The second pillar of Islam is the Salat (the prayer), and is an obligation for every Muslim to pray five times a day at their prescribed times. The salat is the cornerstone of the Din. It is the act of submission to Allah, in intimate conversation and expression of gratitude and humility. It’s a daily regimen that includes body movements, words, and a state of concentration and presence.
The salat has preconditions: the first is that we must be purified, and without being purified prayer is invalid. This purification includes the prayer place, the body and clothing. The place of prayer must be clean from all impurities and clothing free of any urine, sediment or blood. Purification of the body is the biggest (ghusul), and the smaller (wudu) and the replacement when there is no water or when water cannot be use, is the purification with sand or with a stone (tayammum).
Ghusul is the further purification of the whole body with water. It is necessary for a number of reasons: ejaculation, seminal emission during sleep, after having maintained sex for both the man and the woman, after finishing with the women menstruation, childbirth bleeding, and also – both men and women to enter Islam. This purification is necessary both for prayer and other acts of worship, such as reciting the Qur´an, entering the mosque, remember and to beg to Allah etc.
Ghusul (biggest purification) is the cleaning of the entire body, being obligatory to rub all parts of the body, either with your hand, sponge or washcloth, and water has to penetrate well into the scalp. It is recommended to do the wash from top to bottom and from right to left.
The smaller purification (wudu) consists in washing specific parts of the body, which are: the hands, face, arms, wiping your head, ears and feet. You have to begin making clear intention to do wudu as an act of purification, which means washing the members and parts of the body that we use to act and commit wrongdoing.
The intention is first in both wudu, and Ghusul, as in the Salat. After being aware that you’re going to do wudu, you start washing your hands three times, then water is brought to the mouth with the right hand and rinse, this is repeated three times. It continuous with inhaling water through the nose and expelling it, also three times. Then the face, also three times. We continue washing the arms up to the elbows, including these, three times, first washing the right and then the left. Thereupon the head, and involves passing wet hands over the head, starting with the hairline to nape, (but not including it) and then return without re-wet your hands, just back and forth. This is followed by cleaning the ears, which is also done only once, with wet fingers inside and out. Then, finally, comes the cleaning of the feet to the ankles (including it) three times, and cleaned with the left hand. You should start cleaning up the right and then the left.
And you finish by just saying the Shahada, and then we are ready to do the prayer.
Tayammum is the alternative when it is not or cannot use water for purification. When the one who is going to pray dose not find water for wudu, or he is ill and fears that making wudu will worsen his condition, in such cases what he has to do is: -tayammum- which is the substitute for wudu.
Tayammum or purification with earth (sand, rock or clean soil) and that is (after putting the intention) to pass the hands on the stone, clean sand or earth, and rub the entire face, from one ear lobe to the other one, and from the bottom of the chin to hair growth, it is important to ensure that nothing is left without rubbing. Then pass back the hands over the stone and rub the arms until the elbows and passing the fingers of one hand over the other. This type of purification, only serve for one obligatory prayer and to pray another, you must do it again.
To make the salat you must be purified, with one of these purifications that we have listed above.
The prescribed prayer (Salat) is the cornerstone of the Din, and is to say, the support, the sustention and foundation of worship practices. Is a daily stop at set times, to show submission, express gratitude, ask for help and remember Allah. The prescribed prayer (Salat) protects who ever dose it from indecency and evil. Prayer is the dividing line between belief and unbelief.
The prescribed sentence is composed by physical and visible acts of the body: stand, bend, bow down and sit on the floor; some audible recitations (overnight) and other secret or silent and invisible acts of the heart, so essential and necessary as the physical acts: intention, humility, recollection and concentration.
THE SALAT TIMES
The times of the five obligatory salat (prescribed prayers) are:
- The first one is the prayer of Subh, the dawn prayer. The time begins at the crack of dawn and ends with the patent clarity and appearance of the solar disk.
- The second is the prayer of Duhur, the noon, and time begins when the sun has passed its zenith and the shadows begin to lengthen.
- The third prayer is Asr and is in the mid-afternoon, and time begins when you stand facing the sun, erect, and if the solar disk enters your visual field while looking straight, means that the time for Asrhas come and ends with yellowing of the sun just before sunset.
- The fourth prayer is at Sunset, Maghrib, and time begins when the solar disk is hidden on the horizon (on a level place without mountains). Do not delay this prayer, because the time is very short.
- The fifth and final prayer of the day is Ish´a, at night. The time begins when the last red colors of the sunset disappears, and with the emerge of the first stars in the sky.
HOW TO DO THE SALAT
Let’s see how the prayers are carried out.
Each prayer consists of a number of Rak’ats (which is a series of movements). The prayer consists in a series of movements that are performed in a specific order, and each of the positions determined recitations are pronounced, this will be explained with some schemes to make it easier and simpler to understand.
Quran recitations of the Salat become loud when the sun is hidden (Maghrib, Ish’a and Subh) and quietly when the sun is in the sky (Duhur and Asr).
– Subh (Dawn) Two Rak’ats recited loud.
– Duhur (Noon) Four Rak’ats recited silently. (2 + 2)
– Asr (afternoon) Four Rak’ats recited silently. (2 + 2)
– Maghrib (sunset) Three Rak’ats, the first 2 loud and last silent. (2 + 1)
– Ish´a (Night) Four Rak’ats, the first 2 loud, and the last 2 in silence (2 + 2)
Silent recitation is to say without emitting voice, is not just thinking it in your head, you have to recite it: the tongue and mouth must be in movement. In the case of women, in their loud recitation they don’t have to raise the voice, it has to be heard only by herself. And the one in silent, just like the man.
