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Prayers in Islam: Namaz / Salaah
Starts with Azaan / Adhaan: A call to prayer:
A common public call to prayer is called Azaan/Adhan. The Azaan/Adhan is delivered from the masjid by a muezzin, who is the masjid’s designated caller of prayer. During the call to prayer, the muezzin recites the following Takbir (glorification of God) “Allahu akbar”, which translates as “Allah is great”.
The full call to prayer is as follows:
Every statement is said twice in Azaan/Adhaan except last two statements only once at the end but:
Allahu Akbar – Allah (God) is great
Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah – I bear witness that there is no God (eligible to be prayed) except Allah (God)
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadar Rasool Allah – I bear witness that Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of Allah (God)
Hayya’ ala-s-Salaah – Start heading to the prayer or rise up for prayer
Hayya’ ala-l-Falaah – Start heading to the success or rise up for salvation
Assalatu khairum-minan-naum – Prayer is better than sleep. This is only recited for
the morning prayer.
Allahu Akbar -Allah (God) is great
La ilaha illallah – There is no God except the Allah (God).
What is the significance of the Azaan/Adhaan?
The Azaan/Adhaan is delivered five times a day to invite muslims to perform obligatory prayers. It is common to hear the call to prayer in public in countries with significant Muslim population. The Azaan is usually recited from the minaret of masjids and is usually delivered facing towards the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.
Performing wudu before Namaaz/Salaah/Holy Qur’an Recitation
Wudu is ablution or an act of washing the body as decreed by Allah before performing every prayer or the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Namaaz (Salaah in Arabic) meaning prayer or dua/supplication. Namaaz /Salaah is one of the five pillars of Islam, which form the core beliefs and practices of the religion.
The five pillars are:
Profession of faith (Shahada) and declaration that there is no God but Allah, “and” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of God.
“Laa Ilaaha Illalaahu Muhammadun Rasoolullaahi لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ
Prayer (Namaaz /Salaah)
Namaaz/Salaah is obligatory for adult Muslims (Men&Women) and prayer times are set according to the movement of the Sun as revealed in authentic reports of “Hadees e Jibra’eel” and performed five times a day as follows:
Fajr: Dawn (Subh Sadiq) until just before sunrise
Zuhr: Midday (Zawaal) after peak as soon as sun comedown towards west
Asr: The late part of the afternoon before sunsets
Maghrib: Immediate just after sunset
Isha: After an hour of sunset until midnight
Praying in the Masjid
As per authentic reports of Messenger (PBUH) muslims can pray anywhere except identified forbidden places. However, it is encouraged and practiced muslims men must pray in congregation in a masjid five daily prayers. A masjid is a place of worship for Muslims. Praying together in a congregation helps Muslims realize that all humanity is one and all are equal under the eyes of Allah (God).
Apart from the five daily prayers, there is an obligatory Friday (Jumuah) prayer. This prayer is offered in a congregation with a sermon on Fridays, in place of the midday / noon prayer.
Rakats in Namaaz/Salaah
A rakat consists of the recommended movements / postures and recitation of supplications and verses of the Holy Quran practiced by Messenger of Allah (PBUH) while offering prayers to Allah.
Fajr prayer should be performed in the last part of the night and before sunrise. Fajr prayer consists of two obligatory rakats, known as farz and two rakat sunnat before.
Zuhr prayer is the second prayer of the day and is offered at noon. This prayer comprises four obligatory rakats and four rakat sunnat before and two rakat sunnat after.
Asr prayer is performed in the late afternoon after the Dhuhr prayer. This prayer comprises four obligatory rakats with four rakats sunnat before.
Maghrib prayer should be offered immediately after sunset. Magrib salah consists of three obligatory rakats and two rakat sunnat after.
The fifth prayer of the day is the Isha prayer. It includes four obligatory rakats and two sunnat after.
There are also other prayers along with these five compulsory namaaz/salaah/prayers:
Vitr prayer (offered after isha prayers if the person does not have intention of offering tahajjud prayers)
Tahjjud prayer (offered after midnight or in the early hours before fajr. However, it is not compulsory prayer).
Taraaweeh prayer (offered immediately after Isha prayers and only takes place during the holy month of Ramzan).
Jumuah prayer (offered on Fridays at noon).
Eid prayers (offered on Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha).
Basic acts and postures while performing namaz/salah:
There are various acts and positions while performing namaz/salah, which include Takbeer e tahreema, Qiyam, Ruku, Sajdah and Tashahhud facing towards Ka’bah/Qiblah located in Bakkah/Makkah and Tasleem. Here are the details numerous postures and actions to be performed such as:
- Iqamath (assembly call for starting namaaz/salaah/prayers): Iqamath carries the similar statements of Azaan/Adhaan but all statements said only once before starting the namaaz/salaah/prayers.
- Takbeer e Tahreema (Forbidding / Cutoff call from any other act than namaz): This starts by saying Allahu Akbar which means a person should restrict himself / herself only with those acts which are decreed /allowed / recommended / practiced by Allah (God) and his messenger (PBUH).
- Qiyam (standing): Rasing hands up and resting them on or around chest.
4. Ruku (bowing 45o): Half folded body while resting hands on knees with stretched stiff elbows and wrists.
- Sajdah (prostration): The act of low bowing or prostration to Allah (God) by putting forehead on floor and resting on 7 bones (forehead and nose, two hands while elbows are up and apart from body, two knees and two foots while both foots are close to each other and standing properly).
- Tashahhud (sitting posture on folded legs): There are two postures defined and practiced by messenger of Allah (PBUH) one in mid of namaz resting on left leg and keeping the right leg foot standing and another is at end of namaz resting on on left seat and bringing out the left leg underneath the right leg while right leg is in standing position.
6. Tasleem or Salaam (calling off or concluding the prayers): By performing this act with the words Assalaamu Alaykum wa rahmatullah it concludes the prayers / Namaz and immediately a Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) and a few supplications are said as practiced by messenger of Allah (PBUH).