Laws and Practices: How to Perform the Daily Prayers

    A handy, simplified guide to learn how to pray.

    How to Perform the Daily Prayers

    “…but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such Prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.”(Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 103)

    It is obligatory to perform the following five prayers every day during the prescribed times:

    Salat al-Fajr (Dawn prayer), which consist of two units (each unit of prayer is called a rak`ah)

    Salat al-Zuhr (Midday prayer) consisting of four units

    Salat al-`Asr (Afternoon prayer) consisting of four units

    Salat al-Maghrib (Dusk prayer) which consist of three units

    Salat al-`Isha (Night prayer) consisting of four units.

    Performing the Daily Prayers according to the Shi’ah Ja’fari school of law involves taking prescribed steps in order (tartib) and in regular succession without undue delay between them (muwalat). The person must first perform preliminary purification (ghusl, if necessary, or wudhu) and fulfil all other prerequisites.

    Preparation

    Stand upright facing the Qiblah (direction of Mecca) and recite the adhan and iqama. Please note that all the recitations during the prayer must be in Arabic. Although approximate transliteration has been given below for each recitation, it is best to try and learn the Arabic script and pronounciations.

    Niyyah: Form the following solemn intention in your mind: “I offer this ____ (name of a particular prayer) prayer, of ____ (number of units) rak`ah’s seeking closeness to God”.

    The First Rak`ah

    Takbiratul Ihram: Lift both hands up to the ears and say:

    Allaahu akbar
    God is Greater

    This sentence, the Takbir, will be repeated several times during the prayer.
    Qiyam: Remain in the standing position while performing the recitations in the next step, Qira’ah.

    Qira'ah: Initially, recite the first Chapter of the Holy Qur’an, Surat al-Fatiha

    Bismillaahi’r-Rahmaani’r-Raheem
    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
    Al-hamdu lillaahi rabbil-`aalameen
    Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds
    Arrahmaanir raheem
    the Merciful, the Compassionate
    Maaliki yawmid-deen
    Master of the Day of Judgement
    Iyyaaka na`budu wa iyyaaka nasta`een
    We worship only You and from You alone do we seek help
    Ihdinas-siraat al-mustaqeem
    Lead us on the straight path
    siraat al-ladheena an`amta `alayhim
    he path of those whom You have blessed
    ghayril maghdoobi `alayhim
    not of those on whom is [Your] Wrath
    wa la’d-daalleen
    nor of those who have gone astray

    Second, recite another complete Chapter of the Holy Qur'an (we choose the short chapter number 112, Surat al-Ikhlas).

    Bismillaahi’r-Rahmaani’r-Raheem
    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
    Qul huwallaahu ahad
    Say: ‘He is God, the One
    Allaahus samad
    God the Eternal and Besought of all,
    Lam yalid walam yoolad
    Neither begetting nor begot
    Wa lam yakullahu kufuwan ahad
    Nor is there anything comparable or equal to Him

    Ruku`: After completing the second chapter, the worshipper would say the Takbir (see above) and then bow down until the hands can be placed on the knees.

    The following dhikr (glorification) should be recited once in this position:

    Subhaana rabbiy al-`azeemi wa bihamdih
    Glory be to my Lord, the Great, and praise belongs to Him

    Then, resume the standing position and recite:

    Sami`allaahu liman hamidah
    God hears the one who praises Him

    Say Takbir, then go into Prostration (sujud)

    Sujud means that one should place one's forehead on earth in a special manner, with the intention of humility before God.

    While performing the sujud, it is obligatory that both the palms and the knees, and both the big toes be placed on the ground. The following dhikr should be recited in the sujud once:

    Subhaana rabbiy al-a`laa wa bihamdih
    Glory be to my Exalted Lord, and praise belongs to Him

    After first sujud, raise the forehead and sit up in a kneeling position with the ankle of the right foot in the sole of the left foot, with hands resting on the thighs

    and say Takbir, optionally followed by:

    Astaghfirullaaha rabbee wa atoobu ilayh
    I ask forgiveness of God, my Lord, and turn towards him

    followed by Takbir again. Repeat the sujud again and then sit up in a kneeling position and say Takbir.

    Sit up for a moment and then rise while (optionally) saying:

    Bihawlillaahi wa quwwatihi aqoomu wa aq`ud
    With God’s help and through His power I stand and sit

    The Second Rak`ah

    After regaining the upright posture, recite Surat al-Fatiha and another Surah of the Holy Qur'an as in the first rak`ah. Then say Takbir, and then do Qunut.

    Qunut: Keep your hands in front of your face, turning the palms facing upwards, and keeping both the hands and the fingers close together.

    Recite the following:

    Rabbanaa aatinaa fi’d-dunyaa hasanatan wa fi’l-aakhirati hasanatan wa qinaa `adhaab an-naar
    O our Lord! Bestow upon us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the fire

    [Holy Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 201]

    [Note: Qunut is an optional step]

    Say Takbir, followed by the ruku`, then the two sujud, both as described for the first rak`ah.

    Tashahhud: After the second prostration resume the kneeling position, and recite:

    Ash hadu al laa ilaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lah,
    I bear witness that there is no god apart from Allah, Who is unique and without partners.
    wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh
    I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet
    Allaahumma salli `alaa Muhammadin wa Aali Muhammad
    O God, bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.

    If you are performing the Fajr (Dawn) prayer, please skip the rest and go to section entitled Completion.

    If you are performing the Zuhr (Midday), `Asr (Afternoon), Maghrib (Dusk), or `Isha (Night) prayer, continue by standing up for the third unit while reciting Bihawlillahi…. as described at the end of the section First Rak`ah.

    The Third Rak`ah

    At-Tasbihat al-Arba`ah: After regaining the upright posture, either recite Surat al-Fatiha, or recite al-Tasbihat al-Arba`ah three times, as follows:

    Subhaanallaahi wa’l hamdu lillaahi wa laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu akbar
    Glory be to God, and praise be to God; there is no god but Allah, and Allah is Greater

    Perform the ruku`, stand up momentarily and then do the two sujud. This is exactly as described under section First Rak`ah. If you are performing the Maghrib (Dusk) prayers, recite the Tashahhud next. Then skip the rest and go to Completion.

    If you are performing the Zuhr (Midday), `Asr (Afternoon), or `Isha (Night) prayer, continue by standing up for the fourth rak`ah while reciting Bihawlillahi…. as described at the end of the section First Rak`ah.

    The Fourth Rak`ah

    This is identical to the third rak`ah.
    After the second prostration resume the kneeling position, and recite the Tashahhud.

    Completion

    After reciting the Tashahhud of the final rak`ah, recite the Taslim (Salutation) which completes your prayer:

    Assalaamu `alayka ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh
    Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and God’s mercy and blessing.
    Assalamu `alaynaa wa `alaa `ibaadillaahis saaliheen
    Peace be upon us, and upon the righteous servants of God
    Assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh
    Peace be upon you [all], and God’s mercy and blessing.

    Thereafter (optionally) say Takbir three times.

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