Elements of Prayer
Form and Content of Prayer
Niyya (Intention)
Qiyam (Standing)
Takbiratul Ebram (Beginning the Prayer)
Qira’a (Recitation)
Ruku’ (Bowing)
Sajdatayn (Prostration)
Tasbiha Arba’ah (Praise)
Tashahhud (Witnessing)
Salaam (Salutation)
The Five Daily Prayers
Units of Prayer (Rak’a)
Tone of Voice
Prayers recited in private
Congregational Prayer
Ablution and Impurities
Wudhu (Ablution)
Ghusl (Full-body ablution)
Tayyamum (dry ablution)
Putting It All Together


1: Clothing and Cleanliness (including hejab)
2: Direction and Times of Prayer
3: Places of Prayer
4: Late Prayers
5: Prayers of the Traveler
6: Friday Prayer
7: Mustahaba (includes the call to prayer)

Table One: The Five Daily Prayers
Table Two: Impurities and Ablution
Wudhu Photographs
Prayer Photographs
Index of Terms
Personal Notes and Reminders (blank pages)


Islam is the fastest growing faith in the United States and has much to contribute to its quality of life. Its contributions are not only in the areas civilization, science, and technology, but also in faith, ethics, and family values. Islam is a blessing for all people of understanding. It is not a problem, or a "new enemy as some members of the mass media try to portray it as’. It is a new friend and solution for the worst of our social problems here in America.

Salat, or prayer, is an important Islamic practice through which a connection between the faithful and Allah is cultivated. The fruit of this "cultivation" of prayer is the freedom of Man from tension and stress. It is the vehicle which moves the soul from egoism, temptation, and greed to the divine garden of peace, love, and unity.

If society removes itself from prayer, it becomes weak in its battle with Satan and can easily be targeted with the most powerful of Satan’s weapons: alcohol, drugs, illicit sex and crime. Salat is a powerful weapon to stop evil from invading our souls. For, It is through prayer that we take refuge in Allah and submit ourselves to him. Through it we recognize His Holiness and respect and obey His absolute authority. Through prayers we celebrate our spiritual freedoms and confidence in weathering the storms and tragedies of the material life.

The Holy Quran and hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad (5) and the Imams (A) are replete with examples of the importance of the daily prayers. According to them, true prayer is the source of salvation, success, peace and guidance. The Holy Quran quotes the Prophet Abraham (A) as saying, "0 our Lord! surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Thy Sacred House, our Lord! that they may keep up prayer, (14:37). Likewise, the Prophet Jesus (A) said, ". . . and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live, " (19:31). And as Allah commanded Prophet Moses (A), "... . make your houses places of worship and keep up prayer and give good news to thebelievers"(l0:87). There is even a verse in the holy Quran in which Allah has told the holy Prophet (S) to keep up the prayer even during times of danger (4:102-103).

My dear brother in Islam, Kamyar Malek Hedayat, discusses in this book the basic structure and conditions of the daily prayers. This book gives information not only about the method, flow and logic of prayer, but also about the spirit of prayer, and the confidence and commitment acquired through it. Over the last six months, brother Kamyar has collected books on Islamic law from myself to do research on the kinds and forms of Islamic prayers. After reading the result of his research, I was very impressed by the clear way in which the work was put together. A special thanks is in order to Dr. M. Hedayat who kindly and generously paid for the printing expenses.

My friends: I call upon you to pray more! Never say that you were so busy that you had no time to make your daily appointment with Allah. You have so much to accomplish that you have to make time to pray, to make peace with Allah, and to bless your life in this world and the hereafter. As Imam ‘Ali (A) said, "There is no action preferred by man that makes Satan more angry than the time he sees men in the position of prostration before Allah."

May Allah Bless you.

Yours in Allah’s love,

Mohammad ‘Ali Elahi
10 January, 1996/19 Sha’ban, 1416


here are five essentials acts of faith in Islam. The first is Towheed: belief in the oneness and indivisibility of Allah. This is the foundation of Islam, its guiding
principle and something about which we are always aware. The second is Salat: worship and adoration of Allah through prayer. This takes place five times a day, and at other special times. The third is Saum: fasting, which is a practice of self-restraint, an exercise of struggle against evil, and a way to become more sympathetic to the less fortunate in our society. This occurs for one month every year. The fourth is Zakah: the poor-alms which we give once a year to aid the poor and to keep wealth from staying in the hands of a few. The final essential act in Islam is Haij: the pilgrimage to the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba is the first house of unity and faith, built by the prophet’s Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both). If one is financially able, one should attempt the hajj at least once in a lifetime. Thus, we see that prayer is an important and essential act in Islam which is second only to the faith which guides us.

What is the purpose of prayer? Allah is a living, active God, who listens to, is concerned about, loves, and responds to His worshippers. He has said in the glorious Quran W "And your Lord says, ‘Call on Me; I will answer your prayer. . .‘ " (40: 60) And it is said: if you wish to listen to Allah, read the Quran, and if you wish to speak to Him, recite the prayer. Prayer, then, is first and foremost, a forms of communication with our Creator.

