Namaz or Salat

Ṣalāt (Arabic: صلاة‎; pl. ṣalawāt) is the name given to the formal prayer of Islam. The prayer is one of the obligatory rites of the religion, to be performed five times a day by a practising Muslim. Its supreme importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars.
Prayer is performed five times a day: at dawn (fajr), noon (dhuhr), in the afternoon (asr), at sunset (maghrib) and nightfall (isha'a)
The Islamic day begins at sundown (Maghrib).

Preparation for Namaz

Cleanliness and dress

Islam advises that the salat be performed in a ritually clean environment [Qur'an 5:6]. When praying, the clothes that are worn and the place of prayer must be clean. Both men and women are required to cover their bodies (awrah) in reasonably loose-fitting garments. The well-known saying or hadith by al-Nawawi that "purity is half the faith" illustrates how Islam has incorporated and modified existing rules of purity in its religious system.

 Ritual ablution

Before conducting prayers, a Muslim has to perform a ritual ablution.
The minor ablution is performed using water (wudu), or sand (tayammum) when water is unavailable or not advisable to use for reasons such as sickness.
Wudhu in is done according to the instructions of Allah given in the Qu'ran[Qur'an 5:6]:
"O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful."
Wudu consists of washing the hands, mouth, nose, arms, face, ears, forehead, hair (often washing the hair is merely drawing the already wet hands from the fringe to the nape of the neck) and feet three times each in that order. (It is not obligatory to wash the hair three times, once is sufficient, and men must also wash their beards and mustaches when washing the face) though there are several differences in way wudu is performed between the four accepted Sunni madhabs.

Conditions for offering Namaz

The compulsory prayer is obligatory for those who meet these 3 conditions:
  • are Muslim
  • have reached puberty
  • are of sound mind
There are 5 elements that make a prayer valid:
  • Confidence of the time of prayer. Being unsure invalidates even if the time turns out correct.
  • Facing the qibla, with the chest facing the direction of the Ka'ba. The ill are allowed leniency with posture.
  • Covering the awrah
  • Clean clothes, body, place of prostration
  • Pure from hadath (wudu, tayammum, ghusl)
  • Praying in front of a Sutrah.

 Articles of Prayer

All verbal parts of the prayer, apart from the voluntary personal prayer, must be spoken in properly pronounced Arabic. Not following the correct sequence invalidates the prayer. There are 13 articles:
[1] Having intention for prayer
The person should be conscious and aware of the particular salat that is being offered, whether it is obligatory, if it is a missed (qadha) prayer, individual or jamaat, shortened traveller's prayer etc. The explicitly verbalization of this intention is not required, though can be helpful.
It is done simultaneously with [2]
Takbeeratul-Ihram (below).
The person should think his prayer to be the Last Prayer so that he may perform the best he can.
[2] Takbeeratul-Ihram
By rising the hands up to the shoulders , fingers slightly apart Saying الله أَكْبَر (God is The Greatest) is the start of the prayer.
[3] Standing right
For the able-bodied, leaning or not standing upright invalidates prayer. If one is incapable of standing, one may sit, lay on the right side, lay on the left side, lay on one's back or as one is able to do.
[4] Reciting Al-Fatiha
Recitation of Al-Fatiha is obligated for every raka'ah.then With Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Rahim (In the name of Allah , The Most Gracious the most merciful)
Reading another surah after Al-Fatiha is also obligatory for the first 2 raka'ah for all obligatory prayers, however it is required in all raka'ah of supererogatory

