How to Pray for a recent convert

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(part 1 of 2) Description:  A brief description of the formal prayers, the first obligatory act of worship to be performed after accepting I...

(part 1 of 2)

Description: A brief description of the formal prayers, the first obligatory act of worship to be performed after accepting Islam. Part 1 discusses what needs to be done to prepare oneself for the formal prayers.
Objectives
To learn how to perform ablution and the ritual bath and when are they required.
New Terms
·        wudoo’, ghusl[1], salah

What is Ablution (Wudoo’)?

Wudoo’, translated as ablution, is done before certain acts of worship. It is basically washing of one's face, hands and arms, then wiping the head and ears, and finally washing the feet.

When Should I Perform Ablution (Wudoo’)?

A Muslim must perform ablution before he performs the prayer (salah) if he enters a state of ritual impurity, namely due to one of the following causes:
(1)  Breaking wind.
(2)  Urination.
(3)  Defecation (passing feces).
(4)  Deep sleep.
These things are considered to ‘invalidate’ or ‘break’ ablution (wudoo’).  For example, you must perform ablution after waking up in the morning to pray your morning prayer (salah), because sleeping “breaks” the  ablution. After using the toilet, you have to perform  ablution before you can perform prayer because urinating and defecating “break” the  ablution.

How to Perform Ablution?

Before you perform ablution, you should make sure your body parts are not soiled with impurities. Make sure you have wiped off all traces of urine or feces with toilet paper or water after having used the toilet.
 Ablution is done in the following order:
1.    Intend in your heart that you are performing  ablution in order to enter a state of purity for salah.
2.    Begin with the name of Allah by saying, ‘Bismillaah’ which means, ‘I begin with the Name of Allah.’ 
3.    Rinse the mouth. This can be done once, twice or thrice. See Figure 1.

Figure 1
4.    Clean the nostrils by sniffing water and blowing it. This can be done once, twice or thrice. See Figure 2.

Figure 2
5.    Wash the face from the hairline to the chin and jawbone, from ear to ear. This can be done once, twice or thrice. See Figure 3.

Figure 3
6.    Wash the hands and arms up to and including the elbows. This can be done once, twice or thrice. Begin with the right hand.  See Figure 4.

Figure 4
7.    After wetting the hands again, wipe the entire head by putting the hands at the front of your head and take them to the back of the head, then bring them back to the place where you started.  This is to be done only once. See Figure 5.

Figure 5
8.    Wipe the inner part of the ears with the index fingers and the back of the ears with the thumbs. This is to be done only once. See Figure 6.

Figure 6
9.    Wash the feet up to and including the ankles. This can be done once, twice or thrice. Begin with the right foot. See Figure 7.

Figure 7

What is Ritual Bath (Ghusl)?

Ghusl is the Arabic word for a complete bath. In certain cases, it is not enough to perform ablution before prayers.  One needs to purify themselves by taking a full bath, that is doing the ritual bath (ghusl), before they may pray.  You are required to do the ritual bath in the following cases:
1.     The emission of semen or female orgasmic fluid, whether due to sexual intercourse, wet dreams or masturbation.
2.     After sexual intercourse.  More precisely, a bath has to be taken if the penis enters the vagina, regardless of whether fluid was emitted or not.
3.     Menstruation and post-natal bleeding[2].
4.     It is also preferred to perform the ritual bath upon entering Islam.
A female cannot offer salah (prayer) when she is experiencing menstruation or postpartum bleeding.  After her bleeding ends, she must purify herself by taking the ritual bath, and then she may resume salah (prayer). 

How to Perform the Ritual Bath

(1) Intend in your heart to purify yourself for Allah’s sake.
(2) Wash off any impurity that may be on the body.
(3) Wash the entire body with water leaving no part dry.
(4) Rinse the mouth and nose.
       


Footnotes:
[1] The ‘gh’ is pronounced like a French ‘r
[2] Post-natal or post partum bleeding is that bleeding which occurs after childbirth or miscarriage.

How to Pray for a Recent Convert (part 2 of 2)

Description: A brief description of the formal prayers, the first obligatory act of worship to be performed after accepting Islam. Part 2 discusses how a new Muslim can perform the prayers. 
Objectives
·       To learn how to prepare oneself in order to perform the prayer.
·       To learn a simpler way to pray and adopt it temporarily, until one is able to pray the actual prayer.

What is Prayer (Salah)?

·       Prayer (Salah) is the formal establishment of prayer required of a Muslim five times daily.  Prayer (Salah) consists of specific statements and actions.

