You can supplicate anywhere you want at anytime you want. But when it comes to preforming salah there you have to make sure you’re praying in a place that is clean in clothes that are pure.
As we just learned, the first step is to be in a state of purity, or wudu’. Next, you have to be properly dressed. When you stand before your Creator you don’t want to be sloppy, or dressed immodestly. If you had a meeting with upper management at work, you wouldn’t wear cargo shorts, would you? Actually, you should be wearing cargo shorts like, NEVER, but the point is, every occasion calls for appropriate attire. Similarly, there are a few more steps we have to take before we can begin our prayer.
1. STYLE FIT FOR A PRINCESS: The dress code for women during Salah is the same for daily life. All Muslim women are required to wear the “hijab” or head covering, which protects the hair, ears, neck and part of the chest. Our arms and legs must also be fully covered (wrists to ankles). Also, you do not want to have pictures of faces (humans or animals) on your clothes while you are praying. If you have a favorite Big Bird shirt that you can’t live without, throw a hoodie over it before you pray.
(In case you’re wondering, men cannot wear silk or gold, if you’re thinking wedding bands, think platinum, palladium, silver, titanium…etc.).
WELCOME A NEW WORD: HIJAB is the head cover that ALL Muslim women are REQUIRED to wear. Women may see your hair if you wish, (there are some rulings regarding non-Muslim women but you can seek religious council on that one if you really want to know) but men CANNOT.
The ONLY men who are allowed to see your hair are:
-Uncles (dad’s brother, mom’s brother—not those related through marriage).
Looking for cousins? Sorry, they’re not on the list. Just because you consider someone “family” that doesn’t mean that they are an exception to God’s rules. God has clearly outlined how we are supposed to protect, and present ourselves in every relationship, so just because you babysat your neighbor’s kid when he was a baby, or feel really close to your husband’s brother, that doesn’t give us the right to bend God’s rulings to our personal level of comfort.
You’re probably thinking, Well, I know Muslim women who don’t cover their hair, or Dude, I’m Muslim, and I DON’T cover my hair.
Some people move at their own pace, while others are just not well-informed. But remember when we do something for God, He will make it easy for you. That is His promise, and He is always true to His word. That which is the most pleasing to God is when we put forth little effort continuously rather than jumping head first into something for like, a week, and then never doing it again. Remember, Islam is a marathon, not a sprint. When runners train for a marathon, they don’t wake up one day and run 24 miles. They have to build their stamina; five miles a day then six, then seven. The same logic applies to Islam. If you “sprint” into the religion, you’ll crash and burn—and we don’t want that. If you tried to sprint a 26-mile race, you’d reach muscle failure before you reach the third mile.
Still with me?
It is also important to remember that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) didn’t strut around Mecca, or Medina with a megaphone telling the people what to do.
He did it.
He lived it.
His wife A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) said that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a walking Qu’ran. He lived the word, and that’s how people learned. Remember, you are the greatest example, and people will look to you to learn about Islam. If we see women, or men who are doing something that we know is forbidden in Islam, we should find the right place, time, and take a tactful approach to tell them. But sometimes, it’s not easy to go three for three like that.
In most situations, it’s just better to pray for their guidance, and our own while we’re at it.
2. FACES AND PLACES: Your Salah can be done anywhere—oh yeah, anywhere except your bed.
God has said that He made the whole earth as a place for you to perform your salah. You don’t have to be in a mosque, or in someone’s house. Just remember, the place must be clean. This is determined by sight and smell. You wouldn’t, for example, pray in a public restroom. However, Nordstrom’s bathrooms have a lounge area that is separate from the toilets. The area is completely carpeted and very clean. I have done my Salah there a few times — though not so much after the recession, if you know what I mean.
If you’re from the D.C. Metro Area, like I am, Tysons Corner Center actually has a specific place in the mall for Muslims to pray. All you have to do is ask someone in the customer service area, or one of the security guards, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Having said that…
You should try to find a place that has as little distraction as possible. Remember, your prayer is to remember God, and if you’re in the middle of a busy bee’s nest you’re going to have trouble concentrating. You will find however that when people see Muslims praying, they tend to lower their voices, and walk behind them because they know that we are in worship.
It’s really very touching.
3. TAKE A STANCE: Every time you pray you will face the Kabah’, the house of God built by Abraham and his son, Ismail (peace be upon them). WELCOME A (few) NEW WORD(s): KABAH or QIBLAH is the house of God in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This is where close to 3 MILLION Muslims go each year to perform HAJJ, the holy pilgrimage, and one of the five pillars of Islam.
Now, check your intention, concentrate, and you’re ready to go.