The Importance of Prayer in Islam
Prayer is important, not only because it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam but because it also serves the purpose of purifying the heart and providing communication with Allah (SWT). Namaz, or prayer, follows a given ritual and each salah has its own series of repeating verses and movements (rakats) that must be carried out with intent.
Before carrying out the prayer, worshippers must first carry out the cleansing ritual, known as Wudu and ensure there is a clean space available to pray in. The Wudu ritual is necessary for ensuring the body is purified, just as salah purifies and cleanses the heart.
Although attending the mosque for prayer in congregation is preferred, it is fine to pray at home or at work and it is only considered compulsory for men to attend mosque for midday Friday prayers. Women are not obligated to attend Friday prayers in the congregation but can join if they wish. During times of special prayers, such as the prayers made on the mornings of the two Eid celebrations, the entire family is encouraged to worship together with their community.
The Process of Salah
Salah begins by standing with the chest facing towards the holy city of Mecca and declaring in one’s heart (or sometimes spoken aloud) the intention to make prayer, followed by the opening takbir of Allahu akbar “God is great”. The opening takbir is the initiation of this personal moment of prayer with Allah (SWT) and it’s important not to do anything other than focus on the moment at hand, including not talking and not eating.
The next part of the rakah is to recite the first chapter of the Qu’ran, known as the Fatiha, and this is done while still standing and facing Mecca. The first and second-time the rakah is carried out, it also includes an additional recitation from the Qu’ran. Then the takbir is repeated while moving to the low-bowing position and making praise to Allah (SWT) three times or more.
From bowing, the worshipper moves into the second standing position while speaking the phrase “God hears the one who praises him.” and making praise before speaking the takbir again and moving into the prostration position. Prostration is a kneeling position with the upper body towards the floor and contact from the knees, toes, forehead, nose and palms to the ground.
References of Allah (SWT) are recited in prostration position and there is a short pause before rising temporarily to the sitting position and moving into prostration again. After the second prostration, takbir is declared “Allah akbar” and the worshipper lifts their head to show that prostration is completed. If this is the second recitation or the final, then the worshipper moves into the sitting position, otherwise, they return to the standing position to begin again with Fatiha.
In the sitting position, a special prayer called tashahhud is spoken, this glorifies Allah (SWT) and invokes peace and prayers on the Prophet (PBUH). Should there be further rakahs, the worshipper stands, speaking the takbir, otherwise, a short supplication known as Ibrahimiyya is added, and the process of ending salah starts.
To end the salah time, the worshipper sits with the legs folded beneath them and declares “Peace and God’s mercy be upon you” once to the left and once to the right, this is known as Taslim.
Prayer is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, alongside Zakat, another important obligation of being a responsible Muslim. The charity of Zakat ensures those that are facing poverty or insecurity can receive the help and support they need and live more comfortably with their families.
Orphans in Need are established Zakat distributors and our teams are on the ground providing food and support packs to people in need across the world. Give your Zakat today and brighten the day of somebody living in destitution through no fault of their own.