How to Perform Salah

Having cleansed yourself by Wudu, you may proceed to perform Salah. Wudu is a ritual cleansing. Before you begin your Salah, however, you must make sure that you have a clean body, a clean place to pray, and that you are wearing clothing free of impurities. The minimum clothing required during Salah is:


A. For males: Any clothing that covers from the naval to the knees. It is preferable to cover the shoulders.


B. For females: Any clothing that covers all of the body (including the head) except the face, hands, and according to Imam Abu-Hanifah the toes and a portion of the front of the feet.


The way to offer Salah is:

1.          Stand upright facing the direction of Al-Ka'bah.  This position is called Qiyaam and the direction is called Qiblah in Arabic.  The Qiblah in North America is towards the east with a slight angle towards the north.


2.          Make Niyyah (intention) in your heart for the prayer you want to pray.



3.          Raise your hands to your ears and say: "Allahu Akbar.” This means: (Allah is the Greatest). This is called Takbiratul Ihram

4.          Now place your right hand on top of your left hand on the chest and look downward to the place where your forehead will touch the ground in the Sujood (prostration) and recite silently:

"Subhanaka allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabara kasmuka wa ta'ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuka."


    سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك،  وتبارك اسمك، و تعالى جدك، ولا إله غيرك 


This means: “O Allah, how perfect You are and praise be to You. Blessed is Your name, and exalted is Your majesty. There is no god but You.” [Only recite this supplication, Subhanaka, at the beginning of the first Rak'ah]


Then recite silently:  "A'udhu billahi minash shaitanir rajim."


أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم


This is called Ta'awwudh, and it means: “I seek shelter in Allah from the rejected Satan.”


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Then recite:  "Bismillahir rahmanir rahim."


This is called Tasmiyah, and it means: “In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.”


5.          After this, recite Suratul Fatihah (the opening chapter) of the Noble Qur'an:


"Al hamdu lil lahi rabbil 'alamin. Arrahmanir rahim. Maliki yawmiddin. Iyyaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'in. Ihdinas siratal mustaqim. Siratal ladhina an'amta'alaihim, ghairil maghdubi'alaihim wa lad dhallin. (Amin)"


<< الحمد لله رب العالمين، الرحمن الرحيم، مالك يوم الدين، إياك نعبد

< وإياك نستعين، اهدنا الصراط المستقيم، صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم ولأ الضا لين >


This means:

"All praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the most Gracious, the most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. You alone we worship, from You alone we seek help. Guide us along the straight path - the path of those whom You favored, not of those who earned Your anger or went astray.”


You must recite Surat Al-Fatihah in each unit (Rak’ah) of the prayer, if you pray alone.  However, if praying behind an Imam and he recites loudly, then it is not necessary for you to recite it.


6.          Now recite any other passage from the Noble Qur'an.

For example:  "Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

Qul hu wal lahu ahad, allahus samad, lam yalid wa lam yulad, wa lam ya kul lahu kufuwan ahad."


< بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم >

< قل هوا لله أحد،الله الصمد، لم يلد و لم يولد، و لم يكن له كفوا أحد >


This means:

“In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.  Say, He is Allah, the One. Allah is Eternal and Absolute. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal unto Him.”

7.          Now bow down saying: "Allahu Akbar" and place your hands on your knees and say silently: "Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim." This means: (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) three times.  This position is called Rukoo'. Keep your head in line with your back, and look downward to the place of Sujood. (See step 9)

8.          Stand up from the bowing position saying: "Sami'Allahu liman hamidah" (Allah hears those who praise Him)"Rabbana lakal hamd." This means: (Our Lord, praise be to You).

9.          Prostrate on the floor saying:  "Allahu Akbar" with your forehead, nose, palms of both hands, your knees, and toes all touching the floor.  Then recite silently: "Subhana Rabbiyal A'la."

(How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest) three times. This position is called Sujood. Keep your arms away from the sides of the body and the ground.

10.        Sit up from the floor saying Allahu Akbar. Sit upright with your knees bent and palms placed on them and say: “Rabbighfir li.”


رب اغفر لي

 This means:

“O my Lord! Forgive me.”


