Prayer holds a central position in the lives of Muslims, as it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a means for believers to communicate with Allah (SWT) and seek His guidance, forgiveness, and blessings. In addition to the obligatory prayers, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) highly recommended other types of prayers for Muslims to perform. This blog will explore various important prayers in Islam, including Fard, Sunnah, Nafl, Ishraq, Chasht, Shukrana, and Sajda Tilawat, discussing their significance, timings, and benefits.
Importance and benefits of performing prayers(Salah)
Muslims pray for Salah five times a day. Salah is the second pillar of Islam. The command primarily was to pray 50 times a day. But that would have been a liability to the Ummah. Hence, Allah – the Merciful, reduced it to five times. Salah is a resource for us to show an obligation to Allah. It is the major and continuing sign of the believer’s obedience to Allah. The Salah includes physical movements – standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting. It additionally entails the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran in Arabic, along with a number of Dua.
There are many verses in the Holy Quran in which Allah tells us about the importance of prayer.
Importance of Salah (prayers):
When a person worships, he or she develops a reference with Allah. In Quran, Allah Almighty says:
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)
Therefore, a Muslim must use prayers as a means of call and ask Allah Almighty for help and assistance in any trouble or worry.
Performing prayers is a means of developing a connection with Allah Almighty. When a Muslim prays Salah five times daily, the relationship with ALLAH will grow naturally.
And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, on your sides. But when you become protected, re-establish [regular] prayer. (4:103 Quran).
Importance of praying Salah (prayers) on time:
Muslims must be sensible of time in everything they do, particularly regarding prayers, zakat, and fasting. When responsibilities and good deeds aren’t performed on time, they lose meaning, impact, and blessings.
We can understand it through these Quranic verses:
“Indeed the Salah at fixed hours (of the day and night) has been decreed upon the believers.” (4:103 Quran).
Abdullah asked the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
“Which deed is the dearest to Allah?
“Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 527).
When you pray Salah on time with attention and regularity, Allah will guide you and refrain from sinning.
Conditions before praying Salah (prayers):
There are a total of 9 conditions must be met before praying Salah.
- The praying Muslim can judge well, like sensible.
- In Surah Al-A’raf ayah 31, Allah says, “O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer”.
- To be in a clean or purified state. It would mean having performed Wudu or Ghusl. In other situations, do Taya mum (sand ablution) if there is no possibility of using water.
- In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, a hadith says, “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” 
- Any place that may be deemed filthy or unclean should be avoided.
- Covering of private parts of the body. For men, this is anything between your naval to the knees. For women, this is everything but face and hands.
- Salah should be prayed towards the direction of Kabah.
- Muslims do not have any causal mental health issues. Those who do are excused from praying Salah as they are not answerable for their actions.
Method to perform Salah (prayers):
Now that our wudu has been properly made, we can begin praying, Salah. The steps of the Salah are following:
- Fatihah – Recitation
- Ruku – Bowing
- Sujud – Prostration
- Tashahud – Sitting
It is important to understand that the prayer comprises rakah or units of prayer. Every rakah has the same basic steps within it.
- There will be a part when you are standing
- A part when you recite from the Quran
- A part when you bow down
- A part where you prostrate (make sujud)
Depending on which prayer you are performing, there will be minor differences in how these rakah are performed. Here is a summary of how each of the five daily prayers differs from one another:
- Fajr – has two rakah or two units.
- Dhur – has four rakah
- Asr – has four rakah
- Maghrib – has three rakah
- Isha – has four rakah
Punishment for Missing Salah (prayers):
In the Quran, Allah Almighty Says,
“Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.( 6:162)
Important prayers in Islam
Fard (Obligatory) Prayers
Fard prayers are the obligatory prayers that every Muslim must perform. There are five daily Fard prayers that Muslims must observe at specific times throughout the day. These prayers are essential and hold great significance, as they serve as a means of maintaining a strong connection with Allah (SWT).
The Five Daily Obligatory Prayers and Their Timings
- Fajr – This prayer is performed before sunrise, during the early morning hours. It consists of two Rak’ahs (units of prayer).
