Salah (Prayer) Step by Step with Illustrations and Audio


Salah (Prayer) Step by Step with Illustrations and Audio – Compiled by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah)

1-Meaning of Salah (Prayers)

As-Salah:In the Arabic language it means du’aa’ (Invocation).

As-Salah:Islamically it means to worship Allaah through certain known and prescribed sayings and actions starting with Takbeer (saying Allaahu Akbar Allaah is the Greater), and ending with Tasleem (saying: as-salaamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatul-lahi wabarakaatuh may Allaah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you).

2-The Merits of As-Salah

1-Prevents from Al-Fahshaa’ (great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.). [see Q:29/45].

2-The best of deeds after the Testimony of Faith (laa ilaaha illal-laah, Muhammad rasoulul-laah). [hadeeth ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’oud (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Bukhari (v.9; 625) & Muslim].

3-Washes out sins. [hadeeth of Jaabir (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (v1;1410)].

4-Expiates sins. [hadeeth of Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (v1;450)].

5-A light for its adherent in this Life and in the Hereafter. [hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallaahu ‘anhuma) in Musnad Ahmad (v2;169) with good chain of narration].

6-Raises in rank and removes sins. [hadeeth of Thawbaan (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (v.1; 989)].

7-One of the greatest causes to enter Paradise with the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). [hadeeth of Rabee’ah al-Aslami (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (v1; 990)].

8-Between each performance of salaat and the next performance, sins are pardoned [hadeeth ‘Uthmaan (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (v1;438)].

9-The angels will ask Allaah for Blessings and Forgiveness upon the adherent in his place of prayers. [hadeeth Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Bukhari (v.3; 330) and in Muslim].

10-Waiting for the next prayer after observing a prayer is Ribaat (keeping oneself adhering and firm on acts of obedience).[hadeeth Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in Muslim (251)].

11-The one who goes to the Mosque to perform the prayer is in prayer until he returns. [hadeeth Abu Hurairah radiyallaahu ‘anhu) in “saheeh” ibn Khuzaimah; authenticated by Al-Albani].

3-The Five Obligatory (Obl.) Prayers+Regular (Reg.)+Optional Prayers (Opt.)

Allah, the Most High, Says:

“Verily, Salah (Prayers) is enjoined on the believers- to be performed-at fixed times.” [Qur’an 4:103].

The Prayers are

PrayerTimeReg* or Opt** (before the Obligatory) UnitsObligatory UnitsReg* or Opt** (following the Obligatory) Units
Fajr (early morning); 2 Obligatory unitsdawn – sunrise2*2
Thuhr (noonday); 4 obligatory units.zawaal (sun passing its zenith) – time of next prayer (‘Asr)2* & 2*42 (2**)
‘Asr (late afternoon), 4 obligatory units.time when shadow of a vertical stick equals its length – sunset4**4
Maghrib (sunset); 3 obligatory units.sunset – disappearance of red twilight (glow) in the sky.2**32*
Ishaa’ (night); 4 obligatory unitsdisappearance of the red glow – midnight2*42*, 2*, 1*

One Unit of Prayer (Rak’ah) constitutes certain actions: standing, bowing, prostrating, sitting, and prostrating. 

If one misses an obligatory prayer due to sleep or forgetfulness, then the person must perform it a s soon as he/she wakes up or when he/she remembers it.

What Is To Be Done Before Performing Salah

  • 1-Ritual Purity (Wudhu’ or Ghusl depending on the state of impurity; see The Conditions of Salah, free PDF book)
  • 2-Clean place.
  • 3-Men to perform Obligatory Salah at the Mosque (except for a legal excuse; illness, etc.); rest of prayers at home.
  • 4-Women to perform Salah in the innermost places at home (they are allowed to pray at the Mosques, but not mandatory).
  • 5-Wearing loose clothes that does not shape the private parts for men (and extend down until above the ankle), while women cover their entire bodies except face and hands.
  • 6-Standing close to a Sutrah in front of the Musalee (person in prayer) [Sutrah: an object like a pillar, sticking or laying down on the ground, set so that no human or animal can walk in front of the person performing Salah].

General Guidelines: 

  • 1-learn direction of Qiblah & times of prayer in your location (contact closest Sunni Mosque)
  • 2-Learn the movements and shorter sentences. Practice what is to be said in prayers.
  • 3-Work to learn the Recitation of the Opening Chapter in the Qur’an (the Faatiha).

4- Performance of Salah

1-Intention (it is a determination in the heart that you are performing a particular Salah; not to be uttered).

