Skip to content

August 5, 2010


by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

17 rakaahs. That’s the minimum no. of units of prayer that a Muslim is supposed to pray per day, and many Muslims do pray all 17, alhamdulillah.

Yet, if you ask them to translate what they say in prayer, many of them will give you a blank look and say: “I don’t know what it means”.

Now, how do I know that many of them will say that? Because I’ve taught quite a few classes on prayer and I realised that many of the non-Arabs really had no idea what they were saying in prayer. If I translated something as simple as “Subhana Rabi Al-Alaa”, the looks I got suggested that this was Brand New Information to the audience.

How terribly sad. We’re supposed to say “Subhana Rabi Al-Alaa” at least once* in every sajdah (prostration) and we have no clue what we’re saying??? And how is it that we expect to focus on the salah when we don’t understand the words that we’re reciting?

[*Yes, once is obligatory. Thrice is recommended.]

**Umm Muawiyah stops making reader feel ashamed of himself/herself and puts on her (virtual) “I’m going to be positive” hat**

Alright then, so we don’t know. Fine, we’ll learn, insha-Allah.. And we’ll start TODAY so that by the time the first week of Ramadan ends, we’ll know exactly what we’re saying in salah.

How’s that? A dream? NO! That’ll be the reality, insha-Allah. I had the same problem many years ago but I can understand everything I say now, alhamdulillah. You will be able to as wellone day, insha-Allah (assuming that you cannot already do so).

So, first thing that we need to do: dua. For what? Well, we need to ask Allah to teach us and make things easy for us.

After this, we need to start studying. The following lecture series looks really good:

[For those who prefer reading, there are more resources at the end of the post.]


Words of Salah Explained by Shakiel Humayun

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


There are loads of resources out there but obviously I can’t put all of them up so here are a few:

1) Understand Quran Short Course No. 1 for understanding the adhkar of salah and some short surahs – I’ve mentioned this site before. Use the English (2007) course. If you don’t have time to do the whole thing, then at least listen to the Short Course audio and print the vocab card (you’ll find both of them on the English (2007) course page).

2) Understand Islam Prayer GuideI’ve mentioned this site before as well.

3) My Salaah Companion – Originally for kiddies but everyone can benefit. Great stuff. It has the English transliteration for the adhkar as well.

4) Prayer Book for Muslim Children and New Muslims – Word-to-word translation of the duas. Very nice indeed.

That should be enough for now, insha-Allah. If anybody would like any more resources, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments