah, a supplication praising God is said such as

Subhaanak-Allaahumma, wa biham-dika, wa tabaarakasmuka, wa ta'aalaa jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka.[19]

  • Muslims then ask refuge from God from such as A'oodhu billaahi min ash-Shaytaan-ir-Rajeem.[20]
  • The recitation of the Quran begins with Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem.[21]
  • Surah Al-Fatiha is recited.[21]
  • If this is the first or second raka’ah, the recitation of Al-Fatiha is followed with a recitation from any other section from the Quran of choice.[22]
  • The takbeer is said again and the hands are raised as previously described and the next position, ruku', begins.[23]


  • The palms are placed on the knees, with finger spaced out. The back is erected at an angle at which poured water may not fall from it.[24]
  • Some of many types of remembrances of God are recited for this situation such as سبحان ربى العظيم (transliteration “Subhaana Rabbee al-'Azeem”, meaning “Glory to my Lord, the Most Magnificent”) three times or more.[25]

I'tidal and stopping

  • I'tidal is the standing again after ruku'. The back is straightened and the hands are raised as in takbir as mentioned before but saying سمع الله لمن حمده (transliteration “Sami' Allaahu liman hamidah”, meaning “Allah listens and responds to the one who praises him”).[26]
  • Some of many praises to God are said for this situation such as ربنا لك الحمد (transliteration “Rabbanaa wa lakal-hamd”, meaning “O our Lord! And all praise is for You”).[27]
  • The takbir is said and the hands are either raised or do not raised as mentioned before as the next position, prostration, begins with hands on the ground before knees.[28]


Muslims in prostration
  • As much of the ground must be felt by the nose as the forehead. The elbows are raised and the palms are on level with either the shoulders or the ears, with fingers together.[29]
  • Some of many types of remembrances of God are recited for this situation such as سبحان ربى الأعلى و بحمده (transliteration “Subhaana Rabbee al-A' laa” meaning “Glory to my Lord, the Most High Most Praiseworthy”) three times or more. [30]
  • The takbir is said again and the hands are either raiser or not raised as mentioned before while the next position, kneeling, begins. [31]


  • While sitting, either the left foot is placed along the ground with the right foot upright or both feet are kept upright.
  • Some of many types of remembrances are recited for this situation such as Rabbi-ghfirlee, Rabbi-ghfirlee (meaning “O my Lord, forgive me! O my Lord, forgive me!”). [32]
  • The takbir is said again and the hands are either raised or not raised as mentioned before as the second prostration begins.[31]

Second prostration

  • Second prostrations are done exactly as the first time.[32]
  • The head is raised and the takbir is said again and the hands either raised or not raised as mentioned before. If this is either the second or last raka’ah, the sitting position begins again. Otherwise, the standing position begins again with the start of a new raka’ah.

Second sitting

  • If this is the second raka’ah, sitting is done as before. If this is not the second raka’ah, the left thigh is placed on the ground and both feet are protruding from the right side with the right foot either upright or along the ground. The left palm leans on the left knee.
  • The index finger is pointed towards the qibla.[33]
  • The tashahhud is recited, which is At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu was-salamu 'alayka ayyuha Annabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala `abadillahi assaliheena Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah Wa Ash-hadu anna Mohammmedan 'abduhu warasuluhu.

