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HomeIslamic Faith PrinciplesHow Is The Five Daily Prayers Performed?

How Is The Five Daily Prayers Performed?

Prayer or salah is a form of worship done with the body, consisting of certain words and actions. It is obligatory for every Muslim, male and female.[1] To enter Islam, after the Shahadah [2], salah or prayer is an essential principle of Islam.[3]

Angel Gabriel (AS) taught prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to make wudu and pray. Then Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught it to his wife Khadija, one of the first Muslims in Islam. In the early days of Islam, prayers were performed twice, in the morning and evening. Together with the Mi’raj event, the performed prayer has been extended to five times [4], of which times are known.[5] There are three types of prayers in Islam. These are fard (obligatory prayers) [6], wajib prayers (required prayers) [7], and  Nafl (voluntary prayers)[8].

The obligatory prayers are as follows: Fajr (observed at dawn), Zuhr or Dhuhr (observed at noon), Asr (observed late in the afternoon), Maghrib (observed after sunset), and Isha (observed at dusk). The required prayers are as follows: Witr prayer, Eid prayer, the prayer of tawaf, vow (Nazr or Nadhr) prayer, and accident prayer[9].

The voluntary prayers are as follows: sunnah prayers performed before or after the five obligatory prayers, tahajjud prayer[10], duha prayer(Ishraaq prayer)[11], istikhara prayer[12], khusuf (lunar eclipse) prayer[13], istisqa (rain) prayer) prayer, kusuf (solar eclipse) prayer, awwabin prayer[14], the entrance prayer to ihram, the prayer of need (hajat prayer)[15], the prayer performed after wudu, and ghusl.

There are five daily prayers that a Muslim must perform during the day (24 hours). These are as follows: Fajr prayer is a total of four rak’ahs, two rak’ahs[16] sunnah[17] and two rak’ahs fard.

The Dhuhr prayer is ten rak’ahs in total, including four rak’ahs of sunnah, four rak’ahs of fard, and two rak’ahs of the last sunnah.

The Asr prayer consists of eight rak’ahs, four rak’ahs of which are sunnah and four rak’ahs of fard. The Maghrib prayer consists of 5 rak’ahs, three rak’ahs of which are fard and two rak’ahs of sunnah. Isha prayer is 13 rak’ahs in total, including four rak’ahs of sunnah, four rak’ahs of fard, two rak’ahs of final sunnah, and three rak’ahs of witr[18].

It is necessary to make wudu before praying. Wudu or ablution means washing specific organs with water and wiping some of them with wet hands (it is the process of running one’s hand over something).

Prophet Muhammad showed Muslims how to make wudu[19]. Also, He stated that the prayers performed without wudu would not accept.[20]

Before praying, a Muslim performs his wudu as follows: by starting the ablution with the intention [21] and basmala[22]; the hands are washed three times by rubbing the hands up to the wrists and between the fingers. If any, substances such as paste, paint, or gum on the skin are cleaned. The ring on the finger is played. Teeth are cleaned with a miswak or toothbrush. With the right hand, water is poured into the mouth and the nose three times. The face is washed three times. Then the right arm with the elbow is washed three times, then the left arm in the same way. Wet the right hand and wipe the top of the head once with the palm and the inside of the fingers. In this way, one-fourth of the head is wiped. Then hands are wetted again, the outside of the ear is wiped with the thumb, the inside is wiped with the thumb or little finger, and the neck is wiped with the back of both hands.

First, the right, then the left foot, starting from the toes, including the heel and ankle bones, are washed. Care is taken to wash between the fingers.[23]

For a person to be held responsible for the order of prayer, he must be a Muslim, have intelligence, has reached puberty, and not be in the state of menstruation and Nifas or post-natal bleeding [24].[25]

There are conditions that a Muslim must comply with to pray. These are as follows: A person should be purified from his material (ablution-ghusl) and spiritual impurities (intention).

There should be no material filth on a person’s body, clothes, or the place where he will pray.

Except for women’s hands, faces, and feet, Men, on the other hand, should cover the area between the navel and the kneecap.

The clothes worn in prayer should not show the color of the body. To pray, one must face the qiblah (Kaaba).

The qiblah of Muslims is the Kaaba. Time prayers should perform within the time allotted to them. It is wrong not to perform the time prayers on time without an excuse and to postpone them for qaza.

Performing the prayer is as follows: First, the intention is made for the prayer. Raise the hands at ear level and say, Allahu Akbar.

The 1st rak’ah begins. The Auzu basmala is read and the Subhanaka or sana dua is recited. Then the Fatiha and additional surahs are recited.

So far, the person is standing. When the additional surah is recited, the person bows by saying, Allahu Akbar.

He says “subhana rabbi al azim” [26] at least three times.

Then he says Allahu Akbar again. He gets up by saying “Sami Allahu liman hamidah” [27] and says “Allahumma Rabbana walakal hamd” [28] while standing.

Then he goes to prostrate (sajdah) by saying, Allahu Akbar. He says “subhana rabbi al ala” three times while his head is prostrated.[29] He stands up, saying, Allahu Akbar.

