Prophet Muhammad's Manner of Performing Prayers

(May peace and blessings of God be upon Him)

All praise be to God alone, and may His peace and blessings be upon His messenger and bondman our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.

The objective of this concise pamphlet is to explain how prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of God be upon him) used to perform his prayers. I would like to present this explanation to every male and female Muslim so that they may strive to take up the Prophet's manner in performing their prayers as a model for them. It was narrated by Al Bukhari that Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of God be on him) had said:

Perform your prayers in the same manner you had seen me doing.

Al Bukhari

Therefore, here is the explanation for the Prophet's manner of Prayer:

1 To perform completely the ablution, adopting the method commanded by God in the Qur'an:

0 ye who believe, when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows, rub your heads(with water) and (wash) your feet to the ankles.


The Prophet (peace and blessings of God be on him) said:

Prayer without ablution is invalid.

To view a series of photographs detailing the performance of wuduu click HERE.

2 To turn one's face and whole body towards the Ka'aba, The Holy House at Mak-kah, intending by heart to perform the prayer which s/he wants to fulfil, whether it is an obligatory prayer or a supererogatory prayer, the worshipper in all cases, should not pronounce his/her intention openly, because neither the Prophet nor his companions used to utter the intention for prayer. Thus, pronouncing the intention for prayer in audible voice is a heresy and an illicit action. Whether the individual be an Imam or performs his/her prayer individually, s/he should make (A Sutra) i.e. a curtain for his/her prayer. Directing the face towards the Qibla (The Ka'aba at Makkah) is an imperative condition for every prayer. However, there are few exceptions for this rule explained in authoritative books for whom who wish to refer.

3 To pronounce Takbirat Al-lhram that is to say "Allahu Akbar" celebrating by that the greatness of God and looking meanwhile, downwards to the place where s/he will prostrate.

4 To raise one's hands up to the level of the shoulders or near to the lobes of his/her ears, while pronouncing Takbirat Al-lhram. For a picture click HERE.

5 To put one's right hand over his/her left hand and left wrist, and put them both over his/her chest, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) used to do.

6 It is advisable that the worshipper recite this opening supplication saying:

"Allahumma baid bayni wa bayena khatayaya kawa baadta bayena al-mashriki wal maghribi, Allahumma naqqiniy min khatayaya kama yonaqa al thawbo alabyado min aldans. Allahumma igysilniy min khatayaya bilmai wathalgi walbarad".

This supplication means:

"0 God, separate me from my sins as You have separated the east and west. 0 God, cleanse we of my sins as the white rope is cleansed from dirt. 0 God, wash off my sins with water, snow and hail".

Or s/he may say instead:

"Sobhanaka Allahumma wa bihawdika watabaraka Ismoka wata'la jaddoka wala ilaha ghayroka"

This supplication means:

"Praise and glory be to God. Blessed be Your Name, exalted be Your Majesty and Glory. There is no god but You".

Or s/he may say any other supplications which the Prophet, (peace and blessings of God be on him) used to say in his prayers. It is better to recite these supplications alternately, the first one in the morning prayer Fajr, the second in the noon prayer Zuhr, each one by turn, in conformity with what the Prophet used to do.

After reciting the opening supplication, the worshipper says:

"Aouzo billahi min al-shaytani-r-ragim"

Which means:

"I seek protection of God against the accursed Satan".

Then s/he says:

"Bism illahi-Rahmani Raheem"

Which means:

"In the name of God, the All Merciful, the All Compassionate".

and recites the Fatiha (The opening Sura of the glorious Qur'an). Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, said:

"Prayer without reciting the Fatiha is invalid".

The worshipper should say "A'meen" after reciting the Fatiha loudly if the prayer is said loudly, and whisper it in inaudible prayers. To be in conformity with the traditions of the Prophet, the worshipper is advised to recite verses from medium size Suras of the Qur'an in the Zuhr (noon), Asr (late afternoon), and Isha (night) prayers. As for the Fajr (morning) prayer, the worshipper is advised to recite a passage from the long Suras of the Qur'an. S/he has the choice in Maghrib prayer (Evening prayer) either to recite passages from the long Suras or from the short Suras of the Qur'an.