Shia version:Tashahhud Rule 1109 by Ayatullah Sistani,[34] In the second unit of all obligatory prayers, and in the third unit of Maghrib prayers and in the fourth unit of Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers, one should sit after the second prostration with a tranquil body, and recite tashahhud thus: "Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wahdahu la sharika lah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan 'Abduhu wa Rasuluh, Alla humma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad". And it will be sufficient if one recited the tashahhud this way: Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu was ash hadu anna Muhammadan Sallal lahu Alayhi Wa Aalihi Abduhu Wa rasuluh. It is also necessary to recite tashahhud while offering Witr (in Namaz-e-Shab) prayers. Salam in the prayers Rule 1114 by Ayatullah Sistani,[35] While a person sits after reciting tashahhud in the last Raka'at, and his body is tranquil, it is Mustahab to say: Assalamu 'alayka ayyuhan Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Then he should say: Assalamu Alaykum and as a recommended precaution add to it Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh. Alternatively, he can say: Assalamu Alayna Wa Ala Ibadi llahis Salihin. But if he recites this Salam, then as per obligatory precaution, he must follow it up with saying: Assalamu Alaykum. Translation of Tashahhud and Salam[36] Al Hamdu lillah, Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu wahdahu la sharika lah (All praise is for Allah, and I testify that there is none worth worshipping except the Almighty Allah, Who is One and has no partner). Wa Ashhadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluh (And I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger). Alla humma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad. (O Allah! Send Your blessings on Muhammad and his progeny). Wa taqqabal shafa'atahu warfa' darajatahu (And accept his intercession, and raise his rank). Assalamu 'alayka ayyuhan Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (O Prophet! Allah's peace, blessings and grace be upon you!). Assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala 'ibadil lahis salihin (Allah's peace be on us, those offering prayers - and upon all pious servants of Allah). Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. (Allah's peace, blessings and grace be on you believers!)

  • Greetings for the Prophet Muhammad are recited, such as اللهم صلى على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم وبارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم فى العالمين إنك حميد مجيد (transliteration “Allaahumma salli 'alaa Sayidina Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Muhammadin Kamaa sallaita 'alaa Sayidina Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed Alaahumma baarik 'ala Sayidina Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Muhammadin Kamaa baarakta 'alaa Sayidina Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Sayidina Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed,” meaning “O Allah, bless our Muhammad and the people of Muhammad as you have blessed Abraham and the people of Abraham. O Allah, be gracious unto Muhammad and the people of Muhammad As you were gracious unto Abraham and the people of Abraham. Surely you are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.”)
  • If this is not the last raka’ah, a new raka’ah with standing up with the takbir and the hands are either raised or not raised as mentioned before.[32]
  • If this is the last raka’ah, the greetings of salam are said to the right such as السلام عليكم ورحمة الله (transliteration “As-Salaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullaah,” meaning “May Allaah grant you peace and security, and may His Mercy be upon you”) and then similarly to the left.[37]

Prayer in congregation

Prayer in congregation (jama'ah) is considered to have more social and spiritual benefit than praying by oneself. When praying in congregation, the people stand in straight parallel rows behind the chosen imam, facing qibla. The imam, who leads the congregation in salat, is usually chosen to be a scholar or the one who has the best knowledge of the Qur'an, preferably someone who has memorised it (a hafiz) . In the first row behind the imam, if available, would be another hafiz to correct the imam in case a mistake is made during the performance of the salat. The prayer is performed as normal, with the congregation following the actions and movements of the imam as he performs the salat.

Women's prayer hall in Khadija Mosque, Berlin

Upon entering the mosque, "Tahiyyatul masjid" may be performed; this is to pay respects to the mosque. Every Muslim entering the mosque is encouraged to perform these two rakats.

When the worshippers consist of men and women combined, a man is chosen as the imam. In this situation, women are typically forbidden from performing this role. This point, though unanimously agreed on by the major schools of Islam, is disputed by some groups, based partly on a hadith whose interpretation is controversial. When the congregation consists entirely of women and pre-pubescent children, one woman is chosen as imam.

When men, women, and children are praying, the children's rows are usually between the men's and women's rows, with the men at the front and women at the back. Another configuration is where the men's and women's rows are side by side, separated by a curtain or other barrier, with the primary intention being for there to be no direct line of sight between male and female worshippers, following a Qur'anic injunction toward men and women each lowering their gazes (Qur'an 24:30-31).

Types of prayers

Prayers may be classified into four categories of obligation: fard, wajib, sunnah, and nafl.[38]

Fard As-salat

The fard as-salat are the five compulsory daily prayers, the Friday prayer (jumu'ah), and the funeral prayer (janazah). Nonperformance of fard as-salat renders one a non-Muslim according to the Hanbali Sunni School, while for the other Sunni schools it renders one a sinner. The denial of its compulsory status, however, is agreed upon by all Sunni schools to render the denier outside the fold of Islam. Fard prayers (as with all fard actions) are further classed as fard al-ayn (obligation of the self) and fard al-kifayah (obligation of sufficiency). Fard al-ayn are those actions which are obligatory on each individual; he or she will be held to account if the actions are not performed. Fard al-kifayah are actions obligatory on the Muslim community at large, so that if some people within the community carry it out no Muslim is considered blameworthy, but if no one carries it out all incur a collective punishment.

