The Term “Prayer” in English can mean different things in Arabic, based on the context in which it is used. It can mean the ritual devotion that is a pillar of Islam termed Salaah in Arabic, or it can mean beseeching God, or Dua in Arabic. Most Muslims will call both these practices “prayer” in English; usually, it is easy to tell which is meant based on the context, with the default use being that of the ritual devotion Salaat.
Muslims are encouraged to remember God at all times. To that end, at five points during the day, based on the position of the sun in relation to the Earth, a Muslim joins the universe’s perfect order of obedience to God by performing a special ritual prayer that can be performed in any clean place. Muslims can, therefore, be observed performing their prayers in many and varied places such as parks, office buildings, shopping centres and airports. The five daily ritual prayers are the most important duty of a Muslim towards God. The prayer is performed as the Prophet himself performed it. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught his followers to pray as they saw him pray. He prayed with grace and simplicity of movement, standing, bowing, prostrating, reciting, contemplating, and glorifying. Today, Muslims all over the world continue to pray in this manner. When performed correctly, the prayer aligns the body, mind, and soul of the worshipper with the will of God, establishing an intimate connection of harmony and submission. The worshipper’s deepest submission is embodied in the moment of prostration when the face is placed on the ground, acknowledging God’s greatness and one’s neediness and humility. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The servant is never closer to God than when he is prostrating himself in worship.” God says,