How to Perform Salah (Ritual Prayer) - An Illustrated Guide for Beginners

Noushad Muneer
Do you know how to perform salah in the most perfect way? It is important to learn how to perform prayer in Islam as it is the greatest act of worship performed with the mind, heart and body. Prayer is the act of a Muslim being extremely humble before his Lord Allah. He shows by his prayers that he is ready to live in complete obedience to Allah. The word "Muslim" means "one who is obedient to Allah" and "one who has submitted his will to Allah". By praying five times everyday a Muslim can keep renewing his remembrance of Allah.
Learning to pray is the first step to carrying out the most important duty and obligation in Islam after the two testimonies. It is also one among the five pillars of Islam ; The Messengerﷺ - said: “Islam is built on five things: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establishing prayer, Zakath (the arms), Sawm(fast) and the Hajj (the Piligrimage)”
He who did not pray during the time of the Prophet (May peace be upon him) was not considered a Muslim. Men usually attended Masjid to pray. Women also used to attend Masjid as per convenience. What distinguishes between a Muslim and a non-muslim is prayer. Therefore, we should not consider those who neglect their prayers as Muslims. Do not treat them as you would treat Muslims. Abandoning the prayer is the nature of a disbeliever who disobeys Allah. This highlights the penultimate importance of prayer in Islam.
Both young and old should worship. The Prophet ﷺ commanded that parents should teach their children how to perform salah when they are seven years old. Therefore, from the age of seven, all children should be accustomed to Salah. For that, they must have learned the rules of prayer. The Prophet ﷺ also commanded the parents to beat their children if they do not perform the Salah after the age of ten. See what the Prophet ﷺ said:
“Order your children to pray; when they are seven years old and beat them (if they don’t do) at the age of ten” [Sunan Abu Dawud]
In Islam, it has been decreed that if one is unable to stand due to illness, one should sit and pray, and if one is unable to sit, one should lie down and gesture. From this view, we can understand the importance of prayer in Islam.
A Muslim believes that God will hold us accountable for all our deeds on the Day of Resurrection. But the first question is about prayer. The Prophet ﷺ said about this:
“On the Day of Judgment, the first trial of a slave is his prayer”[Sunan Tirmidhi].
The only way to escape on the Day of Resurrection is to prove that you have put your maximum effort to perform your daily Salah perfectly.
Therefore, this guidebook will help you to learn how to perform salah, the importance of prayer in Islam, Qur’anic verses and hadith about prayers, as well as other fundamentals of salah.
Chapter 01

What is Salah?

According to the Islamic Shari’ah, Salah means a combination of specific sayings and actions that begin with the takbir and conclude with the taslim. It was named so because it includes prayer, which means supplication. The specific obligation of Salah is assigned five times for each day and night. It is considered to be a fundamental and well known worship in the Islamic ordinance which means one who denies it will become a Kafir. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the only Messenger to have received the five times prayer as a gift from the almighty Allah.

Brief history of Salah

Salah was the first obligatory act of worship in Islam and no other form of worship existed when it was obligatory. It was made compulsory in Makkah three years before the Hijra. If all worship was obligatory on earth, then Allah had invited the Prophet ﷺ to the heavens to offer Salah. It is also known as Mi’raj. On this night, the Prophet ﷺ traveled with Jibril (May Allah be pleased with him) to the heavens and witnessed many wonders there, and reached a height that even his traveler could not reach.
 It was during that conversation the Prophet ﷺ received Salah as a special gift to himself and his community. The Prophet ﷺ was invited there because Allah did not want prayer to be obligatory on earth, which is the source of filth and desire. The two great characteristics of prayer are that it is the first act of worship and that it is obligatory to place it in the heavens. Mi'raj Day is the expression of its happiness.
The Prophet ﷺ began to perform the obligatory prayer on the day that followed the Night Journey. The first obligatory Salah that the Prophet ﷺ performed was the Zuhr prayer, in the leadership of angel Jibreel (May Allah be pleased with him). Therefore, the Zuhr prayer is called the first prayer.
 It should be noted that the dawn prayer was not the first prayer performed by the Prophet ﷺ. This is because the assumption of prayer and the assignment to perform it requires a statement regarding how to practice it. This was not achieved in the dawn prayer, and the person charged with worship is not required to perform it before its statement. After the statement, it is required to perform it, and this is what happened in the noon prayer where Jibreel (May Allah be pleased with him) taught the Prophet about that.

