Prayer in Islam, is worship of Allah the Almighty, Praising and Thanking Him, acknowledging His Sovereignty and committing oneself to obey and remember Him at all times. It is the central part of a way of life, which is based on submission to the Creator of us all.
The five prayers are among the best acts of worship that the Muslim performs. Performing them is the best deed after having the correct belief in God and His Messenger. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), was asked what the best deed was and he said it was performing the obligatory prayers at the beginning of their times.
When we say "prayers" we are referring to an act of worshipping God which has a specific format as God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). The prophets, from Prophet Adam to Prophet Muhammad (Pbut), ordered their followers to pray as per God's orders.
Since the prayer is the most important matter of Islam after having the correct belief in God and His Messenger, one must plan his life around the prayer. It would be a great sin to neglect praying when at work if a prayer was required at that time. If a believer is shopping at the mall or waiting at the airport and there is no way to get home or to a mosque, he is still obligated to perform the prayer within its due time instead of purposely leaving out or delaying the prayer. This indicates the importance of the obligatory prayer. Performing the obligatory prayer on time takes priority over other non-obligatory matters.
Each of the 5 prayers have different number of units (Raka'at) for each.
Fajr (Dawn Prayer) is 2 units (Raka'at)
Dhor (Noon prayer) is 4 units (Raka'at)
Asr (Afternoon prayer) is 4 units (Raka'at)
Maghrib (Sunset prayer) is 3 units (Raka'at)
Isha (Night prayer) is 4 units (Raka'at)
A unit (Raka'a) of prayer is from step 2 to step 8 of the above tutorial.
Step 1 is performed once at the beginning of each of the 5 daily prayers
Step 2 to step 8 is repeated for each unit (Raka'a) of prayer.
Step 9 to step 14 is a repeat of steps 2 to step 8 and is the completion of the first 2 units (Raka'at) of prayer.
The first 2 units (Raka'at) of prayer consist of 2 chapters from the Qur'an and the 3rd and forth unit is only 1 chapter. The first chapter that is recited is chapter 1 of the Qur'an 'Al Fatiha' (The Opening).
Al fatiha (The opening) is recited for each and every unit of prayer. When praying the first 2 units, recite Al Fatiha (The opening) and also one of the short chapters of the Qur'an such as chapters 112-114. You are free to recite any of the chapters of the Qur'an after Al Fatiha even the lengthy ones but I recommend that you start with the short ones as they will be easier to memorize.
Eg. 1st unit (Raka'a) of prayer = Chapter 1 plus Chapter 112
2nd unit (Raka'a) of prayer = Chapter 1 plus Chapter 113
3rd unit (Raka'a) of prayer = Chapter 1 only
4th unit (Raka'a)of prayer = Chapter 1 only
After you have completed 2 units (Raka'at) of prayer, you move onto step 15 unless you are performing the Fajr prayer which is only 2 units (Raka'at) so instead of moving onto step 15, you move onto step 28.
After you have completed step 28 move onto step 29 and 30. Your 2 units (Raka'at) of prayer are now complete.
If you are performing the Maghrib (sunset) prayer which is 3 units (Raka'at), complete steps 2 to 21 then move onto steps 28, 29 & 30 to complete your prayer.
If you are performing any of the prayers which contain 4 units (Raka'at) of prayer ie Dhor (Noon prayer), Asr (Afternoon prayer) & Isha (Night prayer) you will need to complete all of the steps ie 1-30.
Until you memorize the full prayer, you can perform a shortened prayer.
Please note, the shortened prayer is NOT meant to replace the full prayer but rather it can be done in the short term.
Below, in the 'prayer mat' section, there is a 2 part shortened prayer mat that you can print out and stick together. Place the print out in front of you so that you can see it while you are praying.
There is also an image of the prayer mat complete, so you can see it complete but we have cut it into part 1 and part 2 for printing purposes.
You will also find, in the prayer mat section, the full prayer as well, also divided into part 1 and part 2.
You will also find a prayer booklet which will put everything into perspective for you and also give you a background.
Lastly, we recommend that you watch the video below which will show you step by step how to perform the prayer and also give you a background on prayer itself.
We recommend that you first read the booklet, then watch the video with the prayer mat open so that you can visualise everything, then perform the prayer.
In relation to memorization of the Qur'an, the best and most easiest transliteration is This One
The best way that we found to memorize verses from the Qur'an is to repeat the verse 20 times before moving onto the next verse. Then repeat the next verse 20 times. Then repeat the first and second verse together 10 times then move onto the 3rd verse and so on.
For example, the first verse in Surah (Chapter) Al Fatiha (The opening) is "AL-HAMDU LILLAAHI RABBIL'AALAMEEN"
Repeat the first verse 20 times (This is only when memorizing the Qur'an, not while praying)
The Second verse in Surah (Chapter) Al Fatiha (The opening) is "ARRAHMAANIR RAHEEM"
Repeat the second verse 20 times
Then combine what you have just memorized "AL-HAMDU LILLAAHI RABBIL'AALAMEEN, ARRAHMAANIR RAHEEM"
Repeat the combination of the first 2 verses 10 times then move onto the 3rd verse
The 3rd verse in Surah (Chapter) Al Fatiha (The opening) is "MAALIKI YAWMIDEEN"
Repeat the third verse 20 times
Then combine what you have just memorized "AL-HAMDU LILLAAHI RABBIL'AALAMEEN, ARRAHMAANIR RAHEEM, MAALIKI YAWMIDEEN"
Repeat the combination of the first 3 verses 10 times then move onto the 4th verse and so on and so on.
"When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way."