Daily Prayers (Salat)
The human being is the only creature who has been distinguished from other creatures with the instinct of knowing right from wrong. He is, therefore, the only one who is expected to be the perfect image of his Creator. That is why the objective of his life is to know his Creator and become a perfect image of his attributes, as Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
” I have not created jins and humans but, for my worship”
SALAT or the method of worship is the main media through which a human can establish a relationship with his Creator and it is one of the main doors which leads to his complete submission to Allah’s will.
Salat also prevents him from wrong doings. Allah says:
“Surely prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil.”
Which shows that Salat or prayer is a guarantee from Allah that if a worshipper observes prayer with all its conditions, he will be safe from evils, manifest or hidden, small or great.
Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) asked to the companions,
“if one of you had a stream running by his door and he takes a bath in it five times a day, would any dirt be left on him?.” They replied! “No dirt would be left on him”.
Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) said:
“This is the case with Salat (the five daily prayers) Allah makes the Salat wipe out his sins”.
When we reflect on the creation of the universe and the law that governs it and the design and variety that pleases our eyes, we naturally are convinced of existence and greatness of Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed signs for men of understanding;” Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire.” (Aal-e-Imran, v19l-192)
This verse beautifully tells us that when a worshipper reflects upon the structure of the Universe he becomes overwhelmed with the greatness of its Creator. The ENTITY Who created such an awe-inspiring structure with such detailed arrangement and accuracy. He is alone to be worshipped and so right for protection.
There are five daily prayer services participation in which is obligatory. This may seem a little too much, but it is all a matter of comparative values. Those who realize the true value of prayer through experience are convinced that time spent in it is occupied much more beneficially than that spent in other pursuits.
There is no ordained priesthood in Islam. Every Muslim can be Imam (who leads congregational prayer) and can deliver a sermon. The members of the congregation may select, and for this purpose, they should choose one from among themselves who knows the Holy Quran better than the others. No vestment is prescribed for the Imam nor any special dress for the congregation. All that needed is the body and the head should be decently and cleanly covered.
Five daily prayers must be offered during their prescribed time periods. Allah (SWT) has made religion easy to follow and has made it convenient for Muslims to offer obligatory Prayers during a time period that is somewhat flexible. However, it is desirable and one should strive to offer Salat in its early part of time period.
Following are the time periods that are prescribed for five daily prayers:
- FAJR (DAWN) – The time of the Dawn prayer starts one quarter hours before sunrise and ends before sunrise. It is strictly forbidden to pray while the sun is still rising.
- ZUHR (NOON) – The time for Zuhr prayer starts with the decline of the sun and continues until the start of the time of ASR prayer.
- ASR (AFTERNON) – The time of the ASR prayer starts at mid afternoon and ends before sunset.
- MAGHRIB (SUNSET) – The time of Maghrib prayer starts after sunset and continues till it is dark.
- ISHA (EVENING) – The time of ISHA starts at night-fall and continues up to midnight.
Times when it is forbidden to offer prayer It is strictly forbidden to offer prayer:
- When sun is rising
- When sun is at its zenith (exactly overhead)
- When sun is setting
- Offering voluntary prayer between ‘Asr and Maghrib Prayer
Click here to download Worcester and surronding Prayer timetable.
Types – There are five types of Prayers:
Fardh is an Arabic world, which means compulsory or obligatory. The Five daily prayer i.e., Fajr, Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Magrhib and ‘Isha are obligatory prayers. It is a sin to intentionally skip a Fardh Prayer. If a prayer is missed because of forgetfulness or due to some unavoidable circumstances, then offering the missed Prayer as soon as possible will rectify this mistake.
Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ṣall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam), offered extra Raka’at of Prayer in addition to those of Fardh Prayers. These are called Sunnah Prayers. It is considered necessary by all jurists to offer these prayers. The willful neglect of Sunnah Prayers is censurable in the sight of Allah.
Following are the Sunnah Prayers:
- Two Rak’at of Sunnah Prayer should be offered before the Fardh Prayer of Fajr. However, if a person joins the congregation without having offered Sunnah due to circumstances beyond his control, he can offer these after the Fardh prayer.
- Two Rak’at of Sunnah after the Fardh of Maghrib Prayer.
- Four Rak’at of Sunnah Prayer before Fardh and two Rak’at after the Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer. In case one is unable to perform four Rak’at Sunnah before the Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer, one should offer these after the congregational Fardh Prayer. (Note: Followers of Hanfi school of thought offer two Sunnat while some other Muslims offer four Sunnat after Fardh in Dhuhr Prayer.)
- Two Rak’at of Sunnah after the Fardh of ‘Isha Prayer.
Wajib prayers are necessary and willful neglect is considered sinful. However, if someone misses any of these due to unavoidable circumstances, Qadha (make-up of missed prayer) is not required.
The following are Wajib Prayers:
- Three Rak’at of Vitr after ‘Isha
- Two Rak’at of Eidul-Fitr and Two Rak’at of Eidul-Adha
- Two Rak’at are offered while performing the Tawaaf of K’aba.