Men are required to perform the fard salah in congregation (jama'ah), behind an imam when they are able. According to most Islamic scholars, performing prayers in congregation is obligatory for men, when they are able, but is neither required nor forbidden for women.

The five daily prayers

Display showing prayer times in a Turkish mosque.
I Fajr, II Dhuhr, III Asr, IV Maghrib, V Isha'a

Muslims are commanded to perform prayers five times a day. These prayers are obligatory on every Muslim who have reached the age of puberty, with the exception being those who are mentally ill, too physically ill for it to be possible, menstruating, or experiencing post-partum bleeding. Those who are ill or otherwise physically unable to offer their prayers in the traditional form are permitted to offer their prayers while sitting or lying, as they are able. The five prayers are each assigned to certain prescribed times (al waqt) at which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time.

Some Muslims offer voluntary prayers (sunna rawatib) immediately before and after the prescribed fard prayers. Sunni Muslims classify these prayers as sunnah, while Shi'ah consider them nafil. The number of raka'ah for each of the five obligatory prayers as well as the voluntary prayers (before and after) are listed below:

Name Prescribed time period (waqt) Voluntary before fard1 Obligatory Voluntary after fard1
Sunni Shi'a Sunni Shi'a
Fajr (فجر) Dawn to sunrise, should be read at least 10–15 minutes before sunrise 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 2 Raka'ah 2 2 Raka'ah
Dhuhr (ظهر) After true noon until Asr 4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah4 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2
Asr (عصر) Afternoon.5&6 4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkdah 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah
Maghrib (مغرب) After sunset until dusk - Raka'ah 3 Raka'ah 3 Raka'ah 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah2 2 Raka'ah3
Isha'a (عشاء) Dusk until dawn6

it is makrooh to read Isha after midnight

4 Raka'ah Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah 4 Raka'ah 4 Raka'ah 2 Raka'ah Sunnat-Mu'akkadah,2
3 Raka'ah Witr
2 Raka'ah,3&7

Sunni Muslims also perform two raka'ah nafl (voluntary) after the Dhuhr and Maghrib prayers. During the Isha'a prayer, they perform the two raka'ah nafl after the two Sunnat-Mu'akkadah and after the witr prayer.

1 According to Shia Muslims, these are to be performed in sets of two raka'ah each, This is not the case for Sunni muslims.
2 According to Sunni Muslims, for the Sunnat Raka'ah there is a difference between Sunnat-Mu'akkadah (obligatory) and Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah (voluntary). The Sunnat-Mu'akkadah was prayed by Muhammed daily. This was not the case for the Sunnat-Ghair-Mu'akkadah.
3 Mustahab (praiseworthy) to do everyday. (Shias)
4 Replaced by Jumu'ah on Fridays, which consists of two raka'ah.
5 According to Imam Abu Hanifa, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes twice its height (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." For the rest of Imams, "Asr starts when the shadow of an object becomes equal to its length (plus the length of its shadow at the start time of Dhuhr)." Asr ends as the sun begins to set.
6 According to Shia Muslims, 'Asr prayer and 'Ishaa prayer have no set times but are performed from mid-day. Zuhr and 'Asr prayers must be performed before sunset, and the time for 'Asr prayer starts after Zuhr has been performed. Maghrib and 'Ishaa prayers must be performed before midnight, and the time for 'Ishaa prayer can start after Maghrib has been performed, as long as no more light remains in the western sky signifying the arrival of the true night.
7 According to Shia Muslims, this prayer is termed nawafil.
8 Further information on the usage of the word "Isha" (evening) see:[Quran 12:16][Quran 79:46].


  Salat al-Jumu'ah is a congregational prayer on Friday which replaces the dhuhr prayer. It is compulsory upon men to perform it in congregation, while women may perform it so or may perform dhuhr salat instead. Salat al-Jumu'ah consists of a sermon (khutba) given by the speaker (khatib) after which two raka'ah are performed. There is no Salat al-Jumu'ah without a khutba.