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
«مَنْ صَلَى صَلَاةً لَمْ يَقْرَأْ فِيهَا أُمَّ الْقُرْآنِ فَهِيَ خِدَاجٌ ثَلَاثًا غَيْرُ تَمَامٍ»
(Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur’an, then his prayer is incomplete.) He said it thrice.
Umm Al-Qur'an (literally means the mother of the Qur'an)here refers to Al-Fatihah (The Opening).
When standing behind Imam also one should recite the Fatihah. This is based on the following hadith.
Abu Hurayrah was asked, "[When] we stand behind the Imam He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Allah, the Exalted, said, `I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.' If he says, [الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ ] (All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence.) Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.' When the servant says, [الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ] (The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.) Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.' When he says, [مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ] (The Owner of the Day of Recompense.) Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.' When he says, [إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ] (You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.) Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.' When he says, [اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ ] (Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.'). These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim and An-Nasa'i collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.'
There are many other Hadiths on this subject. Therefore, reciting Al-Fatihah, during the prayer by the Imam and those praying behind him, is required in every prayer, and in every Rak`ah.
As for the reading of Bismillah in the prayer, there are some different views whether this is necessary or not or should it be aloud or silently.
It is also recommended saying Amin (O Allah! Accept our invocation) after recitation of Al-Fatihah.
Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded, that Wa'il bin Hujr said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah recite, [غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ] (Not (that) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), and he said `Amin' extending it with his voice.
Abu Dawud's narration added, "Raising his voice with it. At-Tirmidhi then commented that this Hadith is Hasan and was also narrated from `Ali and Ibn Mas`ud.
Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah would recite, [غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّآلِّينَ] (Not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray), He would say Amin until those who were behind him in the first line could hear him.
Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith with the addition, "Then the Masjid would shake because of (those behind the Prophet ) reciting Amin. Also, Ad-Daraqutni recorded this Hadith and commented that it is Hasan.
[5] Ruku'
Ruku' is bowing the body until the palms are on the knees. Ruku should be such that when a person is bowing, his back should be erected at an angle at which poured water may not fall from it (means at 0' back w.r.t 270' legs) Stopping means all major body parts including arms, wrists, head, legs stop - as long as saying "sub'han-Allah". If the body still moves, stopping is not done. An additional option is to read 3 times سبحان ربى العظيم و بحمده (Glory to my Lord, the Most Magnificent Most Praiseworthy).
[6] I'tidal and stopping
I'tidal is standing again after ruku'. While the body is raising up, an additional option is to read سمع الله لمن حمده (Allah Listens to him who praises Him). During standing, an additional option is to read ربنا لك الحمد ملء السموات وملء الأرض وملء ما شئت من شئ بعد (Our Lord, to You is due all praise...). The body must stop as long as saying "subhanallah" Then after that say "Allah Akbar" (Allah is the Greatest) and raise hand to the shoulders as person did previously at the start and then go to sajda.
[7] Prostration [Sajdah]
Prostration involves putting the following parts of the body - the bare forehead, both palms, both knees, the base of the toes of both feet - on the place of prostration. The forehead must be bare; a covered forehead invalidates prayer. An additional option is to read 3 times سبحان ربى الأعلى و بحمده (Glory to my Lord, the Most High Most Praiseworthy). There are 2 prostrations, the second is done after sitting between 2 prostrations (as [8] below).
[8] Sitting between 2 prostrations
During the sitting between the two prostrations, an additional option is to recite: " Allahummaghfirli, warhamnii, wajburnii, warfa'nii, warzuqnii, wahdinii, wa'afinii, wa'fu'annii" Oh Allah Forgive Me, Have mercy on me, ...
[9] Final Tashahhud
At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu was-salamu 'alayka ayyuha Annabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala `abadillahi assaliheena Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah Wa Ash-hadu anna Mohammmedan 'abduhu warasuluhu.

SHIAS ADD: Ash-hadu anna Ali an Wailu ullah in tashahud in line with the holy tradition (hadith) "Whereever one says La-ilaha il'lallah and Muhammadun Rasool'ullah togather, one MUST immidiately say Ali (as) Ameerulmomineen and Wali'ullah All greetings, blessings and good acts are for You, my Lord. Greetings to you, O Prophet, and the mercy and blessings of Allah. Peace be unto us, and unto the 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.