- Dhuhr – This midday prayer is performed after the sun has passed its zenith (highest point in the sky). It consists of four Rak’ahs.
- Asr – This afternoon prayer is performed in the late afternoon before sunset. It also consists of four Rak’ahs.
- Maghrib – This evening prayer is performed immediately after sunset. It consists of three Rak’ahs.
- Isha – This night prayer is performed after the twilight has disappeared, consisting of four Rak’ahs.
Muslims must perform Fard prayers regularly and on time, as neglecting them can lead to severe consequences in this life and the hereafter.
Sunnah prayers were performed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and are highly recommended for Muslims to follow. These prayers hold great rewards and benefits, as they help strengthen one’s faith and connection with Allah (SWT).
There are two types of sunnah prayers:
The sunnah mu’akkadah (emphasized sunnah)
The emphasized sunnah prayers are those that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed regularly.
- Two Rakahs Sunnah prayer of Fajr, Two and four Rakahs of Zuhar, Two Rakahs ofMaghrib, and two Rakah Sunnah of ISHA prayers
- Taraweeh – These are special prayers performed during Ramadan, after the Isha prayer. They consist of 20 Rak’ahs.
Sunnah ghair mu’akkadah (non-emphasized sunnah).
The non-emphasized sunnah prayers are those that he performed occasionally.
Four RakahsSunnah prayers of Asr, and four rakah sunnah prayers of Isha.
Performing Sunnah prayers brings immense rewards and blessings from Allah (SWT) and helps Muslims attain spiritual growth and closeness to their Creator.
NFL (Nafl) Prayers
Nafl prayers, also voluntary or supererogatory prayers, are not obligatory but highly recommended for Muslims to perform. These prayers can be offered at any time except during the prohibited times of sunrise, sunset, and when the sun is at its zenith.
In Islam, a nafl prayer is an optional Salah. As with Sunnah prayer, they are not considered compulsory but are thought to confer extra benefit on the person performing them.
Abu Hureyrah narrated what Muhammad said to Bilal.
Tell me about the maximum hopeful act (i.e., which you deem the most worthwhile with Allah) you have done since your acceptance of Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your foot in front of me in paradise.
I have not done anything extraordinary except that whenever I perform wudu during the day or night, I Salah (tahiyatul wudu) after that, as much as was written or granted for me.”
— Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Examples of Nafl Prayers
Thajjud prayer is also called Qiyam-u-lail. Participation in the Tahajjud is encouraged (but not required) for all Muslims to participate in this special Islamic prayer. After Isha and before Fajr, the Tahajjud is prayed. If at all possible, perform Tahajjud between the hours of midnight and Fajr, preferably in the last third of the night. However, the Tahajjud is not compulsory; many pious Muslims try to include it into their daily lives as a form of worship and earn Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and improvement.
Evidence in the Qur’an
In the Quran, it says,
Evidence in the Hadith:
Muhammad (PBUH) stated:
“Allah is closest to His slave in the late hours of the night, so it would be wonderful if you could be among those who remember Allah. At that time, do so.”
(Al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisaa’i)
Salat al-Tasbih –
This special prayer is performed to seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and can be offered at any time except during prohibited times. It consists of four Rak’ahs with specific recitations and supplications.
Ishraq prayer is a voluntary prayer performed approximately 15 to 20 minutes after sunrise. It is highly recommended and holds great rewards, as it is said that the one who offers Ishraq prayer regularly will have their sins forgiven.
How and When to Perform Ishraq Prayer
Ishraq prayer can be performed by waiting for approximately 15 to 20 minutes after sunrise and then offering two or four Rak’ahs. Ensuring that the sun has fully risen before starting the prayer is important.
Chasht prayer, also known as Salat al-Duha or the mid-morning prayer, is a voluntary prayer that can be performed between sunrise and the Dhuhr prayer. It is highly recommended and holds great rewards, as it serves as a means of seeking Allah’s blessings and forgiveness.
How and When to Perform Chasht Prayers
Chasht prayer can be performed anytime between sunrise and the time of Dhuhr prayer. It is preferable to perform this prayer during the mid-morning hours when the sun has risen high in the sky. Chasht prayer can consist of two, four, six, or eight Rak’ahs, depending on the individual’s preference and time availability.
