Pillas of Islam


Prayer in Islam, is worship of Allah the Almighty, Praising and Thanking Him, acknowledging His Sovereignty and committing oneself to obey and remember Him at all times. It is the central part of a way of life, which is based on submission to the Owner of all.

The Muslim must seek to remember Allah at all times. He must be mindful that everything he is, everything he does, everything he knows and understands, is due to the Mercy of Allah. In acknowledging this, he remembers the fact that death lies in wait and he does not know when he will depart from this worldly life.

Essential requisites for offering Prayer

1- The worshipper must be a Muslim
2- The worshipper's clothes and body must be free from all impurities
3- The place where the Prayer is to be offered should be pure and clean
4- The part of the body between the navel and the knees of a male worshipper must be fully covered, and the whole body excepting the hands and face of a female worshipper.
5- The worshipper must face the Kaba in the Great Mosque at Mecca and the direction of Ka'ba outside Mecca.
6- The worshipper must form the Niyyat (i.e., intention) in his or her mind of the particular Prayer, Fard (Obligatory) or Sunnat or Nafl (Optional), he or she is about to offer.
7- The worshipper must observe the times and rules prescribed for the respective Prayers.
8- The worshipper must have performed the Wudu (i.e., ablution).
9- The worshipper must have performed Ghusl (i.e., the washing of the whole body), if he or she was in a state of grave impurity.

Note: In order to keep the body clean from dirt and all minor impurities and to be even ready for prayer, a Muslim must wash the private parts of his or her body with water whenever any impure matter issues from the body.

What is Wudu?

Wudu is the act of washing those parts of the body which are generally exposed.

How do you perform the Wudu?

I perform the Wudu in the following manner:
1- I make myself sure that the water with which I am going to perform Wudu is pure, clean and fresh (not used before) and its color, taste and smell are unchanged
2- I form and have the full intention of performing the Wudu for offering prayer
3- I recite "Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim" i.e., in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
4- I then wash my hands upto the wrists three times, passing the in between each other
5- I cleanse my mouth with brush or finger, and gargle with water three times
6- Then I rinse the nostrils thrice with water
7- I wash the face from the forehead to the chin bone and from ear to ear three times
8- I then wash the right hand arm followed by the left upto the elbows three times.
9- I then brush up the whole head with wet hands, pass the wet tips of the index finger inside and the wet tips of the thumb outside the ears, and pass over the other surface of the hands over the nape and the sides of the neck.
10- I then wash the feet upto the ankles, the right foot first and then the left, taking care to wash in between the toes, each three times.

The obligatory Acts in the performance of Wudu
1- Washing the face
2- Washing both the arms upto the elbows.
3- Brushing over a quarter of the head with wet hands
4- Washing both feet up to the ankles

1-If the water to be used for Wudu be stagnant, one should make sure that the cistern measures ten yards by ten yards by one foot and is full of water
2- If a person wears impermeable foot-gear after the performance of the Wudu, it is not necessary to remove it for a fresh Wudu. One may just pass over it wet fingers as if one were tracing lines on it. Travelers can take advantage of this concession for three days and three nights, others for one day and one night.

Ghusl (Bath)

Ghusl should be made in a place of total privacy and one should not face towards the Kiblah while making Ghusl. Ghusl may be performed standing or seated, preferably seated. Use sufficient water, don't skimp nor be wasteful. One should abstain from speaking while performing Ghusl. It is better not to read any Kalimah or Aayah while bathing. Be aware of these rules whilst making Ghusl.

Ghusl becomes obligatory after:
1- Sexual intercourse
2- Discharge or effusion of semen
3- Completion of menses and confinement

The obligatory condition that must be fulfilled for a valid performance of an obligatory Ghusl are:
1- To rinse the mouth thoroughly, so that all the parts are cleaned properly.
2- To rinse the nose right upto the nasal bone
3- To wash all parts of the body thoroughly, including the hair.

The best way of performing in obligatory Ghusl is:
1- The person should have the intention (Niyyat) to cleanse the body from grave impurity at the time of performing the bath
2- He or she should wash the hands upto the wrists thrice
3- Then the private parts must be washed thoroughly thrice
4- Filth must be removed, if there be any, from any of the parts of the body.
5- One should then perform an ablution
6- One should lastly wash thrice all the parts of the body, including the hair thoroughly.


