The Prayer in Islam

The Prayer in Islam

How To Perform The Prayer In Islam

In Islam, prayer is very important. The prayers, also called Salah, is the second of the 5 Pillars of Islam. So it is important that Muslims know how to pray properly.

Inshallah (God willing), this article will help you learn how to make the prayers in Islam.

The Mandatory Parts Of Prayer

Anyone who observes the Muslim prayer knows that it involves a sequence of movements. It may look very complex, but like most things in Islam, the prayer is actually quite simple.

There are several different parts to the prayer. Some parts are mandatory in order for the prayer to be valid, and some are optional.

The optional parts of the prayer are numerous. So, let’s just cover the mandatory parts for now:

  • Niyaah
  • Takbir
  • Qiyaam
  • Ruku
  • Sajdah
  • Tajlis
  • Tasleem

Niyaah: The Intention to Pray

In Islam, one’s actions are judged by one’s intentions. This means, that Allah will judge our actions based on the intentions behind those actions.

Therefore, it is important that we have the correct intention when we pray. We should not pray only because our parents make us. Or just to look good. Or to show off. We should pray to please Allah alone.

The word Niyaah means “intention” in Arabic. Before you start the prayer, you should make the following intention, quietly and to yourself. Not aloud.

Nawaytu an usaliyyah raka-atani salatul fajr lillahi ta-ala

This means:

I intend to pray two units of the dawn prayer for Allah the Most High

At this point you may not know what a unit or “rakat” of prayer is. That will be covered by the end of this article, Inshallah.


The number of units, or “raka-atin” will change depending on the prayer you are making.

Takbir: Opening of the Islamic Prayer

The Takbir is the first part of the prayer. The Muslim raises their hands and says:

Allahu Akbar

This must be said aloud, not to oneself. However, it does not have to be said Loudly.

Allahu Akbar means “Allah is the Greatest” in Arabic.

Some say the hands are to be raised to the ears. Others say to the shoulders. At this point, I suggest you follow the direction of your family or Imam.

Qiyaam: Standing For Prayer

After the Takbir, you remain standing. You place your hands over your chest, with your right hand grasping your left forearm.

This position is called Qiyam, and means “Standing.”

While in Qiyam, it is mandatory that you recite the opening chapter of the Quran, entitled “Al Fatihah.”

After Al Fatihah, you should also recite another short chapter of the Quran.

Ruku: Bowing in Prayer

After reciting Al Fatihah and another chapter, you then change to the bowing position called “Ruku.”

In this position, you bend at the waist, resting your hands on your knees. Try to keep your back straight. Then you recite, quietly to yourself:

Subhana Rabil Azeem (Glory to my Lord the Mighty)

Subhana Rabil Azeem

Subhana Rabil Azeem


You may also ask Allah for anything you wish while in this position, but it should be done quietly.

After Ruku, you return to a standing position, while saying:

Sami Allahu liman hamidah

Rabbana wa lakal hamd

This means: “Allah has heard those who praised Him. Our Lord, The Praise is for You.”

Sajdah: Prostrating To Allah In Prayer

One of the most important parts of the prayer in Islam is the Sajdah or “Prostration.”

After Ruku, you go down into a prostrating position. Place your forehead and nose on the floor with your hands to either side. You should keep your elbows off the floor.

While in this position you recite:

Subhana Rabil Ala (Glory to my Lord the Most High)

Subhana Rabil Ala

Subhana Rabil Ala

Like in Ruku, you may also ask Allah for anything you wish as well.

However, unlike Ruku, the Sajdah is done twice. After the first one, you come up to a sitting position and recite the following dua:

Allahumagh firli war hamnee

This means: “My Lord forgive me and have mercy on me.”

And then you perform the Sajdah, once again.

Rakat: Units of Prayer in Islam

Once you have done the Sajdah twice, you have now completed a full unit, or Rakat, of prayer. Different prayers require different numbers of Rakat.

After finishing your first Rakat, you must now return to the standing position (Qiyam) and make a second rakat. The second rakat is exactly the same as the first except for what happens after Sajdah.

Tajlis: The Sitting Position in Prayer

In the second rakat, you remain sitting after the second Sajdah. This position is called “Tajlis.”

While in Tajlis, you should recite the Tashahud. If you are praying the final rakat, then you should also recite the Prayer For the Prophets after the Tashahud.

