The Prayer of Ascension
Salah is the second pillar of worship for travelers on the path first walked by the Prophet Muhammad and the Prophets Ibrahim. Musa, and ‘Isa, may Allah bless them all with peace and proximity. Every monotheistic religion has prayer practices that are the foundation of its worship, and Sufism and Islam do as well.
The salah was revealed piecemeal to the Prophet Muhammad, salllallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, during Qur’anic revelations, his ascension through the Heavens (miraj), and through interactions he had with the Angel Jibril (Gabriel), ‘alayhi-s-salam. There are many hidden jewels, spiritual secrets, and blessings upon blessings within the salah. We start out doing it because we’re told it benefits us, but we keep doing it because we feel so good afterward!
There are five obligatory salah the traveler does in a day. They are: Fajr, Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha. Below are written instructions and videos to assist you in your journey of performing complete and beautiful salah. You can also view a document which bare minimum requirements to get started with salah.
Timing is an extremely important aspect of salah, as if you pray at the wrong time it can invalidate your prayer. Learn more about prayer times.
Additional Types of Salah
Sunnah: additional salah traditionally done before and/or after obligatory salah.
Nafl: additional salah done at different times of the day or for different reasons (such as, to greet a mosque)
Witr: additional salah done after ‘isha prayer
Tahajjud: late night salah
Tarawih: additiional salah done only during Ramadan after ‘isha and before witr.
Istikhara: salah we do with the intention of asking Allah for guidance
‘Eid: salah done twice a year for holidays
Ishraq: salah done after fajr
Duha: salah done when the sun is high in the sky but it isn’t dhuhr yet
Tahiyatul: two rak’ah of salah done upon entering a masjid
Khawf: salah done from a space of fear and awe of Allah, Most High
Preparing For Salah
There are a few important steps to prepare your body, heart, mind, and spirit to enter the salah, the holy conversation, with your Beloved.
Wudu’ and Ghusl
Before entering the salah, it is vital to be in a purified state, ensured by performing wudu’ and possibly ghusl. Learn more here.
Adhan and Iqama
Two of the beautiful traditions associated with salah are the recitation of the adhan and the iqama. Click here to learn how.
- Download a document outlining all of the necessary steps to perform to prepare for salah.
After the Salah
There are practices Sidi gave us to do after the salah, all based in the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Download the recitations here.
For help with pronunciation, listen to the audio file below.
The beloved Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, taught us that salah in a group has twenty-seven degrees of excellence over solitary prayer. People praying together for the five prayers stand as close as possible, shoulders, arms or hips touching. Straighten the lines by lining up your heels. One person who best knows the prayer serves as the Imam, leading other people in the actions of the prayer. Talk to a teacher to learn how this is done.
Personal supplications–prayers for love, mercy, forgiveness, if something is needed, something for others–may be made while bowing, while prostrating, and in the kneeling before giving salams to the right and to the left. The Prophet, upon him be peace, said, “Supplication is the marrow of worship.”
When traveling, worshippers may shorten prayers of four rak‘ah (the noon, afternoon and night prayers) to two rak‘ah. Fajr and Maghrib prayers may not be shortened. Travelers may also combine Dhuhr and ‘Asr; and Maghrib and ‘Isha: for example, making Dhuhr prayer, ending with salams, then making ‘Asr prayer the same way, with an Iqamah for each prayer. These combinations may be prayed any time during the period of either salah If you have committed to keeping the prayer daily, and are still new to it, you may consider yourself a traveler, shortening and combining prayers as you travel into observance of the salah.