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.
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:
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
Second, recite another complete Chapter of the Holy Qur'an (we choose the short chapter number 112, Surat al-Ikhlas).
Lam yalid walam yoolad
Wa lam yakullahu kufuwan ahad
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:
Then, resume the standing position and recite:
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:
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:
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:
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:
[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:
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:
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.
After reciting the Tashahhud of the final rak`ah, recite the Taslim (Salutation) which completes your prayer:
Thereafter (optionally) say Takbir three times.