7 Then, the worshipper bows in Ruku raising his/her hands up to the level of his/her shoulders or ears while saying "Allahu Akbar" "God is Great" For a picture click HERE. then bends down, making his/her head and back on one level and putting his/her hands with the fingers spread on his/her knees. For a picture click HERE. The worshipper should feel serenity and tranquility while bowing, s/he should say thrice at least:

"Subhana Rabbiayl Azim"

Which means:

"Glory be to my Lord, the Almighty".

It is advisable to say while bowing in addition to that:

"Subhanak-Allahumma Rabbana wa bi hamdika, Allahumma Ighfir liy"

Which means:

"Glory be to Thee, 0 God, and I praise Thee,forgive me my sins"

8 To raise one's head up from bowing, raising one's hands to the level of his/her shoulders or ears, saying, in case of being Imam or praying alone: For a picture click HERE.

"Samia Allahu liman hamidah"

Which means:

"God listens to him who praises Him"

While resuming the standing position, s/he should say:

"Rabbana wa laka al hamdu hamdan ka-theera'n tayyiban mobarakan feehiy mil 'a ssamawati wa mila alardhi wa mil'a ma bay-nahoma wa mila ma Shita min shiyin ba'ad"

This supplication means:

"Our Lord, praise be fore Thee only, praises plentiful and blessed as to fill the heavens, the earth, what in between, and fill that which will please Thee besides them".

But if the worshipper is a follower, and led in his/her prayer by the Imam s/he should say when rising up "Rabbana wa laka alhamd... " etc

It is advisable for the Imam, the follower, or who prays alone to add also:

"You God who deserve all praises and all glory, your praising is the best and most true of whatever Your servant can say, we all are Your servants. Our Lord, no one can ever deprive aught of what You have bestowed and no one can ever give aught of what You have deprived"

The worshipper is advised to put his/her hands on his/her chest, as s/he had done before s/he bowed. Both Wa'il Ibn Haggar and Sahl Ibn Sai'yd reported that this was the manner of the Prophet when he used to raise his head up after bowing.

9 To prostrate saying

"Allahu Akbar" "God is Great". S/he should touch the ground with his/her knees before touching it with his/her hands, if that is possible to him. If not, s/he is permitted to touch the ground by his/her hand before his/her knees. his/her fingers and toes should be directed towards the Qibla Makkah, and his/her hands should be stretched, and the fingers close together and not separated. In prostration, the worshipper should use these seven organs:

The forehead, the nose, both hands, both knees and the internal parts of the toes.

These seven organs should touch the ground. For a picture click HERE. Then the worshipper should say thrice or more:

"Subhana Rabbiyal A'ala"

Which means:

"Glorified is my Lord, the Exalted"

It is advisable to say:

"Subhanaka Allahuma Rabbana wa bi hamdika, Allahuma lghfir-liy".

This means:

"Glory be to Thee, Our Lord, and I praise Thee. Our Lord, forgive me my sins".

It is recommendable for the worshipper to exceed more and more in supplications and ask for more from his/her Lord, because the Prophet, may peace and blessings of God be on him, said:

Which means:

"As for bowing Ruku you should glorify your Lord during performing it, as for prostration, you should do your best to supplicate and ask for more from Him, because your supplications during prostration are more worthy to be accepted".

The worshipper should ask his/her Lord for prosperity both in this worldly life and in the Hereafter. Whether it is an obligatory prayer or an optional prayer, the worshipper, while prostrating, should neither bring his/her hands close to his/her sides, nor stick his/her abdomen to his/her thighs, or his/her thighs to his/her legs. The worshipper's arms should be raised up from the ground because the Prophet, may peace and blessings of God be on him, prohibited putting the arms and stretching them on the ground, ordering that "adjust your prostration, keep straight in it, and stretch not your hands on the ground as dogs do".

10 S/he should raise his/her head from prostration saying:

"Allahu Akbar" "God is Great" and lay his/her left foot flat on the ground and sit upon it, keeping his/her right foot erected, his/her hands on his/her thighs and knees, For a picture click HERE and say:

"0 my Lord, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, provide me with your blessings and console me ".

The worshipper should feel tranquillity during this pause.

11 To prostrate again, for a picture click HERE, saying

"Allahu Akbar" "God is Great" and repeating during his/her prostration what s/he did and said in the first prostration.

