The Contact Prayers (Salat)
Abraham: Original Source of the Contact Prayers
The Quran teaches us in many suras that Submission (in Arabic “Islam”) is the religion of Abraham (please consult 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, 6:161 and 22:78). Muhammad was a follower of Abraham, as we learn from 16:123. All religious practices in Submission (Islam) were given to us through Abraham; they include:
- The five daily Contact Prayers (Salat)
- The obligatory charity (Zakat),
- The fasting during Ramadan
- The Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca
Specifically, we learn from the Quran (21:73) that the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) were given to Abraham. Numerous verses throughout the Quran inform us that the Contact Prayers were in existence, intact, and practiced before the advent of Muhammad (see for example 8:35 & 9:54). All positions of the Contact Prayers are found in the Quran, including the standing position (3:39, 39:9), the bowing and prostrating positions (Rukoo' and Sujood) (2:43, 3:43, 9:112, 22:26 & 77).
The Five Times Are Specified in the Quran
- The Dawn Prayer is mentioned by name in 24:58. Before sunrise
- The Noon Prayer is specified in 17:78. When the sun declines
- The Afternoon Prayer is in 2:238. Midway between noon and sunset
- The Sunset Prayer is mentioned in 11:114. Immediately after sunset
- The Night Prayer is in 11:114, and is mentioned by name in 24:58
The Call to Prayer (Azaan)
Azaan is not a part of the Contact Prayers, nor is it required. But it has become a tradition in the Muslim communities to summon the people to prayer through a loud announcement. The original Azaan used to conform with the Quran's teachings, and became corrupted with time.
Originally, the call to prayer consisted of:
- Allahu Akbar (God is Great), 4 times
- Laa Elaaha Ellah Allah (There is no other god beside God), once
Many years later, some people added Muhammad's name to the Azaan. This violates God's commandments in 2:136, 2:285, 3:84, 4:150 and 72:18. Later, other groups of Muslims added the names of Ali and his family. Today, the Azaan is severely corrupted throughout the Muslim world, and constitutes idol worship, not Submission to God ALONE.
The Correct Azaan
If you pray by yourself, an Azaan is not needed. The Azaan is usually observed when a group of people are ready to observe the prayer. One person stands up and utters the Azaan words, or chants them as follows:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is Great, God is Great)
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
La Elaaha Ella Allah (There is no other god beside God).
Preparation for the Contact Prayer (The Ablution)
O you who believe, in preparation for the Contact Prayer, you shall
(1) wash your faces,
(2) wash your arms to the elbows,
(3) wipe your heads with wet hands, and
(4) wash your feet to the ankles.
- Quran, 5:6
Like all other aspects of Submission, the Muslims have corrupted the ablution by adding unauthorized steps. Ironically, the innovations became vested with such authority that anyone who questions them finds himself accused of innovation!! It is therefore crucial to uphold God's commands by strictly observing the ablution decreed in the Quran. Any additional steps represent another god besides God.
The Major Ablution
Following any sexual activity that results in a climax (orgasm/ejaculation), one must bathe or take a shower (4:43).
The Dry Ablution (Tayammum)
If water is not available, one must touch clean dry soil, then wipe his hands and face. This suffices as a substitute for ablution (4:43; 5:6).
What Nullifies Ablution
Digestive excretions through the intestines, including gas, solids, or urine nullify ablution. Sleeping also nullifies ablution, since one becomes unaware. Thus, one may observe a number of Contact Prayers with one ablution, provided he or she does not go to the bathroom, pass gas, or fall asleep.
How to Perform the Contact Prayers (Dawn Prayer)
NOTE: Every Contact Prayer consists of 2 to 4 units (Rak’ahs). Each unit is the same. So once you have learned how to do the unit, you only need to learn how many units are in each prayer..
- The Dawn Prayer has 2 Units
- The Sunset Prayer has 3 Units
- The Noon, Afternoon and Night Prayers have 4 Units
Follow the steps accurately and please watch the video for clarification.
Face the direction of Mecca (Qiblah)
This is an organizational point decreed by God in 2:125. God wills that all Submitters must face the same direction when they observe the Contact Prayers. In the U.S., the direction is slightly South of East.
In your own language, secretly or audibly, state your intention that you are about to observe the Contact Prayer. Remember to state the time (Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, or Night).
Raise your hands to the sides of your face
Your thumbs touch your ears, and the palms of your hands face forward.
Say, “Allahu Akbar
As you raise your hands to the sides of your face, then move them down to your sides in a continuous motion, you say, “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great). This opens up the prayer. You are in contact with your Creator.
The Standing Position
You are now standing with your arms resting naturally at your sides. Some people place the left hand on the stomach, and the right hand on top of the left hand. Either position is correct—you may place your hands on your stomach while standing, or you may let your arms hang down by your sides.
Recite “The Key” (Sura 1) in Arabic
We learn from 2:37 that God gives us the words by which we establish contact with Him. We must utter the specific sounds dictated in “The Key.” A translation of “The Key” would be human-made. The Arabic sounds of “The Key” represent a numerical combination that opens the treasure. Like a telephone number, unless the specific numbers are dialed, contact cannot be established. This is all the Arabic you need. Everything else can be said in your own language.
Reciting “The Key” in Arabic unifies all Submitters of the world, regardless of their languages.
The bowing position (Rukoo`)
After reciting “The Key” while standing, you bow down into the position of Rukoo`. As shown in the figure, you bow down from the waist, keep the knees straight, and place your hands on your knees. Your eyes look at a point about 2 feet in front of you.
