Performing Salah: How to Do it and What to Say

Now it’s time to preform salah. This is exactly what you’re going to do and say. Ready to rumble? Let’s get started!

Rakah 1:
1. Say, Allah-hu-Akbar (God is greater) and lift your hands to your ears and then fold them on your chest with your right wrist on top of your left wrist.
(Remember this from the basic positions of Salah we went over a few pages ago?)
This motion of lifting your hands is called, “Takbir” (say: Tak-beer)

You have started your Salah.

2. Next, say:
Subhanaka Allah-humma
Tabara-kas mu-ka
Watala jadduka
Wa-la-ilaha- ghayruk.

Translation: Purity is to You, oh Allah. And I praise You. Most auspicious is Your name and supreme is Your majesty; and there is no God except You.

3. Recite Surah Al-Fatiha. This is the first surah in the Qur’an titled “The Opening.”
You will recite this surah in every rakah in every prayer, so keep it close to your heart.

Audu billah himinish shaytan nirajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed).

Bismillah hir rahman nirahim (In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful).
Alhamdulillah hir Rabbil Alaameen
Ar-rahman nir-raheem.
Mal(ee)ki Yo Mid-deen.
Ea-yaka nabudu wa iyya-ka nastaeen.
Ih dinas siratal mustaqim
Siratal ladzina an amta alayhim
Ghayral magh doobey alayhim
Wala daa leen

Translation: In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful.
All praise is for Allah, the Rabb (Lord) of the worlds.
The compassionate the merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment.
You alone we worship and You alone we call on for help.
Guide us to the right way.
The way of those whom You favored; not those who have earned Your wrath, or of those who have lost the way.

LET S WELCOME SOME NEW WORDS (before we move to step 4):
A SURAH is a section of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is made up of 114 surahs divided into each of the book s 30 chapters. Each chapter is referred to as a JUZ.
Each surah is made up of AYAAT, (the singular is ayah) which literally means “sign,” as in a sign from God; it s like a line or a sentence.

You can think of it like this:

-The Qur’an is the Holy book of the Muslims
-It has 30 chapters.
-Each chapter has sub-chapters, 114 in total.
-Each sub-chapter is made up of sentences. Some of the sub-chapters are made up of as little as five sentences, some have close to 300!

4. Recite any surah, or a few ayaat from a surah next. You can recite as much as you want, but make sure to recite at least three lines of any surah, but not Surah Al-Fatiha again).

Before we move on, you should know that that the surah, or the ayaat you chose to recite following Surah Al-Fatiha is ONLY DONE IN THE FIRST AND SECOND RAKAH.
In RAKAHs 3 and 4, recite Surah Fatiha ONLY. Got it?

Here are three of the easier surahs in the Qur’an, that most people start with when they first begin to memorize Qur’an, and learn their salah. There is no hard and fast rule about reciting these surahs — in fact, you should recite whatever you want, and try to read the meaning of what you’re saying.
If you’re new to this whole thing, this is a good place to get started.

Surah Al-Ikhlas (112 in the Qur an)
Bismillah hir rahman nirahim (In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful).
Qul huwala hu ahad
Allah hus- Samad
Wa lam-u-lad
Wa lamya kulla hu Kuf won ahad.

Translation: Say, He is Allah the one and only. Allah is the self-sufficient (independent of all, while all are dependent on Him); He begets not, nor is He begotten; and there is none comparable to Him.


Surah Al-Falaq (113 in the Qur an).
Bismillah hir rahman nirahim (In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful).
Qul audu birr-rabbil falaq
Min sharrima khalaq
Wa min sharri gha-si-kin idza waqab
Wa min sharrin nafa-tha-ti fil oo-qad
Wa min sharri hassidin idza hasad.

Translation: Say, I seek refuge with the Rabb (Lord) of the dawn. From the mischief of all the He has created. And from the mischief of darkness when it overspreads. From the mischief of those who blow on knots (black magic); and from the mischief of the envier who envies.


Surah An-Nas (114 in the Qur an).
Bismillah hir rahman nirahim (In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful).
Qul audu birr-rabin nas
E-la hin nas
Min sharril was wasil qan-nas
Aladzi you was-wisu
Fi sudoorin nass
Minal jinnati wan-nas.

Translation: Say, I seek refuge in the Rabb (Lord) of mankind. The King of mankind. The real God of mankind. From the mischief of the slinging whisperers (Satan and his workers) who whisper into the hearts of people. Whether he be from among the jinn or from the mankind.

WELCOME A NEW WORD: JINN is another of God’s creation. God said He made humans from clay, angels from light and jinn from a smokeless fire. They are like us in the way that they have been given free will and they too will stand before Allah on the Day of Judgement. Like us, they will be accountable for everything they have done and will find a final abode in JANNAH (paradise) or JAHANAM (hell fire). We cannot see them but they can see us (kind of creepy, right?) They live in another dimension. Obviously, as Muslims we know that what Allah says is HAQQ (the truth) so that s enough for me. I m sold. But for some, they need other proofs. If you go to Barnes and Noble, you will find books written by authors who have doctorate degrees in mathematics and physics. Through scientific calculations, it can be proven that aside from the human race, there are up to 11 other dimensions that we cannot see! Allah has already taught us everything we need to know through the Qur an, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to swing by the bookstore?

