Prayer

prayers

Prayer (Salat) is the oblig­a­tory Mus­lim prayer, per­formed five times each day by every good Muslim.

God ordered Mus­lims to pray at five set times of day:

Salat al-Fajr: dawn, before sun­rise Salat al-Zuhr: mid­day, after the sun passes its high­est Salat al-’Asr: the late part of the after­noon Salat al-Maghrib: just after sun­set Salat al-’Isha: between sun­set and mid­night All Mus­lims try to do this. Mus­lim chil­dren as young as seven are encour­aged to pray.

A Uni­ver­sal Mus­lim ritual

The prayer rit­ual, which is over 1400 years old, is repeated five times a day by hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple all round the world.

Car­ry­ing it out is not only highly spir­i­tual, but con­nects each Mus­lim to all oth­ers around the world, and to all those who have uttered the same words and made the same move­ments at dif­fer­ent times in Islamic history.

Prayers of body, mind and soul

The set prayers are not just phrases to be spo­ken. Prayer for a Mus­lim involves unit­ing mind, soul, and body in wor­ship; so a Mus­lim car­ry­ing out these prayers will per­form a whole series of set move­ments that go with the words of the prayer.

Mus­lims make sure that they are in the right frame of mind before they pray; they put aside all every day cares and thoughts so that they can con­cen­trate exclu­sively on God.

If a Mus­lim prays with­out the right atti­tude of mind, it as if they hadn’t both­ered to pray at all.

“Woe to those who pray, but are unmind­ful of their prayer, or who pray only to be seen by peo­ple” [Qur’an 107:4–6]

Mus­lims don’t pray for God’s benefit

Mus­lims do not pray for the ben­e­fit of Allah. Allah does not need human prayers because he has no needs at all. Mus­lims pray because God has told them that they are to do this, and because they believe that they obtain great ben­e­fit in doing so.

Mus­lims pray direct to God

A Mus­lim prays as if stand­ing in the pres­ence of Allah. In the rit­ual prayers each indi­vid­ual Mus­lim is in direct con­tact with Allah. There is no need of a priest as an inter­me­di­ary. (While there is a prayer leader in the mosque – the imam – they are not a priest, sim­ply a per­son who knows a great deal about Islam.)

Pray­ing in the mosque

Mus­lims can pray any­where, but it is espe­cially good to pray with oth­ers in a mosque. Pray­ing together in a con­gre­ga­tion helps Mus­lims to realise that all human­ity is one, and all are equal in the sight of Allah.

Clean­li­ness

Before start­ing the prayer, a per­son is required to per­form ablu­tion (wash). It con­sists of wash­ing his or her hands, face, head and feet. It is a con­di­tion of the prayer that one’s body, cloth­ing and place of prayer are all clean and free from impu­ri­ties. Impu­ri­ties in this con­text refers mainly to bod­ily flu­ids such as urine, fae­ces, blood etc.