Let’s be honest, it’s hard to pray. At least consistently. Daily. Effectively.
We know we should pray. We believe we should pray.
But when it comes to the practical reality of actually praying, most of us find prayer difficult.
This short course highlights the need for a simple and concise guide which teaches the basics of prayer for Muslims.
These videos are designed for people who don’t know how to pray yet or those who aren’t sure whether they learned correctly or not.
Now that our wudu has been properly made we can proceed and begin to pray salah. Here are the steps of the salah:
- Fatihah – Recitation
- Ruku – Bowing
- Sujud – Prostration
- Tashahud – Sitting
To understand the steps of the salah it is important to understand that the prayer is made up of rakah, or units of prayer. Every rakah has the same basic steps within it.
- There will be a part when you are standing
- A part when you recite from the Quran
- A part when you bow down
- A part where you prostrate (make sujud)
Let us break down how each rakah of the salah is performed, step by step.
Step by step
Step 1 – Make your intention to pray
Step 2 – Raise your hands to your ears and say Allahu Akbar
Step 3 – Place your hands over your chest (right over left)
Step 4 – Keep your eyes focused on the ground
Step 5 – Recite the opening chapter of the Quran (called Surah Fatiha)
The first chapter of the Qur’an is called Surah Fatihah. You will begin by saying this Arabic phrase:
A’auodu billaahi minash-shaytaanir rajeem
‘I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan (devil).’
And then begin to recite the chapter verse by verse in Arabic:
Bismillaahir ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Maaliki yawmid deen
Iyyaaka na’aboodu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdeenas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alayhim
Ghayril maghduubi’ alayhim waladawleen
This is the meaning of the verses from Surah Fatihah:
In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Master on the Day of Recompense (Judgement Day).
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
The path of those who You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.
Step 6 – Perform the ruku (bowing down)
When you are in this position you will say this sentence three times:
Subhanna rabbeeyal adheem
‘How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent’
Step 7 – Return to standing up again
As you are rising up from the ruku position to a standing position you will bring your hands to your ears and will say:
Samee Allahu leeman hameeda
‘Allah hears those who praise him’
And when you are standing upright then lower your hands to your waist and say:
Rabbana walakal hamd
‘Our Lord, to You is all praise’
Step 8 – Perform the sujud (prostration)
As you are moving into this position say Allahu Akbar.
And also make sure your forehead, nose, palms of both hands, knees, and both toes are touching the ground.
Step 9 – Say this phrase in sujud
Say this sentence three times:
Subhanna rabbeeyal ‘alaa
How perfect is my Lord, the Most High
Step 10 – Rise up from sujud and sit for a moment
Say Allahu akbar as you rise from sujud and then sit on your left leg. Your left foot will rest on the floor while your right foot is upright. Place your hands on your knees.
When you are in this position it is recommended to ask Allah for forgiveness. A simple and easy dua you can say is:
O my Lord, forgive me.
Step 11 & 12 – Perform sujud again and then return to a standing position
You will repeat step 9 again and perform a second sujud and say subhanna rabbeeyal ‘alaa three times again.
Step 13 – Perform the tashahud
Perform the tashahud at the end of every two rakah
Instead of standing up after the two sujud, this time around you will sit on your legs and knees again. You will raise your right index finger and say:
At Tahiyyaatu lilaahi was Salawaatu wat tayibaatu
Assalaamu ‘alaika ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmatul laahi wa barakaatuh
Assalaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ebaadillaahis saaliheen,
Ash hadu allaa ilaah ilallaah Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhuu wa rasuuluh
All compliments, prayers and pure words are due to Allah.
Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings.
Peace be upon us, and on the righteous slaves of Allaah.
I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger
Now you know how to perform a rakah – one unit of prayer. The next step is to combine 2, 3, or 4 rakah together to complete one salah. We’ll cover that in the next chapter.
Depending on which prayer you are performing there will be slight differences in how these rakah are performed. Here is a summary of how each of the five daily prayers differ from one another:
- Fajr – has two rakah, or two units
- Dhur – has four rakah
- Asr – has four rakah
- Maghrib – has three rakah
- Isha – has four rakah
Want to learn a little more about the prayer? What’s behind the rituals of the prayer? Learn more about the meanings behind each statement and action in the prayer.