How is a prayer performed in congregation?

When praying in congregation, the imam intends (al-niyyah) to pray and to lead the fol-lowers in prayer. The followers also intend both to pray and to follow the imam. Let us see how the Noon Prayer (Salat al-Zuhr) is performed in congregation as an example:

1) First one makes the intention by saying “I intend to perform Salat al-Zuhr and to follow the imam.”

2) When the imam says aloud “Allahu Akbar”, we start to perform the prayer by mak-ing al-Takbir in such a way that we only hear ourselves. (We silently repeat the other takbirs that the imam says as well).

3) After al-takbir, we clasp our hands and silently recite “Subhanakah” and wait. In other rakahs, we do not recite anything when in a standing position. (In prayers where the imam recites audibly, we silently say “ameen” at the end of the Surah al-Fatiha).

4) In a bowing position (al-Ruku), we say “Subhana Rabb’iy-al-adhim” three times, and when the imam rises while saying “Sami’a Allahu liman hamidah”, we say “Rabbana laka al-hamd.”

5) In prostrations (al-Sajdah), we say “Subhana Rabbiyal-a’la” three times.

6) In the sitting position, with the imam, we also recite the supplications of “Al-Tahiyyat,” “Allahuma Salli,” “Allahuma Barik,” “Rabbana Atina,” and “Wa-ghfirli,” and again with the imam, we perform As-Salam. While praying in congregation, we follow the imam and do not perform an act before he does.

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