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What does Islam mean?

“Islam” is an Arabic term which means to submit oneself to the will of God. Islam is a monotheistic religion that teaches that there is only one divine being, one supreme Creator of the universe. Muslims believe that Islam is the true religion of God revealed to humanity. The central concept of this way of life is total submission to God.

Islam is a complete, holistic way of living that covers every aspect of life. Islam leaves no stone unturned as it teaches mankind on how to behave in every area of life: individual, social, material, moral, ethical, legal, cultural, political, economical, and global.

Who is a Muslim ?

A Muslim is one who believes in the religion of Islam and one who submits their will to the one and only true God who is worthy of worship, “Allah” (God). A Muslim also believes in the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last and final messenger of God.

For a person to become a Muslim and accept Islam as their faith, they must say and believe in the following phrase:

لآ اِلَهَ اِلّا اللّهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل اللّهِ
La ilaha illa Allah. Muhammad Rasool Allah

This sentence literally means “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” The sentence also means “There is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is His messenger.” The moment a person says this phrase and begins to act upon it they become a Muslim.

Who is Allah?

Allah is the name God Almighty has given Himself as is mentioned many times in the Holy Quran.

Say: He is Allah, (the) One; Allah, the Eternal; He did not beget (give birth) and He was not begotten (given birth to); And there has never been anyone equal to Him.
Qu’ran, Chapter 112, Verses 1 – 4

Muslims believe He has no partners in divinity, which includes having no offspring, and nothing in the universe is similar to Him. Muslims believe that Allah is the Originator and Sustainer of the universe and that he created human beings for only one purpose: to worship Him alone.

To worship anything besides Allah is considered a grave sin. The reward for worshiping Him alone and following his path is goodness in this world and Paradise in the next.

What are 5 Pillars of Islam?

1. Belief in One God and the Testimony of Faith (Tawheed)
Tawheed (pronounced tow-heed) is an Arabic term which refers to the unique belief in the oneness of God. It is Islam’s concept of monotheism in which the religion’s core tenets are built upon.

2. Prayer (Salah)
The prayer is the second most important pillar in Islam, and it is the first thing that a person will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgment.

3. Giving Wealth to Zakat
Zakat is the third pillar of Islam. It is a specified portion of a Muslim’s wealth that is given to those in need. It is the amount given once a year to support specific categories of people. The amount is about 2.5% of total wealth such as gold, cash, precious metals, stocks and shares, real estate and cash.

4. Fasting in the month of Ramadan
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam. It refers to the practice of abstaining from eating food, drinking liquids, and having intercourse from the break of dawn until sunset.

5. Hajj – The Pilgrimage to Makkah
The fifth and final pillar of Islam is to perform the hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Every year millions of Muslims make their way to the Kaba, the Sacred House of Allah in Makkah to perform the pilgrimage.

What are 6 articles of faith ?

  1. Belief in Allah – It is to believe that Allah is the only Creator, Sustainer, King, and Planner of everything in existence.
  2. Belief in Angels – It is upon the Muslim to believe that the angels exist, that they are the creation of Allah, and that some of them have been given names. Some of these names are Jibreel (Gabriel), Mikail, Israfeel, and Malik.
  3. Belief in Books – In Islam it is a part of faith to believe all the books that were revealed to the messengers. They include the Torah which was sent to Moses, the Gospel which was sent to Jesus, the Psalms (Zaboor) which was sent to David, the scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham), and the Qur’an itself which was sent to Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
  4. Belief in Messengers – It is upon the Muslim to believe in all the messengers that were sent. Among the messengers that were sent are those that have been told to us, ones we know by name, and those that were not mentioned.
  5. Belief in Judgement Day – The Day of Judgment is the day when Allah judges mankind for their deeds. Every human being will be resurrected from their graves and will be given their book of deeds – both good and bad.
  6. Belief in Divine Decree – Decree (Al-Qadar) is what Allah decrees for every single creation based on what has preceded in terms of His Knowledge and in accordance with His Wisdom. Belief in this pillar is to believe that everything that happens, good or bad, happens only according to Allah’s divine decree.


Salah or prayers is a special form of worship that is the second most important pillar of Islam after the shahada (testimony of faith). It is an obligatory form of prayer performed five times a day that was revealed in the Holy Qur’an and taught to us by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

“But those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of the pious.”
Qur’an – Chapter 7, Verse 170

The salah involves a number of physical movements from standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting. One also has to recite verses from the Holy Quran in Arabic along with a number of dua (supplications).

“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.”
Qur’an – Chapter 29, Verse 45

Why do Muslims pray ?

Muslims pray because its what is ordained upon us and its the purpose of life – to worship Allah alone. The performance of salah (worship) was one of the first commandments given to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by Allah.

Allah Almighty tells us in the Holy Qur’an that mankind was only created for one reason: to worship Him.

“And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).”
Qur’an – Chapter 51, Verse 56

What is wudu (ablution) ?

