God has designed the Contact Prayer (al-salata) according to our need and has made it the prime source of nourishment for the growth and development of our souls. He knows when and how we are required to feed and recharge our souls (32:9). As such, He has commanded us to observe the Contact Prayer at specific times (4:103) to remember Him (20:14) as His remembrance through it is the greatest (29:45). It is God’s mercy that He has made it simple, easy and short so that everyone is able to perform it as it should be performed. Anyone of any nationality whether Arabic or non-Arabic, male or female, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, strong or weak, young or old, and working or non-working can fulfill his/her obligations to God for his/her own benefits under all circumstances (21:92). It is noteworthy that the Contact Prayer at 5 times a day has been mentioned in the Quran (20:130) along with all the positions including standing (39:9), bowing (Rukoo) and prostration (Sajood) (2:43, 3:43, 9:112, 22:26 & 22:77).
God exactly knows what we need for our redemption, and has given us the Surat Al-Fatehah as specific words being children of Adam to recite during our Contact Prayer as the similar words were given to Adam and Eve for their redemption (2:37). The words we recite at different postures are also found in the Quran from our start to end such as start and between moves (29:45), returning to standing from bowing (3:38, 52:48), at bowing (56:74), at prostration (87:1) and at sitting (3:18, 39:45, 6:163) including our greeting to end the prayer (6:54, 10:10, 59:23) wishing success of every true believer on earth. It is noted that God has given us the Surat Al Fatehah for reciting during our Contact Prayers and the rest of the Quran is given to us to study for our guidance (2:1 & 2:2), which is the straight path for us to have an abode of the peace (6:126-127) as well as guides us to the best path and brings good news for us (17:9). Hence, reciting another sura or any part of the Quran after finishing Al-Fatehah during the Contact Prayer imposes hardship on the believers as well as it would be given guidance to God by us which is idolatry as the guidance only came to us from God not in the reverse direction i.e. from us to God.
God has made the Contact Prayer simple and easy for us. The steps of performing Salat are so straight forward that we do not even need to make any efforts to remember and follow them during the prayer. Thus, the steps are passed down to us without missing any step and there is no controversy among us about the steps of performing Salat. So any question from any corner for not having details of the Contact Prayer in the Quran indicates ignorance and disbelief in the Quran as we know that the Quran has only addressed the distorted part of it such as the voice tone (17:110).
God has made the Contact Prayer short for us and has decreed total 17 units (Rak’ahs) of Contact Prayer at 5 times a day consisting 17 Al-Fatehah recitations, 17 bowings, 17 returning to standing from bowing, 34 prostrations and 9 sittings with a repeated recitation of 50 Arabic words. Thus, the duration of each prayer is 2 to 4 minutes and we do not need more than 30 minutes in each day to perform our Contact Prayer from planning to implementation. Out of 50 words, 28 words from the 7 verses of Sura 1, Al-Fatehah (The Key) and 22 words from 6 other Arabic phrases, that we repeat in the prayer.
The Contact Prayer is decreed for us at specific times and we have to perform it at all our circumstances being fully devoted and reverent to God. As such, there is no makeup of the prayer, and if anyone misses any prayer at any time, he misses it for forever. But each prayer is valid until the next prayer is due if we are unable to perform it on time for any good reason or any circumstances we are not responsible for such as war (4:103) except Fajr prayer which is only valid until sunrise. Even women are required to perform Salat during their menstrual cycles as they are not unclean during their cycles for performing Salat (4:43) rather than for sexual intercourse (2:222). Both men and women are spiritually equal (33:35), and if women like men fail to nourish their souls will suffer in the Hereafter for disobeying God’s commandments.