As you move from the standing position to the bowing position you say, “Allahu Akbar.”
While bowing you say, “Subhaana Rabbiyal `Azeem” or “God be glorified.”
As you stand up from the bowing position to the standing position you say, “Sami `Allahu Liman Hamidah,” or “God responds to those who praise Him.”
You remain in the standing position only a second, then you fall prostrate. As you go from the standing position to the prostration position you say, “Allahu Akbar.”
The Prostration Position (Sujood)
From the standing position you go down on your knees, then place your forehead on the floor about 1-2 feet in front of your knees (see figure).
During prostration you say, “Subhaana Rabbiyal A`laa” or “God be glorified.”
The Sitting Position
As you sit up from the prostration position, you say, “Allahu Akbar.” You remain in the sitting position only a second, then you go down for the second prostration.
Second Prostration Position (Sujood)
As you go down for the second prostration you say, “Allahu Akbar.”
During the second prostration you say, “Subhanna Rabbiyal A`laa.” Once you complete the second prostration, you have completed one full unit (Rak`ah).
Stand up for the second unit
As you stand up for the second unit you say, “Allahu Akbar.”
Then repeat steps 6 thru 11.
Ending the Prayer
After completing the second prostration described in step 11 you say “Allahu Akbar.” while moving into the sitting position.
Then while you are in the sitting position you pronounce the First Pillar of Submission, the Shahaadah:
Ash-Hadu Allaa Elaaha Ellaa Allah
(I bear witness that there is no other god beside God.)
Wahdahu Laa Shareeka Lah
(He ALONE is God; He has no partner.)
Look to the right and say, Assalaamu Alaikum, then to the left and say the same.
This completes the Dawn Prayer.
The Noon Prayer
This prayer consists of 4 units. Thus, you do the first two units exactly as explained for the Dawn Prayer up to the sitting position. You pronounce the First Pillar (known as “Shahaadah”) then you stand up for the third unit. You do not utter the Salaams (Assalamu Alaikum).
As you stand up for the third unit you say, "Allahu Akbar." The third and fourth units are identical to the first two units.
When you get up from the second prostration of the fourth unit, you say “Allahu Akbar” and you assume the sitting position. In the sitting position you pronounce the Shahaadah, and you say the Salaams on both sides. This concludes the Noon Prayer.
The Afternoon Prayer
This prayer is identical to the Noon Prayer. Only the “Intention” of course is different.
The Sunset Prayer
This prayer consists of three units. Thus, when you complete the second prostration of the third unit you do not stand up; you assume the sitting position, recite the Shahaadah, then you utter the Salaams on both sides. This concludes the Sunset Prayer.
The Night Prayer
This prayer is identical with the other 4-unit prayers, the Noon and the Afternoon Prayers.
The Contact Prayers and the Quran's Mathematical Code
As noted above, the Dawn, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset and Night Prayers consist of 2, 4, 4, 3, & 4 units, respectively. When we put these 5 numbers next to each other we get 24434, and this number is a multiple of 19 (24434 = 19 x 1286). The common denominator of the Quran's code is 19. This phenomenon confirms that the number of units for each Contact Prayer has been preserved intact, and the sequence 2, 4, 4, 3 and 4 is also confirmed.
Your Tone of Voice During the Contact Prayers
You shall not be too loud during your Contact Prayers, nor shall you say them secretly; you shall maintain an intermediate tone [17:110]. During a group prayer, only the Imam is audible; everyone else listens.
The Group Prayer
Two or more people may observe the Contact Prayers together. One person leads the group prayer, uttering "The Key" in a loud enough voice to be heard by everyone in the group. Other utterances must be silent. Anyone may join the group late, in the middle of the prayer. He or she must make the same moves as the group, then, at the end of the prayer, he or she must stand up and make up whatever portion was missed.
The Friday Prayer
The Friday Congregational Prayer (Salat Al-Jum`ah) is so important, a whole sura is entitled “Friday” and a commandment is decreed in verse 9 to observe this prayer. Every Submitter — man, woman, and child — is commanded by God to observe the Friday Congregational Prayer.
The Friday Prayer replaces the Noon Prayer every Friday. Instead of 4 units, the Friday Prayer consists of listening to two sermons delivered by the Imam, and two units of prayer.
Each sermon must begin with “Al-Hamdu Lillah” (Praise be to God), “Laa Elaaha Ella Allah” (No other god beside God). Each sermon should last 10-15 minutes and must be delivered in the language of the congregation. At the end of the first sermon, the congregation is asked to repent, “Tooboo Ela Allah.” The Imam then sits down for about a minute and makes his repentance together with the congregation, then stands up for the second sermon. The second sermon ends by asking one of the people to say the Azaan. The Imam then leads the 2-unit prayer.
At the end of every prayer
The worshipers may shake hands, hug each other, and/or exchange greetings after completing the prayer. The custom is to say to each other, “Congratulations.” This is because the Contact Prayers are a gift from God, that helps us nourish and develop our souls. One should be congratulated upon completing such a blessed accomplishment.
For More Information
This booklet should be used in conjunction with our audio or video tape in order to practice the correct pronunciation of the Arabic words. The audio/video tape provides the sounds and visual effects that will help you learn the correct pronunciations.
Reproduced from the Contact Prayers booklet published by Dr. Rashad Khalifa