Wudu (ablution) is a purification process that every Muslim must perform before their prayer can be performed.  Before we can perform salah we need to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. A large portion of this preparation is what is known as wudu.  It is such an important part of the salah that if anyone decides to leave it due to ignorance, forgetfulness, or negligence then their prayer will not be accepted by Allah.

Click to watch on Youtube HOW TO MAKE WUDU? 

Prayer Checklist

Before you begin your salah (prayers), you need to observe the following items as pre-salah checklist.

  1. Have wudu ready/make wudu
  2. Check to see if its time to pray
  3. Dress appropriately
  4. Find a clean place to pray
  5. Face the Qibla (direction of Kaaba)

Prayers – Step by Step

Below are the steps to salah and terminology of each step.  Prayer is made up of rakah, or units of prayer. Every rakah has the same basic steps within it.  Depending on which prayer you are performing there will be slight differences in how these rakahs are performed.

  • Standing
  • Takbir
  • Fatihah – Recitation
  • Ruku – Bowing
  • Sujud – Prostration
  • Tashahud – Sitting

Below is a breakdown of how each rakah’s in the five daily prayers:


Make your intention to pray
We first began the prayer by making an intention from the heart to pray to Allah. As soon as you begin, your entire focus should be on the prayer itself and nothing else.

Raise your hands to your ears and say ‘Allahu Akbar” or  Takbeerat.
The moment you say “Allahu Akbar” the prayer will officially begin. From this point forward you should focus wholeheartedly on the prayer and do your best to ignore all distractions.

Lower your hands and place them over your naval. Your right hand should cross over and placed over your left hand.  This is Qiyam

Keep your eyes focused on the ground in front of you.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that while you praying your eyes should always look to an area in front of where you will prostrate.

“subhanakal-lahumma wabihamdika
wataa ‘ala jadduka
wala ilaha ghayruka.”

How perfect you are, O Allah. I praise you
How blessed is Your name
How lofty is Your position
And none has the right to be worshipped but You

Recite the first chapter of the Qur’an which is called Surah Fatihah. You will begin by saying this Arabic phrase:

A’auodu billaahi minash-shaytaanir rajeem

Bismillaahir ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem
Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil ‘alameen
Ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem
Maaliki yawmid deen
Iyyaaka na’aboodu wa iyyaaka nasta’een
Ihdeenas siraatal mustaqeem
Siraatal ladheena an ‘amta’ alayhim
Ghayril maghduubi’ alayhim waladawleen

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Master on the Day of Recompense (Judgement Day).
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
The path of those who You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

This is known as the ruku.  As you are bowing down say ‘Allahu Akbar’. Make sure to keep your back straight, your hands on your knees, and your eyes focused on the ground where you will be prostrating.

In this position you will say this sentence three times:

Subhanna rabbeeyal adheem

‘How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent’

Return to standing up again.  As you are rising up from the ruku position to a standing position you will bring your hands to your ears and will say:

Samee Allahu leeman hameeda

‘Allah hears those who praise him’

And when you are standing upright then lower your hands to your waist and say:

Rabbana walakal hamd

‘Our Lord, to You is all praise’

Go down to perform prostration. This is known as sujud.
As you are moving into this position say Allahu Akbar.

And also make sure your forehead, nose, palms of both hands, knees, and both toes are touching the ground.

While in prostration, say this phrase three times:

Subhanna rabbeeyal ‘alaa

How perfect is my Lord, the Most High

Rise up from sujud and sit for a moment.  Say “Allahu Akbar” as you rise from sujud and then sit on your left leg. Your left foot will rest on the floor while your right foot is upright. Place your hands on your knees.

When you are in this position it is recommended to ask Allah for forgiveness. A simple and easy dua you can say is:

Rabbigh-fir lee

O my Lord, forgive me.

Return to the position of sujud.  You will repeat step 9 again and perform a second sujud and say this phrase three times again.

subhanna rabbeeyal ‘alaa

Return to the standing position (qiyam) and say Allahu Akbar.
You have just completed one full rakah! The first rakah of every prayer is performed with these twelve steps.

Congratulations on completing one rakah of prayer!

When you reach the end of the second rakah you will perform the tashahud, or a step 13.

Perform the tashahud at the end of every two rakah.  Instead of standing up after the two sujud, this time around you will sit on your legs and knees again. You will raise your right index finger and say:

At Tahiyyaatu lilaahi was Salawaatu wat tayibaatu
Assalaamu ‘alaika ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmatul laahi wa barakaatuh
Assalaamu ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ebaadillaahis saaliheen,
Ash hadu allaa ilaah ilallaah Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhuu wa rasuuluh

All compliments, prayers and pure words are due to Allah.
Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allaah and His blessings.
Peace be upon us, and on the righteous slaves of Allaah.
I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger

The tasleem: after reciting the second part of the tashahud, you will say the “tasleem.”  The tasleem is to look to your right and say:

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah

And then to look to the left and say it again.

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatu Allah

How to Make Wudu – Video Tutorial

How to Pray Salah – Video Tutorial

Salah Prayer Step by Step (Download PDF)