Most of us erroneously believe that the Contact Prayer has originated from the time of prophet Muhammad but numerous verses throughout the Quran inform us that the Contact Prayer was in existence, intact, and practiced long before the advent of Muhammad (19:31, 19:55, 19:59, 21:73). In addition, the Quran has confirmed that prophet Ibrahim was the father of Islam (3:95, 4:125, 22:78) and prophet Muhammad was the follower of the religion of Ibrahim (16:123). The only difference that we can think is different tongues at different periods of time but the essence of prayer has always been the same from the time of prophet Ibrahim (20:14). As such, either extra Rak’ahs beyond 17 or extra words beyond 50 or extra Contact Prayers beyond 5 times a day that are practiced by most of the Muslims all over the world with a claim that they were practiced by our final prophet is not true. From the names as given to extra Salat prayers and Rak’ahs indicate that they are man-made or innovations as the Salat prayers are decreed by time not by name while the main objective of our Contact Prayer is to remember God (20:14, 29:45) being reverent to Him (23:1 & 23:2, 29:16) for salvation of our own souls, imploring God for something else reciting extra words in any positions cannot be part of the prayer. Since each prayer has clearly been mentioned in the following verses: (2:238, 11:114, 17:78, 24:58), the extra Contact Prayers including Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Azha, Taraweeh during Ramadan and Tahajjad prayers are not from God. Such worshipping does not only impose hardship on the believers but also makes them idolaters as those are not from God. However, God has left a room for us to do extra in the other forms of worship such as recitation of the Quran for better understanding and learning from it to lead a righteous life, remembering God at all times, feeding the poor, working for spreading of true Islam in the community and giving to the charity as much as we can without being extravagant for receiving additional reward from Him expecting higher status at God in the Hereafter after fulfilling our obligations.
Satan is our most ardent enemy (2:208, 17:53, 43:63) and he inspires most of us to be concern of not having details of the Contact Prayer in the Quran as he committed to God to lead us all astray except a few (38: 82 & 38:83). He and his soldiers have diverted most of us to give efforts to perform extra Rak’ahs, reciting extra words and even performing extra Salat taking away our attention and efforts from perfecting the prayer to fulfill his promise with God to send us all in the Hell with him using such most effective bait (35:6, 38:82) as God willed for the followers of Satan (38:85). The Satan’s tact in this case to deceive us is so precise that our ill-educated religious scholars and their puppets are not able to realize its negative impact on our prayer considering the increased quantity despite clear instructions given by God on what we can do and what we cannot do through His statute Book (25:1). As such, we have to set our priority to perform each session in a timely manner and should reflect upon each and every word that we recite in each and every position during the prayer. Here are the details of all the Arabic words that are required to recite during the Contact Prayer being reverent and devoted to God for His acceptance of our prayer:
a. Start the prayer: Allahu Akbar (God is Great)
1. Allah (God – proper noun)
2. Akbar (Great – adjective)
b. Recitation of Al Fatehah
A. Bismil- Lahir- Rahmaanir- Raheem (In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful)
3. Bism (In the Name: Bi –> in/with – preposition, Ism (Alif-Seen-Meem) –> name, noun. This first word of Al Fatehah as well as of the Quran which has the peculiar spelling for absence of “alif” in the word is made up the first verse with 19 letters to be a proof of a miracle of 19).