Wajib salat

Wajib As-salat are compulsory, non-performance of which renders one a sinner. However the evidence of the obligation is open to interpretation, with some of the madhab saying it is obligatory while others saying it is optional. To deny that a fard salah is obligatory is an act of disbelief while denying the obligation of a wajib salah is not disbelief. There are some who believe that as the 5 prayers are obligatory, it automatically renders all other prayers optional.

Sunnah salat

Sun'nah sal'ah are optional and were additional voluntary prayers performed by Muhammad — they are of two types — the 'Sun'nah Mukkaddah', those practiced on a regular basis which if abandoned cause the abandoner to be regarded as sinful by the Hanafi School and the 'Sun'nah Ghair Mukkaddah' those practiced on a semi-regular practice by Prophet Muhammad which all are agreed upon that its abandonment doesn't render one sinful.

Certain sunnah prayers have prescribed waqts associated with them. Those ordained for before each of the fard prayers must be performed between the first call to prayer (adhan) and the second call (iqama) which signifies the start of the fard prayer. Those sunnah ordained for after the fard prayers can be performed any time between the end of the fard prayers and the end of the current prayer's waqt. Any amount of extra raka'ah may be offered, but most madha'ib prescribe a certain number of raka'ah for each sunnah salah.

Nafl salat

Nafl salat (supererogatory prayers) are voluntary, and one may offer as many as he or she likes almost any time. There are many specific conditions or situations when one may wish to offer nafl prayers. They cannot be offered at sunrise, true noon, or sunset. The prohibition against salat at these times is to prevent the practice of sun worship.


Witr is performed after the salah of isha'a (dusk). Some Muslims consider witr wajib while others consider it optional. It may contain any odd number of raka'ah from one to eleven according to the different schools of jurisprudence. However, Witr is most commonly offered with three raka'ah.

To end prayers for the night after isha'a, the odd numbered raka'ah must have the niyyah of "wajib-ul-Lail", which is mandatory to "close" one's salat for that day.

Shi'ahs offer this as a one raka'ah salah at the end of salatul layl (the night prayer), which is an optional prayer according to some shi'ah scholars, and a wajib (obligatory) prayer according to others. This is to be prayed any time after Isha, up until fajr. The best time to pray it is the last third of the night (the night being divided into three, between maghrib and fajr of that night. It is considered highly meritorious by all shi'ah Muslims, and is said to bring numerous benefits to the believer, mainly gaining proximity to Allah. There are various methods of salatul-layl's performance, including shorter and longer versions, in the longer version the believer must perform 8 nawafil salat, in sets of 2 raka'ah each, then they must pray a 2 raka'ah salah called 'salatul shafa'ah' this is to include surah nas after surah fatihah in the first raka'ah and surah falaq after surah fatihah in the secound raka'ah, and unusually no qunut (a du'ah recited bfore going into ruku' of the secound raka'ah of most prayers performed by shi'ahs) It is after this that the believer performs salatul witr, it's long method being - Starting with takbiratul ehram, then surah fatihah, then surah ikhlas, then surah falaq, then surah nas, then the hands are raised to recite qunut, uon which the believer can recite any du'a, however there are many recommended du'as for this purpose. Within qunut, the believer must pray for the forgiveness of 40 believers, then further prayers are read where the believer asks for forgiveness for himself a certain number of times using specified phrases and amounts of times to repeat those phrases. The believer then completes the salah in the usual way, by completing his qunut, reciting takbir whilst rasing his hands, going into ruku' and reciting the usual phrase for that, then returning up right and reciting takbir whilst doing so and upon being upright recites 'sami allahu liman hamida' (verily Allah has heard the one who has praised him) thereupon the believer recites takbir whilst raising his hands and goes into sajda. He recites the proscribed phrase in sajda rises, recites takbir whilst rising and then again whilst returnin to sajdah, then rises with takbir again and recites tashahud and salam, thus ending this prayer. It is then optional to recite certain other du'as and dhikr (remembrance of Allah through certain phrases and some of his names being repeated) It is then recommended to perform and sajdah ash-shukr (prostration of thanks) and to then recite ayatul kursi (verse of the throne) and then perform another sajdah ash-shukr.