The second purpose of prayer is the halting of corruption from within. There are many laws which govern our social behavior, and many punishments for those who deviate from the law. But these laws, whether man-written or divine, are only a reaction to the internal corruption which exists within. That is why prayer is actually a first line of defense against crime and deviancy. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (A)l has said, "Where there is prayer, there is no corruption." Allah has also revealed in the Quran,  "...establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah know the (things) that you do." (29: 45)

The third purpose of prayer is that it is a form of cleansing. Imam ‘Ali (A) states that, "The Prophet Mohammad (S) (2) likened prayer with the hot bath situated at the door of the person who bathes in it five times a day. Will then any dirt remain on him?"

Allah has provided two major means of communication between Himself and His worshipers: prayer (salat) and supplication (du’a). Du'a is a more free and personal form of communication. Prayer involves the canonical recitations as taught to the holy Prophet Mohammad (S)(l) by Allah. It is the codified form of worship and is said in Arabic.

There are six obligatory prayers and many types of optional ones (cf. table 1). The six obligatory ones are: 1. The 5 daily prayers (salat al-yomy), 2. Friday prayer (salat al-Jumu ‘ah), 3. Prayer of Signs (salat al-ayat), 4. Prayer for circumambulation (tawwaf) of the Ka’ba, 5. Compensation of the missed prayers of one’s father(3), and, 6. Prayer for the dead(4) In this pamphlet, we will focus on the five daily prayers.

I. Intention of prayer (Niyya)
2. Standing for prayer (Qiyam)
3. The pronouncement of Allaho Akbar (God is most great) before prayer (Takbiratul Ehram)
4. Recitation of chapters (suras) from the Quran (Qira’a)
5. Bowing (Ruku’)
6. Two consecutive prostrations (Sajdatayn)
7. Prescribed recitations in Ruku’ and Sajdatayn (Dhikr)
8. (Optional) Du’a after the second Qira’a (Qunoot)
9. Praises said in the third and fourth rak’a’ (Tasbiha Arba’ah)
10. Bearing witness after sajdatayn (Tashahhud)
11. Salutation (Salaam)
12. Executing the prayer in the prescribed order (Tartib)

note: all pictures are located at the back of the book.

1. Niyya

Niyya is the intention of prayer By uttering the words of remembrance, one begins to understand some of Allah’s many qualities, such as Al-Raheem, the most Merciful. As one begins to understand Allah’s qualities, one’s gratitude, devotion, and piety will increase. It is important to be purposeful and focused when praying.

When praying, you should understand which prayer you are praying, e.g. dusk or evening, or noon. This is also part of the intention of prayer. However, it is not necessary to verbalize it; simply be aware of it.

2. Qiyam

Qiyam is the act of standing for prayer when it is called. This is covered in Appendix 7: Mustahaba, where the call to prayer is discussed.

3. Takbiratul Ehram

Takbiratul Ehram is the pronouncement of Allaho Akbar (God is most great), which begins the prayer. Cf picture

· Raise both hands up to the ears, with fingers drawn together. When your mind has become focused, make the call of Allaho Akbar and your prayer has begun.
· After the takbiratul ehram, the hands are placed at the sides in a relaxed manner, again, with the fingers drawn close together.

Whenever you sees the word "takbir" repeat the above mentioned actions (c.f. Appendix 7: Mustahaba).

The prayer is in one sense a communal act because the verses recited (cf. no. 4, qira’a) are in the plural, and the best place to say our prayers is in a mosque. Yet at the same time it is also a personal exercise, because (as with all other acts in Islam), each person is responsible for his own deeds.

4. Qira a

Qira’a is the portion of prayer which is a recitation of two chapters of the Quran. The first chapter is always AlFateha, the opening chapter:

Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahim
    In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful

Alhamdo Lillahi Rabbil ‘alameen
    All praise is due to Allah, Lord and Sustainer of all creation

Arrahmannir Rahim
    The most Beneficent, the most Merciful

Maliki yow maddeen
    Lord of the Day of Judgment

Iyya kana ‘boddo wa iyyakana sta ‘een
    You are the One we worship, and the [only] One to whom we turn [for help])

Ihdinas siratal mostaqeem
    Guide us to the straight path

Siratal ladhina an ‘amta ‘alahim
    The path of those upon whom You have shown favor

Ghayril maghdhubi ‘alahim waladhaalleem
    Not the path of those whom You have cursed, or the ones who have gone astray

· The second most recited chapter, Surat Al-Ikhlas (Sura 112) is presented below, to be said after AI-Fateha:
Bismillah hir Rahmanir Rahim
    In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful

Qulho Allaho Ahad
    [Oh Mohammad (S):] Say that Allah is One

Allahos Samad
    Allah is independent of all beings and has no need of their help

Lain yaled walam youlad
    He begot none, nor was He begotten

Walam yakullaho kufuwan ahad
    And no creatures are alike to or comparable with Him

· Upon completing qira’a, enter ruku’.