4. Allah (God, proper noun)
5. Al-Rahmaan (The Gracious, adjective)
6. Al-Raheem (The Merciful – adjective)
B. Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil- `Aalameen (All praise to God, Lord of the worlds)
7. Al-Hamdu (All Praise, noun)
8. Li-llahi (Li–> to/for, Preposition, Allah -> God, noun)
9. Rab (Lord, noun)
10. Al-`Aalameen (the worlds, noun)
C. Ar-Rahmaanir- Raheem (The Gracious, The Merciful)
11. Al-Rahmaan (The Gracious, adjective- an attribute of God)
12. Al-Raheem (The Merciful – adjective – an attribute of God)
D. Maaliki Yawmid- Deen (Master of a Day of the Judgment)
13. Maalik (Master – noun)
14. Yawm (Day – noun)
15. Al-Deen (the Judgment- noun)
E. Eyyaka Na’budu wa-Eyyaka Nas’ta-een (You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help)
16. Eyyaka (You alone – 2nd person singular pronoun)
17. Na’budu (we worship – 1st person plural imperfect verb)
18. Wa-Eyyaka (and You alone: Wa -> and – conjunction, Eyyaka -> You alone – 2nd person singular pronoun)
19. Nas’ta-een (we ask for help – 1st person plural imperfect verb)
F. Eh’dinaas- Siraatal- Mustaqeem (Guide us to the straight path)
20. Eh’dinaa (Guide us: Eh’d from root word, Hadaa -> to guide – imperative verb, Naa -> us – 1st person plural relative pronoun)
21. Al-Siraat (the Path – noun)
22. Al-Mustaqeem (the straight – adjective)
G. Siraat Alladheena An’`amta `Alayhim; Ghyril- Maghdoobi `Alayhim wa-laad-Daalleen (The path of those You have bestowed favor on them, not of those who have incurred wrath on them nor of the strayers)
23. Siraat (Path – noun)
24. Alladheena (those who – pronoun)
25. An’`amta (You have bestowed favor: An’`am -> bestowed favor – verb, Ta -> You – pronoun)
26. `Alayhim (upon them: `Alay -> upon – preposition, Him -> them – pronoun)
27. Ghayr- (Not – noun)
28. Al-Maghdoob (those who have earned wrath – passive participle)
29. `Alayhim (upon them: `Alay -> upon – preposition, Him -> them – pronoun)
30. wa-laad-Daalleen (nor of the strayers: wa –> and – Conjunction, laa –> not – negative particle, Daalleen –> the strayers – active participle)
c. At bowing: Subhaana Rabbiyal- `Azeem (Glory be to God, the Great)
31. Subhaana (Glory, noun)
32. Rab (Lord, noun)
33. Al-`Azeem (the Great- adjective, an attribute of God)
d. Returning to standing from bowing: Sami-`a Allahu Liman Hamidah (God responds to him who praises Him)
34. Sami-`a (to Hear – verb)
35. Allah (God – proper noun)
36. Liman (whoever – pronoun)
37. Hamidahu (Praise Him: Hamidah –> Praise be –noun, hu -> Him – pronoun)
e. At prostration: Subhaana Rabbiyal- `Alaa (Glory be to God, the High)
38. Subhaana (Glory – noun)
39. Rab (Lord – noun)
40. Al-`Alaa (the High – adjective, an attribute of God)
f. At sitting: Ash’hadu An laa-Ilaaha Illaa Allah, Wahdahu, laa-Shareeka Lah (I bear witness that there is no other god beside God. He alone is god; He has no partner).
41. Ash’hadu (I bear witness – verb)
42. An (that – conjunction)
43. laa-Ilaaha (no other god: Laa -> not – negative particle, Ilaaha -> god – noun)
44. Illaa (except – exceptive particle)
45. Allah (God – proper noun)
46. Wahdahu (He Alone – Adjective, an attribute of God, Hu -> He – 3rd person singular pronoun)
47. laa-Shareeka (no partner: Laa -> not – negative particle, Shareek -> partner – noun)
48. Lahu (He has: La -> to – preposition, Hu -> He – 3rd person singular pronoun)
g. End the prayer : As’salaamu `Alaykum (the Peace be upon you)
49. Al-Salaam (the Giver of Peace – adjective, an attribute of God which occurs only once in the Quran)
50. `Alaykum (`Alaa -> upon – preposition, Kum -> you – 2nd person plural pronoun)
Note: In Arabic, the vowel at the word that ends the verse/phrase is not usually pronounced during recitation. There is a difference between recitation and writing of Arabic text. Form of recitation is easy to remember Arabic while form of writing is easy to understand the meaning of the Arabic text. In Arabic prefix (before) and affix (after) are used to the root word to change its gender, number and part of speech in many cases.