Eid salat is performed on the morning of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The Eid prayer is most likely an individual obligation (fard al-ayn) and Niyyah for both Eid salat is made as Wajib, though some Islamic scholars argue it is only a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah).[39] It consists of two raka'at, with seven (or three for the followers Imam Hanafi) takbirs offered before the start of the first raka'ah and five (or three for the followers of Imam Hanafi) before the second. After the salat is completed, a sermon (khutbah) is offered. However, the khutbah is not an integral part of the Eid salat.[40] The Eid salat must be offered between sunrise and true noon i.e. between the time periods for Fajr and Dhuhr.


Salat al-Istikhaarah is a prayer performed when a Muslim needs guidance on a particular matter, such as whether they should marry a certain person. In order to perform this salah one should perform a normal two raka'at salah to completion. After completion one should say a du'a called the Istikhaarah du'a. The intention for the salah should be in one's heart to perform two raka'at of salah followed by Istikhaarah. The salah can be performed at any of the times where salah is not forbidden.

The salah must be performed in the Arabic language.


In certain circumstances one may be unable to perform one's prayer within the prescribed time period (waqt). In this case, the prayer must be performed as soon as one is able to do so. Several Ahadith narrate that Muhammad stated that permissible reasons to perform Qada Salah are forgetfulness and accidentally sleeping through the prescribed time. However, knowingly sleeping through the prescribed time for Salah is deemed impermissible.

Qasr and Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn

When travelling over long distances, one may shorten some prayers, a practice known as qasr. Furthermore, several prayer times may be joined, which is referred to as Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn. Qasr involves shortening the obligatory components of the Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha'a prayers to two raka'ah. Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn combines the Dhuhr and Asr prayers into one prayer offered between noon and sunset, and the Maghrib and Isha'a prayers into one between sunset and Fajr. Neither Qasr nor Jam' bayn as-Salaatayn can be applied to the Fajr prayer.

There is no reference to Qasr during travel within the Qur'an itself; the Qur'an allows for Qasr when there is fear of attack, but does not forbid it for travel in non-hostile circumstances.

Sajdah of forgetfulness

During the ritual salah prayer, if a person forgets to do one of the actions of prayer he can make up for certain actions by performing two sujud at the end of the prayer. This can only be done if specific types of actions are forgotten by the person praying.

Quranist Salat

The concept of Quranist Salat Timings has been discussed in Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha (Arabic/Urdu) by Shah Waliullah. He said that there are 3 Salat timings (prayers) instead of the 5 Salats (prayers).[41]

The numbers of regular Salat mentioned by their respective names in Arabic in the Qur'an are four as follows:

  1. Salat Fajr (Dawn Prayer) [Quran 24:58]
  2. Al-Salat Al-Wusta ( The Middle Prayer) [Quran 2:238][Quran 17:78]
  3. Salat al-Maghrib ("The Sunset Prayer") [Quran 17:78]
  4. Salat Isha’a (Night Prayer)[Quran 24:58]

According to Quranists, the three leftover Salat are not mentioned in Qur'an by their specific Arabic terms. Therefore, they do not consider them to be obligatory.

Salat timings according to Quranists and other minorities

Salat Timings of Qur'an are mentioned, in particular three salat times are described [Quran 11:114] and that they are recorded in a written document. [Quran 4:103] The Qur'an states that you should interrupt any activity you were previously doing to pray, as this betters the individual. [Quran 6:9] Also noted is the volume at which the salat should be uttered, somewhere in between spoken aloud and spoken in a low tone. [Quran 17:110]

The Fajr (Dawn) Prayer starts when the first thin ray of light is observed in the sky[Quran 2:187][Quran 52:49] and ends at the first "taraf" (terminal) of the day, or sunrise [Quran 11:114]

The middle or Salat Al-Wusta can be observed from the moment the sun begins its descend from its highest point in the sky (duluk al shams) until the darkness of the night (ghasaq al-layl) starts to set in, which is at sunset.[Quran 17:78]

'Duluk ash-shams' can also mean 'sunset.' It literally means 'the rubbing of the sun.' The most accepted meaning is that this means the apparent rubbing of the sun with the horizon at sunset. Although, the meaning of a declining noon sun can also be found in Classical Arabic sources. Literally, it can imply a meaning of both sunset and dawn in its meaning of a sun making apparent contact i.e. 'rubbing' with the horizon.