When a person is sick or access cannot be had to water, one may perform what is called Tayammum in place of Wudu or Ghusl.

The essential requisites for the performance of a Tayammum are:
1- To have the intention in mind to perform the Tayammum for the removal of impurities
2- To strike pure earth lightly with the palms of both the hands
3- To pass the palms of the hands over the face once
4- To again strike lightly pure earth with the palms of both hands and rub alternately from the tips of the fingers to the elbows, the forearms and the hands.

The acts or circumstances which make the Wudu void are:
1- Answering the call of nature; discharge of semen or issue of worm or sandy stone or any impure matter from the front or the hind private parts
2- The passage of wind from the hind private part
3- The act of vomiting a mouthful of matter
4- Emission of blood, puss or yellow matter from a wound, boil, pimple, etc., to such an extent that is passes the limits of the mouth of the wound, etc.
5- Loss of consciousness through sleep, drowsiness, etc.
6- Temporary insanity, fainting fit, hysteria or intoxication.
7- Audible laughter during prayer

Same occurrences nullify tayammum also?
Yes; the same occurrences nullify Tayammum also, but in addition Tayammum is nullified as soon as the cause for performing it is removed i.e., if the sick person removers, or, if recourse has been taken to it for lack of water, and access to water becomes possible.

The following three acts are forbidden without the performance of Wudu or Tayammum as the case may be:
1- Prayer
2- Walking round the Holy Ka'ba in Mecca
3- Carrying or touching the Holy Quran

Note: Children who have not attained the age of discretion, i.e., about seven years, can carry the Holy Quran for the purpose of studying.

Does Wudu convey any inner meaning besides the cleanliness of the body?
Yes, the primary object is cleanliness or purity, but spiritual cleanliness and purity, i.e., freedom from sins which is the main object of religion. It is preferable, therefore, to recite the following after Wudu:

Allahummaj'alni minattawwabeena waj'alni minal mutatahahhireen.
'O Allah! make me from among those who repent for their sins and from among those who keep themselves pure.

Azan is the first call to Prayer
When and why is the Azan uttered?

The Azan is uttered in a loud voice to announce to the faithful that it is time for the Obligatory Prayer and to invite them to offer the same.
How is Azan recited?
Azan is recited in a loud voice by the Muezzin (the crier) facing the direction of Ka'ba in the following words which are said in the order mentioned:
(1) Allahu Akbar i.e. "Allah is Most Great" (four times).
(2) Ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allah i.e., "I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah" (twice)
(3) Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-rasoolullah i.e., "I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah" (twice)
(4) Hayya 'alas-Salah i.e., "Come to Prayer" (turning the face alone to the right and saying it twice)
(5) Hayya 'alal-falah i.e., "come to Success" (turning the face alone to the left and saying it twice)
(6) Allahu Akbar i.e., " Allah is Most Great" (twice)
(7) La illaha ill-Allah, i.e., "There is no deity but Allah (once)

Note:- The following phrase is added after item (5) in the Azan of the early morning prayer:
As-salatu khairum minannaum i.e., "Prayer is better than sleep" (to be said twice)

Obligatory (Fard) Factors in Prayer

The Obligatory Factors in a Prayer are seven in number:
1- To say takbir-i-tahrimah
2- Qiyam, i.e., standing erect and placing the right hand upon left below the navel
3- To recite some verses from the Holy Quran
4- Ruku', i.e., bowing down in such a way as to grasp the knees with the hands keeping the back in a straight line so as to for a right angle with the legs
5- Sajdah, i.e., prostrating in such a way that both the palms of the hands, the forehead, the nasal bone, the knees and the toes of both feet touch the ground; there must be sufficient space between the arms and the chest and the legs and the belly so that they do not touch each other but remain separate.
6- Qa'dah i.e., sitting down in a reverential posture, keeping the right foot erect on the toes and the left one in a reclining position under the rumps
7- To signify the completion of prayer by work or action.

