The second duty/pilar of a Muslim is the Salah – or the daily prayer. As Muslims, we pray to Allah five times a day. These prayers are spread thoughout the day and help us to remember Allah at all times. They also help us become close to Allah and do good in our lives. When we pray, we face the same point or direction in unity. This direction is towards the Ka`ba in Mekkah, Saudi Arabia.
The five prayers are called the compulsory prayers and are:
This is read in the very early morning, between dawn and sunrise. (2 units)
We pray Zuhr between midday and mid-afternoon. (4 units)
Asr is prayed between mid-afternoon and sunset. (4 units)
We pray Maghrib just after sunset. (3 units)
Isha is prayed between nightfall and dawn. (4 units)
Each prayer has a different number of units or Rak’ah in Arabic. Along with the compulsory prayers, there are prayers that Prophet Muhammad performed as extra. We too can pray these extras – they are known as Sunnah prayers. Optional prayers are known as Nafl prayers.
Muslims start to pray when they are 7 years old and shouldn’t miss any when they are 10 years old.
This table shows how the units of prayer are made up:
|2 Sunnah||2 Sunnah||4 Sunnah||—||4 Sunnah|
|2 Fard||2 Fard||4 Fard||3 Fard||2 Fard|
|—||2 Sunnah||—||2 Sunnah||2 Sunnah|
|—||2 Nafl||—||2 Nafl||2 Nafl|