Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Questions About Prayer

Why are you required to pray at certain times during the day facing Mecca?

It is a pillar of Islam to pray 5 times a day (at dawn, at noon, at afternoon, at dusk and in the evening) and we all pray facing one direction, which happens to be the ka'aba in Mecca (which is also the place where Muslims go for pilgrimage). As for why, the answer to this question is the same as the answer to any "whys" about Islam: because Allah (God) commanded us to.

Why do you not pray towards heaven?

Muslim prayer consists of a series of bows and prostrations... you cannot really prostrate towards heaven since heaven is above everything. Here is a video of Muslim prayer, just so you can get an idea of what I mean:

Are Muslim prayers all set prayers.

No. This is the "formal prayer" if you will... You could always just say "Dear God....." without the actions, and ask for what you want.

Is the wording the same for them?

Yes, but you can also add on to it if you want.

What do you do if you are at work/school and it is time to pray and there is not place to pray in the manner shown?

Prayer is very important to us, and you cannot miss prayer. It has to be done during its "time slot." Personally, if I am in school, I find a quiet corner, or pray near a deserted staircase. In the mall, I have prayed in a changing room before. When traveling, you have a little bit of leeway (you can for instance, pray the prayer shortened, and pray two prayers at once). The place for prayer just has to be clean and no one should pass in front of you. This can be done by taking a clean rug with you and laying it on the floor (or sometimes when I am outside, I just put my jacket on the floor) and if you put an object in front of you, then no one would be passing in front of you, or you could pray facing a wall.

Is personal prayer part of Muslim prayer as well or is it more formal prayers with set words and set times of the day?

Yes, personal prayers are also done. They can be "informal" (just talking to God), or you can pray extra "formal" prayers, or you can add your own words to your daily 5 prayers. The "informal" prayers are called duaa, which is translated as supplication, and there is a duaa for pretty much everything under the sun (trying to remember something, wishing someone well when they are sick, congratulating someone on marriage, etc, etc). Also, you could always just make up your own prayer (supplication) and ask God for whatever you need.


  1. Just out of curiosity, how long does the prayer take???


  2. It depends on if you will be reading a long chapter, or a short one, how many supplications you will be saying, things like that.

    It can take as little as 5 minutes or as long as 30! Depends on how you're praying, and what you are reciting.

  3. Do you have to do a certain chapter at a certain time, or can you chose? Are certain one standard at community prayers as opposed to individual prayers?

    (BTW, the average Service for Saturday morning at a synagogue is 3-4 hours!!)

  4. For each prayer, you have to read Surat al-Fatiha (The first chapter in the Quran called "The Opening"), followed by another surah (chapter) or verses from a chapter (you don't have to read a full chapter).

    The second surah is chosen by the individual. At community prayers, the surah being read is the one that the imam (leader of the prayer) chooses.

    This is surat Al-Fatiha:

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful.

    Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds,
    The Beneficient, the Merciful,

    Owner of the Day of Judgment,

    Thee (alone) we worship; Thee alone we ask for help.

    Show us the straight path,

    The path of those whom Thou hast favored; Not (the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

  5. if someone doesnt know Arabic, can they pray in their native language until they can learn the pray properly? Is it more important to say the prayer in Arabic, even if you dont understand, or to say it and fully understand it??

  6. The formal prayer (Salah/salat) can only be done in Arabic, according to this fatwa (ruling):

    Praise be to Allah.

    Making du’aa’(supplication) in English or in any other language is permissible outside of salah (prayer). But it is not permissible to say any part of the salah in any language other than Arabic, according to the majority of scholars.

    But if the Muslim can stick to Arabic in all cases, especially in acts of worship – and du’aa’ is an act of worship – that is preferable and is better.

    Shaykh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr

  7. How can muslims stand it they sound so strict! If I were a muslim I would curse out whoever made those rues!

  8. This is why Islam is described as a way of life instead of a religion. We keep a constant open dialogue and relationship with Allah. Islam isn't something you "do" once a week or when your grandmother dies, it is your identity.

    Besides, have you heard the saying "you get what you pay for?" Heaven isn't cheap.

  9. hey just wanted to ask erm well my friends brother is ill in hospital. There is a surat u can read for the ill. I wanted to know what surat it was. I thought surat yaseen though when i checked it up its actually very long and ur suppose to repeat that as much as u can. Can u help?

  10. Asalamualikom,

    Check out this link, it gives you some ideas on what to do for a sick person: