Prayer or Salah as it is commonly known is the second pillar of Islam. Unlike followers of other religions, Muslims are supposed to pray numerous times a day at specific pre-set times. There are five prayers that Muslims have to perform each day and they include: Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayer.
There is a specific pre-set time for each of these prayers as shown below:
Fajr Prayer: When the morning light appears till sunrise
Dhuhr Prayer: Midday.
Asr Prayer: Late afternoon till sunset.
Maghrib Prayer: Just after the sun sets till when the red light disappears.
Isha Prayer: After the red light disappears till late in the night before Fajr.
Each prayer usually takes an average of 5 minutes to complete though one may lengthen the prayer as they wish.
The command to perform salah five times a day was given to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his journey to heaven which is known as Isra Wal Miraj. Each and every Muslim is required to perform these five daily prayers and failure to do so is considered a sin and tantamounts to disobedience to Allah.
Muslims all around the world perform salah in the same uniform manner. During Salah, parts of the Quran are recited and a number of various supplications are recited in the Arabic language. Muslims also have to face the Qibla when praying. The Qibla is towards the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia facing the Kaaba to be specific.
Before performing prayer, every Muslim is supposed to perform ablution or wudu as it is commonly referred to in Arabic. Wudhu is meant to give a feeling of spiritual and physical cleanliness to individuals before they start performing salah.
Muslims are advised to teach their children Salah right from a young age so that the children are well acquainted with how it is performed by the time they are accountable for their deeds, and that is usually when they reach the adolescent stage.
The benefits of performing prayers during their stipulated times cannot be overstated. From providing a platform for doing physical exercises to providing relief for the soul, Salah is very vital to the well-being of Muslims.
Prayer is supposed to impose a sense of God-consciousness in every Muslim that will, in turn, help Muslims stay away from sin. If performed correctly and with utmost care, a Muslim will not feel comfortable committing sin knowing that they have just performed Salah or that they are about to. There are a number of verses in the Quran that emphasize the importance of Salah as a tool to avoid sin, given below is an example:
“ Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do.” (Qur’an 45:29)
Unlike the other pillars of Islam, Salah is performed on a daily basis, and in one way or another is an integral part of a Muslim’s relationship with their Lord.