How to Perform the Daily Prayers in Islam

“…and when you feel secure, perform the [complete] prayers, for the prayer is indeed a timed prescription for the faithful.” (4:103)


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


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


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


Afternoon prayer (Salat al-`Asr): four units,


Dusk prayer (Salat al-Maghrib): three units,


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



Performing the daily prayers involves taking specific steps in order (Tartib) and in regular succession without undue delay between them (Muwalat).


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The Call to Prayer (Adhan & Iqama)


Adhan is a set of phrases recited to announce the time of prayer. Lexically, Adhan means announcement or declaration. Iqama literally means to keep up or to make upright. Recited after Adhan which is the first declaration, Iqama is the second and last call which indicates the actual start of the prayer. Adhan is the call for gathering, and Iqama is for standing up and preparing for prayers in Islam [2].


Recital Transliteration Translation
Adhan Iqama    
*4 *2 Allāhu Akbar Allah is the greatest
*2 *2 Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh I acknowledge that there is no God but Allah.
*2 *2 Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-Rasul ullāh I acknowledge Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.
*2 *2 Ash-hadu anna Alian Waliullah I acknowledge that Ali (AS) is the Chosen Guardian (Wali) of Allah
*2 *2 Hayya'alas-Salāt Hasten to prayer (Salat)
*2 *2 Hayya ʿalal-falāḥ Hasten to success
*2 *2 Hayya ʿala Khair-e-lamal Hasten to the best of deeds
*2 *2 Qad Qamat-e-Salat Verily the prayer (Salat) has begun
- *2 Allāhu Akbar Allah is the greatest
*2 *2 Lā ilāha illā-llāh There is no God but Allah



When Muslims hear the call to prayer (Adhan), they must first perform preliminary ablution (Wudu). The manner of performing Wudu and prayer (Salat) based on the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings (Sunnah of the Holy Prophet) is explained below:


Ablution (Wudu)


“When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles” (5:6).



It is stated in a saying (Hadith) from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that Wudu if performed carefully, increases the presence of your heart when praying.



According to the verse of the Quran above, the act of Wudu consists of four steps and six parts of the body:


  • Washing the face
  • Washing the forearms
  • Wiping the head
  • Wiping the feet

Evoke your intention (Niyyah) at the beginning as, “I am performing Wudu for the satisfaction of Allah, and to seek closeness to Him.”


First, pour water over your face with your right hand and wipe it from the tip of your hairline to the bottom of your chin in such a way that the water reaches all parts horizontally within reach of the span of the hand from the middle-finger to the thumb.


With your left hand, pour water over the right arm and wipe it over both sides from the elbow to the finger-tips (not vice versa).


Repeat the very same step for your left arm using the right hand.


Note that washing your face and arms once as described is obligatory. Second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited.


Then wipe a wet finger of the right hand from the crown of the head to the hair-line. Make sure your hand does not touch your forehead or else the wetness of your hand will get mixed with the water of the forehead which will make the whole act of Wudu invalid.


Finally, wipe your feet with the moisture that is still on your hands. Wipe your right foot with the right, and then your left foot with the left hand, starting from the tip of any toe up till your ankle joint. It is recommended to wash your hands after this last step.



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Prayers in Islam (Salat)




Stand upright facing the direction of Mecca (Qiblah) 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 pronunciations.



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



The First Unit (Rak`ah)


Takbirat-ul-Ihram: Lift both hands up to the ears and say:


“Allah-u-Akbar (God is Greater)”


This sentence, the Takbir, will be repeated several times during the prayer.


The Standing (Qiyam): Remain in the standing position while performing the recitations in the next step, Qira’ah.


The Recitation (Qira'ah): Initially, recite the first chapter (Surah) of the Holy Qur’an, the chapter of (Surah) al-Fatiha:



“Bismillah- ir-rahmaan-ir-raheem (In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)

Alhamd-u- lillah-i-Rabb-i-l'alameen (All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds)

Ar-rahmaan-ir-raheem (the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)

Malik-i-yawm-id-deen (Master of the Day of Retribution)

Iyyaak-a-na`bud-u-wa iyyaak-a- nasta`een (You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help)

Ihdina-s-siraat- al-mustaqeem (Guide us on the straight path)

Siraat- al-lazeen-a- an`amta `alayhim (the path of those whom You have blessed)

