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Prayer, worship (Persian namaz). The second pillar of Islam is the prayers required of Muslims five times daily: daybreak (salat al-fajr), noon (salat al-duhr), midafternoon (salat al-asr), sunset (salat al-maghreb), and evening (salat al-isha). The times of prayer are determined by the sun's position and are announced in a human voice by the muezzin (prayer announcer) from the minaret (tower) of a mosque. Can be performed in any clean space, either individually or communally (preferable), although Friday noon prayer (jumah) should be performed communally in the mosque by men. Must be preceded by ritual purification (wudu) and declaration of proper intention (niyyah). Consists of recitations from the Quran and formulas in praise of God (takbir); must be done facing the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca (qiblah). Each prayer has two to four cycles (rakah), each containing a series of postures, most characteristic of which is prostration.

See also Dua; Pillars of Islam

Subjects: Islam.

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