In prayer, every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the
worship and glory of Allah. Prayer is an act of worship. It is a matchless
and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion,
of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
Congregational prayer and Mosques
Although salah can be performed alone, it is meritorious to perform it with another or with a group. The word mosque comes from the Arabic masjid, meaning "place of prostration." Although it is permissible to pray at home, at work, or even outdoors, it is recommended that Muslims perform salah in a mosque.
Who is it applicable to?
Offering of prayers is obligatory upon every Muslim male and female who is sane, mature and in the case of women free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth.
How is it performed?
Requirements of prayer: performing of ablution (Wudu), purity of the whole body, clothes and ground used for prayer, dressing properly and having the intention and facing the Qiblah (the direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca). Only around the Kaaba mosque in Makkah do Muslims stand in circles for their prayers (quite an impressive scene). All the world over they are in straight lines, leaving no gaps, and facing Makkah.
Remebering the Creator
Praying to the Creator on a daily basis is the best way to cultivate in a man a sound personality and to actualize his aspiration. Allah does not need man's prayer because He is free of all needs. Prayer is for our immeasurable benefit, and the blessings are beyond imagination.
In addition to the prescribed prayer, a Muslim expresses gratitude to
God and appreciation of His favours and asks for His mercy all the time.
Especially at times of, for example, childbirth, marriage, going to or
rising from bed, leaving and returning to his home, starting a journey
or entering a city, riding or driving, before or after eating or drinking,
harvesting, visiting graveyards and at time of distress and sickness.
The noon congregational prayer of Friday afternoon is mandated to be a collective and must be said in a Mosque, and is preceded by a sermon (Khutba). The Imam (prayer leader) is not a priest nor need be the same person every time, but considerations of scholarship and knowledge of the Quran and the religion are exercised in choosing him (doctors, teachers, business people and others as well as religion scholars are commonly featured in bearing this responsibility).
Prayer, obligatory and spontaneous, is an immense spiritual treasure to be tapped. It inspires peace, purity and tranquility and instills companionship with God. It amazingly reduces the hustle and bustle of life to tame proportions. By their spacing to five times a day, including its beginning, prayers tend to maintain a therapeutic level and practically leave no room for mischievous thought or deed.