During the recitation of Al Fatehah (The Key) our lips (upper and lower lips) touch each other precisely 19 times where there are “Baa” and “Meem” in the Arabic words. There are 4 B’s (Baa) and 15 M’s (Meem) in the Al Fatehah. Here are their occurrences:
a. B’s (Baa): 1. Bism 2. Rab, 3. Na’budu and 4. Maghdoob
b. M’s (Meem): 1. Bism, 2. Al-Rahmaan, 3. Al-Raheem, 4. Al-Hamdu, 5. Aalameen, 6. Al-Rahmaan, 7. Al-Raheem, 8.Maalik, 9. Yawm, 10.Mus’taqeem, 11. Mus’taqeem, 12. An’amta, 13. Alayhim, 14. Maghdoob, 15. Alayhim.
c. It is noted that the total gematrical value of the 4 Bs (4×2) and 15 Ms (15×40), the total is a multiple of 19 => 8 + 600 = 608 = 19×32. The gematrical value of “Baa” is 2 and that of “Meem” is 40. The gematrical value represents the numeral of an Arabic letter which was used before the discovery of today’s base-10 (decimal) number system.
Since the humans are not robot, mechanical recitation of some words as well as making of postures during the Salat prayer does not make any positive impact on the souls unless we cannot do it with proper attention and reflection. God has designed the Contact Prayer with the combination of all elements of worship such as remembrance, praise and appreciation, supplication, and reverence and humbleness to Him through verbal as well as non-verbal communication with Him. Thus, we should concentrate on the following during the prayer for contribution to the growth and development of our souls as God has reminded us to be reverent to Him when we perform it to succeed (Quran 23:1-2):
Our awareness is required from the opening of the prayer until the end of the prayer when we are in direct contact of our Almighty Lord and Master. Any other thinking except reflection on words we are uttering and postures we are making corrupts our prayer. The Satan tries his best to divert our attention to something else but we must put our best efforts and techniques to stay on the prayer to win over the Satan. As such, well preparedness before the opening of the prayer is the prerequisite to avoid such influence of the Satan.
Sometimes we do not pay proper attention to the correctness of our Contact Prayer assuming that it will be accepted by God from us if we can finish it any way as God is merciful. As a verbal communication with God we should recite the mathematically coded Al Fatehah as well as pronounce all words correctly using moderate tone (17:110) reflecting on them without missing or skipping any step.
3. Remembering God
Since the whole purpose of the Contact Prayer is to remember God (Quran 20:14, 29:45), we cannot utter or think anything else other than His Oneness, Highness, Greatness, Graciousness and Mercifulness being our only Lord and Master.
4. Appreciating God
We must be sure that we are sincere in praising and appreciating God during the Contact Prayer (1:2-4) as He is the only One who can give us what we need to redeem ourselves being merciful on us (1:5).
5. Supplicating to God
We can only be blessed by God being responded by Him if we know what we are asking for and can concentrate on those words to mean them and make them clear to God (1:6-7). If we are not clear what we want from Him, how will He bless us?
6. Reverencing God
During the prayer we are to be extremely humble to God through our verbal and non-verbal communication with Him, and are not heedless of what we are saying (107:4-5) or of what posture we are making otherwise it will be just show off (Quran 107:6). It is noted that we express our humbleness to God through different postures but the prostration is the most humble posture and God has designed the number of prostrations double of the number of bowings in each prayer. In this position we are reverent to God stating and realizing that He is the Most High in all respects such as position, rank, status, authority, power, wisdom, knowledge and anything else that we cannot imagine because of limitation of our knowledge.
However, there is a contrary to the popular belief that Islam was founded by prophet Muhammad, but Islam is actually the religion of Ibrahim (2:128, 3:95, 4:125, 16:123, 22:78) as all the rites that we practice today were first given to Ibrahim. God has given us the religious rites to practice them to nourish our individual soul. Accordingly, He has designed and given us the Contact Prayer as a prime source of nourishment for the growth and development of our souls. Our well preparedness before the opening of the prayer as well as our full attention during the prayer can only make it a fruitful contributor to our souls. As such, during the prayer we must make all our attention and efforts to pronounce all words correctly as well as to mean them all reflecting upon each word, verse and phrase without missing or skipping any step. If we can practice it as prescribed by God being fully devoted and reverent to Him (23:1-2), we would get real benefits for practicing it as the prayer need to be responded by God (3:38).
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.