12 Then the worshipper raises his/her head saying

"Allahu Akbar" "God is Great" taking a pause similar to the pause between the two prostrations: this is called the pause for rest it is recommended for the worshipper to do such a pause, but there is no sin if s/he desists from it. Then the worshipper rises up and stands supporting on his/her knees, or on the ground if s/he cannot support himself on the knees, reads the Fatiha (the opening Sura of the glorious Qur'an) and some other verses of the Qur'an and do as just as s/he did in the first Rakaah (unit of prayer). Those who pray behind the Imam should not compete with him in the prayer actions as the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said:

Which means:

The Imam is to be followed, if he says: "Allahu Akbar" which means "God is Great" then say the same after him. If he bows in "Ruku" bow after him. If he says: "Samia-l-lahu liman hamidah" which means "God hears him who praises Him", then say: "Rabbana wa laka-l-hamd" which means "Our Lord! All praises are for Thee"; and if he prostrates, then prostrate after him". (Bukhari V: 1 P.37)

13 If the prayer consists of two Rakaat (two units of prayer) as the morning prayer "Fajr", Feast prayer "Eid", or the Friday prayer "Jumu'a", the worshipper sits after the second prostration, with his/her right foot erect, sitting on his/her left foot laid down, putting his right hand on his right thigh, all his/her fingers close-fisted save the index finger which s/he uses to point out as a sign for his/her monotheistic belief, and his/her left hand is put on his/her left thigh. For a picture click HERE. There is nothing in the way, if the worshipper keeps both the little and ring fingers closed, while rounding his/her thumb and middle finger in a ring-shape, and uses his/her index finger to point out as a sign for his/her monotheistic belief. It has been related that the Prophet, may peace and blessings of God be on him, had practised both of these ways, thus, it is advisable for the worshipper to perform the first way once and the other on the second time.

The worshipper reads the Tashahud while sitting and says:

"Attahiyatu lilahi wasalawatu watayyibatu Assalamu alaika ayuhan nabiyu wa rahmatu llahi wa barakatuhu. Assalamu alayina wa ala ibadil lahis salalihiyn. Ashadu ala ilaha ila lahu wa ashadu anna Muhammadan abdoho wa raswuloh. Allahuma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'ala aali Muhamad, kama salayata 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali Ibrahima. Innaka Hamidum Majid. Alahumma barik 'ala Mohammad wa 'ala aali Muhammad kama baarakta 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala aali Ibrahima. Innaka Hamidum Majid."

This means:

"Greetings, prayers and the good things of life belong to God. Peace, mercy and blessing of God be on you, 0 Prophet, May peace be upon us and on the devout slaves of God. I testify that there is no god but God and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. 0 God, bless Muhammad and his family as You blessed Ibrahim and his family. You are the Most-Praised, The Most-glorious. 0 God, bestow Your grace on Muhammad and his family as You bestowed it on lbrahim and his family. You are the Most-Praised, The Most-glorious."

After reciting the Tashahud, the worshipper asks God's protection from four evils, s/he should say:

"My Lord, I ask your protection from torment of the Hell, torment of the grave the trials in life-time and after death, and from the imposter Antichrist." The worshipper may ask God for prosperity in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, supplicate God to bestow His favours on his/her parents and other muslims. S/he could do this in both obligatory and optional prayers, it has been reported by Ibn Massoud that the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, taught him how to recite the Tashahud and told him that the worshipper should invoke God and ask Him for the more beloved wishes which s/he likes, or, as it has been related in other wordings, the worshipper should ask God for whatever s/he wishes, in this manner, the servant can ask God for all the prosperities of this worldly life and the life to come. The worshipper terminates his/her prayer by turning his face to the right For a picture click HERE saying:

"As-salamu alai kum wa rahmatu Allah" and to the left saying this salutation which means "Peace and mercy of God be on you."

14 In the case of a three Rakaat prayer (prayer consisting of three units) as that of Maghrib prayer, (evening prayer), or a four-Rakaat prayer like that of noon prayer (Zuhr), Asr prayer (late afternoon prayer) or, Isha prayer (night prayer), the worshipper stands up after reciting the Tashahud according to the manner stated before, and raises his/her hands up to the level of his/her shoulders saying (Allahu Akbar). The worshipper puts his/her hands over his/her chest as it had been explained before, and recites only the Fatiha. There is no objection if s/he adds to the Fatiha some other verses of the Qur'an while performing the third or fourth Rakaat (units of prayer) of noon prayer (Zuhr), because this was stated to be one of the manners adopted by the Prophet, may peace and blessings of God be on him, according to the tradition reported by Abi Saied.