What is the ruling for Salah?

The ruling on the five obligatory daily prayers in Islam namely: Fajr also known as Subh, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha’ prayers - is compulsory for every mature and intelligent Muslim man and woman. There are a total of seventeen rak'ahs in the five prayers. There are two for Subh, four for Zuhr, four for Asr, three for Maghrib and four for Isha’.
A Rak’ah refers to an individual unit of salah which consists of:
A. a standing where you have to recite Surah Fathiha.
B. a bowing down for Ruku’
C. doing the prostration or Sujood twice

What time of day do Muslims pray?

1. The time of Subh begins with the revelation of Fajr Sadiq (the true dawn) and remains until sunrise.
2. The time of Zuhr prayer begins when the sun moves westward from noon.
Zuhr's time is until the shadow of an object becomes equal to it. When the sun reaches the center exactly, the shadow of an object appears east or west. Zuhr's time ends when the shadow of an object is equal to it other than the aforementioned shadow.
3.  When Zuhr's time ends, Asr's time begins. Its time is until sunset.
4. Maghrib's time will start after sunset and continue until the red sky disappears.
5. The time of Isha’ begins when the red sky disappears. Its time is until dawn or fajr prayer time. The red mark on the sky after sunset is called "red sky"
 This is always obligatory regardless of the situation of the person. However, some changes may occur in its form and number in the event of travel, illness or fear. Although, they do not completely fall from the duty of a muslim as long as he is capable to perform it in any ways.

In which directions do Muslims pray?

Now you already know the prescribed times in which Muslims are supposed to offer their five times prayers daily. In order to perform the Salah, you also need to know the details regarding the direction to which you have to face during the Salah. It is mandatory for a Muslim to face the direction of Ka’ba, which is situated in Makkah, while performing the Salah.
It is obviously known that the direction of Ka’ba may be different in different parts of the world. Before the development of astronomy in the Islamic world, Muslims used traditional methods to determine the qibla. These methods included facing the direction that the companions of Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had used when in the same place; using the setting and rising points of celestial objects; using the direction of the wind; or using due south, which was the Prophet's qibla in Medina and so on.
Today you are fortunate to have technical facilities such as mobile applications or Qibla locators to know the Qibla at the exact place you want to perform the Salah. It is important to depend only the correct and true technologies approved by the Muslim scholars in this regard.
Chapter 02

Hikmah of Salah

This section discusses why we pray in Islam. Prayer was made obligatory for worshipping Allah and many other great benefits. Prayer represents the connection of the servant with his Lord, as it is the means by which the servant communicates with his Lord to complain to him about his transmission. He speaks to Allah almighty about what is important to him, and pleads with his Lord, the Most High - so that his chest is opened, and his heart is reassured. Prayer is a light by which God guides His servants to righteousness and truth, and forbids them from indecency, immorality and disobedience.
Allah says in the holy Qur’an;
“Perform the Salah, for the Salah restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do” [Qur’an 29:45]
Salah is a physical act of worship, because it includes standing, kneeling, prostrating, and other physical activities. In addition to that it is an act of worship of the heart. It is accomplished through glorifying the Allah almighty, the Most High - and revering Him, thanking Him, praising Him, and humiliating Him. Performing prayer is an exercise for the servant to submit his will to God - glory be to Him - and to carry out His commands.
Another reason why we pray is that it is a great door to expiate sins. It is reported in the Hadith that the Prophet ﷺ says:
"Do you think that if there was a river by the door of any one of you, and he bathed in it five times each day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?" They said: "No trace of dirt would be left on him." He said: "That is the likeness of the five daily prayers. In that way, Allah erases all kinds of sins." [Sunan Nasa’i]

Why do we need to pray?