The Qur'an, if we take the understanding of 'a declining noon sun' implies that the time of the Middle prayer ends with sunset.[Quran 38:32]

Some Quranists however believe that there are only two Salat, dawn and dusk including the times of night close to these two periods.

Some groups like Ahl Al-Quran ( and The Submitters believe that the 5 Salat as they are practiced by Muslims today were passed down from Abraham generationally through the Arabs and the Children of Israel, to then be inherited by those who adopted the Quran (and rejected by most Jews and Christians), as a ritual of the religion of Abraham.

Some extreme elements totally disavow prayer altogether through different interpretations of the word salat. In one reportedly obscure source, claimed to be a Slavic/Arabic dictionary (source of the report is from the word is reported to mean 'Obligation.' Some erroneously see the word salat as a derivation of the root 'wasala' (defined as to connect/arrive) and one of its corresponding nouns 'silah', meaning connection. The word does have a meaning of 'to follow close behind' (See Lane's Lexicon) but other meanings not based on Classical Arabic dictionaries, which stray from the concept of prayer, have been proposed for the word within Quranist circles. However, the Koran itself was most definitely not composed by Muhammad in pure classical Arabic, but shows many borrowings and calques from the Aramaic, and, especially, Syriac languages and Jewish and Christian holy materials written in those languages, so, with recourse only to classical Arabic vocabulary, an understanding of the infamously dense, and in places incomprehensible - according to the rules of classical Arabic - Koran will invariably fall short or be incorrect.[42]

Virtues of Salat in ahadith

The Ahadith provide further details; as for example, when the Qur'an refers to three daily prayers (suras 11:114; 17:78–79; 30:17–18 and possibly 24:58), while the five daily prayers stipulated by the later Ahadith have been adopted by Muslims.[43][not in citation given]

Abu Huraira RadiyAllahu `anhu narrates that once Muhammad asked his companions, 'Do you think that dirt can remain on a person bathing five times a day in a brook running in front of his door?' 'No', replied the compan­ions, 'No dirt can remain on his body.' Muhammad remarked: 'So, exactly similar is the effect of salat offered five times a day. With the grace of Allah, it washes away all the sins'.(Bukhari, Muslim)

Abu Umamah narrates that the Muhammad said, "Allah does not Listen to anything from His servant as He does to the two rakahs (of prayer) that he offers. Mercy descends over the servant's head as long as he remains in prayer." (Tirmidhi and Ahmad) As-Suyuti considers it sahih."

In Al-Muwatta, Imam Malik ibn Anas says: "It reached me that the Prophet said: '(Try to) keep to the straight path although you won't be able to do so completely; and know that the best of your deeds is salah, and only a (true) believer preserves his wudhu.'"

Abu Zar RadiyAllahu `anhu narrates that once Muhammad came out of his house. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off the trees. He caught a branch of a tree and its leaves began to drop in large number. At this he remarked, 'O, Abu Zar! when a Muslim offers his salat to please Allah, his sins are shed away from him just as these leaves are falling off this tree.'(Ahmad)

Sabrah bin Ma'bad Al-Juhani reported: Muhammad said, "Teach a boy Salat when he attains the age of seven years, and punish him (if he does not offer it) at ten." (Abu Dawood)

Abu Huraira narrated: Muhammad said, "The angels keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for anyone of you, as long as he is at his Mu,salla (praying place) and he does not pass wind (Hadath). They say, 'O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! be Merciful to him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, Hadith #436)

Hasan ibn Ali narrates that Muhammad stated: "He who recites Ayatul Kursi after obligatory salat, is in the protection of Allah til the next salat." from Tabarani, Majma uz-Zuwaid

Umm Farwah narrates that Muhammad asked which is the best of the good deeds. He said, "To offer Salat at the beginning of its prescribed time." From Abu Dawood

Abu Hurairah narrates that Muhammad said, "The first row of salat amongst the men is most rewarding and the last is the least; whereas the last rows of salat amongst the women are most rewarding and the first the least." from Muslim

Uthman bin Affan narrates that Muhammad said, "He who performed wudhu for salat and performed it properly and then went on foot to offer the obligatory salat and offered it along with the people or in congregation or in the masjid, Allah would forgive his sins." from Muslim

Abu Darda narrates that Muhammad said, "If three persons in a village or a forest do not offer the congregational salat, then shaitan fully overpowers them. So make it obligatory on yourself to offer salat in congregation. For undoubtedly the wolf eats only the stray goat." from Abu Dawood.....


