Prayer is central to Islam, but as a newbie, I find myself in the situation where I've never actually prayed in my life (ever) and now I'm trying to figure out how to pray. So I YouTubed how to pray, and it's quite intricate and specific, having to dress a certain way, act a certain way, and cite Quran versus. As such, it's going to take me some time before I get the hang of it.
While I should be patient, it's upsetting not having the ability to communicate with God, and I feel especially left out when my friends go to pray.
So, I'm asking for a kind of "roadmap": how do I pray, given that I've never prayed before? How do I begin?
What I (think I) know and what I've seen:
- Generally women pray at home (or, wherever you happen to be), although when praying at a mosque, women pray separately from men. I'm expected to pray 5 times a day, around certain times.
- There's usually a mat to pray on, but I think this is more about hygiene and not strictly necessary (I'm not sure).
- I should cover all but my face, hands, and feet. I'm not really sure why (after all, God is aware of what I look like uncovered), but I'm planning on just going with this and I'll figure out why as time goes on.
- This is where I get a bit blurry. I'm meant to stand in a specific pose, and declare that I'm about to pray, reciting a Quran verse (or maybe two?). I'm unclear about this. My friend said it's okay for me to recite these verses in English (instead of Arabic), though.
- I then prostrate with my hands and head touching the ground. And I do this, and the previous step twice.
So, as you can see, I have a vague idea of what to do, but I'm concerned I might do it incorrectly. Although, perhaps it's better to pray incorrectly than not pray at all.
It's very different to Christian prayer. It also seems to serve a different purpose to Christian prayer, in that it's more about expressing devotion to God, and less about making requests.
Again, I'm a newbie, so this might all be embarrassingly way off.