Second Pillar: Salat (Prayer)
The Second Pillar of Islam is Salat, or prayer. Before a prayer is observed, ablutions are performed including washing one's hands, face and feet. A caller (Muezzin in Arabic) chants aloud in from a raised place in the mosque. Verses from the Quran are recited either loudly or silently.These prayers are a very specific type of prayer and a very physical type of prayer called prostrations. These prayers are done 5 times a day, at set strict times, with the individual facing Mecca. The prayers are performed at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, and night: the names are according to the prayer times: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), ʿAṣr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), and ʿIshāʾ (night). The Fajr prayer is performed before sunrise, Dhuhr is performed in the midday after the sun has surpassed its highest point, Asr is the evening prayer before sunset, Maghrib is the evening prayer after sunset and Isha is the night prayer. All of these prayers are recited while facing in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and form an important aspect of the Muslim Ummah. Muslims must wash before prayer; this washing is called wudu ("purification"). The prayer is accompanied by a series of set positions including; bowing with hands on knees, standing, prostrating and sitting in a special position (not on the heels, nor on the buttocks). At every change in position, "Allah is great" is said and it is a fixed tradition that has to be recited in each posture. A Muslim may perform their prayer anywhere, such as in offices, universities, and fields. However, the mosque is the preferable place for prayers because the mosque allows for fellowship. These prayers may also be observed individually if one is not able to go to the mosque. Muslims offer special congregational prayers on Friday instead of the normal prayer just after noon. Sermons (Khutbah in Arabic) which entails preaching in any local language and jointly of the recitation of certain formulas in Arabic. The preacher normally recites verses of the Quran and addresses it which can be contain political, moral or social contents. Sermons on Fridays usually have considerable public opinion's impact regarding sociopolitical and moral questions. The five daily prayers can never be waived even for those not feeling well, they may pray in bed and even lying down. When traveling, one may observe the afternoon prayers following one another: also the sunset and late evening prayers can be combined too.