[10] Sitting for Final Tashahhud
The final Tashahhud must be done while sitting.
[11] Greetings for Prophet Muhammad and for Prophet Abraham
Required portion: At least by saying اللهم صلى على محمد. Allaahumma salli 'alaa Muhammadin O Allah, bless our Muhammad Recommended portion:
اللهم صلى على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما صليت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم
وبارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما باركت على إبراهيم وعلى آل إبراهيم
فى العالمين إنك حميد مجيد

Allaahumma salli 'alaa Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Muhammadin Kamaa sallaita 'alaa Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed Alaahumma baarik 'ala Muhammadin wa 'alaa ali Muhammadin Kamaa baarakta 'alaa Ibraaheema wa 'alaa ali Ibraaheema Innaka hameedun Majeed

O Allah, bless our Muhammad and the people of Muhammad As you have blessed Abraham and the people of Abraham. O Allah, be gracious unto Muhammad and the people of Muhammad As you were gracious unto Abraham and the people of Abraham. Surely you are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.

[12] First greeting
Greeting "peace be upon you" to the right side. At least with السلام عليكم, at best السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
[13] Second greeting
Greeting "peace be upon you" to the left side. At least with السلام عليكم, at best السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Performance of Namaz

Muslims performing sal'at
Salat is performed in "units" of prayer called raka'ah. The 3rd to 8th articles listed above makes one raka'ah. These are repeated for every raka'ah. At the last raka'ah, the rest 9th to 12th articles is completed. (Note: For more than 2 raka'ah prayers, an additional option is to sit for Tashahhud on the second raka'ah.) Different salat have different numbers of prescribed raka'at.
The salat must be performed with sincere devotion (khushoo), otherwise it is considered invalid. Salat is performed facing the direction of qibla (i.e. towards the Kaaba in Mecca), to the best estimation of the musallee if there is no certain way to determine the correct direction.
The musallee begins the prayer by standing in qiyaam, facing qibla and silently reciting the niyyah (intention to pray) for the specific salat he is about to make. He then raises his hands and speaks aloud the takbir.
Important positions during salat.
For fard as-salat, the first raka'ah commences with the optional recitation of one of the opening supplications followed by the first chapter of the Qur'an, al-Fatihah. For subsequent raka'at and other types of salat, each raka'ah commences with al-Fatihah. During the first two raka'ah, following the recitation of al-Fatihah any other chapter or several verses of the Qur'an are additionally recited (qira'at) while in the standing position before the musallee moves into the bowing position (ruku').
After one raka'ah is complete (and on every subsequent odd raka'ah), the musallee returns from the prostrate position (sujj-ud ) back to the standing position to begin another raka'ah. On every second raka'ah, he first moves from sujj-ud to an upright sitting position (jalsa) and recites the first portion of a supplication known as the tashahhud, before returning to the standing position to begin the next raka'ah.
On the final raka'ah the musallee moves to the jalsa from the sujud position and recites the complete tashahhud. Sunni Muslims then conclude the prayer by turning their face toward the right shoulder and then toward the left shoulder, each time saying a salutation (taslim) to the angels that take note of your good (right shoulder) and evil (left shoulder) deeds.
After the salat is completed it is common (but not compulsory) for Muslims to offer a supplication (du'a) to God. This supplication, which essentially gives Muslims an opportunity to ask God for forgiveness and blessings, can be offered in any language.

Types of salah

Salah may be classified into four categories of obligation: fard, wajib, sunnah and nafl. 

Wajib salat
Wajib As-salat are compulsory, non-performance of which renders one a sinner. However the evidence of the obligation is open to interpretation, with some of the madhab saying it is obligatory while others saying it is optional. To deny that a fard salah is obligatory is an act of disbelief while denying the obligation of a wajib salah is not disbelief. There are some who believe that as the 5 prayers are obligatory, it automatically renders all other prayers optional.


