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“And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night: for those things that are good remove those that are evil: be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord)”. [Al-Qur’an 11:114]

There are a number of traditions on how salah is performed. The two most common forms are within the various Madhabs (Islamic schools of thought) of Sunni and Shia Islam. However, other forms also exist and it is upto individuals   to inform themselves on which ritual they wish to follow.

Below is an outline of how salah is conducted, this text can   also be downloaded as a.pdf file. Inclusive Mosque Initiative-Salah (prayer) sheet.pdf

Sunni

Step 1: Standing behind the Imam for salah (prayer), in your mind make an intention of offering this prayer (its name) and the number of Rakats.

The First Raka

Step 2: After the Imam has said “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great), you should raise your hands to your ears and follow. Put your hands on your chest/abdomen, with your right hand on top of the left.

Step 3: The Imam will begin reciting from the Holy Quran. The Imam will recite Surah Al Fatiha (the first Surah of the Quran) and then another Surah.

Step 4: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Ruku (the bowing position) and recite the following dhikr (glorification) three times, “Subhaana rabbiy al-‘azeemi” (Glory be to my Lord the Great).

Step 5: Resume the standing position and recite “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him), then say “Rabbana lakal Hamd” (Our Lord praise be to You) in a low voice.

Step 6: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Sujud (prostration-this means that one should place one’s forehead on the ground 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 three times, “Subhaana rabiy al-a’laa” (Glory be to my Exalted Lord). After the sajdah, raise the forehead and sit up in a kneeling position as you do so say “Allahu Akbar”. Repeat from the beginning of step 6.

Step 7: Rise as the Imam says, “Allahu Akbar” after the two prostrations.

Second Raka

Step 8: Once returned in the upright posture, the Imam will first recite from the Holy Quran (first Surah Al Fatiha) and another Surah.

Step 9: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Ruku (the bowing position) and recite the following dhikr three times, “Subhaana rabbiy al-‘azeemi” (Glory be to my Lord the Great).

Step 10: Resume the standing position and recite “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him), then say “Rabbana lakal Hamd” (Our Lord praise be to You) in a low voice.

Step 11: Repeat the actions and recitations as in Step 6.

Step 12: Remain seated for the Tashahud. Recite, “At-tahiyyaatu lillaahi, wa -s-salawaatu wa -t-tayyibaatu. As-salaamu ʿalayka ayyuhaa n-nabiyyu wa-raḥmatu llaahi wa-barakaatuh. As-salaamu ʿalaynaa wa-ʿalaa ʿibaadi llaahi s-saaliheen. Ashadu an laa ilaaha illaa llaahu wa-ashadu anna Muḥammadan ʿabduhu wa-rasuluh” (Salutations to God and prayers and good deeds. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of God and his blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of God. I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and his messenger).

Another variant used by Sunni (Shafii school of thought) Muslims is, “At-taahiyaatu-l-mubaarakaatu s-salawaatu t-tayyibaatu li-llaah. Assalamu ‘alayka ayyuhan nabiyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Assalamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaadillaahis saaliheen. ʾAshhadu ʾan laa ʾilaaha illaa -llaah wa-ashadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh” (Blessed salutations, prayers, good deeds to God. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of God and his blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of God. I bear witness that there is no god but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger).

Note: At a certain stage in the Tashahhud depending on the Madhab-school of thought, the right hand index finger is raised upward facing about 45 degrees by closing the fist, and then is dropped back and the hand is spread to its original position.

Step 13: If there are further rakats repeat steps 7-11 and there will only be one Surah, Al-Fatiha, read silently.

However, if there are only 2 rakats being recited, remain in the kneeling position and recite a Durood Sharif, there are a number to choose from, here’s an example, “Allah Humma Salle Ala Muhammadin Wa Ala Ale Muhammadin Kama Sallaita Aala Ibraheema Wa Ala Aalay Ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed. Allah Humma Baarik Aala Muhammadin Wa Ala Ale Muhammad Kama Barakta Ala Ibraheema Wa Ala Ale Ibraheema inna Ka Hameedum Majeed, Allah Humma Rabbanaa aatinaa fi’d-dunyaa hasantan wa fi’l-aakhirati hasanatan wa qinaa adhaab an-naar” (O Allah, let Your Blessings come upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you have blessed Ibrahim and his family. Truly, You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. O our Lord! Bestow upon us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the fire).

Step 14: The Imam ends the prayer by turning her face to the right first and saying “Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah” and then to her left and saying the same, you should follow.

Step 15: Do not get up right away. The Imam will recite a brief supplication of prayer.

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Shia

Step 1: Standing behind the Imam for salah (prayer), in your mind make an intention of offering this prayer (its name) and the number of Rakats.

The First Raka

Step 2: After the Imam has said “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great), you should raise your hands to your ears and follow. Put your hands down to your sides.

Step 3: The Imam will begin reciting from the Holy Quran. The Imam will recite Surah Al Fatiha (the first Surah of the Quran) and then another Surah.

Step 4: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Ruku (the bowing position) and recite the following dhikr (glorification) once, “Subhaana rabbiy al-‘azeemi wa bihamdih” (Glory be to my Lord the Great, and praise belongs to Him).

Step 5: Resume the standing position and recite “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him).

Step 6: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Sujud (prostration-this means that one should place one’s forehead on the ground 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 rabiy al-a’laa wa bihamdih” (Glory be to my Exalted Lord, and praise belongs to Him). After the sajdah, raise the forehead and sit up in a kneeling position as you do so say “Allahu Akbar”, optionally followed by “Astaghfirullaaha rabee wa atoobu ilayh” (I ask forgiveness of God, my Lord and turn towards him). Repeat from the beginning of step 6.

Step 7: Rise as the Imam says, “Allahu Akbar” after the two prostrations, optionally, as you rise say “Bihawlillaahi wa quvvatihi aqoomu wa aq’ud” (With God’s help and through His power I stand and sit).

Second Raka

Step 8: Once returned in the upright posture with arms by your side, the Imam will recite from the Holy Quran (first Surah Al Fatiha) and another Surah followed by saying “Allahu Akbar”.

Step 9: Qunut is an optional step-Raise your hands in front of your face, turning the palms facing upwards, and keeping both the hands and fingers close together. You then recite, “Rabbanaa aatinaa fi’d-dunyaa hasantan 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). During Qunut you can ask or thank Allah for what you need or have.

Step 10: When the Imam says “Allahu Akbar” go into Ruku (the bowing position) and recite the following dhikr once, “Subhaana rabbiy al-‘azeemi wa bihamdih’ (Glory be to my Lord the Great, and praise belongs to Him).

Step 11: Resume the standing position and recite “Sami Allahu liman Hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him).

Step 12: Repeat the actions and recitations as in Step 6.

Step 13: Remain seated for the Tashahhud. Recite, “Ash hadu al laa lilaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluh Allaahumma salli’alaa Muhammadin wa Aali Muhammad (I bear witness that there is no god apart from Allah. Who is unique and without partners. I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet. O God, Bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad).

Step 14: If there are further rakats repeat steps 7-8 & 10-12 and there will only be Surah, Al-Fatiha, read.

However, if there are only 2 rakats being recited, remain in the kneeling position and the prayer ends by reciting the Taslim-salutation and do not turn your head to your sides, “Assalamu ‘alayka ayyuhan nabiyu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh assalamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaadillaahis saaliheen assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh” (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and God’s mercy and blessing. Peace be upon us, and upon the righteous servants of God. Peace be upon you [all], and God’s mercy and blessing).

Step 15: Do not get up right away. The Imam will recite a brief supplication of prayer.

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