Devout Muslims sometimes develop a prayer bump, which is caused by the friction of rubbing one's forehead against the ground for a long period of time.[44]

See also


  1. ^ For the able-bodied, leaning or not standing upright invalidates prayer. If one is incapable of standing, one may sit, lie on the right side, lie on the left side, lie on one's back or as one is able to do.


  1. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:6:301
  2. ^ See also Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:48:826: "Isn't the witness of a women equal to half that of a man?" The women said "yes". He said "This is because of the deficiency of the women's mind."
  3. ^ Sahih Bukhari 1.6.301
  4. ^ See also [Quran 2:282]: "... and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other...".
  5. ^ [ Women In Islam Versus Women In The Judaeo-Christian Tradition
  6. ^
  7. ^ Muslim cultures today: a reference guide By Kathryn M. Coughlin, page 91
  8. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:52:41
  9. ^ Abdal Hakim Murad. "Understanding the Four Madhhabs". Retrieved 25 May 2010 
  10. ^ Al-Mawrid
  11. ^ Titus Burckhardt, Art of Islam, Language and Meaning : Commemorative Edition, World Wisdom, Inc, 2009, page 128
  12. ^ a b Ismail Kamus (1993). Hidup Bertaqwa (2nd ed.). Kuala Lumpur: At Tafkir Enterprise. ISBN 9-839990-20-9.
  13. ^ Amatullah - Eritrea (2006-05-03). "When Should Children Be Encouraged to Fast? - - Ask The Scholar". In Group of Muftis. Living Shariah. [ttp://]. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  14. ^ Amr ʻAbd al-Munʻim Salīm, Important lessons for Muslim women, Darussalam, 2005, page 174
  15. ^ Questions and Answers on the Sutrah, by Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen
  16. ^ An-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths
  17. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 10–11.
  18. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 11–12.
  19. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 14–16.
  20. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 19.
  21. ^ a b Al-Albani 1993, pp. 20.
  22. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 25.
  23. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 42.
  24. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 43.
  25. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 44–46.
  26. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 47.
  27. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 48–50.
  28. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 51–52.
  29. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 53–55.
  30. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 55.
  31. ^ a b Al-Albani 1993, pp. 60.
  32. ^ a b c Al-Albani 1993, pp. 62.
  33. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 65–66.
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Al-Albani 1993, pp. 90–91.
  38. ^ "Understanding Salat" from Albalagh
  39. ^ "Ruling on Eid prayers". Islam Question and Answer. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  40. ^ "Islam Today". Islam today. 
  41. ^ Hujjat Allah Al-Baligha (Arabic / Urdu) by Shah Waliullah / Shah Wali Ullah
  42. ^ The Syro-Aramaic Reading Of The Qur'an, 2007, English Edition Chapter 18: "Contrary to the earlier assumption of a dialect of Arabic spoken in Mecca, the present study has shown that, insofar as the Arabic tradition has identified the language of the Koran with that of the Quraysh, the inhabitants of Mecca, this language must instead have been an Aramaic-Arabic hybrid language. It is not just the findings of this study that have led to this insight. Namely, in the framework of this study an examination of a series of hadith (sayings of the Prophet) has identified Aramaisms that had either been misinterpreted or were inexplicable from the point of view of Arabic. This would lead one to assume that Mecca was originally an Aramaic settlement. Confirmation of this would come from the name Mecca (Macca) itself, which one has not been able to explain etymologically on the basis of Arabic. But if we take the Syro-Aramaic root Km (ma, actually makk) (lower, to be low) as a basis, we get the adjective akm (mäkkä) (masc.), atkm (mäkk1ä) (fem.), with the meaning of "(the) lower (one)."
  43. ^
  44. ^ Rules of Namaz


  • Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani, Muhammad (1993) (in English). The Prophet’s prayer described (1st ed.). Malaysia: Al-Haneef Publications. p. 15. 

Further reading

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