How I perform my wudu and salah (cleansing and prayer)

Before I said my shahada (proclamation of faith), I made sure that I know the basics of performing salah (prayer.) I cannot really say I have perfected it, I am still learning how to do it right. I am posting this for those who also have just returned to the faith and for those who have no clue how Muslims pray.

Preparation

1. Before performing Salah, I prepare myself and the place where I pray.

a. I perform wudu (cleansing) to clean my body. Then I cover all of my body, including my head, except for my face, hands, my toes and a part of my feet. When I am at the masjid (mosque), I wear socks.

b. After preparing myself, I clean the area where I pray, and put away all that could distract me. Then I put my prayer mat facing the Makkah. If I am praying in a group and with men, I have to be in the prayer area for women which is always behind the men.

c. I stand upright at the edge of my prayer mat, facing Makkah.

d. Then I make Niyyah or my intention in my heart for the prayer I want to pray. This is also the time when I remind myself of the number of rakahs (units of prayer) I need to complete and if I am going to recite it silently or aloud.

      1. If it is Fajr (dawn 4:30am PH time, reciting the first two rakahs aloud),  I prepare myself for 2 rakahs.
      2. If it is Dhuhr (noon 12:00nn PH time, reciting all rakahs silently), Asr (afternoon 3:15pm PH time, reciting all rakahs silently), and Isha (night 6:45pm PH time, reciting the first two rakahs aloud), I prepare for 4 rakahs.
      3. If it is Magrib (sunset 5:30pm PH time, reciting the first two rakahs aloud), I prepare for 3 rakahs.

Before I start my salah I say, “I am praying Fajr. I am offering 2 rakahs.”

Salah

1. I raise my hands to the side of my ears and say: “Allahu Akbar” which means God is the Greatest. We call this Takbiratul Ihram.

2. I place my right hand over my left and rest them on my chest.

3. I look downward to the place where my forehead will touch the ground when I do the Sujood or the prostrations.

4. I say the Ta’awwudh. “A’udhu billahi minash shaitanir rajim.” Which means I seek shelter in Allah from the rejected Satan.

5. Then I recite the Tasmiyah. “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.” This means In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.

6. I follow it with Suratul Fatihah (the opening chapter) of the 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. Ameen.” 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.

7. Then I recite again the Tasmiyah. “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.” This means In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. And I recite any other surah (chapter) from the Quran. For example, Surat Al Ikhlas (The Sincerity): “Bismillahir rahmanir rahim Qul hu wal lahu ahad, allahus samad, lam yalid wa lam yulad, wa lam ya kul lahu kufuwan ahad.” 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.

Other short Surahs I like reciting are Surat Al Asr (The Declining Day), Surat Al Kafirun (The Disbelievers), Surat An Nas (The Mankind), Surat Ad Duhaa (The Morning Hours), Surat An Nasr (The Divine Support), Surat AlFalaq (The Daybreak), and Surat Ash Sharh (The Relief). The short surahs are usually the last surahs of the Quran.

7. Then I bow saying “Allahu Akbar” and placing my hands on my knees. Keeping my head in line with my back, and looking downward to the place of sujood. This position is called rukoo.

8. I say “Subhana Rabbiyal Adhim” which means How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme. I say this three times.

9. I stand up from rukoo saying “Sami’Allahu liman hamidah. Rabbana lakal hamd.” This means Allah hears those who praise Him. Our Lord, praise be to You.

10. I perform sujood by prostrating on the floor with my forehead, nose palms of both hands, knees, and toes all touching the floor. Since I am a woman, I have to keep my arms, legs, close to the rest of my body. I do all these as I say “Allahu Akbar.”

11. I say “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la.” This means How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest. I say this three times.

12. I sit upright from the floor saying “Allahu Akbar”. Sit upright with your knees bent and palms placed on them and say “Rabbighfir li” which means O my Lord! Forgive me.

13. Then I say “Allahu Akbar” and again prostrate in the Sujood position. I recite “Subhana Rabbiyal A’la” three times.

14. Then I stand from this position saying “Allahu Akbar”, completing the first rakah of my salah.

15. For my second rakah, I go back to my position on Step 2 where I place my right hand over my left and rest them on my chest. I look downward to the place where my forehead will touch the ground when I do the sujood or the prostrations. Then I continue from Step 6, reciting Suratul Fatihah and then a different surah. After reciting the last surah, I perform my sujood again.

16. After my last sujood, I remain seated. I sit on my left leg and I rest my hands on my thighs.

17. I put my right hand in a fist as it rests on my right thigh. I stick the index finger straight out as I recite the Tashahhud. “Attahiyyaatu lillaahi wassalawaatu wattayyibatu. Assalaamu ‘alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyi warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh. Assalaamu ‘alyna wa ‘ala ‘ibaadillaahis saaliheen. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluh.” Which means All reverence, all worship, all sanctity are due to God. Peace be upon you, O prophet and the mercy of God and His blessings. Peace be upon us all and on the righteous servants of God. I bear witness that there is no god but God alone, And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. This completes the second rakah.

18. If praying Magrib, which is three rakahs. For my third rakah, I go back to my position on Step 2 where I place my right hand over my left and rest them on my chest. I look downward to the place where my forehead will touch the ground when I do the sujood or the prostrations. Then I continue from Step 6, reciting Suratul Fatihah only. I perform my sujood again. And then I after my last sujood, I remain seated. I sit on my left leg and I rest my hands on my thighs. I put my right hand in a fist as it rests on my right thigh. I stick the index finger straight out as I recite the Tashahhud.

19. If praying Dhuhr, Asr, and Isha, which are four rakahs. For my third rakah, I go back to my position on Step 2 where I place my right hand over my left and rest them on my chest. I look downward to the place where my forehead will touch the ground when I do the sujood or the prostrations. Then I continue from Step 6, reciting Suratul Fatihah only. I perform my sujood again. I go back to Step 2 where I place my right hand over my left and rest them on my chest, I look downward to the place where my forehead will touch the ground, then recite Suratul Fatihah only. I perform sujood again. And then I after my last sujood, I remain seated. I sit on my left leg and I rest my hands on my thighs. I put my right hand in a fist as it rests on my right thigh. I stick the index finger straight out as I recite the Tashahhud.

20. After completing the number rakahs to complete for Salah, I recite Assalatul-Ibrahimiyah. I say “Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad Wa ‘ala ale Muhammad Kama sallayta ‘ala Ibraheem Wa ‘ala ale Ibraheem Fil –‘ala Meena innaka hameedun majeed Wa Barek ala Muhammad Wa ala ale Muhammad Kama barakta al Ibraheem Wa ‘ala ale Ibrahem Fil –‘ala Meena innaka hameeddun majeed” Which means O God! Exalt Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, As You did exalt Abraham and the people of Abraham. Indeed You are praiseworthy, and glorious. And bless Muhammad and the people of Muhammad. As You did bless Abraham and the people of Abraham. Indeed You are praiseworthy, and glorious.

21. Then I recite “Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min adhabi jahanam wamin adhabil qabri wamin sharri fitnatil mahya wal mamat wamin sharri fitnatil masihid dajjaal.” Which 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.

22. Then I turn my face to the right saying “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” which means peace and the mercy of Allah be on you, and then to the left repeating the same words.

Since I have not fully memorized all the Surahs except for 3: Surah Al Fatihah, Surah Al Ikhlas, and Surah Al Asr, those surahs that I am learning, I wrote them down and placed them on my prayer mat. I was told that I can do this while I am still learning.

I have recently found out that women sit differently than men. I have posted the video to illustrate how to pray but to also show the differences in posture and sitting positions between men and women.

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