How To Pray in Islam Step-By-Step And What To Say?

How To Pray in Islam Step-By-Step And What To Say?

Salah is not merely a physical ritual but a profound act of worship that embodies submission, devotion, and humility before Allah. Its observance is central to the Islamic faith, carrying immense spiritual significance and serving as a pathway to divine mercy and reward.

Worshiping Allah is the Purpose we were created for, and prayer is a primary way to do that. Prayer is the beating heart of having a healthy relationship with your Master. It is the unique connection between Man and his Creator. 

Here is how to perform the Salah Prayer step by step.

What is Salah?

Salah, the Islamic prayer, is a fundamental act of worship performed by Muslims to honor the Creator. In Arabic, “Salah” translates to “prayer.” Prayer in Islam has both a general and a specific meaning. The general meaning, known as “Dua,” refers to supplication—making requests to Allah, the humble servant appealing to the supreme Master.

The specific meaning of Salah involves a set of prescribed rituals performed in a particular manner and sequence. These rituals are designed to worship God Almighty, demonstrate obedience, and seek His refuge, submitting fully to His will. Salah is the second pillar of Islam, following the Shahadah (Testimony of Faith). It is the most crucial practice in Islam, forming the core of a Muslim’s faith and daily life.

Is Prayer obligatory?

Yes, prayer is obligatory on all adult sane Muslims. 

But what if a Muslim doesn’t pray?

Many scholars count leaving Salah, even if out of laziness, as a deed that gets the person outside of Islam. This nullifies all other deeds, and he has to say Shahadah again and sincerely repent to make up for it. 

Many scholars say that leaving any deed (not out of defiance but rather laziness) of Islam doesn’t make the person a non-Muslim -as all people have shortcomings -; except for Salah! 

Of course, such big statements by scholars are only made because of the evidence that points to that conclusion.

Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said “The covenant that stands between us and them is Salah, whoever leaves it has committed kufr” Nasai Sahih

He also said: “The First deed to be accounted for on the day of judgment is Salah, if it’s good every other deed is good, and if it’s bad every other deed is bad”

This shows us the great importance of Salah as the core pillar of Islam, as it is the everyday manifestation of the meaning of (Muslim): one who submits to his creator. 

How to Pray Salah in Islam step by step And What to say? 

It’s clearly important to perform the Salah prayer, in the way Allah ordered.

Teaching how to pray in Islam starts by knowing how to perform a (Rakah), which is the sequence of acts and sayings that are repeated while praying. 

Rakah gets the name from (Rukuh) –the second action in performing Salah.

Here is how to perform salah prayer, one Rakah at a time: BPbCX4cSNausJzFN6AENR2r9DtYV7G8gLCP6oucaPu1tv4utSmnbNxJFmloINg sTRUx17l4uOJ8NvhxmK6Epr7nXtZypQKTU4io403rnfzDzsYRG Eq7 WMLtRbzAfVCpiagV8a1L6ZcJv0qyfyVg

Rakah starts with (Takbir: saying Allah Akbar) then:

1. Qiam (standing)

During Qiyam, begin by facing the direction of Makkah to the best of your ability. This alignment is essential for the prayer. Stand straight and place the palm of your right hand on the wrist of your left hand, both positioned on your chest. Keep your eyes focused on the spot where you will eventually prostrate (Sujood).

In the first standing position, you should recite from the Quran in Arabic. If you have not yet learned to recite the Quran, you can say “Subhan Allah” (Glory be to Allah) repeatedly until you are able to learn the proper recitations. It is highly encouraged to learn Quran recitation from native speakers or qualified teachers to ensure accurate pronunciation and understanding.

Reciting Surah Al-Fatiha is a mandatory part of the prayer, as the prayer is considered invalid without it. After reciting Al-Fatiha, you should follow with another Surah or part of a Surah or Ayah from the Quran. In the first two Rakahs of a prayer, you should follow Al-Fatiha with another Surah. In the last two Rakahs, when praying a total of four Rakahs, recite only Al-Fatiha.


2. Rukuh (Bowing)

When performing the Rukuh (bowing), lower your head while keeping your legs straight and place your hands firmly on your knees. Ensure that your back is straight and your gaze is directed to the spot where you will prostrate (Sujud).

As you move into Rukuh, say “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greater). This Takbir (declaration of God’s greatness) should be recited at each transition between movements in the prayer: when going into Rukuh, moving into Sujud, sitting, and starting a new Rakah.

While in Rukuh, say “Subhan Rabiia Al-‘Athem” (Glorified is my Great Lord).

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3. Then Qiam (standing):

After completing Rukuh, return to a standing position, ensuring that every bone and joint is back in place. As you rise from Rukuh, say “Sami’a Allahu Liman Hamidah” (God hears those who praise Him).