Witr is performed after the salah of isha'a (dusk). Some Muslims consider witr wajib while others consider it optional. It may contain any odd number of raka'ah from one to eleven according to the different schools of jurisprudence. However, Witr is most commonly offered with three raka'ah.
To end prayers for the night after isha'a, the odd numbered raka'ah must have the niyyah of "wajib-ul-Lail", which is mandatory to "close" one's salat for that day.


Eid salat is performed on the morning of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. The Eid prayer is most likely an individual obligation (fard al-ayn), though some Islamic scholars argue it is only a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah). It consists of two raka'at, with six takbirs offered before the start of the first raka'ah and five before the second. After the salat is completed, a sermon (khutbah) is offered. However, the khutbah is not an integral part of the Eid salat.The Eid salat must be offered between sunrise and true noon i.e. between the time periods for Fajr and Dhuhr.

 Sunnah salat

Sun'nah sal'ah are optional and were additional voluntary prayers performed by Prophet Muhammad—they are of two types—the 'Sun'nah Mukkaddah', those practiced on a regular basis which if abandoned cause the abandoner to be regarded as sinful by the Hanafi School and the 'Sun'nah Ghair Mukkaddah' those practiced on a semi-regular practice by Prophet Muhammad which all are agreed upon that its abandonment doesn't render one sinful.

Certain sunnah prayers have prescribed waqts associated with them. Those ordained for before each of the fard prayers must be performed between the first call to prayer (adhan) and the second call (iqama) which signifies the start of the fard prayer. Those sunnah ordained for after the fard prayers can be performed any time between the end of the fard prayers and the end of the current prayer's waqt. Any amount of extra raka'ah may be offered, but most madha'ib prescribe a certain number of raka'ah for each sunnah salah.

 Nafl salat

Nafl salat (supererogatory prayers) are voluntary, and one may offer as many as he or she likes almost any time. There are many specific conditions or situations when one may wish to offer nafl prayers. They cannot be offered at sunrise, true noon, or sunset. The prohibition against salat at these times is to prevent the practice of sun worship.

Fard As-salat

The fard As-salat are the five compulsory daily prayers, the Friday prayer (Jumu'ah) and the funeral prayer (Janazah). Non-performance of Fard as-Salat renders one a non-Muslim according to the Hanbali Sunni School, for the other Sunni schools it renders one a sinner. The denial of its compulsory status however is agreed upon by all Sunni schools to render the denier outside the fold of Islam. Fard prayers (as with all fard actions) are further classed as fard al-ayn (obligation of the self) and fard al-kifayah (obligation of sufficiency). Fard al-ayn are those actions which are obligatory on each individual; he or she will be held to account if the actions are not performed. Fard al-kifayah are actions obligatory on the Muslim community at large, so that if some people within the community carry it out no Muslim is considered blameworthy, but if no one carries it out all incur a collective punishment.
Men are required to perform the fard salah in congregation (jama'ah), behind an imam when they are able. According to most Islamic scholars, performing salat in congregation is obligatory for men, when they are able, but is neither required nor forbidden for women.

[edit] The five daily prayers

Display showing prayer times in a Turkish mosque.
I Fajr, II Dhuhr, III Asr, IV Maghrib, V Isha'a

Muslims are commanded to perform salah five times a day. These prayers are obligatory on every Muslim who have reached the age of puberty, with the exception being those who are mentally ill, too physically ill for it to be possible, menstruating, or experiencing post-partum bleeding. Those who are ill or otherwise physically unable to offer their prayers in the traditional form are permitted to offer their prayers while sitting or laying, as they are able. The five prayers are all given certain prescribed times (al waqt) in which they must be performed, unless there is a compelling reason for not being able to perform them on time.
Some Muslims offer voluntary prayers (sunna rawatib) immediately before and after the prescribed fard prayers. Sunni Muslims classify these prayers as sunnah, while Shi'ah consider them nafil. The number of raka'ah for each of the five obligatory prayers as well as the voluntary prayers (before and after).