2-Face the direction of the Qiblah (Sacred House in Makkah Known as Ka’bah). Raise your hands to the level of the shoulders, or earlobes, and say


Standing Facing Qiblah and Making Takbeer with raised voice
Standing Facing Qiblah and Making Takbeer with raised voice.

3-Place the right hand over the left on the chest. Look at the place of prostration without lowering your head:

Hands on the Chest; Right hand over the left.
Hands on the Chest; Right hand over the left.

4- Recite the Opening Invocation (du’aa) for Salah:

[ سبحانَكَ اللهمَ وبِحَمدِكَ تَباركَ اسمُكَ وتَعالَى جَدُّكَ ولا إلَهَ غيرُك ]

[Subhanaka Allaahumma wa bihamdika tabaarakas muka wa ta’aalaa jadduka wa laa ilaaha ghairuk.]

O Allaah! I declare You far removed from above all imperfection, and that You deserve all Praise. Blessed is Your Name. Your Majesty (Glory and Might) is Exalted., and there is no true God Worthy of Worship Except You.

5-Recitation of Soorat Al-Faatiha (Opening Chapter of the Qur’an): Must be recited in every unit of prayer (Rak’ah). Begin by utter the following with a low voice:

أعوذُ باللهِ منَ الشَّيطانِ الرَّجيم *** بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A’oodthu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajeem.

(I seek Refuge with Allaah from Satan, the outcast.)
(In the Name of Allaah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, I begin-)

Then you Must recite the Faatiha in every Rak’ah, pausing after each verse (aayah):


– All the praises and thanks be to Allaah, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
– The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
– The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)
– You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).
– Guide us to the Straight Way
– The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).
At the end, you must say Aameen .
Those who cannot recite the Faatiha may say instead (Subhanah Allah, Al-Hamdulillah, and la Illaah Illallaah, Allaahu Akbar, and laa Hawlah wa Laa Quwata Illaa bil-laah) which means: I declare Allaah far removed from all imperfection, and deserving all the Praise, and that there is no true God other than Allaah).

6-Rukoo’ (Bowing Down)

(i) raise the hands as described previously (see above) and say ALLAAHU AKBAR (Allaah is the Greater) while going into the bowing position.
(ii) In bowing posture, put the hands on the knees and grab them with your elbows away from your sides, and your back straightened with the head leveled with your back (see below):

Bowing (Rukoo') Position in Salah

Bowing (Rukoo’) Position in Salah

(iii) While in Bowing position one says:

“سُبحانَ رَبِّيَ العَظيم”
Subhanna Rabbiyal ‘Adheem (3 times)

Far removed from every imperfection is my Rabb (Lord), the Great. [3 times].

7-Standing Erect (Qiyaam) after Rukoo’:
(i) Rise from bowing, raising you hands to the levels of the shoulders, or earlobes, saying:

سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ
Sami’Allahu li man hamidah

Allaah hears the one who praises Him.

ii) Stand upright until one’s very parts take their positions and say:

رَبَّنَا ولكَ الحَمد
Rabbana walakal-hamd

O our Rabb (Lord)! All the praise is due to You.

8- The Sujood (Prostration) & Juloos (Sitting):

(i) Reach the ground with the hand’s first and then the knees while saying ALLAAHU AKBAR (Allaah is the Greater), and rest on your palm’s and place your forehead, nose, knees, and feet on the floor with your belly away from your thighs. Toes should be erected and directed to the Qiblah. Your arms should be away from the ground, as bellow, saying:

“سُبحَانَ رَبِِّيَ الأعْلَى” (3 مرات)
Subhaana Rabiyyal-‘Alaa (3 times)

“Far removed is my Rabb, the Most High, from any Imperfection”

Prostration Position
Prostration Position

(iii) Then you raise your head while saying: ALLAAHU AKBAR (sometimes raising one’s hands), sit on your left leg while keeping your right foot upright with its fingers to the Qiblah. Put your hands on your knees [see below], and supplicate saying:

“رَبِّي اغفِر لِي”
Rabbigh-fir lee

O my Rabb! Forgive me.

Sitting Position
Sitting Position (IFTIRASH)- back
The left and right foot in IFTIRASH
Sitting Position – front

The left and right foot in IFTIRASH

(iv) Following the sitting position, you come up with a second prostration as you did before. Once done you have completed one full unit (Rak’ah). Say Allaahu Akbar and stand up for the second Rak’ah. Do it in the same manner as you did the first one, but without reciting the opening supplication.

