Prophet Muhammad: The Perfect Family Man

A Beginners Guide to Prayer in Islam

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)

Point the index finger straight in the direction of the qiblah and move it through the recitation of the Tashahhud.

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.”  

It means:

“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.”

It means:

“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

Name Rak`ahs Time
Fajr (Dawn) Prayer Two From dawn to sunrise.
Zhuhr (Noon) Prayer Four From noon until mid-afternoon.
`Asr (Afternoon) Prayer Four When the shadow of a vertical stick equals its length to sunset.
Maghrib (Sunset) Prayer Three From sunset to the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky.
`Ishaa’ (Night) Prayer Four From the disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky to dawn.


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27 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide to Prayer in Islam


Thank you so much, I have been lost and now am back I will catch up with this

Hazelene Jackson



Am Christian and I want to convert to Islam. Thanks for the beginners guide

    Younis Taha

    You are most welcome!
    Could you please message me on this link?

jonelle a smith

im in need of something mostly quaron for my self as well as a kufi an prayer rug address is 224 w polkst coalinga ca 93210 oh allah here with you can mail or come heres my phone number 5595379907 me hanefatit

vicky chaitram

Hello what is tasleem

    Younis Taha

    Tasleem is the last pillar of prayer which you do to conclude it. First, you turn your face the right side saying, “As-salamu `alikum wa Rahmatullah” (peace and mercy of Allah be upon you) and then to the left repeating the same words.

Tamanna Touhid Sheikh

While reading , i literally felt a tiny feeling of happiness in my heart, my father has been continuously nagging me and my sister to you know go in the right path, pray 5 times a day, and lean more on allah, but we didnt really listen to him in the first half and now i really want to learn how to pray and you know make time for my duties as a muslim and with allah..i am an 8th grader though and my friends, most of them are not really a practising muslim and is it weird if i am practising?.. i think i will be proud of myself if i do become a practising muslimah actually, i dont event care Bout what ppl say thats just what my mom say and i am about to follow


Thank you for the great job. It did really helped. Easy and we’ll explained for the beginners as well as appropriately done. Thank you Sir.

Gratified Muslim

A very detailed article about the Muslim prayer times. Highly appreciated!


I am highly considering converting to Islam and this has helped me a lot. I’ve only recently started praying (I intend on learning how to pray correctly and fully before converting) and this helps me so much. Thank you alhamdulillah


Basically I’m a beginner for reading Namaaz,fajr namaz I get confused about the 2 sunth 2 farz ? Do I need to repeat it


Suddenly I’ve felt nothing and I want to learn how to pray, I want to learn as much as I can about Islam. I want to feel some sort of happiness with God. I want to be a good Muslim. But I don’t speak Arabic but I want to learn. Also I don’t know where to start how to become a better Muslim.

Khermerl muhermmerd

May Almighty Allah guide you to continue what you are doing. To help us with the following steps


I’m coming new into the Islam faith after leaving it since I was a little child. I really want to learn as much as I can, I don’t know where to start.

    Younis Taha

    Dear Shade,

    Thank you for your comment. Could you please message us on our Facebook page on the following link? We’ll help you join a new group of learners. Here is the link:

    We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards,

Jamilah Bassemah

Why couldn’t I be taught this by the person who was teaching me? I was so lost and stuck feeling like I was being led only to be controlled. It was pushing me away from learning in order to strengthen my faith, and more towards learning to not believe or to combat things being taught to me the way they were being taught. Coming from a religious background some things I just knew were wrong. Being lost in personal life trials and learning some wrong doings of the person leading me they became arrogant and abusive when I refused to follow them in prayer. I could never get anyone to simply tell me what to say after the al-Fatiha until I found this and I’m thankful for it now I can finally offer prayer.

No Name

I have a question, can I learn to pray first instead of learning the alphabets and other surahs? what I mean is can I learn surahs to pray with and then learn other surahs later once I am able to recite the ones I learnt for praying?

    Younis Taha

    You Must learn how to perform prayer first. In addition, learning Surah Al-Fatihah is obligatory because reciting it during the prayer is a pillar without which the prayer is invalid. The person who cannot memorize Surah Al-Fatihah must do his best to memorize it. He or she may recite the transliteration from paper till he or she is able to memorize it. Reciting a Surah after Al-Fatihah is highly recommended. However, if the person doesn’t recite a Surah after Al-Fatihah, the Prayer is still valid.


Asalaam Alayukum,

Thanks so much for this post!! Please clarify:

“You do not have to repeat ablution unless it is nullified.” Does nullified mean that if you sneeze after wudu but before you actually start to pray, that you must re-wash? And is full wudu necessary even if you’re still genuinely clean and unsoiled since the last wudu, like the two ours between Maghrib and Ishaa?

What is the English translation of “A`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaitan Ar-rajim.” And what is the English translation of “Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-rahim.”


    Younis Taha

    ‘Alaikum al-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

    Many thanks for your question!

    “A`udhu billahi mina Ash-shaitan Ar-rajim.” means: “I seek refuge in God (Allah) from the accursed Satan.”
    “Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-rahim.” means “In the name of God (Allah), the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.”

    The partial ablution (wudoo’), becomes invalid with any of the following:

    1. Natural discharges from the private parts (both the external genital and excretory organs), such as urine, excrement and wind.Detailing things which invalidate ablution, the Qur’an states, “…or have just satisfied a want of nature.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’, 4:43) When the prophet ﷺ was informed about a man who had doubts as to whether he has passed wind or not (i.e. whether he had broken his wudoo’ or not) during the prayer, he advised, “He should not turn away or leave the prayer unless he hears a noise or smells something.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 175; Saheeh Muslim: 361)

    2. Lustfully touching the private parts with bare hands, for the prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever touches his private parts must perform wudoo’ again.” (Sunan Abu Daawood, 181)

    3. Eating camel meat: The prophet ﷺ was once asked, “Should we perform wudoo’ after eating camel meat?” he replied, “Yes.” (Saheeh Muslim: 360)

    4. Loss of consciousness because of sleep, insanity or drunkenness.

    If any of the things mentioned above occurs and you want to perform prayer, you must perform Wudu’ (Ablution).

    Things which Require a Person to Perform ghusl (ritual bath):

    1. Ejaculation with pleasure and by any means, while asleep or awake.
    2. Sexual intercourse: This involves penetration even if it does not lead to ejaculation. In fact, mere penetration of the glans into the vagina provides sufficient grounds for performing ghusl, i.e.taking a ritual bath. The Qur’an says, “If you are in a state of major impurity, then purify yourselves.”(Soorat Al-Maa’idah, 5:6)

    3. At the end of menstruation and post-natal bleeding, women must take a ritual bath (ghusl).


Am a beginner Muslim, and need to Catch up with the prayer.
Can I use English to PRAY??

    Younis Taha

    You can write down the transliteration of Surah Al-Fatihah and the Tashahhud and read them from paper till you memorize them.


May Allah accept all your prayers. Believe in Him and He will fulfill your heart’s desire.

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