Prayer (Salat), a pillar of Islam
The second pillar of Islam after Shahadah, its considered as the most important by many scholars (with fasting), is the prayer or in Arabic salat. Muslims are required to perform the five daily prayers in which they must perform ablution primarily to be purified and be able to stand before God.
Before starting the prayer, you need to make sure you are in front of the "qabla", the place which points to Mecca and the sunrise.
There are five obligatory prayers; each one consists of a set number of "rakaat" a term that can mean the word "prostration". The Rakats are simultaneously the recitation of one or more Qur'anic verses and prayers in different positions: standing, tilted, prostrate and on the knees. Each salat follows a well-defined prayer schedule.
The conducting of the prayer
After declaring the intention to pray only in ones heart, the believer stands in front of the qabla and say aloud the first Takbir with these words: "Allaho Akbar". Then comes the recitation of the Surah Al-Fatiha followed by a full or partial Surat. The believer bows again, lifts his head and bows again. After kneeling right, the person must bow down to the ground and sit down after prostration then again after the next prostration. Enjoy the moment of recollection and feel at peace and take time during each tilt and prostration. Finally, we must recite the intermediate form or the closing prayer, greet aloud and withdraw. The respect of the order of these actions is mandatory and must track the number of each rak'ah.
The five prayers
- The first prayer of the day is salat Assoubh which consists of two rakaat and is carried out at dawn.
- The second prayer is Adhour which occurs in the middle of the day when the sun is at its zenith, and consists of four rakaat.
- The third prayer is salat Al'asr which is conducted during the mid-afternoon, which is also made of four rakaat.
- The fourth prayer is that of Al Maghrib, which needs to be performed at sunset and is composed of three rakaat.
- The fifth prayer is Al Ichaa which is that of the night and is composed of four rakaat.
Another kinds of prayer
Other prayers are also warranted in Islam:
- Friday prayer is done collectively and every Muslim should, if possible, go to the mosque to perform it. This prayer replaces Adhour for that day.
- The Tarawih prayers are additional prayers performed during the holy month of Ramadan. The Tarawih begin on the first day of Ramadan after salat al Ichaa and is done while reciting verses from the Koran. At the end of the month, every mosque has finished reciting the entire holy book with the fulfillment of Tarawih.
- The prayers of both Aids: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha are also mandatory.
- There is also salat al Janazah (funeral), salat koussouf (in the case of an eclipse), tahiyato Al Masjid (salvation of the mosque when entering), salat duha (morning), salat al istikhara (when we must make a choice that relies on God), salat al istijab (when you have a specific need or desire) or salat al Mousafir (the traveler)...
Written by: Ali Youssef