How to Pray

Although Muslims can pray to God at any time, there are five prayers they are obligated to perform throughout the day. They follow the same pattern so everyone can follow in congregation, and set prayers are always recited in Arabic.

We recommend that you speak to your local mosque or Muslim association to learn fully about how to pray. Further down this page, we provide the steps in one unit of prayer which is called a 'rakah'. Try to focus learning the movements and the basic Arabic sayings. Don't try to do everything straight away, but at the same time try to get started!

The Daily Prayers:

Below are the 5 daily prayers. That might seem overwelming but you will be suprised how easy it is to find 5 minutes.

  1. Fajr prayer:
    • Dawn, before sunrise.
    • 2 units of prayer (rakah).
    • All recited aloud.
    • Recite Surah Al Fatiha + some other verses in the both rakah
    • Below shows an example of Fajr prayer:
  2. Dhuhr prayer:
    • Midday, just after the sun passes it's highest point.
    • 4 units of prayer (rakah).
    • All recited silently.
    • Recite Surah al Fatiha + some other verses in the first and second rakah. For the third and fourth rakah just recite Surah Al Fatiha silently.
  3. Asr prayer:
    • Late afternoon.
    • 4 units of prayer (rakah).
    • All recited silently.
    • Recite Surah al Fatiha and some other verses in the first and second rakah. For the third and fourth rakah just recite Surah Al Fatiha silently.
  4. Maghrib prayer:
    • Just after sunset.
    • 3 units of prayer (rakah).
    • Recited aloud in first and second rakah, silent in third.
    • Recite Surah al Fatiha and some other verses in the first and second rakah. For the third rakah just recite Surah Al Fatiha.
  5. Isha prayer:
    • Between sunset and midnight.
    • 4 units of prayer (rakah).
    • Recited aloud in first and second rakah, silent in third and fourth.
    • Recite Surah al Fatiha and some other verses in the first and second rakah. For the third and fourth rakah just recite Surah Al Fatiha.

It's better to perform these prayers in congregation in your local mosque. However, prayers can be performed in any clean (not a bathroom / toilet) place except a graveyard. Concentrating on your prayer is important so it's recommended to find someone quiet where you will not be distracted.

Please note that women do not pray during their menstrual cycle.

Before beginning your prayer you should wash yourself (wudhu).

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How to perform a unit of prayer in more detail (rakah)

Please see down for a detailed prayer booklet

Step 1- Starting Your Prayer

Muslims face towards Makkah and make the intention to pray. To begin the act of prayer, they say 'Allahu Akbar' meaning God is great, raising the hands up to the height of your ears or shoulder.

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Step 2 - Standing Recitation

  • Muslims place their right hand over their left on their chest or above navel while in the standing position. You should keep your eyes open looking at the ground in front of you.
  • On the first rakah of prayer a short supplication glorifying God and seeking His protection is read:
  • "Subhaan-Allaah wal-hamdu Lillaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaah-hoo akbar wa laa hawla wa la quwwata illa Billaah "

    (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most great and there is no power and no strength except with Allaah)
  • This is then followed by Surah Al Fatiha, which is the first chapter in the Qur'an. In the first two rakat you also recite some verses from any another chapter. Until you can do that then read: "Subhaan-Allaah wal-hamdu Lillaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa la quwwata illa Billaah".
  • Before moving into the next movement Muslims say 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great).

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Step 3- Bowing

Ruku means bowing. During ruku, Muslims say three times:

  • "Subhana rab-bi yal adheem" (Glory be to my Lord who is the very greatest) 

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Step 4 - Standing Upright

While moving into the upright position raise your hand, with the palms facing outwards and recite:

  • "Sami Allaah-hoo-liman hamidah", (God listens to the one who praises Him)

Then whilst in the upright position say:

  • "Rabbanaa wa lak al-hamd" (Our Lord, [and] to you be all Praise).

Keep your hands next to your body as in the photo below. Next say:

  • "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) and move into the next step.

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Step 5 - Prostrating

Sujud means to prostrate. Get down on your hands and knees with your forehead, nose, hands, knees and toes touching the floor. While in the prostration position say:

  • "Subhana rubbiyal a'ala" (How perfect is my Lord, the Most High)

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Step 6 - Sitting & Second Prostration

  • Say 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great) while moving to the sitting position. Pause here for a few seconds.
  • 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great) is said once more as you move into prostration again.
  • After the second prostration, sit again very briefly before standing up and returning to Step 2 and repeating the previous steps. On the second and the last rakah of your prayer add steps 7 and 8.

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Step 7 - Tashahhud

On your second and also your last rakah of prayer, when you have completed your second prostration sit and say:
  • "Subhaan-Allaah wa’l-hamdu Lillaah wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa Allaahu akbar wa laa hawla wa laquwwata illa Billaah "

    (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most great and there is no power and no strength except with Allaah).
  • Whilst reciting this put your hands on your knees and extend the index finger on your right hand.

    If you are on your second rakah (and praying more than 2 rakat), please return to Step 2 and continue the steps until you get to your last Rakah. Once you have completed the above in the last rakah you are ready to complete the prayer.

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    Step 8 - Completion of Prayer

    To end the prayer, first turn your face to your right saying:

    •  "Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah" (Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah).

    This is said to the Angels which Muslims believe accompany each human being to record their actions.

    Then turn your face to your left saying:

    •  "Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah" (Peace be upon you, and the mercy and blessings of Allah).

    Muslims believe the Angel on the right side records all good actions and thoughts, while the one on the left records all bad actions.

    During prayer, it is not allowed to fidget, look around, eat, drink, laugh or talk to other people. Muslims must pray as though they are in the presence of God, and therefore must be in a state of concentration.

    Congratulations!


    Prayer Booklet

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