5. Ruku’

Ruku’ is the bowing position which one enters after reciting two verses from the Quran.

· Bow until the finger tips touch and rest on the knees.

· The remembrance (dhikr) recited in ruku’ is as follows:

    Subhanan laheh, Subhanan laheh, Subhanan Lah
    Glory be to Allah, Glory be to Allah, Glory be to Allah

· After ruku’ stand up-right. Cf picture

6. Sajdatayn

Sujood is an act of humility out of love of Allah and hope of His pleasure. It is the prostration which follows ruku’.

· In sujood:

a. the forehead is placed on a natural substance(5),

b. both the palms and knees should touch the ground,

c. the tips of the big toes should also touch the ground

· As you go into prostration, pull the toes inward, with the heels projecting.
· The dhikr of sujood is the same as that of ruku’. Subhanan laheh, Subhanan Iaheh, Subhanan Lah Glory be to Allah, (3 times)
· After completing the first sajda (prostration), sit up, with your body resting on your calves.

· Returns to sajda and repeats the dhikr, then return to the sitting position again.

· Now return to the standing position in which you started your prayer. This is done by placing the palms of the hands on theground:

a. Men pushing off so the knees come off the floor before the hands.

b. Women pushing off so the hands come off the floor first.

7. Tasbiha Arba’ah

Tasbiha arba’ah is a recitation of two praises and two declarations concerning Allah. It is said only in the third and fourth rak’a’s of prayer.

After standing from sajdatayn recite:

Subhanan Laheh, wal hamdo Lelaheh,
    Glory be unto Allah, all praise is due unto Allah

wa la ilaha ii Lalah, wa Allaho Akbar
   There is no deity except Allah, and Allah is the most Supreme One

8. Tashahhud

Tashahhud consists of the twin statements of witnessing. A salutation is also sent to the progeny of the holy Prophet (S), who are his successors as the guardians of Islam and as the models of his practice of Islam. Tashahhud represents our belief in the unity and indivisibility of Allah, and the role of the prophet Mohammad
(S) as His sincere and chosen messenger. The acknowledgment of his prophethood acknowledges our belief in him as the seal of the prophets and the role of the Quran as the final, revealed, error-free document for all mankind. The witnessings are as follows:

Ash hadu anlah ilaha illa Allah wah dahula sharikaleh
    I witness that there is no deity except Allah, and He is without partner

wa ash hadu aneh Mohammadan ‘abdahu wa rasulu
    And I witness that Mohammad is His devoted servant and messenger

Allahuma salli ‘ala Mohammadan wa aleh Mohammad
    Oh Allah, send Your blessings and peace upon Mohammad (s) and his progeny

9. Salaam

Salaam is the greetings which we send when we move to close our prayers. It reemphasizes our good will towards all righteous and devoted people as well as the communal role of prayer.

Salaam is as follows:

Assalaamo ‘alaikom ayohan Nabio, wa rahmatolahi, wa barakato
    Peace be upon you 0 Prophet! And may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you

Assalaamo ‘alaina wa ‘ala ‘ibadehlahi saleheen
    Peace be upon you [all present in congregational prayer] and all the righteous worshipers

Assalaamo ‘alaikon wa rahmatolahi wa barakato
    Peace be upon you [sitting next to me] and the mercy and   blessings of Allah


· Dawn prayer (Fajr): 2 rak’a’
· Midday (Dhuhr): 4 rak’a’
· Afternoon (‘Asr): 4 rak’a’
· Dusk (Maghrib): 3 rak’a’
· Evening (‘Isha): 4 rak’a’
· Friday prayer: 2 rak’a’s

NOTE: Niyya, Qiyam, and takbiratul Ehram are always performed before the prayer is begun.

· First rak’a:
1. Qira’a
2. Ruku’
3. Sajdatayn, then rise.
· Second rak’a:
1. Qira’a
2. Ruku’
3. Saidatayn
4. Tashahhud
       5a. Dawn prayer (fajr): Salaam (which closes the prayer).
       5b. Remaining prayers: rise
·Third rak’a:
1. Tasbiha Arba’ah
2. Ruku’
3. Sajdatayn.
    4a. Dusk prayer (maghrib)
            i. Tashahhud
            ii. Salaam, to close the prayer.
    4b. Midday, afternoon and evening (isha ‘)prayers: rise.
· Fourth rak’a
1. Tasbiha Arba’ah
2. Ruku’
3. Sajdatayn
4. Tashahhud
5. Salaam. This will conclude the noon, afternoon, and
evening prayers.


The way the prayer is said differs between those said alone in private (fard) and those said in congregation (jama ‘a). In any case, one should be humble and soft-spoken in prayer.

Private (Men and Women):
· Fajr (morning):
    All aloud.
· Dour (noon), ‘Asr (afternoon):
    All silent.
· Maghrib (dusk):
    Rak’a’s 1 and 2: aloud.
    Rak,a 3: silent.
· Isha’ (evening):
    Rak’a’s I and 2: aloud.
    Rak’a’s 3 and 4: silent.