Essentials (Wajib) of Prayer

The observance of the following eight points are very essential in any prayer
1- To say takbir-i-tahrima, "Allahu-Akbar"
2- To recite the opening chapter of the Holy Quran (the Fatihah)
3- To recite any of the other chapters or at least three consecutive verses of the Holy Quran
4- The recitation of the opening chapter must precede the recitation of any other chapter or three consecutive verses of the Holy Quran
5- To avoid a pause between the recitation of the opening chapter and any other chapter or three consecutive verses of the Holy Quran
6- To assume all the postures correctly, i.e., undignified haste must not be practiced in changing the postures and reasonable pauses must be observed at each stage.

Method to Perform Prayer

A Prayer consists of either two, three or four Rak'ats, and a Rak'at is performed thus:-

1- I stand erect, facing the direction of Ka'ba in Mecca, and after having the Niyyat, i.e., the intention in my mind of what prayer I am about to offer and preferably uttering it to myself;
2- I raise both of my hands upto the ears and saying "Allahu Akbar", bring them down and place the right hand upon the left below the navel.
3- I then recite:-

Subhanak-Alla-humma wa bihamdika wa tabarakasmuka wa ta'ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka
i.e., 'All Glory be to Thee, O Allah! and Praise be to Thee; blessed is Thy Name and exalted Thy Majesty; and there is none worthy of worship besides Three.'

A'oozu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajeem
i.e., 'I betake myself to Allah for refuge from the accursed Satan.'

i.e., (I begin) in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.'

d) I then recite the Opening Chapter of the Holy Quran (the Fatiha),
Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil-'aalameen ar-Rahman-ir-Rahim, Maliki yaum-id-deen, iyyakt na'-budu wa iyyaka nasta'een; ihdinas-sirat-al-mustaqeema sirat-all-zeena an'amta 'alaihim ghairil maghdoobi 'alai-him wal-lad-dalleen. Ameen!
i.e., 'All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful, Owner of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone we worship and Thee alone we ask for help. Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured, not (the path of) those who earn Thine anger nor (of) those who go astray, Amen!'

(e) I immediately follow up this by reciting some passage from the Holy Quran, which should not consist of less than three consecutive verses. For this purpose any one of the small chapters may be selected, as for instance, the chapter termed " The Unity":-
Qul huw-allahu Ahad, Allahus-Samad, lam yalid wa lam yoolad, wa lam yakum lahoo kufuwan ahad.
i.e., 'Say: He is Allah, the One-Allah, the eternally besought of all! He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.'
Note:- If a small chapter be recited, it is preferable to precede it by: " Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem,:

(f) Then saying "Allahu Akbar", I bow down in Ruku' and say thrice:-
Subhana Rabbiyal-Azeem
0 i.e., 'How glorious is my Lord, the Great!'

(g) I again assume the standing position, letting the hands remain on the sides and say:
Sami' Allahu liman hamidah.
Rabbana lakal-hamd.
i.e., 'Allah has listened to him who has praised him; Our Lord praise be to Thee.'

(h) Then saying "Allahu Akbar", I prostrate myself and perform the Sajdah, saying thrice:-

Subhana Rabbiyal-a'la.
i.e., 'All glory be to my Lord, the Most High.'

(i) I then raise myself and, sitting for a while in a reverential posture, termed Jalsah, say once:-

Allahummaghfirli war-hamni.
i.e., 'O Allah! forgive me and have mercy upon me.'

(j) I then perform the second Sajdah exactly in the same way as the first one.
This finishes one Rak'at. I then say "Allahu Akbar", and standing erect once again, repeat all that I had done in the performance of the first Rak'at with the exception of items (a) and (b), which are meant to be recited in the first Rak'at only.

(k) After the second Rak'at's second sajdah is over, I saying "Allahu Akbar, "sit down in the reverential posture called, Qa'da-tul-Oola (first sitting) or Qa'ada-tul-Akhira (last sitting) as the case may be, and recite Tashahhud alone in the former case :-

At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-salwaytu wat-taiyyabatu assalamu 'alaika ayyu-hannabiyyu wa rahma-tullahi wa barrakatuhu assalamu 'alaina wa 'ala 'ibadillah-is-sali-heen, ash-hadu an la ilaha ill-Allahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad-dan 'abduhoo wa rasooluh.
i.e., 'All reverence, all worship, all sancity are due to Allah. Peace be on you O Prophet! and Mercy of Allah and His Blessings, Peace be on us and all the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness to the fact that none is deserving of worship except Allah and I bear witness to the fact that Muhammad is His Servant and Apostle.

