How to Perform Salaat,
the Islamic Ritual Prayer

Before Salaat

1. Body, clothes and place of prayer must be clean.
2. Perform wudu (ritual ablution) if needed.
3. Women are required to cover their hair.
4. Face the Qibla, the direction of Mecca.
5. Stand erect, head down, hands at sides, feet evenly spaced. 
6. Recite Iqama (private call to prayer):
6a. Here are some sample audiofiles of the Athan (call to prayer) Quicktime, they are very similar to Iqama: Real Audio  MP3

7. Express intent to perform Salaat (niyyat):

I intend to offer  _____ rakats of the ____ prayer, and face the Qibla for the sake of Allah and Allah alone.
(For example: "I intend to offer the 4 rakats of the Isha prayer and face the Qibla for the sake of Allah and Allah alone.")

Begin Salaat

1. Niyyat: Stand with respect and attention; put the world behind you.
Bring hands to ears, palms forward, thumbs behind earlobes and say (The entire prayer must be recited in Arabic, but for your information we give the English translation next to the Arabic transliteration) :

2. Qiyam: Place right hand over left, men below navel, women at chest level;
look at the ground in front of you and recite Opening Supplication (optional):
Subhaana ala humma wa bihamdika
wa tabaara kasmuka wa ta'aalaa jadduka
wa laa ilaaha ghairuk

* * * 

A'uudhu billaahi minash shaitaan ar-Rajeem

Glory to You, O Allah, and Yours is the praise.

And blessed is Your Name, and exalted is Your Majesty.
And there is no deity to be worshipped but You

* * *

I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed.

3. Fatiha: Recite aloud the Fatiha, the first surah of the Qur'an. MP3  RealAudio
Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem

Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil 'alameen
Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem 
Maaliki yaumid Deen
Iyyaaka na'abudu wa iy yaaka nasta'een
Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an 'amta' alaihim
Ghairil maghduubi' alaihim waladaaleen

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful.
Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.

For the first two rakats at any time of prayer, recite an additional short selection from the Qur'an after al Fatiha.
4. Ruk'u: Hands drop to sides; bend from waist, palms on knees, back parallel to ground; look at feet. 5. Qauma: Rise from bending to standing, arms at sides.
6. Sudjood: Prostrate—hands on knees, lower slowly to kneeling position;
touch forehead, nose and palms to ground (but not elbows);
bend toes so tops of feet face the Qibla. 7. Qu'ud: Rise to sitting position, looking at lap. Men turn up heel of right foot,
right toes bent; women keep both feet, soles up, under body. 8. Sudjood: Prostrate again. 9. Qu'ud: Rise to sitting position;
 pause pause
10. To proceed to the second and fourth rakats: Then recite the Fatiha, (if this is the second rakat of any time of prayer, recite another short portion of the Qur'an); continue the second or fourth rakat with Ruku.... 

11. To complete every second rakat and the last rakat:
Remain seated and recite At-Tashahhud:1

To proceed to the third rakat: Recite the Fatiha and continue third rakat with Ruk'u.... 

At the end of any time of prayer (when all rakats have been completed):
Remain seated, recite At-Tashahhud, and then recite the Salawat:

To Complete the Prayer:  Look over right shoulder (toward the angel recording your good deeds), then the left (toward the angel recording your wrongful deeds); say each time: Say personal prayers with hands cupped and palms up at chest level.
Wipe face with palms.

If praying in a group, stand and greet each other individually,
saying: "May God receive our prayers."

1At-Tashahhud is a recreation of the conversation held between Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing upon him) during the night of the Heavenly Ascent (Miraj)