Basically, people would translate salaat as prayer services as what we could see in English. While in our national language, we use the native word which sounds like semahiyang where I could loosely translate it as honoring or hailing the Heaven. I have both etymology of the word and also the definition by the standard of our Divine Path whether by linguistic definition or technical definition. Please let me know either by mail or just by the comment box if the explanation here is difficult to be understood. I would amend everything until it becomes simple.
Through Arabic phonology, the sound of the same root word could actually changes and it also changes the meaning. The meaning would never go far from the root word. They will still be related to each other. The word salaat came from the word which could also means to connect, to communicate, to contact and others. Why it is important to know this matter although it is quite fussy and just related to linguistic studies? Because it will bring us understanding and we could feel that we are not doing those acts in salat services for nothing. There lies significance for everything. It also tells us that salaat is not only a form of worship, but also a way for us to get divine inspiration or motivation when we connect ourselves with our Creator at certain prescribed times.
By linguistic definition, salaat means praying to the Supreme Authority which refers to the God the Most Highest who puts the universe into its order. By technical definition as according to the law which develops from our Divine Path, salaat refers to certain words and certain acts with the beginning of the magnification of the Lord the Most Highest and finalized by the peace greetings and according to certain conditions and terms. The Lord the Most Highest says as recorded in the Glorious Quran which means, "And perform your salaat services, as it prevents you from disobedience and disgusting characteristics" - Surat al-'Ankabut vs. 45.
Other word which is derived from the root word of salaat is salawat. Salawat basically refers to a prayer or supplications by people for the God to be in contact with the soul of a deceased person, family members and others. Basically, people would translate the salawat as invoking blessings from the God for a certain figure for e.g for our noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w and his family and his companions. But we also have another term which sounds like birkah or baraka and it specifically refer to invoking blessings from the God the Most Highest.
The rishis of ancient India have got their inspiration on yoga tapa or meditation in various forms to tranquil themselves and to be connected to the God. While Muslims and the followers of patriarch Abraham who lives longer than established Hindu traditions like we see today have this form of meditation in order to be in connection with the God. We perform salaat which consists of various acts, speeches and focusing our mind to the Lord the Highest whose image is not in our imagination.
The Conditions for Salaat
The conditions which obligate us to perform salaat are...
1. A Muslim
2. Reaching puberty
3. Mindful and Sane
A non-Muslim are not obliged to perform the salaat as he is not a believer of the Divine Path. This makes sense as they believe in their own paths. Sometimes, I found some stupid arguments from people who think that they are generating some kind of intelligent ideas from their debates. They perhaps would say, why non-Muslims are not allowed to be in mosques?
First that I would answer and it is only once...! Non-Muslims may visit the mosque but they are not allowed to enter the main prayer hall where the people congregate to perform prayer inside. They are not prohibited to enter the general areas of the mosque. The comparison for our prayer hall is like the vimana and mandapam for Hindu or Buddhist temples. Vimana means the closed hall where sacred relics are placed while mandapam means the general pavilion area which consists of stambhas or pillars. For Buddhist monasteries, there are some areas which is not opened for general public in which non-Buddhists or even public Buddhists are not allowed to be there.
I think I had made a lexicography studies for our final undergraduate studies for lexicon subject where I made a list of terms with pictures about Buddhist monasteries' architectural terms. Some I had made without any references because I know them by experience. Secondly, a non-Muslim has nothing to do with Muslims' salaat services and they may perform the worship of their own belief in their premises, their temples, their churches and in their holy lands.
Most of all, I found that people who love to debate are bunch of show off, narrow minded, maybe some Western Orientalist wannabes and are not practicing any discipline of life be they the revealed ones or in the form of philosophies. To talk about Islam, is also to talk about the history of Noah a.s and the history of his sons down to Abraham a.s and Isma'el a.s. The Divine Path comes in a chain of teaching transmitted by prophets of the same family tree.
A Muslim who reaches his puberty either males or females are obliged to perform the salaat service. It is for their own benefit and not for others as it has to do with psychological terms and self connection with the Creator of the universe. And of course a person must be sane to perform the salaat as an insane person are not facing any burden of consequences for his or her speeches or acts. Please refer to logic treatise that I had provided for more information.
Conditions for a Valid Salaat
There are few conditions for one to meet when performing a valid salaat service...
1. Knows the time when the salaat service will be performed.
2. Covering the 'awrat or the parts which should be covered for both males and females.
3. Facing the quibla or the direction of our holy city.
4. Clean from any filth such as feces or urine whether at the body, the cloth or the place to perform it.
5. Free from major or minor occurrences that we call as hadat.
Pillars of Salaat
What we have in our salaat services? There are about 13 acts in form of speeches, thought, verbal acts and others:
2. Takbeerat al-Ihram or honoring and magnifying the God the Highest.
3. Standing straight for those who are able.
4. Reciting the mother of the scripture known as the al-Fateha.
5. Ruku' and tama'neena which refers to the act of bowing and tranquility.
6. I'tidal or returning to the straight posture after bowing.
8. Sitting between two prostrations.
9. Reciting the salutation words and greetings for fellow creatures for e.g our selves and other slaves and servants of the God who lived in charity and chastity.
10. Tahiyyat al-Aakhir or the final salutation posture in a certain sitting posture.
11. Salawat for prophet Muhammad s.a.w as the transmitter of the Divine Path chain.
12. First peace greeting.
13. Step by step.
Annulation of Salaat
There are things which could annul our salaat services such as...
1. Intentionally talking or speeches which is not prescribed in our liturgy for the salaat services.
2. Moving which is not prescribed in the liturgy where we move more than three times.
3. Occurrences whether minor or the major one such as pooping or pissing while performing salaat.
4. Tainted with non-pardonable filth such as of pig or dog.
5. 'Awrat exposed.
6. Changing the intention such as having the intention to leave the salaat service while it is still on.
7. Chest moving from the quibla direction whether to the left or right.
8. Intentionally eating while performing salaat.
9. Intentionally drinking while performing salaat.
11. Becoming a non-Muslim by mental or heart, speeches or acts.
Types of Salaat Services
We have obligatory and optional salat services. The obligatory ones are those five times daily salaat service prescribed in the revelation as highlighted through the sacred hadith. The optional ones, one may perform them as many as they please.
There are four types of salat services with different units....
1. Two units with one final peace greeting.
2. Three units with two salutations and two peace greetings.
3. Four units with two salutations and two peace greetings.
4. One unit with one salutations and two peace greetings usually performed as witr or closing of salaat services.
For salaat practical, try to find a practicing brother or sister closer to your location. They might be your close friends or best friends. For those who are already Muslims, we are still learning and we never stop from trying to get a near perfect salat service and trying to increase our understanding in our Divine Path. Those who claim themselves as ex-Muslims perhaps were non-practicing or non-committal Muslims or perhaps are just lying to impress people to praise them as professors. That is not impressive but lame as I view these kind of people as trendy asshole. This style of people are people with backward mentality while others are ministering their path to the future - check the lyrics of Offspring song titled Smash.... LOL
Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!