The Arab ritual prayer

These simplified instructions will enable anyone to complete the dance of the Arab prayer ritual. Born to a Muslim family, the author personally performed this ritual countless times throughout his life before he called it a day many years ago. I must remind the reader, it is vital that every utterance in the Arab prayer ritual be in Arabic. The English-speaking Muslims may not even say a simple phrase like, “Praise be to You my Lord” in English.

Here, is a summary of the basic procedure for those who have never performed an Arab prayer ritual:

  • First, wash out your mouth with water, blow your nose, wash your face, your hands, your forehead, your ears, your neck, and your legs and then speak to God in Arabic and tell Him you are going to ritually pray to Him.

  • Find a spot and make sure you face the stone idol in Mecca. If you are in Japan the direction is westwards, but if you are in Europe the direction is the eastwards, obviously.

  • Then, stand properly with the hands folded on your belly. Various sects have their own specific ways of placing the hands, and the tutored eye can tell a lot about your doctrine just by looking at the way you hold this position, though variations abound throughout the mosques of the world.

  • Then pronounce ‘Allah hu akbar’.1 The word akbar means bigger. So it is: ‘God is bigger’. (Interestingly, the phrase Allah hu akbar is not found anywhere in the Reading). Then recite some Arabic verses (which you may or may not comprehend).

The prayer starts with a recitation of a set of speech formulated2 by the religionists before beginning the compulsory recital of Al Fatiha (the first surah, consisting of seven verses). Typically, this will be followed by a short surah from toward the end of the Reading. Surahs 111, 112, 113 and 114 are particular favourites as they are very short and generally considered the minimum (along with Al Fatiha) that a Muslim should be expected to memorise3. The religionists say they are praying to God. Yet each of these last surahs begins with an instruction to the Prophet: ‘Qul!’ or ‘Say!’ followed by exactly what it was he was required to say. However these verses which begin with a direct instruction are habitually addressed to God in the Arab prayer ritual. For example:

Say!: He is God, the only one. The absolute God. He never begets, nor was He ever begotten. There is none equal to Him. (surah 111)

There are many verses in the Reading that start with an imperative addressing a second person commanding him to recite to a third person or persons. That is the nature of the Revelation. However, the religionists teach their followers to recite these orders back to God in their prayer ritual. In one of their favourite surahs for this purpose, they tell God:

Say!: O you disbelievers, I do not serve what you serve, nor are you serving what I am serving. I will never serve what you are serving, nor will you ever serve what I am serving. To you is your own way, and to me is my own way. (surah 109)

However, if they choose to recite surah 108 in their prayer, they will tell God:

We have given you many bounties. In appreciation, you shall serve your Lord and be charitable. Your enemy will henceforth be the loser. (surah 108)

Obviously, not all non-Arabs know what they are saying to God in their ritual prayers. Maybe there is some excuse. But even native Arabic-speaking Arabs including religionists and Arabic scholars say these things to God every day!

Having finished the liturgy of (frequently inappropriate) verses, you should raise both hands and say ‘allah-hu-akbar’ or ‘God is bigger’ again.

Then you bow forward for a few seconds before standing erect and calling out ‘God is bigger’ again. Then you prostrate – placing your forehead on the floor – and recite more Arabic words. Then you should sit up and then prostrate again before rising to the standing position. This procedure represents one unit of prayer. The number of units and whether what you say will be aloud or quiet will depend on a number of factors devised by the religionists such as time of day and ‘type’ of prayer. Generally, (although there are variations depending on whether you perform the ‘extra’ night prayers) a Muslim is required to bow seventeen times and prostrate thirty-four times in a twenty-four hour period.

At the end of any one particular set of units, you are to sit and send greetings to Prophet Abraham and Muhammad and their families (no need to wait for them to reply, however), then greet the ‘two angels sitting on both of your shoulders’ (again, no reply is expected).

Reading clearly says:

You cannot be heard by those in the graves. (35:22)

Yet, the followers of the Arab religion the world over are greeting only the dead prophet Muhammad and their families five times a day! We are not supposed to make any distinction between the prophets4: but Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph, David, Solomon, Moses, Aaron, Zachariah, John (Yahya), and Jesus were somehow left out of this private club. How very rude.