In the second rak’ah, the basmala is read and the Fatiha Surah is read first, followed by an additional surah. Then go to rukoo (bowing) by saying, Allahu Akbar.

He says “subhana rabbi al azim” at least three times. Then he says Allahu Akbar again. He gets up by saying “Sami Allahu liman hamidah” and “Allahumma Rabbana walakal hamd” while standing. Then he goes to prostrate by saying, Allahu Akbar. He says “subhana rabbi al ala” three times while his head is prostrated. Saying Allahu Akbar, he gets into a sitting position.

Tashahhud, Durood e Ibrahim, and Rabbana duas are read. The head is turned first to the right and then to the left by saying “As-salamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” [30].

All prayers are performed by observing certain principles. These principles are as follows: Intention changes in all prayers. Whatever prayer is to be performed, it should make an intention. In the first rak’ah of all prayers, the prayer Subhanaka is read before Fatiha and “Auzu basmala”[31] is drawn. In sunnah prayers, Fatiha and additional suras are recited in each rak’ah. In contrast, only Fatiha is recited in the third and fourth rak’ahs of obligatory prayers. In all prayers, Tashahhud, Durood e Ibrahim, and Rabbana duas are read in the last sitting, that is, in the sitting where the greeting will give.

In Islam, some behaviors are considered ugly if they are done during prayer. These are as follows: turning the head slightly to one side, turning the eyes to the right or left or up and down, yawning, praying when one needs to go to the toilet, leaning on, and doing things other than prayer.

Finally, some situations invalidate the prayer. These can be summarized as follows: behaving that gives the impression that one is not praying, talking, leaving any of the obligatory prayers without an excuse, eating and drinking, trying to cough without an excuse, laughing, fainting, the mind goes away, groaning, sunrise while performing the Fajr prayer.


[1] An’am, 92; Muminun, 9; Al Ma’arij, 35.

[2] Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasulhu: I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I also testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.

[3] Muslim, Faith, 137.

[4] Morning, Noon, Asr, Evening, Isha.

[5] Muslim, Faith, 259.

[6] Fard prayers are the prayers that every intelligent and adolescent Muslim must perform.

[7] The Hanafi school is at a level between fard and sunnah, in which Allah strictly orders the decree of wajib to be obeyed, like the obligatory prayers. According to other madhhabs, wajib is at the same level as fard.

[8] Nafl prayers are prayers that are performed sincerely without any obligation.

[9] The qaza or qadha prayer (missed prayer) is the correct repetition of the sunnah or supererogatory prayers that have been broken.

[10] Tahajjud prayer is the prayer performed in the 1/3 of the time left to the morning prayer after sleeping 2/3 of the time between the night prayer and the morning prayer.

[11] The mid-morning prayer is performed at the first mid-morning time, approximately 40-50 minutes after the sunrise after the sun rises and rises five degrees (the length of a spear) and the time for karahah comes out.

[12] Istikhara prayer is the prayer performed for Allah to show the Muslim the right way about whether it is right to do something and to guide the Muslim’s heart to the right decision.

[13] Khusuf prayer is the prayer performed alone after the lunar eclipse.

[14] Awwabin prayer is the prayer performed after the evening prayer or in the time of mid-morning.

[15] Hajat prayer is performed by Muslims who have a wish in their life or in the hereafter to realize these wishes.

[16] Rak’at: A part of the prayer consisting of one standing, one ruqoo (bowing), and two prostrations (sajdah).

[17] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed the sunnah prayers before and after the obligatory prayers and recommended them to his ummah.

[18] Witr prayer is the prayer performed as the end of the night prayers.

[19] Marginani, al-Hidaye, I, 102.

[20] Bukhari, Wudu, 2; Ibn Majah, Taharet, 47.

[21] It is intended as “I intend to make wudu for Allah.”

[22] Bismillahir rahmânir rahîm: In the name of Allah, Rahman (who has infinite mercy towards everyone) and Rahim (who has endless mercy only towards Muslims in the hereafter).

[23] Kâsânî, Bedâî’, I, 23-25.

[24] Nifas or post-natal bleeding means the fluid that comes from the woman’s uterus due to childbirth.

[25] Abu Dawud Salat, 26.

[26] Subhana rabbi al Azim: Allah, the Great (my Lord), is free from any defect.

[27] Sami Allahu liman Hamida: Allah hears those who praise Him.

[28] Allahumma Rabbana walakal hamd: O Allah! Our Lord! Hamd (thank you) is only for you.

[29] Subhana rabbi al ala: My Lord, who is great, is free from all deficient (missing) attributes.

[30] As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah: May Allah’s peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

[31] The A’uzu basmala consists of two parts. The first part is a’uzu; The second part is basmala. A’uzu means to take refuge. The original reading of the A’uzu basmala is as follows:

A’uzu billahi minashaitanir rajim (I seek refuge in Allah from the stoned and driven devil) Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem(In the name of Allah, the Beneficent,  the Merciful).