Prayer Translated

(One rakat)
I intend to make the obligatory (Maghrib) prayer of (three) rakats, (two) aloud, (one) silent, facing the Kaaba, for Allah the Most High.

Allah is the greatest (Allahu Akbar)

Highly glorified are You oh Allah (Subhana kallah humma bi hamdaka)
And thine is praised and blessed is your name and exalted is your majesty (Wata barakas muka wata'ala Jadduka)
And there is none worthy of worship besides You (wa la ilaha ghairuk)
I seek refuge in Allah from the rejected Satan (Aoothu billahi mina shaitan ir rajim)

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful (Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim)
All praise is due to Allah (Alhamdu lillahi)
The Lord of the Worlds (Rabbil 'alamin)
The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful (Arrahmanir Rahim)
The Master on the Day of Reckoning (Maliki yaw middin)
You alone do we worship, You alone do we seek for help (Iyyaka na'budu wa Iyyaka nista'in)
Guide us on the straight way (Ihdinas siratal mustaqim)
The way of those whom You favored (Siratal lazina an'amta 'alayhim)
Not the way of those who incur your wrath (Ghayril maghzubi 'alainhim)
Nor of those who go astray. (Walad hallin)
Amen. (Amin.)

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful (Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim)
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only (Qul huwallahu Ahad)
Allah, the Eternal Absolute (Allahus Samad)
He begetteth not, nor is he begotten (Lam yalid walam yulad)
And there is none like unto Him (Walam yakul lahu kufu wan ahad)

Allah is the greatest (Allahu Akbar)
Glory to my Lord the Great, (Subhana Rabbiyal 'Azim)
Glory to my Lord the Great, (Subhana Rabbiyal 'Azim)
Glory to my Lord the Great (Subhana Rabbiyal 'Azim)
Surely Allah hears whoever praises Him (Sami' Allahu Liman Hamida)
Our Lord, all praise belongs to You (Rabbanaa lakal hamd)
Allah is the greatest (Allahu Akbar)
Glory to my Lord the Most High, (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Glory to my Lord the Most High, (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Glory to my Lord the Most High (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Allah is greater (Allahu Akbar)
Oh Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me (Alla-hummagh-firl war'hamni)
Allah is greater (Allahu Akbar)
Glory to my Lord the Most High, (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Glory to my Lord the Most High, (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Glory to my Lord the Most High (Subhana Rabbi yal A'la)
Allah is greater (Allahu Akbar)
All good whether rendered by speech, by prayer, by deed, or by worship is for Allah only (Attahiatu lilahi wasalawatu watayibatu)
Peace be unto you oh Prophet (Assalamu alayka ayuhannabiyu)
and the mercy and blessings of Allah (wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu)
Peace be unto us and the righteous servants of Allah (Assalamu alayina wa ala ibadillahissalalihiyn)
I bear witness that there is no God except Allah (Ash hadu an la ilaha illal lahu)
And Muhammad is His slave and Messenger (wa ashadu anna Muhammadan 'Abduhu wa Rasuluah)
Oh Allah, bless Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad (Allahumma salliy ala Muhammadin wa ala aali Muhammadin)
As you blessed Abraham and the followers of Abraham (Allhuma salaita ala Ibrahima wa'ala ali Ibrhaima)
Oh Allah, praise and venerate Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad (Allahuma barik Muhammadin wa ala aali Muhammadin)
As you praised and venerated Abraham and the followers of Abraham (Kama barkta ala Ibrahima wa ala aali Ibrahima)
In the worlds, surely You are praised and magnified (Inaka Hamidon Majid)
Amen (Amin)
Peace be unto you and the mercy of Allah, (Assalamu alai kum wa rahmatu Allah)
Peace be unto you and the mercy of Allah (Assalamu alai kum wa rahmatu Allah)