How to Offer Salah (Prayer): A Comprehensive Guide

How to Offer Salah (Prayer): A Comprehensive Guide

Jan 31st, 2020    |    Islam, Prayer

Salah ranks second among the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are the basic obligations that every Muslim must observe to live a life according to Islamic teachings.

Allah Subhana hu Wata’la says:

“Verily I am Allah: there is no god but I: so, serve thou Me, (only) and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise.”

(Taha, 14)

It is obligatory to learn how to offer Salah. So, every Muslim must learn the prerequisites, procedures, and requirements of prayer. Summarizing, below are the steps that elaborate in detail.

Prerequisites of Prayer

Prerequisite refers to the set of practices that must be carried out before performing a certain act. For example, reading a manual before starting driving on the road. Similarly, a Muslim, who is willing to perform the prayer, has to practice following prerequisites. Otherwise, the prayers will be null and void.

1. Intention (Al-Niyah)

The beloved Prophet (PBUH) says:

“All actions are by intentions.”

(Sahih Bukhari: 54)

So, the Muslim must have to make the intention in his heart before performing prayer. It is practiced widely among almost all sects of Islam. Making intention is an audible or inaudible announcement of any religious ritual

2. Purification (Taharah)

Purification is the essential element that a Muslim must observe before offering prayer. This includes purification of the clothes, body, and the place where the person is supposing to perform /his/her prayer.

3. Ablution (Wudhu)

Ablution is the basic and most essential step before starting the prayer. Without proper ablution, Allah Subhan hu Wata’la didn’t accept the prayer of anybody.

Also, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) says:

“Allah Subhana hu Wata’la does not accept the prayer of any of you when you are defiled until you performed ablution.”

(Abu Dawud: 60)

The procedure of ablution consists of several disciplined steps that must be performed one-by-one in the right order. If ordered not followed, ablution will be void.

4. Covering the Body Parts

A sacred ritual must require some kind of cloth covering. So, before starting the prayer, one must have to cover his/her body as per directions from Allah Subhan hu Wata’la and His beloved Prophet (PBUH).

A. For men

Men can use any cloth that covers the body from naval to knees. However, it is recommended to shoulders as well. Moreover, almost all Islamic scholars are agreed to cover man’s head during prayer.

B. For women

Women must have to cover the whole body with a proper cloth except face, hands, and the toe and a small portion of the feet.

5. Facing the Kaba

It is obligatory to face the Kaba for those who can see it, and those who cannot see must face its direction.

On the other hand, if someone is at a place where it is hard to measure the accurate direction of Kaba then s/he can use common sense to assess the direction. His prayer will be accepted. In Sha Allah.

Moreover, once you have started your prayer facing the right direction, it doesn’t matter if your direction is changed in the airplane, train, and ship, etc.

Procedure of Prayer

The procedure of performing prayer also includes some hierarchal steps that are observed at a certain pace and orderly manner. However, men and women have some steps different than each other while offering prayer. Let’s learn about them.

For Men

Men offer prayers in a way that differs slightly from women. Below are the steps for men prayer procedure:

  • Stand upright and face the Qibla direction.
  • Utter the intention.
  • Now raise your hands to the ears and keep the palms in Qibla direction.
  • Fold your hands under the naval and recite “San’a, Fatiha, and any small surah” from the Holy Quran.
  • After recitation completed, bow down while holding your knees.
  • Now stand up, leave your arms free, and recite “Tasbeeh.”
  • The last step is to perform “Sajdah.”
  • Afterward, sit, keep buttock on left feet, and keep the right feet upright.
  • Do the second “Sajdah.”
  • After repeating the same procedure and second raka’t sit down like step viii.
  • After reciting “Durood” and “Dua”, turn your head to the right and say “Tasleem.” Repeat it on the left side as well.

For Women

Prayer procedure for women is as follow:

  • Stand up facing the Qibla direction.
  • Utter the intention.
  • Raise your hands to the shoulders with palms facing the Qibla direction.
  • Recite the “San’a, Fatiha, and any other Surah” from the Holy Quran.
  • Say “Allah hu Akbar” and bow while holding your knees.
  • Now stand up and recite “Tasbeeh.”
  • Afterward, go to “Sajdah” and recite “Tasbeeh.” However, females should keep in mind that during “Sajdah” they shouldn’t expand elbows and do not raise their bodies above.
  • Repeat the process and offer the second “rak’at.” Now, sit by keeping buttocks on left feet and keeping right feet upright.
  • The last step is to offer “Tasleem.” Turn your head toward the right shoulder and recite “Tasleem” then turn head toward the left shoulder and repeat it.


Prayer is among the basic pillars of Islam. So, all believers are supposed to perform prayer five times a day. Allah Subhana hu Wata’la made it compulsory for all Muslims. Let’s pray that Allah Almighty grant us enough will to offer all prayers in time. Ameen.

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