SURAT AL FATIHA
In every Rakat of each and every one of the prayers, while in the upright position, standing, you have to always recite Surat al-Fatiha, which is:
Alhamdu lil-lahi rabbil ‘alamin, arrahmani rrahim, maliki iaumiddin, iyaka na’budu wa iyaka nastai’n, ihdina ssiratal mustaqim, siratal ladina an’amta ‘alaihim, ‘gairil mag’dubi alaihim wala ddaalin.
And the translation is:
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Merciful, the Compassionate. King of the Day of Retribution. You alone we worship, only from You we seek help. Show us the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored, not of those who are of anger nor of those who stray.
SURAT OF SINCERITY
In the first two Rak’ats of each prayer and after the Surat Al Fatiha, it is to be recited one of the other Surat of the Quran, or any verse. Below are some of these smaller Surats and easier to memorize:
Qul huwa Al-lahu ahad, Al-lahu ssamad, lam ialid wa lam iulad, wa lam iakun lahu kufuan ahad.
And the translation is:
Say: He is Allah, Allah is One, the Absolute Eternal. He has no fathered any one, neither He has been begotten. And there is none like Him.
Qula ‘audhu birabbil falaqi, minsharri ma khalaqa, wa min sharri ‘gasiqin idha waqaba, wa min sharrin-naffazati fil ‘uqadi, wa min sharri haasidin idha hasad.
And the translation is:
Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the rising of the dawn. From the evil of what He has created. From the evil of the night when it is dark. And from the evil of those who blow on knots. And from the evil of the envious when he envies.
Qula ‘audhu birabbi nnasi, maliki nnasi, ilahi nnasi, min sharril waswasil khannasil al-ladhi yuwas-wisu fis- sudurin nasi, minal yinnati wa nnas.
And the tranlation is:
Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of men. The King of men. The God of men. From the whisper of evil that hides. From the one who whispers in the man’s breasts and is among genius and among men.
THE MOVEMENTS OF THE SALAT
The cycle of movements is performed in each rakat, and it is as follows:
This position is known as Qiyaam, and is to stand. In this position you have to recite Surat al Fatiha, and one of the other Surats. It is the initial position of prayer. Having laid the intention, you say Allahu Akbar, making a move that is to bear arms to shoulder level and lower them while you pronounce Allahu Akbar. (Allah is the Greatest).
After the recitation of Surat Al Fatiha and some more, the Muslim bends in sign of humility before the Creator, a position called Ruku ‘. When moving, you also pronounce Allahu Akbar. In this position you say three times (in silence), Subhana rab-bial Adhim, Glory to my Lord, the Greatest. After this, you return to the previous position (Qiyaam), saying in the movement: Sami’a Allahu liman Hamida, rabbana wa lakal hamd. – Allah Hears whoever praises Him. Our Lord! To You belongs all praise!
Then from this position the Muslim bows his forehead on the ground, position called Saÿda (prostration) and saying while performing the movement: Allahu Akbar. During his prostration the Muslim says quietly Subhana rab-bil ala min, – Glory to my Lord, the Highest, three times, and after that, saying Allahu Akbar, you sit, Yulus.
In Yulus position, (sitting) is recited silently Allahumma firli – wa hamni, Oh Allah, forgive me and have mercy with me. After that, it gets passed to the position of Saÿda, saying Allahu Akbar, and in Saÿda has to be say again Sub-hana rab-bil ala min. –Glory to My Lord, the Highest.
After the Saÿda you go back to the position of Qiyaam (standing), in order to perform a second cycle of movements (rakat). In the last cycle after the prostration, the Muslim seats, Yulus (seated) and that’s the end position.
For example, if you are praying Duhur in the first Rakat and after the second prostration you stand up, and in the second Rakat after the second prostration you stay seated, and in the third you stand up, and in the forth one you remain sited in the position of Yulus. And it’s the same in the prayers of Duhur, Asrand Ish´a.
In the prayer of Subh are only two Rak’ats, in the first you stand up and in the second you sit down, and inMaghrib, the first you stand up, in the second you sit down, and in the third you remain sited, and you do the Tashahud.
In Yulus position (sitting) the say the prayer called the Tashahud, or testimony, and it is to say:
At-tahiyatu lil-lah, assakiyatu lil-lah, at-tayibatu salawatu lil-lah, as-salamu alaika ayuha nabiu wa rahmatul-lah wa barakatuh, as-salamu ‘alaina wa ‘ala ibadi lil-lahi ssalihin. Ashadu an la ilaha il-la Allah, wa ashadu an-na muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh.
And the translation is:
Greetings are due to Allah, pure things belong to Allah, and the best prayers belong to Allah. Peace upon you. O Prophet! And the mercy of Allah and His blessing. Peace be upon us all and with all the straight worshipers of Allah. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.
And in the last Rakat of each prayer, and after the Tashahud, you say below:
Al-lahumma sal-li ‘ala muhammad, wa ‘ala ali muhammad, war-ham muhammadan wa ‘ala ali muhammadin, wa barik ‘ala muhammad, wa ‘ala ali muhammad, kama sal-laita wa rahimta wa barakta ‘ala ibrahim wa ‘ala ali ibrahim, fil alamina, innaka hamidun mayid.
And the translation is:
Oh Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, and grant mercy to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, and give Your baraka to Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You granted your blessing and mercy and baraka on Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim in all worlds. You are truly praiseworthy, The majestic.
FULL CYCLE OF MOVEMENT
This is the whole cycle of a full rakat: Four positions: standing (qiyaam), inclined (ruku ‘) back to the upright position (qiyaam), prostration (sujud) twice and sitting (yulus) between the two prostrations. The rak’ats are made in pairs, so after the first rakat, you have to rise to the standing position, to follow for the second rakat.
The prayer concludes saying Assalamu Alaykum to your right.