Salat, sometimes translated as prayer, is the 2nd pillar of Islam. Salat is the foundation of Islam and is a gift from ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Salat was prescribed by ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, during the Prophet Muhammad’s, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, Night Journey and Ascension, when he went from Makkah to Jerusalem, led all the Prophets, alaihim assalaam, in Salat, and then ascended through the 7 Heavens. At the final stop, he received the 5 daily Salawat (plural of Salat) from ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Muslims are required to perform Salat 5 times everyday at prescribed times. These times are referred to as Fajr, Thuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha.
Before Salat is performed, one must be in a state of purity and cleanliness. This requires performing Wudu, Ablution, in a specific manner and may require a full shower or bath. Salat can be performed individually, but the reward is greater if it is performed in a group, referred to as a Jama’ah, with an Imam leading the group. Normally, the Jama’ah performs their Salat in a Masjid, or Mosque, referred to as a House of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala. In addition, Muslims are encouraged to offer voluntary Salat at most times during the day and night. (There are some times when Salat is not allowed.) The voluntary Salat are offered in the same manner as the required 5 daily Salawat and can be offered in Jama’ah, but usually are offered individually.
Salat combines recitations from the Quran, Glorifying ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, hand movements, bowing, prostrating and head movements. For more information on Salat or any other aspect of Islam, please contact the IFANCA or your local Islamic Center or Masjid.
The next section briefly discusses the 3rd pillar of Islam: Zakat, or alms-giving.