How Do We Pray Salah Prayer?

The Sincere Seeker
7 min readJan 13, 2023

Now that you completed your Wudu Ablution, let’s go over how each unit of prayer is performed:

Before you connect with Allah, you must start by setting an intention in your heart for the prayer you are about to perform. There is no need to verbalize your intention.

Now you are ready to start the prayer. You start by raising both your hands to shoulder or ear height– do not place your hands together, instead keep them shoulder apart and your feet shoulder apart, and you say ‘Allah Akhbar,’ which translates to ‘Allah is Greater’ — in almost every movement of the prayer, you will say ‘Allah Akhbar’ which will constantly remind you Allah is Greater than what you were doing, saying, thinking, and is Greater than everything. You keep your eyes looking down at the ground in front of you where your head would be placed when you prostrate. It’s essential to stay concentrated on your prayer and not look around, which would disturb you from your prayers. You should not close your eyes during prayers.

Then you place your right hand over your left hand on your lower chest area. Placing your hands a little higher or a little lower is fine. You can have your right hand hold your left wrist, left hand, or left forearm.

Then you recite the opening dua supplication known in Arabic as ‘Dua Al Istiftah.’ This is a sunnah to recite, so it’s optional, and there is no harm in skipping it. You say:

سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ وَتَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ وَتَعَالَى جَدُّكَ وَلاَ إِلَهَ غَيْرُكَ

Subhanak Allahuma wa bihamdika tabarakasmuka wa ta’ala jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuk

Glory and praise be to You, O Allah. Blessed be Your name, and exalted be Your majesty; there is none worthy of worship except You.

There are other optional dua supplications you can recite instead.

Then we seek refuge in Allah from the cursed Shaytan (Satan/ Devil/ Iblis) by saying:

أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطٰانِ الرَّجِيْمِ

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytanir-rajeem

I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed

Then we say:

بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm

In the Name of Allah — the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.

Then we recite the first chapter of the Holy Quran called Surat Al-Fatiha (the Opener):

ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen

All praise is for Allah — Lord of all worlds

ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ


the Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

مَـٰلِكِ يَوْمِ ٱلدِّينِ

Maaliki Yawmid-Deen

Master of the Day of Judgment.

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een

You ˹alone˺ we worship, and You ˹alone˺ we ask for help.

ٱهْدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيمَ


Guide us along the Straight Path,

صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ ٱلْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

Siraatal-lazeena an’amta ‘alaihim ghayril-maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-daaalleen

the Path of those You have blessed — not those You are displeased with, or those who are astray.

Then we say:



(Here you are asking Allah to accept your dua supplication)

Then it is Sunnah to read a short Chapter or a few Verses of your choice from the Holy Quran.

However, suppose you are praying behind an Imam, and he recites loudly. In that case, you can either recite Chapter Al-Fatiha after the imam completes the Chapter of Al-Fatiha, or you can not recite it. If you are praying behind an imam and he recites loudly, there is no need to recite a small Chapter or a few Verses of the Quran.

Then you raise your hands to your shoulder or ear length and say ‘Allah Akhbar’ (Great is Greater).

Then you go to a bowing position with both your hands on your knees and fingers spread a little with your back and head lined up straight, with your elbows raised and tucked in and not outwards, and say at least one time silently (three are recommended):

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْعَظِيمِ

Subhaana Rabbiyal-’Adheem

Glory to my Lord the Exalted

Then rise while raising both your hands to your shoulder or ear length once and say:

سَمِعَ اللهُ لِمَن حمِده، ربَّنا ولك الحمدُ

Sami Allahu liman Hamidah Rabbana Wa Lakal Hamd

Allah Hears Whoever Praises Him — Oh Our Lord, All Praise is to You

Then you slightly pause for a second with either your right hand over your left hand a little under your chest or with both hands relaxed straight on your sides.