In Islam, prayer is one of the most important acts of worship at all. it has a distinct position that makes it unique from the rest of the kinds of worship. It is the pillar and foundation of the religion, which cannot be established without it. In the noble hadith, the Messenger ﷺ says: “The head of the entire matter is Islam, its pillar is Salah, and the peak of its hump is jihad” [Sunan Tirmidhi].
 Salah is the first act of worship that Allah has made obligatory upon His servants to rise, and the first to be asked about on the Day of Resurrection. According to this hadith on salah, the Prophet ﷺ said:
“The first thing one will have to be held accountable on the day of Resurrection is his Salah, if it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser” [Sunan Tirmidhi].
With regard to the ruling on abandoning Salah in Islam; one who neglects it and denies it is considered an infidel and outside the religion. 
The Messenger ﷺ says: 
“Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah” [Sahih Muslim]. 
It is worth mentioning that ‘denial’ here means, denying something with knowledge of its validity.
At the same time, one who has left performing Salah either because he is recent in Islam, or has not heard of it before, then he is excused for his ignorance. Allah emphasizes this point in the holy Qur’an and He said to those who abandon its performance; “But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed lusts soon, then, they will face Destruction [Qur’an 19:59]. And this is a part of Allah’s mercy to them and he wants to deter them from what would destroy them in this world and the next.

Hikmah behind making Salah five times a day

Why do Muslims pray besides the expiation of sins and a mere obligation? The origin of the acts of worship is endowment, that is; it is performed as it is legal in the Islamic religion without addition or subtraction, and the duty is to perform it. A Muslim must perform it and without knowing the wisdom and reason for it. Among these acts of worship is the fact that the obligatory prayers are five times per day and night. Allah almighty - tests His servants whether they accept it without obstinacy, even if their minds are unable to comprehend the Hikmah behind it.
Imam Al-Ghazali (may God have mercy on him) mentioned in the book ‘Ihya Ulum al-Din’ that there are acts among the acts of worship and obligatory duties that make sense and their reason is known. For example; the zakat in which the wealth is taken from the rich and given to the poor, as it maintains the balance and solidarity of society. It improves the life of the poor, and the same is applicable to fasting, which breaks the lust, disciplines the soul, accustoms it to patience, abandons preoccupations, and increases obedience.
There are also acts of worship that do not make sense, and that in many cases a person may not be guided to knowing their causes. For example; the act of stoning the Jamarat and running between Safa - Marwa during the Hajj. This is applicable to all acts of worship whose wisdom is not known. The only true motive behind these acts of worship is the love of complying with the command of God, which is the duty to be followed. These acts of worship show the sincerity, commitment and submission of the worshiper to the orders of the wise Sharia’

Hikmah behind the pillars and forms of Salah

Imam Al-Ghazali narrated in Al-Ihya that the Hikmah in bowing and prostrating is to show humility to God Almighty. It is also said that, the Hikmah regarding the number of Rukoo’(bowing) and Sujood (prostration) being one and two respectively is that bowing is a reference to monotheism and prostration bears witness to it.
Al-Bajirmi said in his footnote to Al-Khatib that scholars have different opinions in the Hikmah of repeating prostration and not repeating the rest of the pillars. This was said to force the nose of Satan who refused to prostrate. It is also to show humility and thanks to God for answering the supplication in the first prostration and it is one of the reasons why the servant is closest to his Lord while he is prostrating.
Also, prayer is a psychological necessity. No matter how powerful and glorious a person is and how much money and knowledge he obtains, he must contact his Great Creator and seek refuge in. Nothing is impossible for him, so he does not turn to any of the people and does not ask for help and assistance from others, but rather he turns to his generous Lord.
The main psychological effect is that it is a tranquility for the human soul and a means to maintain its balance. It heals from the knot of guilt by realizing that it erases sins and God forgives sins by it. It relieves the believer's feeling of fear, protects him from psychological disturbances, and gives him strength and psychological hardness that no other person who has lost faith in prayer can enjoy.
Chapter 03