It is hard to overestimate the divine reward in praying in congregation. The prophet Mohammad (5) has stated that, "If two people form a group for prayer, the thwab (divine rewards) for the both of them in each rak’a will be equal to one hundred-fifty rak’a’s, and if they are three, the thwab of each rak’a will be six hundred prayers . . . and if they are more than ten, then if the skies were paper, and the seas ink, and the trees all pens, and all men, jinn and angels were scribes, still they couldn’t enumerate the amount of thawab in one rak’a.

Allah has revealed in the Quran that when the Quran is being recited, the people should listen quietly. Thus, when we are praying in congregation, we are silent for all the prayers when the Quran is being recited (qira’a). During the other sections: men should recite ruku’, qunoot, sajdatayn, tashahhud and salaam, softly along with the prayer leader (main). In qunoot (c.f. Appendix 7: Mustahaba), it is not necessary to repeat what the imam of prayer is saying, because this is an optional and personal section. However, most people recite along with the imam to preserve the cohesiveness and euphony of the congregational prayer. Women should pray silently for all congregational prayers.


A. Purity (Tahira)

1. Impurities (Nejasa)

Purity (tahira) refers to the status of a person’s cleanliness in regards to prayer, handling the Quran, and entering a mosque. There are two types of impurities (nejasa): minor and major (c.f. table 2). The minor ones require ablution (wudhu) for prayer, etc. The major impurities require bathing (ghusl)fo//owed by wudhu. Until the impurity is removed, one cannot do above mentioned things. Therefore, when women are experiencing their menstrual flow, they neither say their prayers for those days nor make them up. After their menstrual flow has ended, they may resume prayer, etc. after ghusl and wudhu.


There are two types of ablution: wudhu, for minor impurities (cf. table 2) and ghusl for major impurities (also cf. table 2). The holy Quran, "0 you who believe! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands to the elbows; rub your head (with water) and your feet to the ankles..." (5: 6)


1. Run your hands under running water until wet.

2. Draw water into your mouth from your right hand. Swish it around then spit it out.

3. Splash water on your face, then, wipe your hand across your face. Use the full span of your hand, from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist.

· Make sure that the entire roundness of the face is covered. For men with beards, it is sufficient for the beard to become wet.
· Wrap the hand under and around the chin.
· Repeat once (optional).
4. Cup the left hand and pour water on the right arm from the elbow on down. Let it run down on its own. This can be done a number of times.
· From slightly above the elbow, with your hand still cupped, pull your hand down to the wrist. Repeat until all areas of the arm, front and back (from the elbow on down), have become wet.
· Wipe the palm of the left hand over the back of the right hand so the back of the fingers also become wet.
· Repeat for the left arm with the right hand.
· Men: Pour water on the outside of the arm (e.g. with the palm face-down).
· Women: Pour water on the inside of the arm (e.g. with the palm face-up).
5. Without wetting your hands, draw your right hand, with a width of three fingers or more, from the center of your head down to the forehead.

6. Draw the right hand over the right foot from the toes to the ankle with a width of three fingers or more.

· Repeat for left foot.
· Submerse oneself completely from head to toe in clean water.
· Wash the head and neck. Then wash the right side of the body, followed by the left.
· Be sure to wash the entire area of your private parts each time.
· If the water available is scant, it is sufficient after washing the head and neck to wipe the right, then left half of the body with a wet clothe or towel.
Dry ablution (Tayyamum)

Tayyamum is a substitute for wudhu or ghusl. Sometimes we find our selves in a situation in which we do not have access to water, and we have entered a state of ritual impurity. For situations like these, Allah, the Wise and Compassionate has commanded (continued from Chapter 5, verse 6), ". . . If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body, but if you are ill or on a journey, or one of you has come from offices of nature, or have been in contact with women, and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah does not wish to place on you difficulty, but to make you clean and to complete His favor to you, that you may be grateful. "(5: 6)

We can conclude from this verse that if your are traveling and no water is to be found, our you are ill and cannot perform ghusl, tayyamum is permissible. If no water is available and you feel that your prayers will be late (c.f. Appendix 4: Late Prayers) before water if found, it is also sufficient to do tayyamum.

· Rub the palm of your right hand on clean soil, sand, or stone.
· Draw it across your forehead.
· Rub your palms again on the soil, ect.
· Draw the left palm across the back of the right hand.
· Draw the right palm across the back of the left hand.



