Salah Guide

“Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, ˹genuine˺ prayer should deter ˹one˺ from indecency and wickedness. The remembrance of Allah is ˹an˺ even greater ˹deterrent˺. And Allah ˹fully˺ knows what you ˹all˺ do”.
[Surah Al-Ankabut: 29:45]

Salah, namaz, or supplication is the second pillar of Islam and is an act of worshipping Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎. It is a daily obligation for all adult Muslims and plays a major role in strengthening one’s faith and connection with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎. 

Establishing Salah and its spiritual benefits are among the main topics frequently emphasized in the Holy Quran; hence, its importance cannot be overlooked. Our easy Salah guide in English provides everything you need to know to offer Salah, including a Wudu guide, prayer time, an occasional prayer guide, and a guide on making up for mistakes in Salah and missed prayers. 

Understanding Salah

Performing obligatory Salah five times a day provides physical and spiritual cleansing, a way to repent for misdeeds, and direct communication with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى)‎ to ask for His favors. These prayers follow a specific set of principles and basic structure. The namaz time for the five daily prayers is: 

  • Fajr – performed before sunrise
  • Zuhr – performed at midday
  • Asr – performed between Zuhr and sunset
  • Maghrib – performed at sunset
  • Isha – performed between Maghrib and midnight

To truly understand the significance of Salah, one must be aware of the rewards associated with offering each prayer:

Fajr Prayer: “Whoever offers the morning prayer, he is under the protection of Allah, the Mighty, and Sublime.” [Sunan Ibn Majah 3946, Book 36, Hadith 21]

Zuhr Prayer: “This is an hour at which the gates of heaven are opened, and I like that my good deeds should rise to heaven at that time." [Riyad as-Salihin 1117, Book 9, Hadith 117]

Asr Prayer: "Whoever misses the `Asr prayer (intentionally), then it is as if he lost his family and property." [Sahih al-Bukhari 552, Book 9, Hadith 29]

Maghrib Prayer: "Whoever prays six Rak'ah after the Maghrib and does not say anything bad in between them will have a reward equal to the worship of twelve years." [Sunan Ibn Majah 1167, Book 5, Hadith 365]

Isha Prayer: "Whoever attends Isha (prayer) in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) stood half of the night. And whoever prays Isha and Fajr in congregation, then he has (the reward as if he had) spend the entire night standing (in prayer)." [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 221, Book 2, Hadith 73]

While the five obligatory Salah follow a basic structure, additional or recommended prayers such as those offered at special events (Eid ul-Adha, Eid ul-Fitr, Tarawih during Ramadan, Tahajjud, etc.) differ in performance and recitation. Our guide to Salah will educate you on how to perform basic and additional prayers correctly so that you can reap their benefits and perfect this noble act of worship.

How to Use the Namaz Settings Widget on the Muslim & Quran Website & App 

Using our Namaz Settings Widget, you can personalize settings and learn how to offer Salah correctly. The widget allows you to choose your gender, school of thought (Hanfi, Shafi), and whether you would like the translation or transliteration of Arabic verses. The Namaz Settings Widget also allows you to adjust the font size for easy reading. Once you’ve saved your preferences, the Daily and Occasional Prayer Guides will be personalized accordingly, and you can easily follow them and learn how to offer Salah and what to recite in each prayer.

The Shurut (Prerequisites) of Salah

It is obligatory for anyone who desires to offer Salah to meet the prerequisites or Shurut of Salah. These preconditions cannot be excused because of forgetfulness, ignorance, or deliberate omission, and Salah is rendered invalid without their fulfillment:

  1. Be a Muslim: Belief in the oneness of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and the finality of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as the last Prophet.
  2. Niyah (intention): Make niyyah, i.e., show the intention that you plan to offer salah. This can be uttered verbally or made in the heart.
  3. Aql (sanity): Clarity of mind and understanding of what one is doing and saying. It is stated in the Holy Quran:

“O believers! Do not approach prayer while intoxicated until you are aware of what you say, nor in a state of ˹full˺ impurity—unless you merely pass through ˹the mosque˺—until you have bathed.” [Surah An-Nisa: 4:43]