The Pillars/Arkan of Salah

In this section, we will teach you how to perform salah by learning the pillars of Salah. There are 5 pillars and 15 Obligations (Waajibaath) which you must know in order to perform the Salah correctly. Before learning those pillars you will know what all are the conditions to be fulfilled before you perform the Salah;

Conditions of Salah:

1. State of being pure:

 A. To be clean from small impurities and large impurities.
B. To keep the body clean.
C. To wear clean clothes.
D. To keep the place clean.

2. To hide nudity or Awrah:

It is not Saheeh (right) to perform the Salah leaving any of the prescribed body parts uncovered.

3. To face the Qibla

4. To be sure that the time for Salah is on

5. To do the Niyyah (the intention that you are performing the Salah)

Below you will learn what are the Pillars of Salah;
1. To perform the Salah in standing
2. Reciting at least one Ayah from the holy Qur’an.
3. Ruku’ or bowing
4. Sujood or prostration
5. The last sitting is as much as reciting the last tashahhud

Obligatory duties in Salah

The following matters are obligatory in prayer. Whoever neglects any of these matters by mistake, his Salah will be incomplete, and he will be forced by the prostration of forgetfulness. Let us show you how to pray step by step in Islam, in regards to recitations.
1.  The opening of the prayer regarding the saying: “الله اكبر”
2-  Reciting Surah Al-Fatiha in the first two rak’ahs of the obligatory prayer.
3-  Adding a short surah, or three short verses, to Al-Fatiha in the first two rak’ahs of the obligatory prayer.
4-  Reciting Surah Al-Fatiha before the Surah.
5-  Performing the second prostration after the first one without leaving any considerable time gap.
6-  Performing all the pillars in moderation and calmness.
7-  The first sitting is as much as reciting the tashahhud.
8-  Reciting the tashahhud in the first sitting, as well as reciting the tashahhud in the last sitting.
9- Standing up for the third rak’ah immediately without slackening after completing the tashahhud.
10- Leaving the prayer by saying Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmathullaah twice.
11- Reciting the supplication of Qunoot in the third rak’ah of al-witr after completing al-Fatihah and the surah.
Chapter 4

The Sunnahs acts of Salah

There are certain Sunnah acts which are regarded as very important to make the Salah complete. By doing all the Sunnah acts of the Salah you can increase your reward from the almighty Allah. It should be acted upon also in accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of almighty be upon him): “Perform your Salah as you have seen me performing the Salah.”

Common Sunnah acts of Salah:

1. Stand straight at the time of Thakbeerah Ihraam without shaking your head.
2. Raise your hands during the Thakbeerah Ihraam parallel to your ears.
3. After Thakbeerah Ihraam, tie both the hands in a way that you hold your left hand with your right hand below the navel.
4. To recite the Thana’;
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ. تَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ وَتَعَالَى جَدُّكَ. وَلاَ إِلهَ غَيْرُكَ
"Glory be to You O Allah, Praise be to You and blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your greatness."
5. Recite the isti’adhah in every rak'ah.
6. Recite ‘Bismillah...’ before Surah Fathiha in every rak'ah.
7. Say; Aameen silently after Surah Fathiha.
8. Leave a gap of four fingers between your feet. 
9. Recite any long Surah in Zuhr and Fajr after Surah Fathiha, recite any medium length Surah in Asr and Isha and recite any short Surah for Maghrib.  
10. Say ‘Allaahu Akbar’ all while moving from one act to another
11. When you get up from the rukoo ', say, ‘Sami Allahu liman hamidah’ 
12. Say the tasbeeh three times in the Ruku' and Sujud.
13. Place both hands on the thighs while sitting. 
14. Sit in Iftirash position other than in the first and last sittings.
15. Raise the pointer finger of right hand in the while saying ‘La Ilaaha’ and keep it down when you reach ‘Illallaah’
16. Turn right side first and then the left side while saying ‘Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmathullah’ twice to exit from the Salah.
Chapter 5

Acts that invalidate Salah

There are certain things that may invalidate your Salah. One must be very vigilant not to fall into such things and lose his Salah.