Then you fall into prostration while saying ‘Allah Akhbar’ (God is Greater), falling with either your hands or knees first. Place your forehead touching the ground. The seven body parts that should touch the ground include your face with a nose, two hands, two knees, and two feet– all pointing forward. Do not place your elbows on the floor– keep them pointed up inwards, and do not rest your stomach on your thighs– keep your belly away from sitting on your stomach to the best of your ability. While in prostration (called sujood in Arabic), you say silently at least once (three is recommended):

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الأَعْلَى

Subhana Rabbi Al Ala

Glory be to my Lord, the Most-High

There are optional dua supplications one can say after this. You can also make dua supplication for whatever you want. For example, you can ask Allah for guidance, forgiveness, health, wealth, etc. You can make dua supplication here in any language as Allah understands all languages. You are closest to Allah when you are in this sujood prostration, so make a lot of dua supplication if you please!

Then you raise upright from your prostration position while saying ‘Allah Akhbar’ (God is Greater) with your knees bent and palms placed your thighs near your knees. Your right foot should be straight, and you sit on your left foot, keeping it horizontal to the ground while saying twice silently:

‘رَبِّ اغْفِرْ’

Rabbighfir lee

Lord, forgive me

There are other dua supplications one can say instead.

Then prostrate to the ground again while saying ‘Allah Akhbar’ (God is Greater), and you repeat the same words on the prostration page. After that, you have completed one unit of prayer called Rak’ah in Arabic. You would then get up while saying ‘Allah Akhhbar’ (God is greater) and pray the second unit of prayer, repeating all the same steps above starting from reading the first chapter of the Holy Quran called Surat Al-Fatiha (the Opener).

After finishing two units of prayer, one should sit on his knees with his hands on his thighs near his knees. You sit on your left foot, keeping it horizontal and your right foot straight up vertically with your toes pointing toward the Qibla (Mecca). With your right hand, you point your index finger towards the Qibla (towards Mecca, the direction we pray), making a circle with your thumb and middle finger, or you can make a fist with all your fingers except for your index finger, which should be pointed. You can keep your pointed finger still or slightly move it up and down and look down at your finger or down in the area where your head was on.

Then recite silently what is known as the Tashahhud:

التَّحِيَّاتُ لِلَّهِ وَالصَّلَوَاتُ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى عِبَادِ اللَّهِ الصَّالِحِينَ أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

At-tahiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibat, as-salamu ‘alaika ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa rahmatAllahi wa baraktuhu. As-salamu ‘alaina wa ‘ala ‘ibad illahis-salihin, ashahdu an la illaha ill-Allah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu

All compliments, prayers, and beautiful expressions are for God. Peace be on you, O Prophet, and Allah’s mercy and blessings are on you. And peace be on us and on the good (pious) worshipers of Allah. I bear that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Apostle.

Then you recite what is known as the Dua Al-Ibrahimiya (The Prayer of Ibrahim):

ٱللَّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

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 Allah, send your grace, honor, and mercy upon Muhammad, and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your grace, honor, and mercy upon Ibrahim, You are indeed worthy of Praise, Full of Glory. O Allah, send Your blessings upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon Ibrahim, You are indeed worthy of Praise, Full of Glory.

Note there are a few different variations of these dua supplications. They are all valid to recite.

Then you can recite an optional dua seeking refuge in Allah from four things: the punishment of Hell-fire, the punishment of the grave, the trial of life and death, and the evil of the trial of the Antichrist:

اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ , وَمِنْ عَذَابِ اَلْقَبْرِ , وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ اَلْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ , وَمِنْ شَرِّ فِتْنَةِ اَلْمَسِيحِ اَلدَّجَّالِ

Allahumma inni ‘a’udhu bika min ‘adhabi Jahannam wa min ‘adhab al-qabri wa min fitnat il-mahya wa’l-mamat wa min sharri fitnat il-masih id-dajjal

O Allah I seek refuge in You against the punishment of Hell-fire, the punishment of the grave, the trial of life and death, and the evil of the trial of the Antichrist.

You can then recite any dua supplications of your choice or ask Allah for anything you want.

Then you would conclude your prayer by turning your head to the right first while saying:

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah

Peace and the mercy of Allah be on you.

Then you turn your head to the left and repeat the same words.

You have now completed a 2-unit payer! May your prayers connect you closer to Allah and reward you in this world and the Hereafter! But note some prayers are more than two units, so please read on to learn how to proceed with more than 2-units.

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