  1. Tamayiz (maturity): Salah (Namaz) is fardh on those Muslims who have reached physical maturity or are 12 years of age. 
  2. Nadafah (cleanliness): A person should be clean to offer salah. This includes purifying the clothes and the place of Salah.
  3. Taharah (purity): This highlights the cleanliness of the body from major and minor impurities and signifies the importance of Wudu, Ghusl, and Tayammum.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) says: “O believers! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of ˹full˺ impurity, then take a full bath. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or have been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth by wiping your faces and hands.” [Surah Al-Maida: 5:6]

  1. Satar Al-Awrah (covering the private parts not to be exposed to others): ʿAwra for men during Salah are shoulders, head, and the region from navel to knees; ʿawra for women during Salah is the entire body except the face and hands. It comes in the Quran:

"O, Children of Adam! Put on your adornment (by wearing proper clothing/concealing the ʿawra) for every time/place of the masjid (Salah).” [Surah Al-A’raf: 7:31]

  1. Waqt As-Salah (prayer timing): All prayers must be offered during their precise timings. As stated in the Quran:

“Indeed, performing prayers is a duty on the believers at the appointed times." [Surah An-Nisa: 4:103]

  1. Itijah Al-Qiblah: facing the Qiblah. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) says in the Holy Quran:

“Turn your face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid-ul-Harām), and (O Muslims), wherever you are, turn your faces in its direction. [Surah Al-Baqarah: 2:144]

The Arkaan (Essentials) of Salah

The essentials or Arkaan of Salah are the mandatory steps performed during Salah, without which it would be incomplete and valid:

  1. Takbirah Al-Ihram (the opening Takbir): This is recited when one begins Salah by saying الله أكبر (Allah is the greatest) while raising both hands to shoulder level with the palms facing forward.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The key to Salat is the purification, its Tahrlm (beginning) is the Takblr, and its Tahlil (ending) is the Taslim." [Jami` at-Tirmidhi: 3]

  1. Qiyam (standing straight): If one is able, one must stand while offering Salah.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) states: “Take due care of all the prayers and the middle prayer, and stand before Allah in total devotion." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 2:238]

If one cannot stand for Salah, he may sit, lie on his side, or assume a comfortable position.

The Prophet (ﷺ) is reported to have said: “Pray while standing, and if you can't, pray while sitting, and if you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side." [Sahih al-Bukhari 1117, Book 18, Hadith 37]

  1. Reciting Surah Al-Fatiḥah in each Rakʿah: Muslims must recite Surah Al-Fatiha in prayer. It is recited after takbir and before going into Ruku.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha in his prayer, his prayer is invalid." [Sahih al-Bukhari 756, Book 10, Hadith 150]

  1. Ruku (Bowing): The act of bowing down at the knees while reciting Subhanna rabbeeyal adheem (Translation: How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent) three times. 

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) says: “O believers! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, worship your Lord, and do ˹what is˺ good so that you may be successful”. [Surah Al-Ḥajj: 22:77]

  1. Rising from Ruku and resuming the initial standing position: The act of rising from the Ruku while reciting Samee Allahu leeman hameeda (Translation: Allah hears those who praise him), one time. 
  2. Sujud (Prostration): The act of going down in prostration and placing both hands and head on the ground in submission to Allah. Muslims recite Subhanna rabbeeyal ‘alaa (translation: How perfect is my Lord, the Most High) three times while in prostration. 
  3. Jilsah/Julus/Jalasah (sitting between prostrations): This is the brief interval between the 2 sajdas required for each rak'ah. Rise from the sajda and think about Allah's forgiveness, and then go down again. 

The Prophet (ﷺ) explained proper prostration in Salah as follows: “…prostrate calmly (and remain in prostration) till you feel at ease, and then raise (your head) and sit with calmness till you feel at ease and then prostrate with calmness (and remain in prostration) till you feel at ease, and then raise (your head) and sit with calmness till you feel at ease in the sitting position, and do likewise in whole of your prayer.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6251, Book 79, Hadith 25]

  1. The final sitting and recitation of Tashahhud (testimonial): The act of rising after the sajda and reciting Tashahhud.
  2. Taslim (termination of Salah): This concludes the Salah by looking first to the right and then to the left while reciting “Assalâmu ʿalaykum wa raḥmatullâh” (Peace and Allah’s mercy be unto you).
  3. Tumanina (Stillness): All actions and positions of Salah must be performed carefully, and each position must be followed with stillness. This is achieved by remaining in the position until all the bones are aligned and still.
  4. Tartib (Sequence): All acts of Salah must be performed in the proper sequence.