Getting Ready for Prayer (Salah)

The timings:  The five daily prayers have to be offered within a certain time range. They are FajrDhuhrAsrMagrib and Isha, and you can find the prayer timings for your city from this link:
The timings of the prayers vary from place to place. And this is why you need to find the prayer timings for your specific city.
The prayers do not need to be prayed exactly when the time starts; rather, they can be prayed at any time before the next prayer time starts, with the exception of Fajr and Isha. The Fajr prayer should be prayed before sunrise. For this reason, you will find the time for sunrise listed on Prayer schedules, and this does not mean that there is a special prayer for Sunrise.  And the Isha prayer should be prayed till the middle of the night. However, due to necessity, the Isha prayer can be prayed up to the beginning of Fajr time. 
The direction: You can use the same website to find the direction of prayers. The website will display the bearing on a compass after you have entered your city.
The dress: A Muslim man should wear something that at least covers him from the naval to the knees. A Muslim woman must wear loose clothing that covers her entire body and hair leaving her face and palms open.
State of Purity: One should be in a state of purity, by performing ablution (wudoo’) or ritual bath (ghusl) [this was covered in Part 1]. Also one should make sure that there is no impurity (such as urine or faeces) on one’s clothes or body. The prayers can be done on any clean surface such as the floor, carpet or a rug. Dust, mud or grease are considered ok and do not affect the prayers.

The Prayer (Salah)

The Prayer (salah) is to be said in Arabic and requires some memorization, so, it usually takes a little time to learn correctly and fully and get used to it.  Not knowing Arabic should not discourage you; just pray the prayer (salah) to the best of your ability.
A new Muslim has to realize that the orders of Allah are to be followed within the limit of his or her ability and endurance.  If you find it difficult to memorize all of what is necessary for the prayers, it may be a good idea in the meantime to write it on a piece of paper and read them in prayer.  If you are unable to do even this, it is sufficient that you say any or all of the following instead:
·       Subhanallah                               ‘How Perfect is Allah!’
·       Al-hamdu lil-lah                         ‘All praise and thanks are for Allah’
·       La ilaha il-lal-lah                       ‘There is no god except Allah’
·       Allahu Akbar                             ‘Allah is the Greatest’

Here is an example of a 2 unit prayer (like the Fajr prayer), based on the last method of prayers explained above.
1.  Stand straight facing the direction of prayer.
2.  Raise your hands up to the shoulders and say Allahu Akbar. See Figure 1.

Figure 1
3.  Then place your right arm over your left arm and place both of them on the chest. In the standing position, say Subhanallah. See Figure 2.


Figure 2
4.  Then say  Allahu Akbar and go to the bowing position. See Figure 3. In the bowing position say Subhanallah.


Figure 3
5.  Then get up from the bowing position to stand straight again. Say Allahu Akbar while getting up. See Figure 4. Here say Subhanallah.


Figure 4
6.  Then go to the position of prostration. See Figure 5. Say Allahu Akbar while going down. In the position of prostration say Subhanallah.


Figure 5
7.  Then come to the sitting position as in Figure 6. While sitting up, sayAllahu Akbar. In the sitting position say Subhanallah.


Figure 6
8.   Then again go to the position of prostration (see figure 5).  Say Allahu Akbar while going down. In the position of prostration say Subhanallah.
9.   Stand up again while saying Allahu Akbar and repeat Step 3 to 8.
10. Then come to the sitting position as in Figure 6. While sitting up, say Allahu Akbar. In the sitting position say Subhanallah.
11. Then conclude the prayer by turning your head to the right then left, each time saying As-salaamu alaikum. See Figures 7 and 8.


Figure 7


Figure 8

Here is an example of a 3 unit prayer (like the Magrib prayer):
Do steps 1 to 10, and then stand up again while saying Allahu Akbar and repeat Steps 3 to 8 and then steps 10 and 11.
Here is an example of a 4 unit prayer (like the Dhuhr, Asr and Isha prayer):
Do steps 1 to 10, and then stand up again while saying Allahu Akbar and repeat Steps 3 to 11.
This way of performing prayers is permissible for you until you can pray the actual prayer (found in Level 2, "Prayer for Beginners" lesson) which can be done with the help of reading the prayers from a piece of paper.
(Disclaimer: All external links are provided for educational purposes only.  JamaMasjid.org is not responsible for the content of external websites.)

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Jama Masjid: How to Pray for a recent convert
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