By Editorial Staff
We, as Muslims, have to purify ourselves before offering prayer. Therefore, a Muslim is required to follow certain purification procedure known as wudu’ (ablution). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah does not accept prayer of anyone of you if he does hadath (passes wind) till he performs the ablution (anew). (Al-Bukhari)
But before ablution, you have to perform Istinja’ whenever one passes impurity from any of passages (front & back). One can use either stone (tissue in modern times) or water. To perform it with water is preferred. The best is to combine both water and tissue, first by wiping with the tissue and then washing.
How to Perform Istinja’
First it is preferred to use toilet paper three times. If Istinja’ is being done on a hot day, then the person should start from the front to the back and then from the back to the front and the third time from the front to the back. If Istinja’ is being done on a cold day, then he should begin from the back to the front.
The female would always wipe first from the front (part closest to the vagina) wiping towards the back, and with the second stone (tissue) wiping from the back to the front and so on.
Then, one should wash both his/her hands in case of any impurity that could be on the skin.
After that, one should pour water over the anus area and rub the area using the inner part of one’s fingers. One should continue until all the impurity and smell is removed. (Nur Al-Idhah, pp. 27-30)
This completes the first step of purification that precedes the prayer. Now, you are ready to perform ablution
Wudu’ or ablution means using clean and cleansing water on certain parts of the body.
How to Perform Ablution
1- Make intention (niyyah) to perform ablution for prayer.
2- Say, “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah).
3- Wash both hands up to the wrist three times and make sure that water has reached between fingers.
4- Take a handful of water; rinse your mouth three times and spit it out every time.
5- Inhale water into your nostrils and then exhale it, three times.
6- Wash your face three times from one ear to the other, and from the forehead to the chin.
7- Wash both your arms up to the elbows, starting with the right and then the left three times.
8- Wipe over head with your wet palms from the top of the forehead to the back of the head.
9- Wash the front and back of your ears by using your index and thumb fingers.
10- Finally, wash both feet to the ankles starting from the right, making sure that water has reached between the toes and all other parts of the feet.
Note: You do not have to repeat ablution unless it is nullified.
Note: Hadath refers to what emanates from the body of wind, urine, stool, seminal fluids, menstrual blood or post-natal bleeding.
How to Offer Prayer in Islam
There are five obligatory prayers that are offered at certain times during the day and the night. They are called Fajr (Dawn) prayer, Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer, `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer, and `Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer. These five daily prayers become obligatory once a person converts to Islam.
After performing ablution, make sure that you are covering your `Awrah (what is between navel and knees for male, and the whole body including the head except the face and hands for female). You have to make sure that your clothes and the place of prayer are free from impurities.
Now You Are Ready to Pray;
Make the intention in your heart for the prayer you want to pray.
Stand up right and face the Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah).
Raise your hands to your shoulder or ears level and say in a moderate voice “Allahu Akbar” which means Allah is the greatest.
Place your right hand over the left on your chest. Look downward at the place of prostration.
Recite the opening supplication in the first rak`ah only, “Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka.” It means, “O Allah, how perfect You are and praise be to You. Blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your majesty. There is none worthy of worship except You.”
Then recite, “A`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaitan Ar-rajim.”
Then, recite, “Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-rahim.”
Recite Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter of the Qur’an).
“Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil-`alamin, ar-rahma nir-rahiem, maliki yawmiddin, iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nastain, ihdinas-siraatal mustaqim, siraatallazina anamta alaihim, ghairil maghdoobi alahim wa ladalin.”
Bend down and place your palms on your knees (ruku`) while your head and back are straight. Look downward at the place of prostration. Then recite silently, “Subhana Rabbiyal `Azhim” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times.
Stand up from bowing (ruku`) and say, “Sami` Allahu liman hamidah” (Allah hears the one who praises Him). Then say, “Rabana Walak Al-hamd (Our Lord, Praise be to You), just one time.
Prostrate and place your forehead, nose, palms, knees, and toes on the floor (sujud) while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Then say, “Subhana Rabbiyal Al-`Ala” (How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times.
Rise from prostration while saying, “Allahu Akbar”. Sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright, and place your palms flat on your knees. Then say, “Rabb ighfir li” (O my Lord! Forgive me.)
After that, make another prostration in the same manner
Now, you complete one rak`ah (unit of prayer). Stand up while saying “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. Do it in the same manner as you did the first one, but without reciting the opening supplication.
After the second prostration of the second rak`ah, sit on your left foot and place your right foot upright. Place your palms on your thighs with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud:
“At-Tahiyatu lillahi Was-Salawatu Wat-Tayyibatu. As-Salamu `alaika ayiuh-annabiyu wa-rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Assalamu `alaina wa`ala ibadil-Lahi As –Salihin. Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasuluh.”
“All respect, worship and all glory is due to Allah alone. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the Mercy and Blessings of Allah be upon you. Peace be on us and on those who are the righteous servants of Allah. I testify that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger”.
In the three-rak`ah prayer (as in Maghrib) or the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’), after performing the second rak`ah and the first tashahhud, stand up while raising your hands and say, “Allahu Akbar” and perform another rak`ah. In case you are performing a four-rak`ah prayer, you perform two rak`ahs after the first
In case of Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, after offering two rak`ahs and reciting tashahhud, you recite “Allahumma salli `ala Muhammad wa-`ala aali Muhammad kama sallaita `ala Ibrahim wa-`ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed, wabaarik `ala Muhammad wa `ala aali Muhamad kama barakta `ala Ibrahim wa `ala aali Ibrahim innaka Hamidun Majeed.”
“O Allah! Praise Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as You Praised Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. And send blessings on Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as you sent blessings on Ibrahim, and the family of Ibrahim; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.”
After that, you turn your face the right side saying, “As-salamu `alikum wa Rahmatullh” (peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) and then to the left repeating the same words.
In case of the three-rak`ah prayer (as Maghrib), you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the third rak`ah.
In case of the four-rak`ah prayer (Zhuhr, `Asr and `Ishaa’) you recite the full tashahhud and make tasleem after the fourth rak`ah.
Times and number of rak`ahs of each prayer:
Fajr (Dawn) Prayer
From dawn to sunrise.
Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer
From noon until mid-afternoon.
`Asr (Afternoon) Prayer
When the shadow of a vertical stick equals its length to sunset.
Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer
From sunset to the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky.
`Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer
From the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky to dawn.