To love Allah, to want to praise Him and follow His religion is a part of every human being’s nature. At the time that Allah, Great be His Might, created the essence of mankind, the Quran says, 0 "... He made them bear witness against their own souls:

‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said, ‘Yes! we bear witness’ Lest you should say on the day of resurrection: ‘Surely we were heedless of this. '" (7:172). Similarly, we have a desire to express our love for our Lord. But the specific expressions take time and patience to be mastered. Allah says, 0 "0 you who believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient. (2: 153) To this degree, Imam ‘Ali (A) the second Imam said, "Pledge yourself with prayer and remain steady on it. Offer prayer as much as possible and seek nearness (of Allah) through it, because it is an obligation on the believers. Have you not heard the reply of the people of Hell when they were asked, "What has brought you to hell?" They shall say, "We were not of those who offered regular prayers." Certainly prayer drops out sins like the dropping of leaves (from trees) and removes them as ropes are removed from the necks of cattle."

The virtues of prayer cannot be stressed enough. It is one of the most basic thing in Islam, yet one of the hardest to fully master. It is natural to be distracted, or drift off into thought in the middle of prayer. It is essential that you continue your prayer until the end. Allah, the Beneficent and All-Knowing, has stated in the glorious Quran, "And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day, and at the approaches of the night; for those things that are good remove those that are evil: be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord)! And be steadfast in patience; for truly Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish. "(11:114-115)

If you are having difficulty memorizing the form or content of the prayers, pray with at least one other person who is experienced in the correct form of prayer. Better yet, go to the mosque and pray in congregation until you feel that you have mastered it. Simply listening to the imam, and following his movements is sufficient until you have become familiar with the prayer. Once you have mastered it, a world of sublime peace, and hours of conversation with your Lord lay ahead.


Personal hygiene and appearance are virtues in Islam. There is a saying by the prophet Mohammad (S) which says, "Allah is Beauty, and Allah loves the beautiful." It was encouraged 1400 years ago to shower often, especially on Fridays. The holy Prophet (5) once said, "I would have made brushing teeth obligatory on my people before every prayer, but I feared that it would be an undue hardship on them." Consider how you dress when you want to present yourself in front of judges and presidents. You choose your best clothes. It is no different when we stand before Allah for our prayers. For He (glory be to Him) is higher than any official on earth, yet He listens to us any time day or night without an appointment.

There are a few general and specific points to be noted about cleanliness and clothing worn for prayer:


If your clothes become stained with any of the items listed in table two, you should rinse the stained area at least twice under tap water, or remove them for prayer and wear something else. The clothes, should be washed in due course.

Part of the cleanliness in Islam involves cleaning ourselves with water after going to the bathroom due to the impurity of urtne and stool (c.f. table 2). After urination, pour clean water on the urethral orifice in order to properly cleanse that area before prayer. Your prayer will be incorrect if this is not done.

2. CLOTHING (Satr)

MEN: When praying in public, it is required (wajeb) to be covered from the navel to the knee. When praying in private, it is sufficient to have the privates covered. However, it should be stressed again that it is inustahab (highly recommended) to wear clean, modest clothing at all times. When you are at the mosque, it is better to wear long pants and a long- or short-sleeved shirt.

WOMEN: When a women is praying, she should have her entire body covered except the roundness of her face (the hair should not show), hands and feet. There is no single correct way for a woman to dress modestly in Islam. Modest clothing is more a reflection of cultural traditions than ofjurisprudence.

When a woman is outside the house or with non-familial men she should generally follow the guidelines above.

Note: many of the scholars of Islam have stated that for precaution, a some type of outer covering, like a rain coat, or loosely fitting clothes should be worn so that her hips and bosom are not apparent in public. This is more preferable than simply wearing ordinary (and possibly revealing) clothes with a hejab.

Hejab (generally) refers to a head scarf. There are many ways for a woman to don the hejab. One way is to fold a medium- to large-sized head scarf by the corners, forming a triangle. This is centered on the head, and a clip, or safety pin is inserted under the chin to hold in place. A variation on the first way is to place the head scarf on at an angle and bring the longer end up to the apex of the head, where it is pinned, for a snugger fit.


All Muslims, the world throughout, pray towards Mecca, Saudi Arabia when they say their five daily prayers. Recall that in the first sura of the Quran, Al-Fateha, we ask Allah to "guide us to the straight path" (Ihdinas siratal inostaqeein). When we set out upon this path of Islam, we choose for ourselves a destination:

Allah, and His pleasure. We choose for ourselves a guide: the beloved Prophet Mohammad (S). We look for signposts along the way: the righteous and pure Imams of his Ahl al-Bayt (A) and the Holy Quran. Finally, we choose for ourselves a direction (qiblah): the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba is the House of Monotheism built by the prophets Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both) to honor Allah, and Allah only, in worship and dedication. Mecca is the birthplace of the final revelation of Allah, and the birthplace of the final messenger of Allah. By facing the Ka’ba, we are facing up to the Abrahamic struggle of sacrificing everything and all to be in peace and submission to our Lord.

Naturally, the qiblah will vary depending on what part of the world you are in.

· United States: the general direction is North-East.
· Metropolitan-Detroit: 52 degrees North-East.
If you are not sure about what the qiblah is in your area, check with your local mosque. If a mosque is not currently in your area, a special compass can be purchased through mail-order catalogues and many other areas, which points towards the qiblah wherever you are in the world.

