Five times each day, Muslims bow down to Allah in scheduled prayers. If you are learning how to pray, or are just curious about what Muslims do during prayers, follow along with these general guidelines. For more specific guidance, there are online prayer tutorials to help you understand how it is done.
Formal personal prayers can be done during a window of time between the start of one required daily prayer and the start of the following scheduled prayer. If Arabic is not your native tongue, learn the meanings in your language while trying to practice the Arabic. If possible, praying with other Muslims can help you learn how it's done properly.
A Muslim should conduct prayer with a heartfelt intention to perform the prayer with full attention and devotion. One should perform the prayer with a clean body after performing the correct ablutions, and it is important to perform the prayer in a clean place. A prayer rug is optional, but most Muslims prefer to use one, and many carry one with them while traveling.
Proper Procedure for Islamic Daily Prayers
- Make sure your body and place of prayer are clean. Perform ablutions if necessary to cleanse yourself of dirt and impurities. Form a mental intention to perform your obligatory prayer with sincerity and devotion.
- While standing, raise your hands up in the air and say "Allahu Akbar" (God is Most Great).
- While still standing, fold your hands over the chest and recite the first chapter of the Quran in Arabic. Then you can recite any other verses of the Quran that speak to you.
- Raise your hands up again and say "Allahu Akbar" once more. Bow, then recite three times, "Subhana rabbiyal adheem" (Glory be to my Lord Almighty).
- Rise to a standing position while reciting "Sam'i Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal hamd" (God hears those who call upon Him; Our Lord, praise be to You).
- Raise your hands up, saying "Allahu Akbar" once more. Prostrate yourself on the ground, reciting three times "Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala" (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).
- Rise to a sitting position and recite "Allahu Akbar." Prostrate yourself again in the same manner.
- Rise to a standing position and say"Allahu Akbar. This concludes one rak'a (cycle or unit of prayer). Begin again from Step 3 for the second rak'a.
- After two complete rak'as (steps 1 to 8), remain sitting after the prostration and recite the first part of the Tashahhud in Arabic.
- If the prayer is to be longer than these two rak'as, you now stand up and begin again to complete the prayer, sitting again after all rak'as have been completed.
- Recite the second part of the Tashahhud in Arabic.
- Turn to the right and say "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah" (Peace be upon you and God's blessings).
- Turn to the left and repeat the greeting. This concludes the formal prayer.