The Most Significant Acts of Worship
Salaat is one of the most significant acts of worship a Muslim can perform. The Quran says [029.045]Recite that which hath been inspired in thee of the Scripture, and establish worship. Lo! Worship preserves from lewdness and iniquity, but verily remembrance of Allah is more important. And Allah knoweth what ye do. It is said that performing five daily prayers will clean all the sins from a person and make them tahir (pure). Even thinking of your salaat as insignificant can result in your prayer being void. The Quran says [023.001]Successful indeed are the believers. [023.002]Who are humble in their prayers.
Decrease the Amount
Certain circumstances may increase or decrease the amount of your hasnat (reward). Conditions which should be avoided are; performing your salaat while you are exhausted, looking toward the sky and fidgeting. The following items may increase your hasnat (reward); praying with clean clothing, perfume, brushed teeth, and combed hair. Men intending to perform Salaat al-Jumuah (Friday prayer) are encouraged to perform ghusl (full bath or shower). If he should break his wudu before the time of prayer he is not required to repeat the ghusl. A simply wudu will be sufficient. Brothers are required to go to the Salaat al-Jumuah (prayer on Friday), sisters are not required to do so. Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The angels sit at the doors of the Masjids and with them are scrolls in which they record the people [who come in]. When the Imam appears, the scrolls are rolled up." Abu Umamah was asked, "Does the one who comes after the Imam still have a Friday Prayer?" he said, "Certainly, but he is not one of those who is recorded [as coming early]." [Ahmad and al- Tabarani] Brothers and sisters you should strive to perform your salaat as if Allah is watching every movement, saying every word with love and fear of Allah. A Muslim should strive and sacrifice for the sake of their prayer. I must also add that salaat is not required of the following people: mentally handicapped, children under the age of puberty (about seven). women who are menstruating or having post partum bleeding and the critically ill. May Allah accept all of our prayers.
Direction and Location
There is significant importance in the direction, the location and the cleanliness of the place of your prayer. Muslims are required to pray facing the Ka’bah. The Ka'bah which is in the city of Mecca, inside the Masjid al- Haram. Observing the direction of the Ka'bah can be done with a compass. It is recommended (mustahab) you recites your obligatory Salaat in a Masjid as often as possible. The following conditions are required of your location of your salaat; enough room to perform standing (qiyam), bowing (ruku) and prostration (sujud). There should be no movement in the place of your salaat, upsetting the stillness of the body. The area that you place your forehead must be clean (tahir). You may prefer to use a prayer rug that can be used during prayer, rolled up and put away until next prayer. You may also use any clean cloth or a piece plastic in the same manner.
Removing of All Impurities
Islam encourages cleanliness. To ensure this is preformed, it is mandatory that your body and clothing be clean before performing your salaat. Your prayer will not be valid unless your body and clothing are clean. Clothing must be considered tahir and removed of all impurities. Impurities include blood, urine, and excrement. During Salaat, boys and men must cover the area between the navel to the knees. Girls and women must cover their entire body, excluding covering the hands, feet up to the ankle, and the face. You may prefer to obtain a prayer outfit that you can slip on at the time of prayer then fold and reuse at the next time of prayer. The purifying of your body is called wudu. The passing of excrement, gas, urine, semen, touching of sexual organs without clothing, bleeding, sexual intimacy, falling into a deep sleep, and laughing loudly during salaat can all break your wudu. Once wudu is preformed and not broken you may perform multiple prayers. You may refer to the page on Purification to the left for instructions to follow for performing wudu.
You Will Also Find it Very Beneficial
When I began praying I would pray in English silently to my self. I would take with me a copy of Al-Fatiha (The Opening). Reading it in Arabic from the paper until I had it memorized. As I would memorize each section of the prayer I would select a new section and implement it into the prayer. Slowly replacing my English with Arabic. Here are some short Surahs that are easy to memorize.
You will also find it very beneficial Inshallah if you can perform salaat with a more experienced Muslim until you have the hang of it. When praying with others you should stand toes to toes, shoulders to shoulders in a straight line and you should never pray ahead of the person leading the prayer. I have also included a link below to our page on Salaat instructions. The Quran sayas[002.238] Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah.