The Arabic meaning for prayer is the word Salah. It is derived from the word Selah; which means relationship. In this regard it is a relationship between the created and the Creator. The foundation of this relationship is sincerity and dedication to acknowledge and submit to the Creator for all the gifts that He provides. Prayer is a worship that includes intentions, special sayings, thoughts, words and deeds showing the individual’s need to relate to his Creator Allah (swt).
It starts with takbir , the glorification of Allah (swt), by the proclamation of ‘Allah u Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest). It ends with tasleem , greetings to the angels who are positioned on our right and left shoulder. It has specific procedures and conditions. Prayer is a major pillar of Islam that no other pillar equals. Prayer is the first type of worship that Allah (swt) mandated on Muslims when the Prophet ascended to Heaven in the Mir’aj. Allah (swt) commanded Muslims to observe it in their residence as well as their travel, safety and danger.
In prayer, we thank Allah the Creator for all His gifts and make supplication for good things that are beneficial to us. We ask Him (swt) for guidance, forgiveness of sins, to push away evil & bad things. Prayer also helps reduce daily tension. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:”O ye who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and prayer. For Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (2:153)
The conditions for Salah in Islam are:
1. Acceptance of Islam
2. Cleanliness from ritual impurity
3. To cover the private area: for a man between the naval and knees, and for a woman the entire body except the hands and face
To face the Qibla which is forwarding one’s whole being to the Grand Mosque in Makkah