Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.

The Qur’an, chapter 29, verse 45

Salah, the second pillar of Islam, is a form of prayer which must be performed in a prescribed manner, and at particular times. It takes the form of standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting in a given sequence, whilst reciting the words of the prayer in Arabic. Muslims must normally pray at five specific times each day, preceded by a ritual washing known as Wudu.

People can prayer wherever is convenient, so long as it is clean. This can be at home, or where you work. For men, it is preferred they make the effort to pray in congregation at their local mosque. This is why most mosques are open for the five daily prayers – you can find out more about congregational prayers and facilities at the East London Mosque here.

The midday prayer on Friday is special, and follows a sermon given by the Imam. It is compulsory for men to attend, but optional for women.

There are special prayers at other times, like on each of the two Eid mornings, when the whole family is encouraged to go to prayer.

Prayers more familiar to other religions are the supplications a Muslim makes to Allah (God) – known as Dua. These can be your own words, or some of the beautiful supplications mentioned in the Qur’an or made by Prophet Muhammad  (Peace be upon him).

There are so many benefits in performing regular prayers. Prophet Muhammad said to his companions, “If there was a river at your door and you took a bath in it five times a day, would you notice any dirt on you?” They said, “Not a trace of dirt would be left.” The Prophet  said, “That is the parable of the five prayers by which Allah removes sins.”

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