(Oh, how I miss the days of Gomez Adams and his family.)

If you think you see a pattern, you are absolutely right. Before each surah we say Bismillah hir rahman nirahim (In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful). And this is not only said during salah. Muslims say this before they start EVERYTHING. Before we eat, drive, start a project, talk to a supervisor, read the Qur’an, etc. As a Muslim, we start everything by FIRST saying the name of God, the ONLY one who can help us with each task no matter how big or small. You might have also noticed that each of these three surahs start with the word QUL. This word means “say,” and God is telling the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to SAY the ayahs that follow, and to relay the message to the people.

Okay, moving on.

5. Say, Allah-hu-Akbar (God is the greatest) and move into the next position of your Salah. Bend at the waist, palms on knees, flat back. You are now in Ruku.
While in this position, say Subhana rabbiyl adzeem three times.
Translation: Pure is my lord, the great.

6. Move from the bowing position to standing upright. (You can fold your hands here or you can keep them by your sides).
As you stand say up, say, Sami-Allahhu leman hamedah (Allah has heard the one who has praised Him.)
Rabbana walakal hamd (Oh Lord, all praise belongs to you.)

7. Then say Allah-hu-akbar (God is the greatest) and move into prostration. Do you remember how to do this?
Knees, toes, palms, forehead and nose are touching the ground. Your toes are facing forward. In this prostrated position, say: Subhana Rabbi-yal Aalaa three times.
Translation: Pure is my lord, the supreme.

Repeat step 7.
You with me?

Then, as you sit up into the sitting position (legs underneath you, toes on right foot face forward, toes on left foot face the person to your right, palms rest on thighs close to your knees) say Allah hu Akbar. (Do you remember what this means?) Let your bones settle for a moment and then say Allah hu Akbar, and move into your second prostration and again say: Subhana Rabbi-yal Aalaa three times.


8. Stand up.
You have now completed your first unit of prayer!!!
But wait, you’re not done yet.

9. The second unit of prayer will look a lot like the first unit, expect we will be adding a section called TASHAHUD after our second prostration in this unit.

Remember that, and I will explain why you need to know that in a few minutes.

The Tashahud is done in the SECOND and FINAL rakah of each Salah.
Remember we talked about how many units each prayer consists of?

*For the prayers Dhur, Asr and Isha, which consist of 4 units, the Tashahud is done in the SECOND AND FOURTH rakah.
*For Maghrib, which consists of 3 rakah it is done in the SECOND AND THIRD.
*For Fajr, which consists of 2 rakah, it is ONLY DONE IN THE SECOND (and in this case the final) RAKAH.

Jeez, okay. That was WAY TOO MUCH to take in. Grab a journal, and jot down any questions you have, or if you’re confused about anything. That way, you won’t forget what you needed to ask.

Moving on…

We ll call this step –
10. A and B.
The Tashahud.
So, you have completed your second prostration in your second unit of salah and now instead of getting up, you will recite the following. Lightly tap the index finger on your right hand up and down as you say:

At-tahiyyatu lilaahi was-salawaatu wat-tayyibaat- as salaamu alayka ayyuhan-nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh, as-salaamu alaynaa wa alaa ibaadi-laahis-saaliheen.

Translation: All compliments, all physical prayer, and all worship are for Allah. Peace be upon you, Oh Prophet, and Allah’s mercy and blessings. Peace be on us and on all righteous slaves of Allah. I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Then, raise your index finger on your right hand and hold it up as you recite the “Shahadah,” or declaration of faith.

Ash hadu al la-ilaha ill Allah
Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan abdu hu-wa Rasooluh.
(I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His last servant and messenger).

Remember I said that the Tashahud has two parts? Okay, so now we need to find out what to do.
Think of the Tashahud like two scoops of your favorite ice cream. You eat (recite) the first scoop during the second unit of prayer, and save the second scoop for the end.
We already learned how to recite the first “scoop” – remember, it precedes the shahadah?
Here is our second scoop.

Allahumma salli alaa Muhammadin wa alaa ali Muhammadin kamaa sallayta alaa Ibraheema wa alaa ali Ibraheema innaka Hameed-um-Majeed.
Allahumma baarik alaa Muhammadin wa alaa ali Muhammadin kamaa baarakta alaa Ibraheema wa alaa ali Ibraheema Inaka Hameed-um-Majeed.

Translation: Oh Allah, send prayers upon Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad, just as You sent prayers upon Ibrahim (Abraham) and upon the followers of Ibrahim. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty. Oh Allah, send blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, just as you sent blessings upon Ibrahim and upon the family of Ibrahim. Verily, You are full of praise and majesty.

After you recite the second scoop, turn your head to your right shoulder and say, “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah.” (Peace be unto you and Allah’s Mercy). Then turn to your left shoulder and say the same thing.

Congratulations, you now know the basics you’ll need in order to perform your salah properly. But we’re not done just yet. Now you need to know what rules apply to each Salah since they differ in their number of units.