Say "Allahu Akbar" and again prostrate in the Sujood position. Recite "Subhana Rabbiyal A'la" three times. Sit up from this position saying "Allahu Akbar"

This completes the first Rak'ah or unit of Salah.  Now stand up for the second Rak'ah and perform it in the same way, except that you do not recite Subhanaka at the beginning, and after the second Sujood (prostration) you sit on the left leg while keeping the right foot upright and put your right hand on the right thigh, with all fingers together in a fist except the index finger. Stick the index finger straight out. Put your left hand on the left thigh. Now recite Tashahhud silently:

  التحيات لله  والصلوات  والطيبات، السلام عليك أيها النبي  ورحمة لله

وبركاته، السلام علينا و على عباد الله الصالحين، أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وأشهد أن محمدا عبده و رسوله. 


"At-Tahiyyatu lillahi              This means: “Greetings, prayers and

was- Salawatu wat-Tayyibatu.              goodness belong to Allah.

As-Salamu ' alaika                                                Peace be on you,

ayyuhannabiyyu                                                               O Prophet

wa rahmatullahi                                          and the mercy of Allah

wa barakatuhu.                                                    and His blessings.

Assalamu 'alaina wa’ala                              Peace be on us and on

ibadil-Lahis -Salihin                      the righteous servants of Allah

ash hadu al-La ilaha                                           I bear witness that

il-Lal lahu                                                there is no god but Allah,

wa ash hadu anna                                           and bear witness that

Muhammadan abduhu                          Muhammad is His servant

wa rasuluhu."                                                        and Messenger.”


In a three-Rak'ah Salah (as in Maghrib) or a four-Rak'ah Salah (Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha) you stand up for the remaining Rak'ah(s) after you have done Tashahhud. For a two-Rak'ah Salah you remain seated after Tashahhud and then recite silently Assalatul-Ibrahimiyah:


اللهم صل 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، في العالمين إنك حميد مجيد.


"Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin            “O Allah, let Your mercy come upon Muhammad

Wa 'ala ali Muhammadin                                 and the family of Muhammad

Kama sallaita 'ala Ibrahima                             as You let it come upon Ibrahim

wa 'ala ali Ibrahima                                           and the family of Ibrahim

wa barik 'ala Muhammadin                             O Allah, bless Muhammad

wa 'ala ali Muhammadin                                  and the family of Muhammad

Kama barakta ' ala Ibrahima                          as You blessed Ibrahim

Wa ' ala ali Ibrahima                                         and the family of Ibrahim.

Fil a'lamina Innaka                                           Truly You are

hamidun Majid."                                               Praiseworthy and Glorious.”


After this say silently: "Allahumma inni a'udhu bika min adhabi jahanam wamin adhabil qabri wamin sharri fitnatil mahya wal mamat wamin sharri fitnatil masihid dajjaal. Rabbi-ghfir li waliwalidayya, rabbi-rhamhuma kama rabbayani saghira."


اللهم إني أعوذ بك من عذاب جهنم، و من عذاب القبر، و من فتنة المحيا و الممات، و من فتنة المسيح الدجال، رب اغفر لي  و لوالدي  رب ارحمهما  كما ربياني  صغيرا.

This means: “O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the torment of the Hellfire, from the torment of the grave, from the trials and afflictions of life and death, and from the deception of the False-Christ. O my Lord! Grant me and my parents forgiveness, and bestow Your mercy upon them, just as they brought zme up when I was small.”

11.        Now turn your face to the right saying: "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah" (peace and the mercy of Allah be on you) and then to the left repeating the same words.

This completes the two-Rak'ah Salah.


In the three or four-Rak'ah prayers (Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha) the whole procedure is repeated in the remaining Rak'ah(s), except after Tashahhud, you say "Allahu Akbar" and  stand up and only recite Surat Al-Fatiha in Fard prayers and no other Surah, then continue doing the rest of the actions as you have done before (Rukoo', rising, Sujood).  Then stand again for the fourth Rak'ah. 


Also, in the last Rak'ah of any prayer, after you have made your Sujood, sit up and silently recite both Tashahhud and Salatul Ibrahimiyyah. At the end of any prayer, you must finish by making Tasleem.

When to Recite Aloud or Silently:

During obligatory Fajr prayers, you recite the Qur'an aloud in both Rak'ahs. You also recite the first two Rak'ahs of the obligatory prayers of Maghrib and 'Isha aloud as well. 


However, the third and fourth Rak'ahs are always recited silently during obligatory prayers.  Also, in the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, the recitation is always silent for all four Rak'ahs.


Furthermore, the one who leads Jumu'ah prayers (Friday prayer in place of Dhuhr) will recite the Qur'an aloud.