Salah (“Muslim prayer”, صلاة; informally pronounced as ṣalāt; pl. صلوات ṣalawāt), called namāz (Persian: نَماز) in some languages, is one of the Five Pillars in the faith of Islam and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. In this ritual, the worshiper starts standing, bows, prostrates themself, and concludes while sitting on the ground. During each posture, the worshiper recites or reads certain verses, phrases and prayers. The word salah is commonly translated as “prayer” but this definition might be confusing. Muslims use the words “dua” or “supplication” when referring to the common definition of prayers which is “reverent petitions made to God”.
Salah is preceded by ritual ablution. Salah consists of the repetition of a unit called a rakʿah (pl. rakaʿāt) consisting of prescribed actions and words. The number of obligatory (fard) rakaʿāt varies from two to four according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational worship, which has two rakats). Prayer is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are prepubescent, are menstruating, or are experiencing bleeding in the 40 days after childbirth. Every movement in the salah is accompanied by the takbir except the standing between the ruku and sujud, and the ending which has a derivation of the Muslim greeting As-salamu alaykum.