14 Pillars of Prayer


There are five basic pillars of Islam i.e. Faith / Shahadah or Kalimah Tayyibah, Prayer / Namaz, Fasting / Saum, Hajj / Pilgrimage, Zakat / Alms or Charity. Prayer is one of these 5 pillars of Islam. The Quranic term for prayer is (الصلوٰۃ) which stands for attending to, praying to, or seeking nearness to Allah Almighty. It is the way in which the concept of Ibadat (عبادت) in Islam finds expression. Prayer is devotional secrecy, which a Muslim is required to undertake five times in 24 hours. 

This article explains “How to Offer Prayer”? i.e. (حنفی) نماز پڑھنے کا طریقہ and covers the following aspects of prayer:

  1.  Pre-requisites of Prayer
  2.  Pillars of Prayer
  3.  Quranic Verses and Ahadith related to “Prayer / نماز

Importance of Offering Prayer

The prayer is the second important pillar of Islam after faith. Allah Almighty holds prayer in great esteem. The offering of prayer is a great virtue and its omission is a major sin. In Islam prayer has been recognized as the first and foremost duty of a Muslim in the light of the Quran and Ahadith. It is the first step in the onward progress of man and yet it is also his Meiraj (معراج), his highest spiritual ascent. Prayer keeps man away from evil and thus enables him to attain perfection. 

How to Offer Prayer?

So keeping in view the obligation of this worship, every Muslim must know “how to offer the prayer”? According to Islamic teachings, leaving or ignoring the prayer intentionally is considered “Kufr” or disbelief.

Requirements of the Prayer

There are fourteen things called the “Farz” (imperative) parts, which one has to fulfill for the prayer to be valid and proper. Seven of these are pre-requisites, which one has to fulfill before the commencement of the prayer. The other seven called the pillars of the prayer; are observed during the Prayer. Details are as under:-

Pre-requisites (How to Offer Prayer)

If any of the following seven pre-requisites is ignored, the prayer will not be deemed to have been performed at all:-

  • Cleanliness of the Body

The body has to be cleaned of all sorts of impurities, and one must have obtained purity either through “Wuzu” or, if need be, through “Ghusal” (bath).

  • Cleanliness of Garments

All the garments including even the cap, socks, gloves, etc that one is wearing or having on one’s body must be clean and pure beyond any shadow of a doubt.

  • Cleanliness of Place

The minimum requirement is that the place where one intends to stand and where one’s knees, hands, and forehead would rest in “Sajdah”, must be clean. Whether it is a piece of plain ground or floor, or a mat, etc. Even one should also avoid standing for the prayer at a place that is stinking with filth and dirt around it.

  • Covering of Satar (پردہ/ستر)

For males, it is part of the body between the navel and the knee, and for females, it is the whole body excluding only the face, hands, and feet. The women should see that their ankles remain covered.

  • Ascertaining Right Time for a Prayer

Each prayer has to be performed within the particular time limit prescribed for it. If a prayer is performed before its time, it will be no prayer at all. When prayer is offered after the time for it has elapsed, it will have to be offered as a missed (Qadha/قضاء) prayer.

  • Facing the Qiblah / قبلہ

If a person performs his prayer with his face turned towards a direction other than that of the “Qiblah”, unless there is a genuine reason for that, his prayer will not be deemed to have been performed.

  • Making Intention / نیّت

Having the “intention” in the mind is also an imperative part of the prayer. This may also be expressed with the tongue, to offer a particular “Farz” prayer at a prescribed time, or a particular missed prayer afterwards. For the “Sunnat” or “Nafl” prayers, however, the mention of the time is not necessary. If one is going to offer prayer under the leadership of an Imam, one has to express intention to that effect, too.

Pillars of the Prayer (How to Offer Prayer)

Following are the pillars or principles, which have to be observed during the prayer:-

  • Takbeer-e-Tahrimah (تکبیر تحریمہ

It means to begin the prayer by saying Allaho Akbar (اللہ اکبر), expressing the greatness and glory of Allah Almighty. This is called “Tahrimah” because after one has pronounced it, one is forbidden to move about, talk or drink, etc.

  • To Stand Upright (قیام)

To stand upright in a “Farz” or “Wajib” prayer at least for so long that one may complete the minimum required portion of the Holy Quran which one has to recite as an imperative duty. In the “Nafl” prayer, however, “Qiyam” is not necessary.

  • Qira’at (قرأت)

Qira’at” is obligatory in any two of the “rakaat” of the “Farz” prayer, e.g. in the first and second, second and third, third and fourth, or the first and last. But in the “Wajib”, “Sunnat”, or “Nafl” prayer, “Qiraat” has to be done in all the “rakaat”.

  • Ruku (رکوع) 

To bend down to the extent that the hands reach the knees. This is obligatory once in each “rakaat”.

  • Sajdah (سجدہ) 

It means to prostrate oneself twice in every “rakaat”.

  • Qaadah Akhirah (قعدہ اخیرہ)

To sit in the prescribed way at the end of the last “rakaat” of the prayer for so long that one may complete recitation of “Tashahhud”.

  • Salam (سلام) 

To end the prayer with a voluntary action or words other than the prayer words, after one has performed the full Prayer and brought it to completion.

Quranic Verses on Prayer

  • “Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the middle prayer. And stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind)”. (2:238)
  • “(Set up a regular prayer) for such prayers are enjoined on believers of stated thing”. (4:103)
  • “Say truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life, and my death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds”. (6:162)
  • “Successful indeed, are the believers, those who offer their prayers with all solemnity, and submissiveness”. (23:1-2)

Ahadith on Prayer

  • “When a person performs “Wuzu” with the right performance and then offers his obligatory prayer. Allah forgives him all the sins committed that day by his feet in going towards evil, by his hands in doing evil, by his ears in listening to evil, by his eyes in looking at evil, and by his heart in thinking of evil”. (Musnad-e-Ahmad)
  • The Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, Allah has said:-

“O Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)! I have ordained five times daily “Salah” (Prayer) for your followers. I have pledged myself that someone, who is regular in performing his “Salat” at its fixed hour; shall be admitted into “Jannat” (heaven/paradise). Those of the followers who do not safeguard their “Salat” are not included in this agreement”. (Sunan Abu Daud, Durr-e-Mansoor).

  • Hazrat Jabir narrates that he heard the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) saying:-

“The likeness of five-time daily prayers is of a deep stream running in front of the door of a person who bathes therein five times a day”. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).

More Ahadith

  • “To leave Salat (Prayer) is to be linked with kufr”. (Sunan Abu Daud).
  • “A person who has missed one Salat (prayer) is like one who has lost all his family and wealth”. (Musnad e Ahmad, Sunan Nisai).
  • “A Salat (prayer) offered collectively is twenty-seven times superior to “Salat” performed individually”. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).
  • Hazrat Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that once our Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) came out of his house. It was autumn and the leaves were falling from the trees. He got hold of a branch of a tree and its leaves began to drop in large numbers. At this, he remarked:-

“The person who offers his prayers regularly, his sins drop of him likewise”. (Meaning of Hadith)


Every Muslim must know “How to Offer Prayer” as Prayer (Salat) is the second main pillar of Islam and is obligatory for every Muslim. Namaz keeps man away from evils and thus enables him to attain perfection and spiritual satisfaction. It helps him to realize the Divine presence in him. That realization not only urges him to do disinterested services for humanity but also makes him attain the highest degree of moral and spiritual perfection. Prayer is also the means of levelling all differences of rank, colour, and nationality. It is also the means of bringing about cohesion and unity among men, which is the necessary basis of a living civilization.


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