In this article we will understand everything about salah and the mandatory pillars of prayer, what are they? And how many are they? Let’s find out.

What are the mandatory pillars of prayer? In total, there are 14 mandatory pillars of prayer and 8 obligatory parts of prayer. The difference between obligatory and pillars is that pillars can’t be ignored whether out of forgetting or not. While obligatory parts can be compensated by two Rakat at the end of prayer (prostration of forgetfulness).

Acts of prayer are divided into the following categories:

  •       Pillars of the Salaat – (Arkan Al-Salaat).
  •       Necessary Duties of the Salaat (Wajibat Al-Salaat).
  •       Preferred Acts of the Salaat. (Sunnah Al-Salaat).


What are the pillars of prayer?

There are 14 pillars of salah and here they are:

  1. standing while praying obligatory prayers for any capable person.
  2. saying the opening Takbeer (Allahu akbar), at the beginning of prayer.
  3. reading surah al-Faatihah.
  4. bowing (Rukoo), which refers to bending with both hands on the knees while making your upper body parallel to the ground if you can.
  5. rising from bowing.
  6. standing up straight.
  7. prostration (Sujood), place your palms, forehead, nose, knees, and toes on the ground.
  8. Rising from prostration.
  9. sitting between the two Sajdah. The right way to do so is by sitting on the left foot and holding the right foot upright with the toes pointing towards the Qiblah.
  10. doing all the physical pillars easily without pushing yourself.
  11. sitting for the final tashahhud and salaam.
  12. saying the final Tashahhud.
  13. Saying the two Salaams after finishing the final tashahhud, which means to say “al-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allah (Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah)”. When praying the Nafl prayer you can say one Salaam.
  14. Doing all the pillars of prayer in the right order. If one forgets to perform and one of them then he/she should go back and perform what he forgot to do.


How many pillars of prayer?

There are 14 mandatory pillars in prayer in total.

What are the Sunnahs of prayer?

Sunnah refers to the other parts of prayer that are not from the pillars or obligatory parts of prayer. And there are many of them divided into verbal and action sunnah.

Some scholars said that the number of verbal sunnah in prayer is 17, and action sunnah is 55. The difference between sunnah and pillars of prayers is that sunnah can be omitted and the prayer would still be valid.  And that sunnah acts are done voluntarily.

While mandatory pillars of prayer and obligatory parts must be performed or the prayer will not be valid. And in the case of obligatory parts, a person can perform the prostration of forgetfulness (sujood al-sahw) to compensate for forgetting any of them.

Learn More about salah istikhara!


What is verbal sunnah?

Some scholars say that the total number of verbal Sunnah is 17, while others say that they are eleven. Here are the eleven verbal Sunnah:

  1.     to say the opening Dua after the opening takbeer. As follows: “Subhaanaka Allahumma wa bi hamdika, wa tabaaraka ismuka, wa ta’aala jadduka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (Glory and praise be to You, O Allah; blessed be Your name, exalted be Your Majesty, and there is no god but You).”
  2.     Seeking refuge with Allah.
  3.     To say Bismillaah.
  4.     To say, Ameen.
  5.     Reciting another Surah after reciting surah al-Fatiha.
  6.     Reciting out loud if praying after the imam.
  7.     To say the following after the tahmeed: (Rabbana wa laka’l-hamd), for one who is not praying behind an imam: “Mil’ al-samawaati wa mil’ al-ard wa mil’ ma shi’ta min shay’in ba’d (Filling the heavens, filling the earth, and filling whatever else You wish).”
  8.     Saying the tasbeeh more than once when bowing (three times).
  9.     Saying the tasbeeh more than once when prostrating.
  10.   Saying “Rabb ighfir li (Lord forgive me)” more than once between the two prostrations.
  11.   Sending prayers upon the family of the Prophet in the last tashahhud and saying Dua afterward.


What are Actual Sunnahs in prayer?

The action sunnahs or the postures of prayers are as follows:

  1.     Raise your hands when saying the opening takbeer.
  2.     To raise the hands before bowing.
  3.     To raise the hands after bowing.
  4.     Dropping the hands afterward.
  5.     Putting the right hand over the left hand.
  6.     Looking at the place of sujood.
  7.     Standing with a space between the feet.
  8.     When bowing and putting the hands on the knees, fingers should be spread apart, with the upper part of the body parallel to the ground.
  9.     While performing prostration (Sujood), place your palms, forehead, nose, knees, and toes on the ground.
  10.   Keeping the elbows away from the sides, the belly from the thighs, and the thighs from the calves; keeping the knees apart; holding the feet upright; holding the toes apart on the ground; placing the hands level with the shoulders with the fingers spread.
  11.   Sitting muftarishan between the two prostrations, and during the first and final tashahhud.
  12.   When saying the Salaam turn your head to the right and say the salaam then turn to the left and say the salaam again.


What are the on duties of prayer in Islam?

The obligatory parts of prayer are eight, which are as follows:

  1.     Takbeer during the prayer, other than the opening takbeer.

One narrated: “I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying Allah-u akbar every time he moved up or down, every rising and every sitting.”

  1.     To say “Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears those who praise Him” whether praying alone or after the imam.

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say Allah-u akbar when he started the prayer and when he bowed, then he said sami’a Allah liman hamidah when he rose after bowing. Then when he was in the upright position he said: Rabbana wa lak alhamd i.e. “You are our Lord and all praise is due to You.”

  1.     Saying “Rabbana wa laka’l-hamd (Our Lord, to You be praise)” after rising from the bowing.
  2.     To say “Subhaana rabbiy al-‘azeem (Glory be to my Lord Almighty)” one time when bowing.
  3.     To say “Subhaana rabbiy al-a’laa (Glory be to my Lord most High)” one time when prostrating.
  4.     To say “Rabb ighfir li (Lord forgive me)” once between the two prostrations.
  5.     Saying the first tashahhud. However, when praying after the imam and he rises without saying it you should do the same because you should follow the imam.
  6.     Sitting for the first tashahhud.


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