The benefits of performing Chasht prayer include:
- Increased blessings and rewards from Allah (SWT).
- The opportunity for spiritual growth.
- The chance to seek forgiveness for one’s sins.
Shukrana prayer, also known as Salat al-Shukr, is a voluntary prayer performed by Muslims to express gratitude and thanks to Allah (SWT) for His countless blessings and favours. This prayer can be offered at any time and serves as a reminder for believers to be grateful for all they have been given.
How and When to Perform Shukrana Prayers
Shukrana prayer can be performed at any time except during the prohibited times of sunrise, sunset, and when the sun is at its zenith. It typically consists of two Rak’ahs, and after completing the prayer, one should sincerely and heartfelt supplicate to Allah (SWT), expressing gratitude for His blessings.
The benefits of performing Shukrana prayer include increased blessings and rewards from Allah (SWT), a heightened sense of gratitude and contentment, and a stronger connection to one’s Creator.
Prayers of repentance( namaz e taubah)
Namaz-e-Tawbah, also known as the Prayer of Repentance, is a voluntary prayer that Muslims can perform when seeking Allah’s forgiveness for their sins. It is a form of prayer specifically intended for seeking repentance and forgiveness from Allah for any wrongdoings an individual may have committed.
What is Sajda Tilawat?
Sajda Tilawat, also known as the prostration of recitation, is a special act of prostration performed when certain verses of the Quran containing the word “sujud” (prostration) are recited during prayer or reading the Quran. This act serves as a means of showing humility and submission to Allah (SWT).
Situations When Sajda Tilawat is Required
Fifteen verses in the Quran require Sajda Tilawat when they are recited. These verses can be found in various chapters (Surahs) of the Quran, and it is obligatory for the reciter to perform the prostration immediately after reciting the verse.
How to Perform Sajda Tilawat
To perform Sajda Tilawat, one should say “Allahu Akbar” and go directly into the prostration position, placing their forehead, nose, palms, knees, and toes on the ground. While in prostration, recite the following supplication three times: “Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Highest). Then, rise from prostration, saying “Allahu Akbar.”
The Farz (obligatory) acts of SALA (prayer)are as follows:
Takbir (Allahu Akbar)
-Takbir is the second farz of namaz, which means to say Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) while raising both hands to the ears. This gesture marks the beginning of the prayer and the start of the first rak’ah.
-The first farz of namaz is Qiyam, which means standing. In each rak’ah of the prayer, the Muslim must stand upright and recite Surah Al-Fatihah and another Surah from the Quran.
Qira’at (Recitation of Quran)
– Qira’at is the third farz of namaz, and it means to recite verses from the Quran during each rak’ah of the prayer. Muslims must recite Surah Al-Fatihah and another Surah or a few verses from the Quran.
– Ruku is the fourth farz of namaz, and it means to bow down while saying “Subhan Rabial Azim” (Glory be to my Lord, the Greatest) at least three times. During this act, Muslims must keep their back straight and their hands on their knees.
– Sujud is the fifth farz of namaz, which means prostrating oneself on the ground with the forehead, nose, hands, knees, and toes touching the floor. During this act, Muslims must say “Subhan Rabial A’la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Highest) at least three times.
Qa’dah (Sitting Position)
– Qa’dah is the seventh farz of namaz, and it means to sit after the second sujud in the final rak’ah. During this act, Muslims recite the Tashahhud, send blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and make dua.
Salam (Ending the Prayer)-
Salam is the eighth and final farz of namaz, and it means to turn the head towards the right and say “Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah” (Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah) and then turn the head towards the left and repeat the same words. This gesture marks the end of the prayer.
Prayer plays a vital role in the lives of Muslims, serving as a means of connecting with Allah (SWT) and seeking His guidance, forgiveness, and blessings. By performing various types of prayers, such as Fard, Sunnah, Nafl, Ishraq, Chasht, Shukrana, and Sajda Tilawat, Muslims can attain spiritual growth, purification, and a deeper connection with their Creator. Believers must perform these prayers regularly and strive to maintain a strong bond with Allah (SWT) through constant communication and submission.