The Tajlis is performed by sitting on your knees with your buttocks resting on your left foot. You right foot should be up with the toes pointed forward.

This is the Tashahud in Arabic and its translation in English:

At-Tahiyyatu lillahi At-Tayyibatus Salawatu lillah. Assalaamu Alaika ayyuhan Nabiy. Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. Assalaamu alainaa wa alaa ibaadillahis Saliheen. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa Lah wahdahu laa sharikalahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu

Its meaning in English is:

All worship is for Allah. Allah’s peace be upon you, O Prophet, and His mercy and blessings. Peace be on us and on all righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

This is the Prayer For the Prophets:

Allahumma Sali ala muhammad wa ala aali muhammad kama salayta ala ibrahim wa ala aali ibrahim innaka hamidun majid. Allahumma baarik ala muhammad wa ala aali muhammad kama barakta ala ibrahim wa ala aali ibrahim innaka hamidun majid.

And its meaning in English:

O Allaah, send prayers upon Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad, just as You sent prayers upon Ibraheem and upon the followers of Ibraheem. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty. O Allaah, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, just as You sent blessings upon Ibraheem and upon the family of Ibraheem. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.’

Tasleem: Closing the Prayer

If you are praying the final rakat of the Islam prayer, you end the prayer with the “Tasleem.” Tasleem means “To Give Peace.”

The tasleem is made from the sitting position and is done after both the Tashahud and the Prayer of Ibrahim. To make the Tasleem you turn your head to your right shoulder and say:

Assalaamu Alay kum wa Rahmatullah

And then turn your head to your left shoulder and say the same thing. At this point, the prayer is done.

Also Read:

Islamic Prayers – Times and Names

Forbidden Time to Pray

The 5 Pillars of Islam

Leave Islam Prayer and return to home page

Spread the word

35 Responses to The Prayer in Islam

  1. Assalamu ‘Alaikum,
    Could you please give me the daleel in the sunnah for all the above mentioned postures? Indeed I will be more happy to see the evidence.

    Mohammed Eliyas

    • Wa Alaikumus Salaam.

      These postures are common for most Muslims throughout the world, and I’m sure you’ve seen them yourself many times. Nonetheless, I will give you links to the daleel verifying each one, Inshallah.

      For the Niyah or “Intention” the very first hadeeth in Sahih Bukhari states: “Verily actions are judged by intentions.”

      For the initial takbeer “takbirul haraam” please read this ruling.

      For the Fatihah Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said: “There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book [i.e., al-Faatihah].” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 714).

      For standing in prayer (the Qiyaam) the following hadith proves it: ‘Imraan ibn Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I had hemorrhoids, and I asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about praying. He said: “Pray standing; if you cannot, then sitting; and if you cannot, then lying on your side.” (Narrated by Bukhari 1050)

      For the bowing position (ruku) Abu Dawood narrates that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “ndeed, the prayer of one of you is not complete until he makes an excellent ablution as Allaah has commanded him to … then he celebrates Allaah’s greatness, praises and glorifies Him, then recites the Qur’aan as much as is easy for him from what Allaah has taught him and allowed him, then says takbeer and makes rukoo’ [and places his hands on his knees] until his joints are at ease and relaxed”

      For the prostrating position (sajdah) the previous Hadeeth from Abu Dawood continues to confirm this as well: “Allaah listens to the one who praises Him and stands up straight, then says: Allaah is the Greatest and prostrates such that his joints are at rest.”

      For the sitting position and the Tashahhud, this same Hadith also explains it. It should be noted that this Hadith that I’m referring to was one in which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was teaching a man whom he saw praying incorrectly. That same hadith mentions: “When you sit in the middle of the prayer, then be calm, spread your left thigh and perform tashahhud.”

      For the final position, the salutation (tasleem) both Bukhari and Muslim report the following: “Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Alalah be upon him) said: “The key to prayer is purification, one enters it by saying takbeer (‘Allaahu akbar – Allaah is Most Great)’ and one exits it by saying tasleem (‘Al-salaamu aleikum’ – peace be upon you’).”

      Inshallah, I hope that provides enough evidence for the positions of prayer. If you have further questions, please let me know.

      And Allah knows best.

