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Prayer, Islamic

In Islam, prayer is a practical expression of the ash Shahada, the witness that there is no Allah but Allah. Since all life comes from him, the only appropriate response is thanksgiving and praise, along with penitence, and supplication. The three major forms of Islamic prayer include the salat, the obligatory prayer recited five times daily; the dhikr, a remembrance of Allah, especially developed in Sufi Islam; and the dua, a more personal calling on Allah, of which the prayers based on ya Latif, "O Gracious One," are an example based on Qur'an 42. 19, "O Gracious One…as you were generously kind in creating the heavens and earth, and to me in the darkness of the womb, so be generously kind in your unswerving decree (qadar), and in your decisions concerning me."

Prayers and blessings, on the Prophet are also important, following Qur'an 33. 56, "You who believe, call blessings on him and peace." From this derives the blessing on the Prophet whenever a believer speaks or writes his name--Muhammad, salla-llahu'alayhi wa sallam, "may Allah be with him and give him peace." The formula also is followed for other prophets including Jesus/Isa and Gabriel. A.G.H.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 763

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