The best time to say your prayers is at the earliest time permissible for that prayer. The Prophet Mohammad (5) was always adamant about being on time for prayer. One of his wives, Aisha reports that, "The Prophet of Allah (S) would be speaking to us, and when the time for prayer came, the behavior of the Prophet (5) would change. It was as if he didn’t know us and we him; he would stop whatever he was doing and go for prayer.""

Your area mosque normally has a listing of the prayer times for your area. If such a listing is not available in your area, simply check the times of sunrise and dusk in your local newspaper. The time of sunrise tells you the latest moment that the fajr (morning) prayer can be said. The dusk time (plus eighteen minutes) tells you the earliest time that your maghrib (dusk) prayer can be said. These times also supply you ample margin to say your dhuhr (noon), ‘asr (afternoon) and esha’ (evening) prayers. The precise definitions and determinations of the various times of prayer are described below for those interested..

Morning prayer: The morning prayer is to be said between dawn and sunrise. "False dawn" is the moment when a column of whiteness rises upward from the eastern horizon. "True dawn" is when this column of whiteness spreads across the horizon. This is the best time for fajr prayer. When the sun begins to rise above the eastern horizon, the time for fajr prayer has past. In general, true dawn begins about 80 minutes before sunrise.

Noon and Afternoon prayers: If you place a long, straight object on steady ground, as the sun rises in the east, it will cast a long west-bound shadow. As the sun rises, the shadow will decrease in length and move eastward. Noon is the moment that the sun has reached the highest point in the sky. After that, the shadow of the pole will begin to extend eastward as the sun begins to move towards the western horizon. The time of the noon and afternoon prayers, then, is from the time that the shadows of objects begin to point eastward until dusk.

Dusk and Evening prayers: The time for maghrib and esha’ prayers is from when the redness in the eastern sky has subsided after dusk until midnight. " We wait for approximately eighteen minutes after the stated time of dusk. This is done to ensure that we do not say our evening prayers too early due to variations in the time of dusk throughout a time zone. Midnight is the last moment that the two evening prayers can be said and still be considered to be punctual.

Midnight is determined by calculating the time between dusk and dawn, then halving it. This is added to the time of dusk, giving you the precise moment of midnight.

Appendix 3: PLACES of PRAYER

The best place for prayer is in a mosque. If you live in the neighborhood of a mosque, it is highly desirable to attend group prayer when it is held. Like the Friday prayer (salat al-Jumuiah) it helps create cohesiveness for the community and serves as a forum for discussion, contacts and the like. You will often find the regular attendees of communal prayer to be knowledgeable and eager to answer any questions you might have about prayer and Islam in general.

If a mosque is not is your area, or you are not able to attend communal prayer, it is suitable to pray in your house. It is recommended that a particular room, or corner of a room be set aside for prayer only. This way, the only association you have with that environment is one of meditation, peace, and devotion to Allah.

Any figurines, busts, or other sculpted items of animals or humans should not be in your line of sight of the qiblah. This is so the worshippers of Allah never return to idol worship again or anything resembling it.

If possible, do not pray in front of an open door.

The place in which you choose to pray should be level and solid (e.g. praying on a mattress, or on tall grass is not recommended).

Appendix 4: LATE PRAYERS (Qadha)

Occasionally you may find that you are in a circumstance where it simply is not possible to say your prayers on time. It is still necessary to say these prayers to "balance your account" with Allah. Late prayers (qadha) are said like regular prayers, except that the niyyeh (intention) is one of making up a missed prayer by praying a "qadha" prayer.

Appendix 5: PRAYERS of a TRAVELER (Qasr)

Allah does not wish to make the life of His worshippers unduly hard. That is why, when you traveling, all prayers are shortened to two rak’a’s (except the maghrib prayer, which remains three rak’a’s). There are a few provisions for determining when you are considered a traveler:

· Your round-trip journey is more than 28 miles (25.5 kin).
· Traveling, or traveling to a destination is not part of your daily work. A traveling salesman, for example, or an airline pilot would say full prayers. Likewise, a person who must commute fourteen miles or more to work or school would also say complete prayers.
· You do not own a house or apartment in the place to where you are going, In which case, it would be considered as a second home, and complete prayers are said.
· You are staying in a locale for less than 10 days. If you are traveling to a place more than fourteen miles away, and you know that you will be staying there for ten days or more, on the way there and back you should shorten your prayers.
· You must have or make the niyyeh (intention) of traveling a total of 28 miles. If you leave your house and do not know how far you must go to obtain something, you should say complete prayers if you stop along the way.
· The purpose of the trip should not be to commit some haraain (forbidden) act like theft, or adultery, in which case, full prayers would be said.
· The purpose of the trip is not to go hunting for sport, in which case, full prayers would be said.
It should be noted that qasr is wajeb (required). That is to say, if a person who is traveling and meets the above requirements says his prayers in full, his prayers are incorrect and will not be accepted. For, he will have gone against the will of Allah.

