The Salat according to the Quran (short version)
Salat literally means “the highest connection“, ie the highest degree of connection to God. It consists in a private moment with God, a momentary retreat from this world, a retrospection, a focus on God. The true Salat is not as codified and as mechanical as the ways of the different sects that are Islam, Christianity and Judaïsm, but is adaptable to any configuration and to any type of person.
I- Number of prayers
- 2 daily individual prayers
- 1 weekly collective prayer
II- The 2 daily individual prayers
- The waking up prayer: no matter when you wake up, it must be performed before starting your daily activities, it’s a kind of briefing session with God.
- The sleep prayer: it must be performed at the end of the day, not necessarly just before sleeping, this prayer must close your activities of the day. It’s a kind of debrief, it must be performed when you have some time for yourself and that you’re comfortable.
- Local or complete washing following a sexual intercourse
- Systematic ablutions just before starting the Salat for the other cases
Before the prayer, if you have access to water: wash your face, wash your arms until the elbows, pass your wet hands on your hairs and on your feet. If you have no access to water, then apply clean soil on your hands and pass your hands on your face.
IV- Dress code for the prayer
No dress code is required except to be dressed with clothes which allow you to appear in public, in other words, not naked and not in pyjamas.
V- Words of the prayer
Your prayers can be uttered silencely or in a loud voice, in such a case you have to adopt an intermediary tone.
- ideally start by the Fatiha, the introducing chapter of the Quran:
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds Most Gracious, Most Merciful Master of the, Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek. Show us the straight way. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray.
- Use any prayer which is suggested in the Quran
- Recite verses of the Quran by heart or directly from the book
- Make personal prayers
- Stay silent in order to listen God’s inspiration
VI- Positions of the prayer
No specific choregraphy, no specific positions, no specific gestures. You can perform your prayer by adopting the positions of your choice: standing up, prostrating, bowing, kneeling, sitting down, lying face down … you can adopt a position which is appropriate with your prayers, and change your position as many times as required. All the positions are good as long they are decent and appropriate for the evocation of God, and as long as they allow you to be better focused on God to better express your fervor.
VII- Prayers in travel
If you’re not at home and that you cannot pray as you are used to, you can shorten the duration of your usual prayer, and if the situation requires it, you can pray only in your head, walking, driving, sitting….
VIII – Additional prayers
If you feel the need to perform additional prayers, day and night, you can do as many additional prayers as needed. The prayer has been created for man and not for God, God does not need anything from us, so additional prayers shall be motivated by your own needs and not because you think it will give you more good deeds. The goal is not to do the maximum of prayers, but to do as many prayers as needed, voluntary and focused prayers.
IX – Appropriate timings for the prayer
If the timings of the 2 mandatory prayers, after waking up and before sleeping, are compatible with the rising and the setting of the sun, then it can be appropriate to perform them at these timings, but it is absolutely not an obligation. The rising and the setting of the sun are 2 moments of the day which are appropriate for the evocation of God, so in case you want to perform an additional prayer, you can choose these timings.
X – Direction for the prayer
God is at the same time everywhere and nowhere, so there is no specific direction to adopt when you perform your prayer.
XI – 1 weekly collective prayer
There is 1 weekly collective prayer and it is during the day of gathering. This day depends on the country and matches with a non-working day in order to allow a maximum of people to be available for this event. Contrary to the 2 daily prayers which are performed in private and at the extremities of the day, the collective prayer is public and is in the midst of the day in order to allow to maximize the number of people who can attend it. This prayer is not mandatory but it is recommanded in case you have the opportunity to attend it.
This prayer is composed of 2 parts:
- a collective commemoration of God
- an exchange on God and on his precepts.
The collective commemoration of God can be performed through various ways. It is about evoking God all together in a collective prayer. This can be done by reciting together the Fatiha or preselected prayers from the Quran or not. It can be done sitting down or following a specific pre-established sequence of positions, for instance, standing up, bowing, prostrating. The choice of the prayers and positions is free and can be arranged by advance on a piece of paper in order for the people to be coordinated.
The exchange on God can take various forms like through one or several speakers making a presentation on a specific topic related to God and to his Law, or through brainstorming sessions in small groups, or in a question/answer mode. Some people can write their questions on paper and others can try to answer their questions, as long as a question remains unanswered, it remains displayed on a paperboard from week to week.
The true Salat/prayer on the basis of the Quran is meaningful, intuitive, natural, simple, adapted to each individual, to each place, to each situation. God reads inside us, God sees us, God hears us, at any time and in any situation, therefore, connecting to God shall be a natural and thoughtful act, and not something which is mechanical. In order to be focused, we all have our own ritual and therefore each one shall organize his prayer according to his own state of mind, in order to reach the maximum of concentration and of efficiency. The goal of the prayer is to have God in mind permanently, in fact the prayer reflects our relationship with God, so each one his own relationship with God, each one his own way of performing the prayer.