1 Saying allah-hu-akbar is done during each body movement and in a group session is said by the man leading the exercise as a cue to tell the people when to move from one position to another.

2 The recitations differ from one sect to another. The opening passages of the prayer do not come from the Qur’an except when they utter part of 6:79, 6:161-162. Abraham and Muhammad uttered these verses to the people but the Arabs address them to God.

3 When people are willing to memorise without understanding it is a sign of their willingness to be shackled without thinking. If we train a parrot to say ‘good morning’, it will say good morning to people even during the night.

4As for those who believe in God and His messengers, they make no distinction among any of them. God will recompense them. God is Forgiver and Merciful. (4:152)

10 Responses

  1. Assalamualaikum wrwb,

    mashaAllah, this is truly a thought-provoking website. may Allah bless you for your efforts to share and spread, and may He guide us towards the haq…

    i agree with what you say, that we are praying to Allah, why must we ‘tell’ Him, His verses to us instead??

    but to be fair, when we bow in prayer and prostate, and sitting between the first and second prostration, there is praising and praying to the Lord. i don’t know if it helps the reader but i just think it would be fair to include that in this reading?

    and also, the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah in every raka’at. surely that too is a prayer to Allah..and it bears such powerful meaning and praising and praying. i cannot say that Salah also means commitment.. because indeed we can’t just pray and ask Allah for all we ask for in Al-Fatihah and yet do nothing. indeed, we are to serve Allah, not the other way around.

    it’s interesting to discover this about the prayers. i came back from Makkah about a month ago, and it did strike me…the Ka’abah, the praying.. but indeed in it there is also some good, some parts that InshaAllah reminds us of Allah, of our duties…

    Alhamdulillah for the gift of the ‘akal.. i pray we all keep learning and striving to be better human beings and may it be accepted by Allah.

    JazakAllah khair for this site :) may Allah bless…

  2. I am a christian..have been studying the ways of the muslim people and the Qur’an…this has been life altering for me and is making me a better person..i would love to hear from anyone who is willing to help me with my journy of becoming muslim and teach me the ways of yet i do not know..thank you

  3. Julia, you need God – the Creator of the heavens and earth – the One that gives you the life – to help you to reach to your destination of the peacefulness or Islam that you are looking for.

    “When God wants to guide someone, He opens his their heart to the peacefulness – but if He wants to send someone astray – He makes his heart straightened like one who climbs towards the sky.” (6:125)

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth – they will divert you from the path of God. They follow nothing but conjectures.” (6:116)

    Go to my website – download the book – read it from cover to cover – and use your common sense.

  4. Please i would like to pray to god so that he can listen to my prayers. prayers of sustainance and release from satanic powers that tie up every thing i do.

    How special can i pray to my allah for these problem to vanish? i give a testmony to many people.

    Please help me or foward my questions to the people who can help me. am worried.

    Thank you


  5. The are many ways to pray, to glorify and to remember God – and you need to read the Quran to find them.

  6. there are loads of ways to pray you just have to look harder in the quran and iff you cant see nuffin keep looking or ask ya famo ya gett mee don lool xx

  7. The salaat doesn’t mean “pray”; it means “contact”. The salaat that we do have specific parts to it. In the standing position (Qiyam) we recite the Qurán as a spiritual exercise to remind US (not God) of some of His Words. In Ruku and Sujud we again humble ourselves and glorify God alone. This is designed as an attack on our ego, which is the root cause of all of our problems. In the sitting position, we recite prayers to God. The Durud is NOT a “greeting” to Prophet Muhammad; rather it is a prayer to bless the Prophet Muhammad and his followers just like God blessed Prophet Abraham and his followers. This is an optional prayer; you can make any other prayers you like in this position and in any language. Traditionalists say that we must make the whole prayer in Arabic, which has no basis in the Qurán.

  8. Say!: He is God, the only one. The absolute God. He never begets, nor was He ever begotten. There is none equal to Him. (surah 111) –

    The above surah is mentioned as 111 in this page, but isn’t it 112?

  9. Salam to all,kindly read Dr.Kashif khans article from Quran guide blog how to offer salat.regards,

  10. Salam to all,kindly read Dr.kashif khans article from quran guide blog how to offer salat.
    I feel his research is comprehensive.

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