Things that invalidate the prayer:

1.  To miss one among the aforementioned conditions of Salah
2-  To miss one among the aforementioned pillars of Salah
3-  Speaking while you are performing the Salah whether it be intentional or unintentional.
4-  Nullifying of ablution (wudhu) 
5-  Exposing nudity (awrah)
6-  If the person faints
7-  If the sun rises while performing the Fajr Salah
8-  Eating or drinking something. 
9-  Laughing loudly.
10- If he read from the Mus’haf
11- Turning over the chest from the side of Qibla
12.  Having impurity (najas) touch the clothes or body. 
 Excessive activity such as scratching three times in a row or walking three steps. 
14. Intend to cut the prayer. 
15. Leaving the Islam.

Things those are offensive in prayer

1.  To leave any Sunnah acts deliberately.
2-  Looking back and forth unnecessarily.
3-  Leaning on any objects during the Salah.
4-  Offering the Salah facing a human being.
5-  Looking at the sky.
6-  Curling the clothes or hair.
7-  Leaving the head uncovered. 
8-  Relying on only one leg.
9-  Praying the Salah relying on something. 
10- Bending the head extra while offering ‘ Rukoo’.
11- Praying the Salah directly towards the grave. 
12.  Wearing clothes that distract from prayer. 
 Spitting on the side of the Qibla. 
14. Praying the Salah when needed for defecation. 
15. Praying the Salah in the way, in bathrooms and in non-Muslim’s places of worship. 
16. Praying when the food is ready and you want it.
Chapter 6

Prostration of Forgetfulness or Sujud As-sahw

Here it means if you commit an error while performing the Salah, whether it is intentional or forgotten, this prostration is regarded to make up that defect. The evidence for its legitimacy is what Al-Bukhari narrated from the Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may God be pleased with him).
 He said: The Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) led us in the Zuhr or Asr Salah, and he finished the Salah saying the Salaam. Then Dhulyedayn said to him: The prayer, O Messenger of God, has it decreased? The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked: “Is what he says true?” They said: ‘Yes’. Then he performed two more rak'ahs, and then he made two prostrations.
Whoever neglects one among the obligatory duties of Salah prayer, he is obligated to prostrate twice in order to resolve what is missing.
Thus the prostration of forgetfulness is required in the following cases:
1 - If you neglect the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah in the first two rak’ahs of the obligatory prayer, or in any one of them. Likewise, if you neglect to recite Surat Al-Fatihah in any of the rak’ah in Navaafil or witr.
2. If you forget to recite Surah Fathiha in the first two rak’ahs of the obligatory prayer and recited in the last two rak’ahs instead.
3. If you forget to include any Surah along with Surah Al-Fatihah in the first two rak'ah or any one of them in the obligatory prayers.
4. If he recites Al-Fatihah twice, because he delayed the other Surah from its place.
5. If you left the first sitting for Thashahhud in the triple prayer.
6. If you forget to recite the Thashahhud.
7. If you leave the Thakbeer of the qunoot in the withr.
8. If you leave reciting the qunut in the witr before bowing.
9. If the imam recites aloud during the Sirri Salah
10. If the imam recites silently during the loud prayers.
11. If your time in the first sitting exceeds more than that of reciting Thashahhud, as if he recited Salath on the Prophet, (peace be upon him) after the Thashahhud, or remained silent approximately the time space of a Thashahhud.

