How to Pray, Part 3: Maghreb (Sunset Prayer)

Read about Part 1: Fajr, or Subuh, here

Read about Part 2: Dhuhr, Asr, Isha, here.

For an alternate guide, click here


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you).

This post will be part three of a series on how to pray the five obligatory salats in Islam. Today, we will be focusing on the fourth prayer of the day, Maghreb (sunset prayer). This prayer consists of 3 raka’at (two recited out loud, one recited silently).

A few reminders:

  1. Islamic prayer is not valid (by God) unless you embrace and accept Islam as your religion. With that said, (to my non-Muslims) feel free to practice praying/attend a Mosque with a Muslim friend.
  2. Men and women must both be covered in order to pray. For men, it is vital they are clothed from the naval to the knee. Women must be clothed from the head to the ankles (except hands and face).
  3. You must pray facing Qibla (Holy Mosque of Mecca).
  4. Women are NOT supposed to pray when they are menstruating and/or experiencing post-childbirth bleeding.
  5. Before beginning prayer, make sure to have done ghusl (bath) and/or wudu (ablution). Feel free to also check out our previous article on a complete breakdown of how to pray basic salat if you are unsure on how to do so.


Here’s a breakdown of what you see in the video above:

  • Have an intention (niyat) to pray. 

This is not anything you have to say out loud (unless you are catching up on missed prayers and need to remind yourself on which one you’re on). Rather, your intention to pray salat comes from the heart.

  • Hold your hands up, palms facing forward, to perform Takbiratul Ihram.

As you see in the video, this is the start of the physical prayer. The individual raised their hands up, palms facing forward, to their ear lobes and recited Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) out loud.

  • Perform Qiyam.

You are still standing at this point. Your hands are either folded across your chest (right over left) or hanging near your side (depending on whether you follow Shia or Sunni sect of Islam). You can now begin reciting the first chapter in the Quran, Surah Al Fatiha. You can recite this Surah either out loud or inside your head. This is followed immediately by another Surah (portion) of the Quran. It is helpful to have various small Surahs memorized (here’s a quick list of the last 20 or so parts of the Quran that contain short ones to grasp).

  • Perform Ruk’u.

This is the part in the video where the individual unfolds their hands, places them on their knees, and bows. When moving to this position, say Allahu Akbar. Whilst in this position, recite Subhana Rabbiyal al-Adheem (All praises to Allah, the great) three times.

  • Rise up from Ruk’u.

When rising, say Sam’i Allahu liman hamidah (Allah listens to those who praise Him) followed by Rabana walakel hummed (Our lord, to you is due to all praise). 

  • Perform Sujud (prostration).

This is the position where Muslims are on their knees, palms flat on the floor with their forehead to the ground. Say Allahu Akbar when going into this position. Recite Subhan rabbi alAla (Glory be to my Lord, the Most high) three times.

  • Rise to a sitting position. 

Say Allahu Akbar whilst moving into this position. Keep your palms on your knees and eyes focused on your prayer.

  • Prostrate again.

Recite Allahu Akbar while prostrating into Sujud. This prostration is just like the first one.

  • Stand up back into the next raka’at (portion of prayer). 

Again, recite Allahu Akbar when moving into this position. This second portion of the prayer is identical to the first one (qiyam, ruk’u, sujud, sit, sujud). The difference in this raka’at is that you will not stand up again after the second prostration. Rather, you will go into Tashahhud.

  • Tashahhud.

At the end of the second raka’at, sit back up as you did after your first sujud (recite Allahu Akbar whilst moving to this position). In this position, your palms should be back on your knees. Lift your index finger up from your right hand and recite the following:

Atta-hiyyatu mubarakatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu As-salamu ‘alaika ayyuhann-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-ullahi wa barakatuhu As-salamu ‘alaina wa ‘alaa ‘ibaadillaahiss-saliheen. Ash-hadu-al-la-ilaha illAllahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluh

  • Stand back up into the third and final raka’at.

After saying Allahu Akbar, you will begin this raka’at just as you did with the others; recite (only) Surah Al Fatiha. Immediately after this you will bend over into Ruk’u as you did in step four above.

  • Perform Ruk’u.

Make sure you declare Allahu Akbar when moving into this position and recite Subhana Rabbiyal al-Adheem three times whilst in this position.

  • Rise up from Ruk’u.

Again, when moving into this position, say Sam’i Allahu liman hamidah followed by Rabana walakel hummed. 

  • Perform Sujood.

Just like before, place your palms flat on the floor along with your forehead. Remember to say Allahu Akbar when moving into this position. Recite Subhan rabbi alAla three times.

  • Rise to a sitting position.

Say Allahu Akbar. 

  • Perform one final Sujood.

For the last time, say Allahu Akbar and prostrate on the ground as you’ve done before. Recite Subhan rabbi alAla three times. Say Allahu Akbar and rise from prostration to a sitting position. 

  • Tashahhud.

This portion of the salat is similar to the first Tashahhud with a little more to it. In this position, your palms should be back on your knees. Lift your index finger up from your right hand and recite the following:

Atta-hiyyatu mubarakatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu As-salamu ‘alaika ayyuhann-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-ullahi wa barakatuhu As-salamu ‘alaina wa ‘alaa ‘ibaadillaahiss-saliheen. Ash-hadu-al-la-ilaha illAllahu wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluh

followed by:

Allahuma sali ala Muhammad wa ala Aali Muhammad kama saliet ala Ibrahim wa ala Aali Ibrahim ennak hameed majeed, wa barik ala Muhammad wa ala Aali Muhammad kama barakta ala Ibrahim wa ala Aali Ibrahim ennak hameed majeed) then recite “allahumma inne zalamtu nafsi zulman kasira wala yagfiru junuba inna anta fagfirulu magfiratam min indika war hamni inna kala gafirur rahima” or “rabbi ja’alni muqeemus salaati wa min zurriyati rabbana wataqabbal du’a rabbanaghfirli waliwalidaiyya walil mu’mineena yauma yaqoom-ul-hisaab

After this recitation, look over your right shoulder (to the Angel that marks your good deeds) and say Asalamu alaykom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. Next, look over your left shoulder and do the same to greet the Angel that keeps record of your wrong doings. You have now completed your salat.

Taqabbal allahu minna wa minkum 

(May Allah accept [this worship] from us and from you).

  • Make dua (supplication).

You have the option of making dua after every prayer. Simply cup the sides of your hands together, palms facing you, and speak to Allah from your heart.

Don’t shy away from attending a Mosque to join in on community prayers.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Prayer in congregation is twenty seven times better than prayer prayed individually.”

[Sahîh al-Bukhârî (645) and Sahîh Muslim (650)]


May Allah accept our efforts and grant us forgiveness and guidance.