Appendix 6: FRIDAY PRAYER (Salat al-Jumuia)

Although it is emphasized for all prayers to be said in congregation and if possible in a mosque (ma.jed), there is particular emphasis on Friday prayer. In the holy Quran, Allah has commanded, "0 you who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday, hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business; that is best for you f you but knew!" (62: 9). Attendance at Friday prayer is such a sign a person’s commitment to and sincerity in Islam, that Muslim’s in the Prophet Mohammad’s (5) day would shun social contact and the business of those who failed to attend without a legitimate reason.

Friday prayer has many purposes. It is first and foremost a time for all the Muslims of a locale to gather together and to see each other. It provides an opportunity strengthen social ties and solidarity. It is also a time for extra devotion, praise and remembrance of Allah. Friday prayer is required for men(6), and optional for women.

The first Friday prayer was held by the Prophet Mohammad (5) when he had migrated from Mecca to Medina. Where the people had gathered and he gave two speeches. Each speech is counted as one rak’a, so in place of the dhur (noon) prayer of four rak’a’s, they prayed two.

Friday prayer is only two rak’a’s. It is, however, encouraged to say the noon prayer as well(7). The Friday prayer also has a special form in addition to its particular length:

1. First rak’a: Qira’a, Qunoot, Ruku’, Sajdatayn.
2. Second rak’a: Qira’a, Ruku’, Qunoot, Sajdatayn,

Tashahhud, Salaam.

NOTE: The ‘Asr (afternoon) prayer must still be said at its proper time in the usual way (e.g. 4 rak’a’s).

Appendix 7: MUSTAHABA

The inustahab (highly encouraged) recitations, positions and du’a may be attempted after you have acquired an ease and familiarity with the basics of prayer. Do not feel a rush to learn the items presented below. It may help to read them over, then attend communal prayer to observe how others say or do them. With time they will become as familiar as the prayer itself, en sha Allah (if Allah wills).

NOTE: After every act, and between the two prostrations, it is mustahab to say takbir: Allaho Akbar.

1. Adhan and Iqama

Adhan (A) is the general call for congregational prayer. It is usually called five minutes before prayer in a voice loud enough to be heard by all the people of a locale. It allows people to finish up what ever work they are doing and to perform their ablutions (ritual purifications). Adhan is longer and more melodious than the iqama.

Iqama (I) is the specific call to prayer. This is said both in congregational prayer and in individual prayer (where it is optional). It is shorter than the adhan and is said in a speaking voice. In the case of individual prayer, it is only necessary to call the iqama.

The adhan and iqaina have the same content with different repetitions of certain of the lines called. They are as follows:

CALL TO PRAYER ( No. of times called for Adhan & Iqama)

Allaho Akbar 4 2
    Allah is most great and beyond description
Ash hadu an/ah il Laha il Allah 2 2
    I witness that there is no deity besides Allah
Ash hadu anna Mohammaden rasul a'llah (s) 2 2
    I witness that Mohammad is the prophet of Allah
Heyya,ala ssalat 2 2
    Hasten to prayer
Heyya’ a/al falah 2 2
    Hasten to the rewarding deed
Heyya’ alal khayril ‘amal 2 2
    Hasten to the best of acts
Qadqa matis salat 0 2
    Rise for prayer
Allahu Akbar 2 2
    Allah is the most great and beyond description
La illah ilAllah 2 1
    There is no deity except Allah

2. Qira’a
After completing Al-Fateha, it is mustahab to say (silently):

Alhamdo Lillahi Rabbil ‘alameen
    All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation

While in ruku’, it is mustahab for men to have:

a. the knees pushed back,
b. the back flat, with the neck out-stretched and in line with the back,
c. the gaze directed towards the feet.
For women it is mustahab to have:
a. the finger tips slightly higher than the knees,
b. the knees slightly flexed,
c. the gaze directed towards the feet.
After dhikr, it is mustahab to say salawat (send greetings to the prophet and his progeny):
Allahuina salli ‘ala Mohaininadan wa ‘aleh Mohainmad Oh Allah, send Your blessings and peace upon Mohammad (s) and his progeny
Upon standing, it is mustahab to say:
Saini ‘Allah huliinan hainideh
Allah hears those who praise Him

4. Sajdatayn
It is mustahab for women to:

a. place their elbows and stomach on the ground,
b. bring their arms in towards their body
Men should not do this.

It is mustahab to pause for a moment with the hands resting on the thighs, the fingers drawn together and ask for forgiveness.  The Prophet (s) has said, "Whoever repents of sin is like the one who has never committed it." This can be done by saying:

        Astagifir Allaho Rabbi wa atoobu elayh
            I seek forgiveness from Allah, My Lord, and turn to Him

· Before prostrating again, it is mustahab to say takbir.

