Prayer is an individual duty incumbent on every Muslim man and woman who having reached the age of puberty and being in sound mind is capable of performing it.A child is required to perform prayers from the age of seven so that be will be brought up to perform them habitually and devotionally.He must be made to perform them at the age of ten.A muslim child should also know that the heart and countenance of those who pray will shine with Divine light and his self will be cleansed.Prayer is the link,between the servant and his Master.
Thus Prayer is obligatiry upon every Muslim,male or female,who is :
1. Sane and responsible.
2. Relatively mature and at the age of puberty,normally about fourteen.(Children should be advised by parents to start performing prayers at the age of seven and strongly recommended to do so by the age of ten).
3. Free from serious sickness and,in the case of women,free from menstruation and confinement due to child birth and nursing.The maximum period of both is ten and forty days,respectively.In these cases women are exempt from Prayers.
Prayer is not valid unless certain requirements fulfilled.Actually one is not permitted to perform prayers without fulfilling certain conditions.These conditions are:
1. Cleanliness:this incluides cleanliness of the body through (ablution) and also of the garment and the palce where prayer is performend.
2. Covering the private parts.For the male,the body should be covered at least from the navel to the knees.For the female,the whole body should be covered except the face,the hands and the feet.For both ,transparent clothes must be avoided.
3. Timing:this is when to begin the prayers,since it is not proper to perform regular prayers before the times appointed by law.
4. Declaring the intention of Prayer (Niyyah) by both heart and tongue whenever possible.
5. facing the right direction of Qiblah,the direction of the Kabbah at Makkah.If a person has no means of deciding the Qiblah,he would follow his best judgement.
Kinds of Prayer:
The following are the various kinds of Prayer:
1. Obligatory (Fard) ,which includes the five daily Prayers,the Friday noon congregation and Funeral prayer.Failure to observe these Prayers is a serious and pinishable sin,if there is no reasonable excuse.
2. Supererogatory (Wajib) and Sunnah Prayer,which include the Prayers accompanying the obligatory Prayers,and the congregations of the great festivals (Eids).Failure to observe these is a reproachable conduct.
3. Optional Prayer,which includes all voluntary Prayers at any time of the day or the night.Two periods have a special preference; the later part of the night until just before the breakiing of dawn and the mid-morning period.