Qayr-il- maqzoob-i `alayhim (such as have not incurred Your wrath)

wa la-’zzaalleen (nor are astray)”



Secondly, recite another complete Chapter of the Holy Quran (we choose the short chapter number 112, Surah al-Ikhlas):



“Bismillah- ir-rahmaan-ir-raheem (In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)

Qul huw-allah-u-ahad (Say," He is Allah, the One)

Allah-u-samad (Allah is the All-embracing)

Lam yalid wa lam yulad (He neither begat, nor was begotten)

Wa lam yakul-lahu kufuwan ahad (nor has He any equal)”



The Bowing (Ruku`)


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

The following Invocation (Zikr) should be recited once in this position:

“Subhana rabbi-al-`azeem-i- wa bi-hamdih (Glory be to my Lord, the Great, and praise belongs to Him)”

Then, resume the standing position, and it is recommended to recite:

“Sami`Allah-u- liman hamidah (God hears the one who praises Him)”



Say Takbir, then go into Prostration (Sujud).



The Prostration (Sujud)


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



While performing the Sujud, it is obligatory to place the forehead, both the palms and the knees, and the tip of both big toes on the ground. The following Zikr should be recited in the Sujud once:


“Subhana rabbi-al-a`laa wa bi-hamdih (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 one foot on the sole of the other, with hands resting on the thighs and say Takbir, optionally followed by:


“Astaghfir-u-llaah-a- rabbi wa atubu ilayh (I ask forgiveness of God, my Lord, and I 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:


“Bihawl-i-llah-i- wa quwwatih-i aqumu wa aq`ud (With God’s help and through His power I stand and sit)”



The Second Unit (Rak`ah)


After regaining the upright posture, recite Surah al-Fatiha and another Surah of the Holy Quran as in the first unit. Then say Takbir, and then do supplication (Qunut).


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Keep your hands in front of your face, turning the palms facing upwards, and keeping both the hands and the fingers close together; it is recommended to recite the following:


“Rabbana aatina fi-’d-dunyaa hasanatan wa fi-’l-akhirat-i hasanatan wa qinaa `azab an-nar (2:201)


(O our Lord! Bestow upon us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the fire)”


[Note: Qunut is an optional step]


Say Takbir, followed by the Ruku`, then the two Sujuds, both as described for the first unit.



The Testimonies (Tashahhud)



After the second prostration resume the kneeling position and recite:


Ash’had-u al-laa ilaha illa-llah wahdah-u la shareeka lah, (I bear witness that there is no god apart from Allah, Who is unique and without partners.)

wa ash’had-u anna Muhammadan `abduh-u wa rasuluh (I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet)

Allahumm-a sall-i `ala Muhammadin wa Aale Muhammad (O God, bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.)



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



If you are performing the Midday (Zuhr), Afternoon (`Asr), Dusk (Maghrib), or Night (`Isha) prayer, continue by standing up for the third unit while optionally reciting “Bihawl-i-llah-i….” as described at the end of the section First unit.



The Third Unit (Rak`ah)



The Four Recitations (Tasbihat al-Arba`ah): after regaining the upright posture, either recite Surat al-Fatiha or recite Tasbihat al-Arba`ah (optionally three times), as follows:


“Subhan-a-llah-i wa-’l-hamd-u lillah-i wa laa ilaha ill-a-llah-u wa-llah-u 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 sujuds. This is exactly as described under section First unit. If you are performing the Dusk (Maghrib) prayers, recite the testimonies (Tashahhud) next. Then skip the rest and go to Completion.



If you are performing the Midday (Zuhr), Afternoon (`Asr), or Night (`Isha) prayer, continue by standing up for the fourth unit while optionally reciting “Bihawl-i-llah-i….” as described at the end of the section First unit.



The Fourth Unit (Rak`ah)


This is identical to the third unit.



After the second prostration resume the kneeling position and recite the Tashahhud.





After reciting the Tashahhud of the final unit, recite the Salutations (Taslim) which completes your prayer:



“Assalaamu `alayka ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmat-u-llah-i wa barakatuh (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and God’s mercy and blessing.)*

Assalamu `alayna  wa `ala `ibadillah-is- saliheen (Peace be upon us, and upon the righteous servants of God)*

Assalamu `alaykum wa rahmat-u-llah-i wa barakatuh (Peace be upon you [all], and God’s mercy and blessing.)”



Thereafter (optionally) say Takbir three times.