The obligatory acts (Fardhs) of prayer (al- Salah) are twelve. Six of those fardhs are fulfilled before the prayer and the other six are fulfilled during the performance of a prayer. If one of those acts is omitted, our prayer gets nullified. Briefly, those are:
a. The Fardhs Outside of al-Salah
Those are the fardhs that one must fulfill before starting a prayer. These fardhs that prepare us both physically and psychologically to perform a prayer are also called “preconditions of salah.”
1. Al-Taharah min Al-Hadath (Cleansing oneself from invisible spiritual impurity): In other words, making ablution or ghusl bath, or when it is not possible to make them, making tayammum.
2. Al-Taharah min Al-Najasah (Cleansing from visible dirt): Cleansing one’s body, clothes, and the place where the prayer will be performed from visible uncleanness.
3. Satr al-Awrah (Covering of the necessary parts of one’s body): It is to cover between the navel and knees for a male, and for a female the entire body except face, hands and feet.
4. Al-Waqt (That the time for the prayer should have come): There is a certain time for each obligatory (Fardh) and wajib prayers. Those prayers should be performed within those time frames. Any prayer performed before its due time is regarded as invalid. Leaving the performance of a prayer until after its time passes is a big sin.
5. Istiqbal al-Qiblah: Facing the direction of Kaaba when praying. During the prayer, if one turns his chest in any other direction, his prayer becomes null.
6. Intention (al-Niyyah): To intend for the prayer to be performed. In prayers that are performed in congregation, one must also intend to follow the imam. After fulfilling these conditions, one can perform a prayer.
b. Fardhs Inside prayer (al-Salah)
These are the fardhs that one must fulfill during the performance of a prayer. Those pillars are also called “Rukn of Salah.”
1. Opening Takbir (Takbir al-Iftitah): To say “Allahu Akbar” when starting a prayer.
2. The Standing (Al-Qiyam): To stand for a while when praying.
3. The Recitation (Al-Qira’ah): To recite al least three short verses from the Noble Quran when standing during a prayer.
4. Bowing (Al-Ruku): To bow down in such a manner that the hands are placed upon the knees after the completion of the recitation of the Noble Quran.
5. Prostration (Al-Sajdah): To place on the ground the forehead, the nose, hands, feet, and knees after having risen from the bowing (al-Ruku).
6. Final Sitting (Qa’da al-Akhirah): To sit at the last rakah of the prayer for as long as one can recite the supplication called “Attahiyyatu.” (Muslim, Salat 215)