The other rulings related to Sujud As sahw

The prostration of forgetfulness is obligatory for Imam and Ma’mum following the imam’s forgetfulness. At the same time, the prostration of forgetfulness is not obligatory if the Ma’mum alone forgets something. The prostration of forgetfulness is obligatory for the Ma’mum, if he forgets something when he completes his prayer after the imam’s thasleem.
If the prostration of forgetfulness is required for the imam, and he prostrates, the Ma’mum must follow his imam in the prostration of forgetfulness.

How to prostrate for forgetfulness

If you are obligated to perform the prostration of forgetfulness, you must do one thasleem to your right side as you finish the tashahhud in the last sitting. After that say the takbeer and offer the prostration twice just like the prostration you do in the Salah normally.Then, again sit down and perform the obligatory tashahhud followed by reciting Salath on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and supplication for yourself. After doing this you can say the Thasleem to exit the Salah.
Chapter 7

How to pray in Islam Step-by-Step

The positions of Salah Islam has taught us is very important for a Muslim to learn in order to perform it in the right way. You will also know here the meanings of the prescribed recitations of the Salah.
We will show you how to pray in Islam step by step below through extensive explanations regarding the movement of Salah. This guide will help you establish the first rakah, followed by the second rakah applicable for Subh prayer, as well as the other daily prayers:

1. First of all, stand up once you are ready to perform the Salah;

You have already learned above that it is mandatory to perform the Salah in standing except in case of any excuse. Those who are unable to stand may sit down to perform the Salah. If someone is not comfortable to sit down because of any illness he is also allowed to lie down and perform the Salah and so on. There is no reason one can prefer not to perform the Salah as long as he is okay with the conditions of Salah mentioned above.

2. Say Takbiratul Ihram; الله أكبر which means ‘Allah is Great’;

During Takbiratul Ihram, raise both hands parallel to your ears keeping in mind the intention to perform the Salah. Note that, from this point you have completely entered the Salah and try your best not to lose your concentration to anything else.

3. Place your right hand on your left hand under your navel;

This must be done soon after the Takbiratul Ihram without leaving any time gap in between.

4. Begin with Dua Al Istiftah or the opening prayer;

Dua Al Istiftah is to recite the following prayer silently. Just say;
سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ. تَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ وَتَعَالَى جَدُّكَ. وَلاَ إِلهَ غَيْرُكَ
which means;
‘How perfect you are, O Allah. I praise you
How blessed is Your name
How lofty is Your position
And none has the right to be worshipped but You’

5. Recite; أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

and بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
''I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan''
'' In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful''
It is very important to recite A’udhu and Bismi before reciting Surah Al-Fatihah. 
 The holy Qur’an says; “So when you recite the Quran, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaitan” (Surah An-Nahl:98). Some scholars like Imam Shafi even say that Bismi is a part of Surah Fathiha. 

6. Recite the Surah Al-Fatihah;

Surah Al-Fatihah is the opening chapter in the holy Qur’an and it is obligatory to recite it in the first two rak'ah of all five times Salah.
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿1﴾ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴿2﴾ مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ﴿3﴾ إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴿4﴾ اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ﴿5﴾ صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ ﴿6)ا
1.   All praise is for Allah - Lord of all worlds.
2-  The Most compassionate, the Most Merciful. 
3-  Master of the Day of judgement.
4-  It is You we worship, and You we ask for help.
5-  Guide us to the Straight path.
6-  The path of those You have blessed- not those You are
 displeased with, or those who are astray.
It is Sunnah to stop between each verse of Fatiha. The Salah will not be considered valid if Suratul Fatiha and ‘tashahhud’ were not learned as per Tajweed Rules because, it is obligatory to recite both of it completely in the Salah. After finishing the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah, say; "Ameen".