Nawafil plural form of an Arabic word Nafl which means voluntary or optional prayer. Following are some of the Nawafil Prayers:
- Two Rak’at offered as Salat-ul-Hajaat
- Two Rak’at offered when one enters a mosque
- Four Rak’at before Fardh of ‘Asr Prayer
- Eight Rak’at of Tahajjud
- Two Rak’at after the four/two Rak’at of Sunnah at the end of Dhuhr Prayer
- Two Rak’at after the two Rak’at at the end of Maghrib Prayer
- Four Rak’at of Ishraaq Prayer
- Two Rak’at offered when seeking blessing fro God Almighty
- Two Rak’at offered as Thanksgiving Prayer
One may offer as many Nawafil Prayers as one wish. However, Nawafil should not be offered during the forbidden times for Prayers. Nawafil should not be offered between ‘Asr and Maghrib Prayer. It is preferable to offer Nawafil Prayers at home rather than in a mosque. However, it is matter of personal choice and there is no compulsion in this matter.
Witr (وتر) is performed at night after Isha’a and before Fajr. There are a few distinguishing factors of the witr prayer that sets it apart from the fard (mandatory) and sunnah (recommended) prayers. Witr has an odd number of rakat prayed in pairs, with the final raka’ah prayed separately.
Witr can be prayed after Isha or Tahajjud. It should be the last prayer for that day, so it is usually prayed just before sleeping. Witr is offered with the Du’a Qunut, a supplication to be read on the last rakah, after Ruku.
Allahumma inna nasta’inuka wa nastaghfiruka, wa nu’minu bika,wa natawwakkalu alayika, wa nusni alayikal khaira, wa nashkuruka wa la nakforuka wa nakhla’u wa natruku manyafjoruk.
Allahumma iyyaka na’budu wa laka nusalli wa nasjudu wa ilayika nasa wa nahfidu, wa narju Rahmataka wa nakhsha ‘adhzabaka;inna adhabaka al-jidda bi al-kuffari mulhiq
O Allah! We seek Your assistance and ask for Your guidance, and we beseech Your forgiveness and return to You in repentance. We cherish faith in You and place our trust in You. We attribute all goodness to You. We are grateful to You and refuse to be ungrateful to You. We abandon and forsake all those who reject You. O Allah, You alone we worship, unto You alone we pray; unto You alone we prostrate, and for You alone we strive. Unto You alone we flee for refuge. We cherish hope in Your mercy and we fear Your retribution. Verily, Your punishment is bound to catch up with those who reject the truth.
Jum’ah (Friday) prayer
Jum’ah (also known as Friday prayer) is a congregational prayer (Salah) that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon instead of Dhur.
It is obligatory for men (and preferable for women) to perform Jum’ah in congregation (jama’ah) at a mosque. Muslims with contagious illness or otherwise sick are asked to not attend. Those unable to join a congregation pray the regular Dhur prayer.
The jum’ah prayer is half the Dhur prayer for convenience, and preceded by a sermon. The sermon, which is a technical replacement of the two reduced raka’ahs of the ordinary Dhur prayer, is followed by a communal prayer, led by the Imam. In most cases the khatib also serves as the imam.
The Jum’ah prayer begins with the call to prayer the muadhin makes; then the Adhan which marks the beginning of Jumm’a. Once the Katheeb has given his speech, he concludes with a du’a, which then leads the muadhin to make the iqama which is followed by the two rak’at prayer
Salah al Eid (صلاة العيد) is the special prayer offered to commemorate two Islamic festivala. The two Islamic festivals are:
* Eid Al Fitr (عيد الفطر) is celebrated on the 1st day of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic calendar.
* Eid Al Adha (عيد الأضحى) is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of Islamic calendar.
The prayer begins with the Imam leading the congregation in a two Rak’at prayer. However, a number of takbirs (raising the hands up to the head and saying Allahu Akbar – Allah is Greatest) is performed before each Rak’ah begins.
After the prayer, the Imam gives a khutba similar to that given on Fridays.
Salah al-Janazah (صلاة الجنازة) is the funeral prayer held by Muslims before the burial but after the shrouding of the body. The prayer is performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims. The Salah al-Janazah is a collective obligation upon Muslims (fard Kifayah).
There is no fixed time for offering the prayer.
Sequence of Janazah prayer
- It is better that those praying divide themselves into three rows facing the qibla with the Imam in front.
- Put the body (or bodies) in front of the Imam.
- The Imam should stand by the middle of the body if the deceased is a man and by the shoulder if she is a woman.
- If there is more than one body, then they should be put one in front of the other, those of the men nearest to the Imam and those of the women furthest from him.
- Having the appropriate neeyat in your heart, raise your hands in the usual manner and say, Allahu Akbar.
- Then fold and hold your hands on your breast in the usual manner, the right hand on the left.
- Read al Fatiha quietly.
- Say AIlahu Akbar without raising the hands.
- Pray for the Prophet in the same way as you do in tashahud.
- Say Allahu Akbar (don’t raise your hands).
- Make du’a for the deceased.
- Say Allahu Akbar (don’t raise your hands).
- Make du’a for the Muslims.
- Say Assalaamu ‘Alaikum, thus finishing the prayer.
It is a right of a Muslim that when he passes away other Muslims should pray Janazah prayer for him. Janazah prayer is supererogatory prayer. If no one from the whole of the Muslim Community prayed the Janazah prayer; then the whole community would be considered sinful in the sight of Allah. If some of the people prayed the Janazah prayer then the whole community is saved from the anger of Allah (Subhanahu wa-ta’ala سبحانه و تعالى) even though the reward will only be given to the participants only.
It is clear from this description that all this prayer is done while one is standing – there is no ruku or sujud in it.