Once you are fully standing again, recite “Allahuma Laka Al-hamd” (Allah, all praise is to You).

image 2

4. Sujud (prostrating):

Place your head on the ground as an ultimate act of humility and submission before Allah Almighty. This position, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, is when you are closest to your Lord. During Sujud, seven parts of the body should touch the ground:

  • The forehead along with the nose
  • The two palms of the hands
  • The toes of both feet
  • The two knees

While in Sujud, recite “Subhan Rabiia Al-‘aala” (Glorified is my Most High Lord). It is also recommended to make general Dua (supplication), asking God Almighty for all your needs, or simply offering praise and pleas to Him (Glory be to Him).

Rukuh and Sujud are the heart of Salah, the core acts of worship, reserved solely for Allah. Muslims bow to no one but Allah, which is the essence of being a Muslim.

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5. Guloos (Sitting):

Sit on the ground with your hands on your thighs or knees, and look at the place of Sujud. During the first sitting, say “Allahuma Ighfir li” (Allah, please forgive me). You can use this time to ask Allah for forgiveness, and also to request mercy, guidance, well-being, and providence.

image 3

7. Second sujud

Go back to Sujud like the first one with the same conditions and duas.

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8. End The Rakah:

You can conclude the Rakah by either returning to standing to start a second Rakah, or if you are in your second Rakah, by returning to sitting position for Tashahud (as mentioned in the next section).

9. Tashhud:

During the second sitting, following two Rakat, you recite the Tashahud:

  • “Al-Tahiatwu Lillahi wa Al-Salawatu wa Altibat
  • Al Salam Ala Al-Nabiia wa Rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuhu
  • Al Salam Alaina wa Ala Ibadi Allahi Al-salihina
  • Ash-hadu Anna La illaha illa Allah wa Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Abduhu wa rasuluh”

This translates to greetings, praise, and blessings to Allah. Peace, mercy, and blessings upon the Prophet. Peace upon us and the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and messenger.

It’s important to note:

  • Tashahud is recited every two Rakat, once if the prayer consists of only two Rakat, and twice if the prayer is three (like Maghrib but not Witr) or four.
  • If the Salah consists of only two Rakat, Taslim is performed after Tashahud, concluding the Salah. If the Salah is four Rakah, after reciting Tashahud the first time and standing back up, recite Fatiha only.
  • Subhan Allah and Alhamdulillah convey deeper meanings, such as thanking God almighty and acknowledging His perfection, among others.
  • In English, “praise” and “glorify” are used to convey the meanings of Subhan Allah and Alhamdulillah due to the lack of direct equivalents.

Note that not all Arabic letters are available in English, and you need to learn the Arabic letters that aren’t in English to say it properly

Learn How to pronounce Arabic from Native teachers now.

How to finish the Salah?

After Tashahud in the final Rakah, finish Salah by adding the following to Tashahud

(Allahuma Salli Ala muhammadan wa aali Muhammad, kama salita Ala Ibrahim wa aali Ibrahim, Fi Al-aalamin, innaka Hamidun Majid
Alahuma barik ala muhammadan wa aali Muhammad, kama bakrata ala Ibrahim wa aali Ibrahim, fi Al-aalamin innaka Hamidun Majid)

Taslim: Then look to your right and say (Al-Salam Alikum wa Rahmatu Allah) and the same on your left and that’s how you end salah. 

Note that (Taslim) by the end of Salah doesn’t require someone beside you, it’s the act that ends the Salah so it’s required either way, and even if no one was present you can still be saying it to the angels. 

State of the heart while praying

It’s crucial to understand that Salah isn’t just movements and sayings –Rather the heart of Salah is the state of your own heart in it; 

Muslims need to pray with a present heart. – Understand the meaning of each movement and saying in Salah, this is how you truly pray to Allah. The movements and sayings in Salah are like the outer shell, while the acts of the heart are its inner core

The heart’s actions are the most valuable, giving Salah its meaning and value.

Acts of the heart include: 

1-Ikhlas (Sincerity): Remembering Allah and doing the actions only for Him is the key for any deed to be accepted.

2- Khusoua (humbleness): “Successful indeed are the believers 1 They who have Khusoua in their prayer 2Al- Mu’minun 1-2

3-Love: “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him.” 

4-Fear: “Indeed, those who fear their Lord unseen will have forgiveness and great reward.” Al Mulk 12

5-Hope: “Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.” Al Anbia-90

Those are the major acts of the heart you need to pay attention to while praying and there are others. It all starts by recognizing the meaning behind every movement and saying and having them present in your heart while doing them. 

When your heart is praying with you, you feel the peace and calmness in it. That’s why the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him used to ask for prayer to feel that.