7. Recite any Surah after the Surah Al-Fatihah;

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿1﴾اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ ﴿2﴾لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ﴿3﴾وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ 
1.  Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One.
2-  Allah – the Sustainer (needed by all).
3-  He has never had offspring, nor was He born.
4-  And there is none comparable to him.
Above mentioned is the Surah Al-Ikhlas for instance, and you can recite any Surah, or any three short verses or any one long verse at least.
It is Sunnah to recite in Subh and Zuhr prayers any long chapter from Surah Al-Hujarat to Surah Al-Buruj, in Asr and Isha any chapter from Surah Al-Buruj to Surah Al-Bayyinah, and in Magrib any chapter from Surah Surah Al-Bayyinah to Surah An-Naas.

8. Bow down for the Ruku’ saying 'Allahu Akbar';

You shall be very careful to perform the Ruku’ properly. Place both your arms holding straight on the knees with your fingers spread. Keep the back and the head balanced and do not bend the knees.
Say in the Ruku’; "سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْعَظِيمْ” three times at least;
"‘How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent”

9. Return back to the standing position;

 At this time you will say; "سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ”
‘Allah hears the one who praises him’
and also say;
رَبَّنَا وَلَكَ الْحَمْد
‘Our Lord, Praise is to You’ and stand there calmly for a moment.

10. Go down to the prostration or Sujud saying 'Allahu Akbar';

First, place your knees on the floor, then both your hands and then place your head between your hands. Perform the Sujud calm and quiet in a way that your nose touches the floor. It is obligatory to touch the floor with the base of fingers of both feet so as to bend towards the Qibla.
In the Sujud say; سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى three times at least.
‘Glory be to my Lord, the Most High’

11. Get up from the prostration saying 'Allahu Akbar';

 You will raise your head from the prostration and sit there for a moment placing your hands on your knees.

12. Go down to the second prostration or Sujud saying 'Allahu Akbar' ;

In the second Sujud also say; سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى three times at least.
‘Glory be to my Lord, the Most High’

13. Stand up from the Sujud for the second rak’ah saying 'Allahu Akbar' ;

Stand up straight from the second prostration without leaning on the floor using your hands or sitting down there.
Thus, with these steps you have successfully completed a full rak’ah.
In order to perform the next rak’ah, you have to just repeat these same steps excluding the hand raising at the beginning, the recitation of Dua Al Istiftah or the opening prayer and reciting A’udhu.

14. Perform the tashahhud at the end of every two rak’ah;

And when you have completed the prostration of the second rak’ah, spread your left leg and sit on it, and place your right leg, pointing its fingers towards the Qibla. Place your hands on your thighs, spreading your fingers, and then recite the tashahhud as it is reported by Abdullah bin Masoud (May God be pleased with him):
اَلتَحِيَّاتُ لله، والصَلَوَاتُ والطَيِّبَاتُ،اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ، السَّلامُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى عِبَادِ اللَّهِ الصَّالِحِينَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عبده و رَسُولُه
‘All the salutations, prayers and nice things are for Allah. Peace be on you O Prophet, and the blessings of Allah, and His grace. Peace on us and on all the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that none but Allah is worthy of worship and bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah’
Point your index finger during the tashahhud and raise it when you say Lailaaha and put it down when you say ‘illa Allah’

15. Recite the Salat on the prophet Muhammmed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) after tashahhud;

If it is a two rak’ah Salah, Al-Fajr for example, you will recite the following Salat after tashahhud:
‏"اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ وَبَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ‏"
‘O Allah, send salah upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent salah upon the family of Ibrahim, and send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You sent blessings upon the family of Ibrahim among the nations. You are indeed Worthy of praise, Full of glory’
After that, make Du’a as it is mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith, that is to say:
 رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّار
‘And there are some among them who say: Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire’
And if it is a three or four rak’ah Salah, then do not add to the first tashahhud, but get up after completing the tashahhud for the third rak’ah saying 'Allahu Akbar'. Recite al-Fatihah alone in the third rak’ah, if it is a three rak’ah Salah, such as maghrib, and in the fourth rak’ah also if it is a four rak’ah Salah, such as Zuhr and Asr.
And if it is a three or four rak’ah Salah, then do not add to the first tashahhud, but get up after completing the tashahhud for the third rak’ah saying 'Allahu Akbar'. Recite al-Fatihah alone in the third rak’ah, if it is a three rak’ah Salah, such as maghrib, and in the fourth rak’ah also if it is a four rak’ah Salah, such as Zuhr and Asr.
Then bow and prostrate as you did in the first two rak’ah, then sit down, and recite the tashahhud in the last sitting and pray the Salat on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) just as mentioned above.

