Islamic concepts

Rakaʿah ركعة — unit of prayer

ركعة ركعات
noun singular plural
romanization rakaʿah Rakaʿāt
pronunciation rɑkæʕæh rɑkæʕæaet

A rakaʿah is a unit or cycle of prayer performed during Ṣalāh. The verb rakaʿa literally means ‘to bend the body’. Each unit consists of a recitation, one bow, and two prostrations. Each session of Ṣalāh consists of between two and four rakaʿāt.

How to

The following steps are either mandatory, required, an emphasized example, or etiquette:

  1. Raise hands parallel to the ears (for men) or to the shoulders (for women), fingers slightly spaced apart
  2. Place the right hand over the left hand, under the navel (for men) or under the breasts (for women). Keep your gaze downwards towards the point your forehead will touch the ground.
  3. Quietly say aʿūdhū billāhi min al-shayṭān al-rajīm (I seek protection in Allāh from the outcast Shayṭān).
  4. Quietly say the opening supplication thanāʾ
  5. Quietly say bismillāh al-raḥmān al-raḥīm
  6. Recite Chapter 1 of the Qurʾān: The Opening.
  7. Quietly say āmīn
  8. Recite another chapter of the Qurʾān of your choosing, e.g. Chapter 112: Sincerity, or any three verses of the Qurʾān, or a single long verse (e.g. the Throne Verse).
  9. Say [ɑlˤlˤɑɑhu ækbær], meaning ‘The Divine is greater’ or ‘Allāh is the greatest’ or ‘The Divine is supreme..
  10. Enter the bowing position (called Rukūʿ), grasping your knees and keeping your back level with the floor. The gaze is directed at the top of your feet. Say three times:
    سبحان ربي العظيم
    Subḥāna rabbī al-ʿaẓīm
    /subˈħæænæ rɑbbɪ jæl ʕ(ɑæ?)ðˤiim/
    Glory to my Provider, the Great
    How perfect is my Provider, the Supreme
  11. Stand and say:
    سمع الله لمن حمده
    Samiʿ Allāhu liman ḥamidah
    /sæmɪʿ ɑlˤlˤɑhu lɪmæn hæmɪdæ/
    Allāh listens to one who praises Allāh.
    Allāh hears those who praise Allāh.
    Allah heard him who sent his praises to Him.
  12. Quietly say after rising from bowing:
    Rabbanā lak al-ḥamd
    Our Sustainer, and to You be all praise. Our Provider, praise be to You. Our Provider, praise is yours.
  13. Fold into the position called Sujūd or Sajdah, meaning ‘prostration’. The following parts become grounded:
    • bottom of the toes (moving your heels together; the soles of the feet face towards the rear)
    • both knees
    • both flat hands (level with the ears, with fingers pointing forward and elbows pointing roughly to the sides)
    • forehead and nose
  14. In this position, you are closest to Allāh. Say three times:
    سبحان ربي الأعلى
    Subḥāna rabbī al-aʿlá
    /sʊbħæænæ rɑbbɪj ælʔæʕlææ/
    How perfect is (glory to / I thank / thanks) I give thanks to my Provider, the most sublime.

ɑlˤlˤɑɑhu ækbar
Allāhu Akbar
الله أكبر

during prostration, gaze towards tip of nose

while sitting, gaze towards lap

closing salāms greet guardian angels, with gaze to each shoulder