After the third Rakaah of Maghrib prayer (evening prayer), and the fourth Rakaah of Zuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon) and Isha (night) prayers, the worshipper recites the Tashahud and terminates his/her prayers by saying:

"Assalamu-alaikum wa rahmatu Allah"

while turning first to the right, for a picture click HERE , and second to the left, for a picture click HERE, as it has been explained before.

It is not an obligatory duty, but it is a recommendable prophetic tradition to invoke God after terminating the prayer by asking Him forgiveness thrice and saying before turning one's face towards his/her followers if s/he is the Imam:

Which means:

"0 God, Thou art peace and from Thee is peace. Thou art blessed, 0 possessor of Glory and Honour."

It is advisable for the worshipper to say:

Which means:

"There is no god but God. He is the One. He has no partner. His is the dominion and to Him alone is the praise. He has power over all things. 0 Lord, none may withhold what You have given and none may give what You have withheld and the riches cannot avail a wealthy person with Thee. There is no might or power except by the support of God, There is no god but God and we do not worship but Him alone. To Him alone belong all bounties, to Him alone belong all grace, and to Him worthy praise is accorded. There is no god but God, to Whom we are sincere in devotion, even though the unbelievers may detest it."

It is also advisable to the worshipper to extol God 33 times by saying,

(Subhana Allah), praise Him by saying

(Al Hamdu lil-Allah) 33 times also by saying

"Allahu Akbar" and the worshipper completes his/her supplications to be one hundred by saying once:

Which means:

"There is no god but God. He is the One. He has no partner. His is the dominion and to Him alone is the praise. He has power over all things."

The worshipper adds to that the recitation of the verse of the Throne "Ayat Al-Kursiy", Surat Al-Ikhlas, Surat El-Falaq and Surat Al-Nas. It is recommendable to recite these Suras thrice after the Fajr prayer (Morning prayer), and the Maghrib prayer (evening prayer) because this was reported to be one of the traditions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him. As it had been stated before, all these after-prayer supplications are optional and not obligatory.

Every Muslim, whether be male or female, is recommended to pray 12 Rakaat of supererogatory prayers every day: four of these Rakaat (units of prayers) are before noon prayer, two after it, two after Maghrib prayer, two after Isha (night) prayer and two before the morning prayer. These supererogatory prayers are called (Rawatib) which means: "Certain supererogatory exercises of optional prayers." The Prophet peace and blessings of God be on him, preserved the performance of these optional prayers wherever he settled. During his travels, he used to practice the two optional Rakaat before the morning prayer and also the Witr prayer (after the Isha prayer). There is no objection to perform these optional prayers in the mosque, but it is better to perform it at home, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, said "The best of the prayers are those which are fulfilled at one's own home, with exception to obligatory prayers which should be performed in congregation at the mosque."

Observance of fulfilling these optional prayers is a means for gaining admission to paradise. The Prophet, may peace and blessings of God be on him, said:

Which means:

"Whoever prays optionally twelve Rakaat every one day and night, God will reward him by an established dwelling in the paradise."

It is also advisable for the Muslim to pray four optional Rakaat before Asr prayer (afternoon prayer), two before Maghrib prayer (evening prayer), and two before Isha prayer (night prayer), because this manner was reported to be one of the traditions of the Prophet. God , the Almighty says:

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of God an excellent exemplar"


And the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of God be upon him) said:

Which means:

Perform your prayer in the same manner as you had seen me doing.

God is He Who is Able to render us success and prosperity and may God give His blessings and peace to our Prophet Muhammad son of Abdellah, his family, his companions and whoever follows his way till doomsday.


President of
Supreme Head Office for Religious Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance Departments.
(Shiekh abdul aziz Abdullah Bin Baz)


The Prophet's Manner Of Performing Prayers(May peace and blessing of God be upon him)

Printed by
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da'wah and GuidanceBy English Version

By: Shaikh Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz

Supervised by
The Ministry's Deputyship for Printing and Publishing Affairs 1423H

Photographs courtesy of the Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC).


This page last updated 26/11/2009 2:04:16 p.m.