What are the Rewards of the Salah?

Salah has great rewards for Muslims. 

1-Salah is the key to Paradise (The best place in Jannah)

Allah says: “And they who carefully maintain their prayers – (9) Those are the inheritors (10) Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally. (11) ”Al Mu’minun 9-11

2-Salah is an eraser of small sins.

The prophet peace be upon him said: ”No one at the time of a written salah, then He makes good of its Wudu, Khushu’, and Rukuh, except that it removes what’s before it from sins. unless it’s a major sin, and that’s for the whole of his life

He also said: “The five prayers and Friday to Friday erases what’s between them unless a major sin is committed

3-Salah is a light, proof, and salvation on the day of Judgment

on the rewards of Salah the prophet peace be upon him said: “Whoever keeps them, they would be for him a light, proof, and salvation on the day of judgment. and whoever doesn’t keep them, he would have no light, no proof, and no salvation and on the day of judgment he would be with Qaroon, Pharoh, Haman, and Obai ibn Khalaf

And especially for the prayer of Fajr and Isha the prophet peace be upon him said: “Give glad tidings to those who walk to Masjid in darkness (meaning the darkness of night at the time of Fajr and Ihsa) with Complete light on the Day of Judgment

4-Salah elevates you and puts down your burdens

With Every Sujud, or every step that you walk to the Masjid,  your sins are being put down and you are elevated a Step in paradise. 

The prophet peace be upon him said: “Keep on doing a lot of Sujud, as you don’t do one Sajdah for Allah except that He elevates you with it a step and puts away a sin

He also said: “Whoever cleans in his house, then walks to a house from the houses of Allah, to fulfill a Fard of Allah, His two steps one puts away a sin and the other elevates him a step

5-Leaving Salah is one of the core things that gets people into hellfire

Allah tells us: “About the criminals, (41) “What put you into Saqar (Hellfire)?” (42) They replied “We were not of those who prayed, (43)Al-Muddaththir 41-43

The mention of Salah in the Quran is plenty and as mentioned before it’s the most important deed after Shahadah that gets people either into Jannah by doing it or hellfire by leaving it. 

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Prayer Times

The times of daily prayer are essential as Allah says: “performing prayers is a duty on the believers at the appointed times” Al-Nisa 103

It’s easy nowadays to know the timings of prayer from or other websites.

Note that the timings of prayer change each day and between countries.
For more details on what the timings are based on (Link Five daily prayer article)

When Can You Pray Missed Salah?

You can pray missed salah when you remember it

The prophet peace be upon him said: “If anyone forgets a prayer he should pray that prayer when he remembers it. There is no expiation except that” Sahih Bukhari

But it’s better to avoid the timings that the prophet ordered not to pray at. 

Times to be avoided are: 

  • After Fajr until sunrise and after sunrise by around 15 minutes
  • Before Dhuhr by around 15 minutes
  • After Asr, and more specifically right before sunset

If you miss a Salah say Istigfar and repent to Allah by praying it, even if it isn’t the timing. 

You should pray the prayers in sequence as long as you can, so pray the missed first then the one that’s present. 

Can you Pray Salah in English?

No, you cannot pray Salah in English. Salah has to be in Arabic –as this is how it was taught and also because the Quran is only in Arabic and you have to recite the Quran in Salah.

Don’t worry though, this is actually easy, with the aid of Allah and then the help of Riwaq AlQuran.

Learn how to perform salat prayer in Arabic easily 

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Many have a passion for learning Arabic but stop because they overthink too much and don’t know where to start.

To start, there is a simple method, well tested and verified by thousands of Arabic learners

This method is genius, it works with all backgrounds and gets your foot in the door so you can continue learning easily

Start With The Noorani Qaidah method.

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Salah, the Islamic prayer, is a cornerstone of Muslim worship, embodying both general supplication to Allah and specific rituals performed in reverence. As the second pillar of Islam, Salah signifies submission to the Creator and holds profound spiritual significance. 

Neglecting Salah is admonished, with scholars cautioning against its abandonment, as Prophet Muhammad equated such neglect with disbelief. Performing Salah entails a series of precise movements and recitations, fostering humility, devotion, and spiritual connection to Allah. 

Its observance brings numerous rewards, including forgiveness of sins and divine favor, while its neglect may lead to grave consequences. Understanding Salah’s timings and reciting it in Arabic are emphasized, underscoring the importance of tradition and adherence to divine guidance in Muslim worship.

Learning how to pray is Critical for every Muslim. Imagine coming on the day of Judgment and finding your prayers elevating you to unimaginable heights!  That’s why learning how to pray properly is essential to every Muslim. If you find something unclear or you have a question ask one of our experienced teachers by registering for Five pillars of Islam course; 

Start the free trial today.

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