16. Finally, do the Tasleem turning right and then left.

The tasleem is how you exit from the Salah after completing it. For this, you will say;
"السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ"
‘May the peace and mercy of Allah almighty be upon you’
While saying this turn your face to both your sides,first right and then left. Keep the intention in your mind that you offer this prayer in the tasleem for all believers present with you and the good jinn and the Angels.
Chapter 8

How to perform each Salah

You have already learned how to perform the Salah step-by-step in the previous chapter. Here you will just understand how to perform each 5 daily Salah separately. This shall help you to comprehend the extra things you have to be careful about while you perform each of the Salah.

How to pray the Fajr

This is the first Salah with which you will begin your day. Apart from what you hav learned earlier, this is a two rak’ah prayer. You will recite the Surah Al-Fatihah and the other Surah loudly.

How to pray the Zuhr

This is the prayer just after the midnoon. It consists of four rak’ah and this must be performed silently from the very beginning to the end.

How to pray the Asr

This is the prayer a few hours before the sunset. Alike Zuhr, this also contains four rak’ah and the whole Salah must be performed silently.

How to pray the Maghrib

Salah Maghrib begins from the time of sunset. This is the only Salah which has three rak’ah. You shall recite aloud in the first two rak’ah and silently in the last rak’ah.

How to pray the Isha

This is again a Salah of four rak’ah after the night arrives. You will recite the Surah Al-Fatihah and the other Surah loudly in the first two rak’ah and silently in the last two rak’ah.

Differences between men and women in Salah:

1.   Male: Keep the elbows exposed out from the body while in Ruku’. Female: Place the elbows inward to the body.
2-   In Sujud, keep your abdomen and thighs at a distance.
Female: keep them closed.
3-  Recite aloud in the prayers which are to be recited aloud. If there are men, women must not recite aloud.
4-  If the Imam undergoes any errors in congregational prayer, men say, "Praise to be to Allah".Women: clap the left hand with the right hand.
5-  Men should cover the area from navel to knees.
Women should cover their whole body except face and forearms.

A’mal and Duas after Prayer

 After all the fard prayers, say اَسْتَغْفِرُاللهَ الْعَظِيْمَ three times. And it is Sunnah to say 3سبحان الله 3 times, الحمد لله 33 times and الله اكبر 34 times. After the Maghrib and Subh prayers say the below Dikr 10 times;
لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ
There is no god but He, He is One.
Then offer prayer or dua for what you intend. It is Sunnah to recite dhikr and du’a slowly. It should not be loud. But if the Imam intends to teach, or wants the Ma’mums to say Ameen, he can do so in a low voice. It should not be done aloud if it makes it difficult for other worshipers.
There are various duas in the hadiths to be recited after the prayer, for instance;
اللهم أنت السلام ومنك السلام تباركت يا ذا الجلال والإكرام
O Allah, You are the Grantor of security, and security comes from You. You are Blessing, O You Who have majesty and nobility!

Prayer Video Tutorial

With all that has been mentioned in the guide above, we hope that you are able to understand and perform the most essential form of worship towards Allah Almighty in the best manner possible. The knowledge you have equipped will determine the quality of your ‘Ibadah, so don’t give up, keep on pursuing the path to educating yourself through Islamic knowledge, and perform ‘Ibadah in the best manner with the purest of intentions, InshaAllah.
If you would like a clearer visualisation on how to perform salah the right and proper way, you can click on the video below to learn more about the gestures and du’a accurately. Click the first video if you would like to learn the complete guide to prayer as a man, and the second video as a woman:
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