How to Pray the Sunni Way

The ritual of prayer differs between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
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For Muslims, prayer to Allah makes up the core of daily personal worship. These prayers are called salat, and the ritual surrounding salat differs between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Daily prayers can be performed in or out of a mosque, but wherever prayers occur, Muslims are expected to follow a specific set of movements known as raka. Sunnis must also perform a call and entrance into the salat, and they must clean themselves before they begin to pray.

Practice five prayers, or salat, daily. Shia Muslims, by contrast, practice three daily prayers.

Before prayer, wash your face, hands, feet and lower arms in a bowl with clean water. This act is called wudu and it is essential for Sunnis.

Face the Qiblah, or the direction toward Mecca, when reciting your prayers.

Recite the Athan, or call to prayer. Close the Athan with "Al-Salatu Khayrun Mina Nawn."

Recite the Iqaama, or entrance to prayer. The Athan is sometimes optional, but the Iqaama is always required.

Perform rakas during each salat. A raka is a unit of prayer that includes six prayer positions. The wuqoof is a standing position with the recitation of the Quran. In the rukoo position, bend from the waist with your hands on your knees. In I'tidaal, you stand upright. You then kneel and bow with your forehead directly on the ground, a position called sujood. Sit up (technically the fifth position), then perform sujood again.

Fold your arms in front of you for the standing position of the rakas. Shia Muslims do not fold their arms during prayers.

Perform two rakas during the Salat-ul-Fair (sometimes called Salat of Subh), or morning prayers. This salat occurssometime during sunrise.

Perform four rakas during the Salat-ul-Zuhr, or noon prayer, and the afternoon Salat-ul-Asr. Perform the Salat-ul-Asr before sunset.

Perfom the Salat-ul-Maghrib, or evening prayer, no later than an hour and a half after sunset. The Salat-ul-Maghrib includes three rakas.

Perform four rakas for the Salat-ul-Isha, or night prayer. This salat can be performed any time after the evening prayer until dawn.

Close your salat with "amen."

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.