  2. I converted recently to Islam, and started praying right away. I have now found out that I was praying incorrectly, in prayers consisting of 4 rakats, I was adding the Prayer For the Prophets after the second rakat, but I wasn’t supposed to… Allah will judge our actions based on the intentions behind those actions, so should I repeat all my prayers or is it forgiven as I didn’t know?

  3. @Kristina
    I apologize for not answering in a timely manner. Actually, I’ve heard from some that it is okay to say the prayer of the prophets after both the second and fourth rakat. In fact, I am not aware of a hadith that states only to recite it in the fourth rakat. So I believe it is better to say it after both, though many do teach it should only be said after the fourth.

    Whatever the case, you should not have to redo your prayers for this.

    And Allah knows best.

    • As-Salaamu Alaikum,

      I am not a Faqih (interpreter of Islamic law) so you may want to ask others who are more knowledgeable than me. But from what I’ve learned, you must say a minimum of “As-Salaam Alaikum” and you can add the extensions “wa rahmatullahi” and “wa barakatuhu.”

      And Allah knows best.

  4. Assalamu’Alaikum bro,

    Thank you for your wonderful article. I’ve started to read your articles to improve myself and also my family recently.
    I was born muslim and my husband is revert. He started to learn and practicing Islamic way. Alhamdulillah, please pray for us to be always in the right path and Allah guidance.
    I am helping him n me to salah beautifully, but i found it a bit difficult for him and me because what i’ve been thought to recite iftitah dua for opening the salah, tashahud in longer dua, sitting between sajdah also long recitation. By reading this it will be easier for him. And easier for my kids as well.

    Jazakumullahu khairan.

    • Wa Alaikum salaam,

      Wa iyyak. Alhamdulillah, I am very grateful and humble that you are benefiting from these articles. This is what makes all of this worthwhile.

  5. Assalamu ‘Alaikum
    brother would you have the pray Intention niyat in arabic as it would help me to read in english and arabic or the book that i can purchase . i would greatfull if you could help me with this for my salah

    • Wa Alaikum salaam,

      You only have to make intention in your heart in whatever language you feel most comfortable in.

      But the Arabic would be:

      Nawaytu ‘an usaliyyah Salaatul (here you say the name of the Salaah).

    • A Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barkatuhu. I’ve read this article and I recognize all that you’ve given as the proper way of performing Salaat except the Tashahud ‘cos I’ve been taught Tashahud a little differently than what you’ve given. What I’ve learnt is given below. At-Tahiyyatu lillahi Was Salawatu Wat-Tayyibatu. Assalaamu Alaika ayyuhan Nabiyu Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu. Assalaamu alainaa wa alaa ibaadillahis Saliheen. Ash-hadu Allaa Ilaaha illal Lahu Wahdahu Laa Sharikalahu Wa-ash-hadu Anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasuluhu. I’ve been taught to raise the right index finger when reciting ‘Ash-Hadu Allah’ and bring down after ‘Illal Lahu’. Since I don’t speak arabic I’ve become confused about the right Tashahud ‘cos I’ve found more or less three different version of Tasahud. Why is it so?? Which one should be followed???

  6. I found there is a mistake in Tashahhud u have written “At-Tahiyyatu lillahi At-Tayyibatus Salawatu lillah” ., plz correct

    “At-tahiyyātu lillāhi, was-solawātu wat-toyyibātu. As-salāmu ‘alayka ayyuhan-nabiyyu wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. As-salāmu ‘alaynā wa ‘alā ‘ibādillāhis-sōlihīn. Ash-hadu al lā ilāha illallāhu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘ab,duhū wa rasūluh”

  7. Assalamu Alaikum. Indeed i’am very happy about this article. And my question is: do i say the niiyaah the way i say it when am leading a congregational prayer the way i say it while being led?

    • Wa Alaikum Salaa,

      Just make the intention in your heart in whatever language is easier for you. There’s no specific wording for it. In fact, some scholars say just knowing that you’re making Salah for the sake of Allah and for no other reason is all the niyyah you need.

      And Allah knows best.

  8. assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. jazakAllah for this beautiful article. it was very helpful. can you please tell me how to perform witr salah of esha? I am very confused about it. please mention A-Z about the witr salah just like u explained here everything very nicely about the rules of performing salah. may be you can write another article about how to pray witr salah. it would be really helpful. jazakAllah. may Allah be pleased with u.

Leave a Reply