(l) If more than tow Rak'ats are to be performed, I, Saying Allahu Akbar", stand up again, and completing one or two Rak'ats, as the case may be, sit down in the reverential posture called "Qa'datul-Akhira, which is also obviously adopted if the prayer consists of two Rak'ats only. In the reverential posture, I recite in addition to tashahhud, the salawat,

Allahumma salli 'ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa 'ala ali say-yidina Muhammadin kam sallaita 'ala say-yidina Ibrahima wa 'ala ali sayyidina Ibrahim innaka Ham-dun Majeed. Allahumma barik 'ala sayyidina Muhammadin wa 'ala ali say-yidina Muhammadin kam barakta 'ala say-ydiina Ibrahim wa 'ala ali sayyidina Ibrahima innaka Hami-dun Majeed.
i.e., 'O Allah! Shower Thy blessings on our leader Muhammad and his descendants as Thous showeredest Thy blessings on our leader Abraham and his descendants; verily, Thou art the Praise-worthy, the Glorious. 'O Allah! bless our leader Muhammad and his descendents as Thou blessedest our leader Abraham and his descendants; verily, Thou are the Praise-worthy, the Glorious'.

(m) I then recite the following du'a:-

Allahumma inni zalamtu nafsi zulman kaseeran wa la yagh-firuz-zunooba illa anta faghfirli maghfiratan min'indika war-hamni, innaka antal-Ghafoor-ur-Raheem.
i.e., 'O Allah! I have been extremely unjust to myself and none grants forgiveness against sins but Thou; therefore forgive me Thou with the forgiveness that comes from Thee and have mercy upon me. Verily, Thou art the Forgiver, the Merciful.'

(n) I then turn my face to the right and say the salam:-

Assalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullah
i.e., 'Peace be upon you and mercy of Allah'. Then I turn my face to the left and repeat the same.

Here the Prayer is completed.

Acts which nullify a prayer

The acts that nullify one's prayer are:
1- Talking
2- Doing any three acts in succession
3- Emission of impure matter from the body or annulment of Wudu in any way.
4- Drinking or eating during prayer
5- Turning the chest away from the direction of Ka'ba.
6- Committing breach of any of the obligatory factors of a prayer
7- If the body between the navel and the knees becomes uncovered in the case of males, or any part of the body excepting the hands and the face in the case of females.

Kinds of Prayers:

There are five kinds of Prayers:
1- Fard al'-ain, i.e., the compulsory prayer that must not be missed on any account whatsoever. This obligatory prayer must be offered at any cost for if one fails to do so he or she will be liable to severe punishment. The nature of its importance is evident from the fact that if one denies its obligatory nature, he or she is classed as an unbeliever.
2- Fard al-kifayah is the kind of prayer which should preferably be offered by all those present at the time, but one at least out of the group must offer it to free the others from responsibility; for example, if any one individual from amongst the inhabitants of a locality where Death of a Muslim has taken place or from those who join the funeral procession to the cemetery offer the 'Funeral Prayer', the obligation of all concerned is fulfilled.
3- Wajib is a prayer which comes next in rank of Fard al'ain in accordance with the importance attached to if by the Holy Prophet.
4- Sunnat-ul-mu'akkadah is the class of prayer which the Holy Prophet used to offer daily without fail and has ordered his followers to do so. One is liable to be questioned for neglecting to offer the same without some very cogent reasons.
5- Sunnatu ghairil-mu'akkadah is the kind of prayer which the Prophet offered occasionally and desired his followers to do so.
6- Nafl is a voluntary prayer and it is commended for the uplift of one's soul, and for the acquirement of spiritual benefits.

Kinds of Fard prayers
1- The daily obligatory Prayers.
2- The special congregational Prayers on Fridays.