IntroductionFor the practicing Muslim, prayer forms the pillars of his day. He wakes at dawn to pray, breaks at noon to pray, again in the later afternoon, again at dusk, and prays one last time before retiring to bed. He washes up briefly before prayer, and then retires to a clean spot in a room to bow and prostrate symbolically to God, turning to Him for guidance and expressing gratefulness for all God has given him.
In preparation for prayer, your patient will clean any bodily waste from his body, clothing, and area of prayer. Then he will make ablution by washing his hands, forearms, mouth and nostrils, face, wiping the top of his head and ears, and finally his feet.
The ambulatory patient may need help to the bathroom for washing up. The bedridden patient will need a pitcher of water and a basin.
A patient who is physically unable to wash up, or one who would be hurt by washing up, may instead use dry cleansing (called tayammum), in which he strikes his hands on a clean surface, and then brushes his palms over his hands and face.
Maternity nurses may note that women are excused from prayer during their periods of menstruation or post-partum bleeding.
The patient may need a clean sheet to cover with while praying. For the sake of modesty, the man will cover at least from the waist to the knees, and the woman will cover her entire body except for the face and hands.
Facing the Ka'aba
The Muslim prays facing in the direction of the Ka'aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This is a small, square house of prayer which was built by the prophet Abraham. This symbol of monotheism and the unity of mankind is the most ancient house of prayer of the monotheistic faith.
In some cases, the incapacitated patient might require physical assistance in positioning his chair or bed in the direction of the Ka'aba for prayer.
Bowing & Prostrating
As mentioned above, bowing and prostrating symbolically to God are essential parts of the Muslim prayer. If necessary, this may be done sitting, laying down, or even mentally, depending on the patient's degree of incapacitation.
While praying, the Muslim recites the Qur'an aloud or silently, praising God, bowing and prostrating to Him. All attention is directed towards the worship of God, and your patient will continue his prayer until finished. The Muslim prayer takes approximately five to ten minutes to complete.