9-Sitting for Tashahhud (Testification of Faith):

First Tashahhud

(i) Once you finish the second Rak’ah, follow the same way of sitting as above. Hold your right hand closed with its thumb and middle finger touching each other like in a circle while pointing the index finger straight in the direction of the Qiblah and moving it through the recitation of the Tashahhud:

]التَّحِيَّاتُ لِلَّهِ وَالصَّلَوَاتُ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ السَّلَامُ عَلَى النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ السَّلَامُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى عِبَادِ اللَّهِ الصَّالِحِين. أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ. [

Sitting for Tashahhud

Attahiyyaatu lillaahi wassalawaatu wattayyibatu. Assalaamu ‘alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyi warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh. Assalaamu ‘alyna wa ‘ala ‘ibaadillaahis saaliheen. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illallaah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluh.

All compliments [Allaah is free of all imperfection, His is the dominion, Magnificence, Endless existence belongs to Him], prayers, and pure words and deeds, are due to Allaah. May Allaah grant the Prophet safety from all defects and imperfections and keep his message safe from all evil; [may Allaah grant him] mercy and honor. May safety and security be granted to us and to all the righteous slaves of Allaah. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Full Tashahhud

(i) At the end of the last Rak’ah, recite the first Tashahhud and follow it with the following recitation known as As-Salaatul Ibraaheemiyyah:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ. اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ Audio Player

Allaahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhammad kama sallaita ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem innaka Hameedun Majeed, wabaarik ‘ala Muhammad wa ‘ala aali Muhamaad kama baarakta ‘ala Ibraaheem wa ‘ala aali Ibraaheem innaka Hameedun Majeed.

O Allaah! Praise Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as You Praised Ibraaheem, and the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. And send blessings on Muhammad, and on the family of Muhammad, as you sent blessings on Ibraaheem, and the family of Ibraaheem; You are indeed Worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.

Now, it should be pointed out that many Scholars have stated that the FULL TASHAHUD (with the durood) is recited in BOTH. See Shaykh Al-Albani’s abridged Book of Salah.

What to do when going for the final Rak’ah in Salah?

In the prayers of the three or four Rak’ah type, after finishing the second Rak’ah and the first Tashahhud, stand up raising your hands (as described earlier) and say: ALLAAHU AKBAR. When you reach the straight standing position, recite the Faatiha and go for the prostrations as done earlier. If you are praying the three Rak’ah prayer of Maghrib sit with your body resting on your left thigh, your left leg under your right, while keeping your right foot upright. This position is called Tawarruk:

Tawarruk Position
Tawarruk Position

For the four Rak’ah prayers, stand up at the end of the third Rak’ah and bring fourth the fourth and final Rak’ah. Recite full Tashahhud in the Tawarruk position

After recitation of the Tashahhud, you can supplicate Allaah with the following invocation (du’aa):

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَفِتْنَةِ الْمَمَاتِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْمَأْثَمِ وَالْمَغْرَمِ

Allaahumma Inni a’oodthu bika min adthabil qabr, wa a’oodthu bika min fitnatil-Maseeh ad-Dajjal, wa a’oodthu bika min fitnatil mahya wal mamat. Allaahumma inni a’oodthu bika minal-ma’tham walmaghram.

O Allaah! I seek refuge with You from the Punishment of the grave and from the Fitnah (trail or affliction) of Ad-Dajjaal [pseudo Messiah], and from the Fitnah of life and Fitnah of death. O Allaah! I seek refuge with You from the sins and from being in debt.
You may also ask Allaah to bestow upon you from the good things for this life and for the hereafter.

10-Concluding Salah by Tasleem:

After you recite the Tashahhud and make the supplications, turn your head to the right and say:

السَّلامُ عَلَيكُم وَرَحمَةُ اللهِ وبَرَكَاتُه

Assalaammu ‘alaykum warahmatul-lahi wabarakatuh
May Allaah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you.

Then turn your head left and say:

السَّلامُ عَلَيكُم وَرَحمَةُ الله
Assalaammu ‘alaykum warahmatul-laah

May Allaah’s Peace, Mercy be upon you

Prayer is Concluded

References and Acknowledgment:

1-Sumaries of Prayers (Arabic) by the three great Imaams of our time: Sh. Bin Baaz, Sh. Al-Albani, and Sh. Bin ‘Uthaimeen, may Allah’s Mercy be upon them all.
2-The Prophet’s Prayer described (English) by Sh. Al-Albani. (1413/1993 ed.)
4-Illustration adapted from [Prayers described].
5-Sister Umm Ahmad al-Kanadiyyah for her encouragement and support to produce reliable information for new Muslims trying to learn Salah.

Share this, Baarakallaah Feekum: [“One who guides to something good has a reward similar to that of its doer” – Saheeh Muslim vol.3, no.4665]

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