· It is mustahab to say as one is rising:

    Bihow Lilahi wa qowwatehi aquino wa aqud
        With the help and strength of Allah I sit and stand

5. Tashahhud

· Before tashahhud it is mustahab to say Alhaindo Lilah (All praise is due to Allah).
· After tashahhud it is mustahab to send another salawat.
· After the salawat it is mustahab to pray for the intercession of the Prophet on the day of judgment:
Wa taqqubal she fa’ atahu warfa’ darajatahu
    And accept his intercession and raise his rank
6. Qunoot

Qunoot is a du’a (personal supplication) within the prayer. It is said after the qira’a of the second rak’a of all required and mustahab prayers. Any type of request may be made during qunoot in any language. There are a number of standard du’as in Arabic which are said during congregational prayer. There is also a specific way in which the hands are held.

The hands are brought together with the palms facing upward. The following may be recited while looking into one’s palms:

La ilaha il Lalahul Haleeinul Kareein
    There is no deity but Allah, the Forbearing and Generous

La ilaha il Lalahul Aliyul Adheem
    There is no deity but Allah, the Great and Elevated in rank

Rabbana awtenafedonya hassana
    Oh our Lord and Sustainer, give us good in this world

wafil akhiratee hassana
    and good in the next world

wa ghina adhabin nar
    and keep us away from the fire [of hell]

Bir rahinatika ya ar Hainar ra Hameen
    Have mercy on me, You who are the most Merciful of the Merciful ones

    · Qunoot is usually followed by takbir, then ruku’.

7. Reading the Quran before Prayer

Often times, reading the Quran before prayer can help focus your thoughts on Allah, His Majesty and Mercy, and the multitude of signs which He has placed for us. Allah in the Quran says, C "Establish regular prayers: at the sun ‘s decline until the darkness cf night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carly their testimony." (17:78)


1. (A) denotes, " ‘Alaihi salaam,"(peace be upon him/her) or, "‘Alaihom salaam," (peace be upon them), and (ra) denotes "redhwan Allaha ‘alaih," (may Allah’s satisfaction be upon him).

2. The abbreviation (5) is short for the Arabic "Sall Allaho ‘alayhe wa alehi wa sallain," or, "May Allah send His blessings upon him (i.e. Mohammad (5)) and his descendants (i.e. the House of the Prophet (Ahl al-Bayt): ‘Ali (A), Fatema (A), Hasan (A), Hossein (A), and the other nine Imams of his house).

3. This is required of the first son only upon the death of his father. It is optional for other sons. It is also optional for any son to make up missed prayers of his mother. This only applies to parents who were Muslim.

4. Salat al-ina}yet is prayed when the corpse has been ceremonially washed and wrapped (i.e. before burial). Salat alwahshat is an optional prayer which is prayed when the deceased is being buried.

5. It was the sunna (practice) of the holy Prophet Mohammad (5) to pray directly on the earth, or on a mat made of the bark of a palm tree (hasira). However, the general principle is that one should prostrate onto the earth, or something which has grown out of the earth. Traditionally a clay tablet (‘urs, torba) is used. However, a piece of paper, a leaf (non-edible), grass, or a stone may be used. If none of these are available, tar or asphalt may be used when praying in an area lacking herbage or exposed earth.
As a last resort, one may use a segment of the garment one is wearing, or one’s own hand.

6. Friday prayer is required only if you are in your home town, and the mosque where Friday prayer is held is within a six kilometer radius from your home.

7. Either the Friday or noon prayer is required on Friday. Friday prayer should be said as close to the moment of noon as possible. Once the time has passed into the after noon period, it is sufficient to just say the noon prayer like on other days. If there is no organized Friday prayer in your area, or there are not five people present (including the prayer leader), it is enough to simply say the noon prayer as usual.

8. It is permissible to follow this line with the following in both adhan and iqama: Ash hadu anna Ainir al-Mu’ineneen, Aliyyan Wal4yullah. Which means, "I witness that The Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (A), is the (divinely appointed) vicergent of Allah. His rank is second only to that of the Prophet Mohammad (S), and over whom no one had a greater right to lead the people after the him." The Prophet (S) himself, according to both Sunni and Shi’a books said, "I advise all those who believe in my prophethood and confirm my message to obey ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, for he who obeys him obeys me . . . and he who hates him hates me and he who hates me hates Allah, the Mighty and Glorious." (Cf. for example, Tabarani’s Al-Kabir)

I. The Holy Quran, trans. M. Shakir
2. Nal Jul Ba/agha, by Imam ‘Ali (A)
3. BiharulAnwar, by ‘Allamah Majlisi (ra)
4. Mizan al-Hekina, by Shiekh Mohammady
5. What is Prayer? by Martyr Ayatollah Beheshti
6. Islamic Hejab, by Martyr Ayatollah Motahhari
7. Towzeh al-Masael of Imam Khomeini (ra)
8. Towzeh al-Masael of Ayatollah al-Uzma Ash-Sheikh Araki (ra)
9. Towzeh al-Masael of Ayatollah al-Uzma Seyyed Golpaygani (ra)
10. Towzeh al-Masael of Ayatollah al-Uzma Seyyed Sistani