Daily Prayers : Islam

August 17, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayers : Islam

Ritual prayer, or salat, is a basic activity of daily life. Muslims are called to pray five times a day: before dawn, at midday, in the mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night. The call to prayer is made by a muezzin, who calls out from the top of a tower, called a minaret. The muezzin’s call is an art form, and begins by proclaiming “God is great” (Allahu akbar), and then continues “I bear witness that there is no god but God; I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God; hasten to prayer; hasten to success; establishing the communal ritual of prayer.”

Before praying, one is expected to perform a ritual ablution, cleansing both mind and body. If water is available, the hands, arms, face, neck, and feet are washed. Prayers are performed facing in the direction of Mecca. While praying together is preferred to solitary prayer, Muslims can pray wherever they happen to be, whether alone or in groups. They can pray outdoors, at home, or in the mosque. It is obligatory for Muslim males to attend the mosque for the Friday noon prayer, a special time set aside for communal prayer.

Details of the Five Prescribed Prayers

Preconditions

Times:

1) The dawn prayer (Fajr): This prayer should be done between the time the first ray of light appears in the sky and the time of sunrise.

2) The noon prayer (Duhr): The specific time for this prayer is right after the sun passes over its noon position. However, it can be done up until sunset.

3) The afternoon prayer (Asr): This prayer can be done any time after the noon prayer and before sunset.

4) The sunset prayer (Maghrib): This prayer should be done after the sun sets at the time when the red sky on the eastern horizon disappears. Yet, it can be done up until midnight.

5) The night prayer (Isha): This prayer can be done any time after the sunset prayer and before midnight.

Direction (al-qiblah):

During prayer, all Muslims must face the Kabah, the House of God, built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Kabah is located in the city of Makkah, in the Arabian Peninsula (Middle East). One way to determine the precise direction of prayer (called al-qiblah) is to use a compass. In North America, Muslims face northeast to locate the shortest path to Makkah.

Place:

The place where a person is going to recite his or her prayer should either belong to that person or that person must have permission to pray in that area unless the place is public. The spot where the forehead touches the ground should be clean (tahir), and prostration must be done on earth or inedible plants (including paper or wood).

Purity of the body:

Just as the soul must be pure, concentrated, and calm before the prayers, the body must also be free from impurities. Certain items are considered ritually impure and must be avoided, removed, or purified before the prayers. A specified washing (wudhu) must also be done before the prayers.

If water is unavailable, dust may be used out of necessity.

Clothing:

During prayer, a man must wear enough clothing to cover his body, and a woman must cover her entire body (including the head and hair), except for the face and hands. Clothing worn during prayer must be clean and lawfully obtained; it must not be stolen or borrowed without permission.

Source: http://www.al-islam.org/discovering-islam-moustafa-al-qazwini/islamic-practices

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