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Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant or nursing, are permitted to break the fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year if they are healthy and able.Children begin to fast (and to observe prayers) from puberty, although many start earlier.The entire cycle of prayer (rakah) is then repeated.
The pilgrims later stand together on the wide plains of 'Arafat (a large expanse of desert outside Makkah) and join in prayer for God's forgiveness, in what is often thought as a preview of the Day of Judgment.
The close of the hajj is marked by a festival, the 'Id al Adha, which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts in Muslim communities everywhere.
Salah is the name for the obligatory prayers that are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God. The word zakah means both "purification" and "growth." Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general.
There is no hierarchical authority in Islam and there are no priests. Like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.
Prayers are to be made in the direction of Mecca and must be carried out in a state of ritual purity, achieved by either ritual ablutions or a bath.
Movements during prayer imitate entrance into the presence of a great ruler (symbolized by the raising of the hands to the ears and proclamation of the glory and majesty of the ruler for all to hear), bowing reverently, and then uttering the opening chapter of the Quran, the Surat al-Fatihah.
Worshipers then utter other Quranic verses while completing the ritual bowing, which is followed by prostration, performed on the knees with both hands on the ground and the forehead touching between them.
Worshipers repeat their glorification of God and prostration three times.
The second pillar, the five daily prayers, signifies the believer's submission to God and serves as public, physical evidence of the believer's adherence to Islam.
Prayers are to be performed just before dawn, at noon, in midafternoon, just after sunset, and in the evening, between an hour after sunset and midnight.