Salat: Daily Prayers

One of the most distinctive aspects of Muslim life is the emphasis on daily ritual prayerPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not.. Ritual prayer, called salatSalat is the ritual prayer Muslims perform five times daily: at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. While it is preferable to pray in a mosqu. with fellow believers, one may pray alone in any clean place. All Muslims pray in the direction of t..., is one of the Five Pillars of IslamThe five pillars of Islam are regular acts of worship Muslims are called upon to perform: the Shahadah (“witness” that there is no god but God and Muhammad is “the Messenger of God), Salat (“ritual prayer,” five times daily), Zakat (“purificat...; every Muslim above the age of seven is required to perform five daily prayersPrayer is the vocal or silent address to the Divine. It may consist of fixed words, spontaneous words, or rest in silence with no words at all. Some forms of prayer are accompanied with specific postures or gestures, while others are not.. The prayers punctuate the whole day: the first prayer takes place before sunrise, followed by a prayer at midday; the third is at mid-afternoon, another after sunset, and the final prayer when the sky grows dark. The salat provides a regular interruption of the day’s activities in order to focus the mind and heart on the first priority of life, service to GodGod is a term used to refer to the Divine, the Supreme being, Transcendent deity, or Ultimate reality..

Muslims prepare for prayer by performing ritual ablutions, called wudu, of hands, mouth, nostrils, face, ears, arms, head and feet and by stating their intention to pray. Facing the qiblahThe qiblah is the direction of prayer, always toward the Ka’bah in Makkah. In mosques, the qiblah is indicated by a small niche called the mihrab., the direction of MakkahMakkah (also spelled Mecca) is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the hub of the caravan trade in the Arabian Peninsula, and the site of the holy Ka’bah. After receiving the first revelations of the Qur’an on a mountain outside Makkah, Muhammad d..., a worshipper stands to begin the set of formal recited words and movements. The repetition of set words and movements makes the salat a concrete expression of the Muslim’s total physical, mental and spiritual submission to the will of GodThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities.. Each aspect of the sequence—standing with hands raised, bending forward at the waist, prostrating with toes, knees, hands and forehead on the ground, and sitting on the heels—is accompanied by a formula of praise or recitation from the Qur’anThe word Qur’an literally means “recitation.” Revealed orally to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, he recited it to his followers. These recitations collected in written form are arranged in 114 surahs, generally from longest to shortest. Muslims consi.... Salat is performed according to the practice of ProphetA prophet is one who communicates a divine message or vision, sometimes calling people to repentance or awakening, sometimes predicting future events. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all look to Hebrew prophets, including Abraham and Moses. Muslims believe ... MuhammadThe Prophet Muhammad, known as “the Seal of the Prophets,” was born in the city of Makkah on the Arabian peninsula in 570 C.E. At 40, he began to receive a series of revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. His small group of followers met with..., who, according to tradition, was taught by the angelAngels are a class of supernatural or spiritual beings, imaginatively understood to perform various functions on God’s behalf. Angels are especially described as divine messengers. Angels are common to Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. GabrielIn Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, Gabriel is an archangel. In Christianity, Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus. For Muslims, Gabriel is the angel who conveyed God’s message to the Prophets. He recited the Qur’an to Muhammad....

Muslims are called to pray wherever they are, as long as the place is clean; only the Friday Jum’ah prayer must be performed in a masjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... or with a community. Today’s Muslims have new technological advances to enable the regular performance of prayer, whether in the masjid, at work, school, or home: DVDs enable new MuslimsNew Muslims are those who have recently embraced Islam. Some Muslims do not speak of “converts” to Islam, since the language of “conversion” carries negative and coercive connotations and because of the belief that all people are ‘born Muslim’... and children to learn how to pray; computer programs and websites allow Muslims to calculate the proper prayer times; software for the personal computer includes automatic prompt that sounds an audio adhanThe adhan, also called azan or the call to prayer, is called out by the muezzin five times each day to all Muslims within hearing distance. Contained in this call is the shahadah, the "witness" to the two fundamental convictions of Muslim religious belie... five times daily, making it easier for Muslims to observe their prayers in the workplace.

Performance of extra prayers is not obligatory, but it is a recommended sign of devotion. Ritual prayer is also not the only kind of prayer in IslamIslam in Arabic literally means “submitting” or “submission.” One who submits or surrenders his or her will to God is called a Muslim. While the whole of God’s creation is described as being inherently Muslim, human beings must choose whether to...; after salat has been performed, or at any other time, Muslims may sit with uplifted palms and pray a du’a or individual prayer of petition and praise. Sometimes these prayers are preceded by reciting praise formulas thirty-three times, or the 99 Beautiful Names of God, for which a rosary, called a masbaha, is used. Prayer is a central pillar of Muslim life, both for the individual and the larger Muslim community.

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