There are five daily prayer timings. Formal prayers can be done during a window of time between the start of one prayer and the start of the following prayer.
When I embraced Islam and was first learning how to pray, I tried to learn from a little prayer booklet I found in a bookstore. It was the only way available to me, as I didn't know any other Muslims and was not part of a Muslim community. I held the booklet as I prayed, and tried to pronounce the words and do the movements as outlined.
- Make sure your body and place of prayer are clean. Perform ablutions if necessary. Make the intention to perform your obligatory prayer.
- Standing, raise hands up and say "Allahu Akbar" (God is Most Great).
- Standing with hands folded over chest, recite the first chapter of the Qur'an in Arabic. Then recite any other verses of the Qur'an that you would like.
- Raise hands up, saying "Allahu Akbar." Bow, reciting three times, "Subhana rabbiyal adheem" (Glory be to my Lord Almighty).
- Rise to standing while reciting "Sam'i Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal hamd" (God hears those who call upon Him; Our Lord, praise be to You).
- Raise hands up, saying "Allahu Akbar." Prostrate on the ground, reciting three times "Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala" (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High).
- Rise to a sitting position, saying "Allahu Akbar." Prostrate again in the same manner.
- Rise to a standing position, saying "Allahu Akbar."
- This concludes one rak'a (cycle or unit of prayer). Begin again from Step 3 for the second rak'a.
- After two rak'as, one remains sitting after the prostrations and recites the first part of the Tashahhud in Arabic.
- If the prayer is to be longer than these two rak'as, one now stands up and begins again to complete the prayer, sitting again after all rak'as have been completed.
- Recite the second part of the Tashahhud in Arabic.
- Turn to the right and say "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah" (Peace be upon you and God's blessings).
- Turn to the left and repeat the greeting. This concludes the formal prayer.
Today, there is no need for you to bumble along with a prayer book. Interactive websites and software provide audio, slideshow, and video instruction in the Islamic prayers. Listen to the Arabic pronunciation, and follow along step-by-step with the movements of the prayer.
Websites/Software to Learn the Prayers:
Muslims observe five formal prayers each day. The timings of these prayers are spaced fairly evenly throughout the day, so that one is constantly reminded of God and given opportunities to seek His guidance and forgiveness.
- Cybersalat: Freeware multimedia computer program to teach Islamic prayer. Runs on Windows and includes color graphics of the postures of prayer, Arabic pronunciation, English translation and transliteration, and more.
- Learn How to Pray: Multimedia prayer presentation. Each step is explained in English, accompanied by the audio Arabic recitation and the visual posture of the different parts of prayer. All five prayers are presented entirely and separately.
Muslims observe the formal prayers at the following times:
Fajr (pre-dawn): This prayer starts off the day with the remembrance of God; it is performed before sunrise.
Dhuhr (noon): After the day's work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek His guidance.
'Asr (afternoon): In the late afternoon, people are usually busy wrapping up the day's work, getting kids home from school, etc. It is an important time to take a few minutes to remember God and the greater meaning of our lives.
Maghrib (sunset): Just after the sun goes down, Muslims remember God again as the day begins to come to a close.
'Isha (evening): Before retiring for the night, Muslims again take time to remember God's presence, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.
In Muslim communities, people are reminded of the daily prayer times through the calling of the adhan. For those in Muslim-minority communities, computerized adhan programs are available.
In ancient times, one merely looked at the sun to determine the various times of day for prayer. In more modern times, daily prayer schedules are often printed which precisely pinpoint the beginning of each prayer time. To determine the prayer times for your area, choose your ******** from the following Prayer Time tool:
Islamic Prayer Times Around the World