What surahs do you need to know for Salah?

Salah is one of the five pillars of Islam and is incumbent upon all Muslims. It is performed five times a day, and during each prayer, various surahs (chapters) of the Quran are recited. While there are no hard rules on which surahs must be recited, there are certain chapters that are recommended for each prayer.

Fajr Prayer

The Fajr prayer is performed at dawn, before sunrise. For Fajr, it is recommended to recite relatively short surahs from the 30th juz’ (section) of the Quran.

Some of the recommended surahs for Fajr include:

  • Surah Al-Kafirun (Chapter 109)
  • Surah Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112)
  • Surah Al-Falaq (Chapter 113)
  • Surah An-Nas (Chapter 114)

These are short, early Makkan surahs that eloquently state core Islamic beliefs, such as the oneness of God and seeking refuge in Him. Many Muslims try to memorize these surahs specifically for the Fajr prayer.

Zuhr Prayer

The Zuhr prayer is performed in the afternoon. For this prayer, longer surahs are recommended. Some popular choices include:

  • Surah Al-Kahf (Chapter 18)
  • Surah Yaseen (Chapter 36)
  • Surah Ar-Rahman (Chapter 55)
  • Surah Al-Waqi’ah (Chapter 56)
  • Surah Al-Mulk (Chapter 67)

These are longer, Meccan surahs that were revealed to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم later during his prophethood in Mecca. They encourage reflection on Allah’s magnificence, the inevitability of the Day of Judgment, and the truth of the Quran.

Asr Prayer

The Asr prayer is performed in the late afternoon. Again, longer surahs are recommended for this prayer, for example:

  • Surah Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2)
  • Surah Ali ‘Imran (Chapter 3)
  • Surah An-Nisa (Chapter 4)

These surahs from the beginning of the Quran are lengthy, detailed, and packed with important Islamic injunctions. Reciting them helps reinforce knowledge of the Quran’s early Madinan revelations focused on social and legislative reform.

Maghrib Prayer

The Maghrib prayer takes place at sunset. For this prayer, many of the same options for Zuhr prayer apply:

  • Surah Al-Kahf (Chapter 18)
  • Surah Yaseen (Chapter 36)
  • Surah Ar-Rahman (Chapter 55)
  • Surah Al-Waqi’ah (Chapter 56)
  • Surah Al-Mulk (Chapter 67)

In particular, Surah Al-Kahf and Yaseen are very popular for Maghrib. These surahs mention previous nations and prophets, encouraging readers to reflect on the fate of those who rejected the truth.

‘Isha Prayer

The ‘Isha prayer is performed at night. Again, relatively short, early Makkan surahs are recommended, similar to Fajr prayer:

  • Surah Al-Kafirun (Chapter 109)
  • Surah Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112)
  • Surah Al-Falaq (Chapter 113)
  • Surah An-Nas (Chapter 114)

These surahs proclaim core Muslim beliefs and seek refuge in God, providing reassurance and comfort before sleeping.


In summary, the recommended surahs to know for Salah are:

  • For Fajr and ‘Isha: Short, early surahs from juz’ 30 like Al-Kafirun, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, and An-Nas.
  • For Zuhr, Asr, and Maghrib: Longer, middle to late Meccan surahs like Al-Kahf, Yaseen, Ar-Rahman, Al-Waqi’ah, and Al-Mulk.
  • For Asr: Longer Madinan surahs from the start of the Quran like Al-Baqarah, Ali ‘Imran, and An-Nisa.

However, there are no absolute requirements on surah recitation for Salah. Muslims are encouraged to recite any surahs they have memorized, as long as a minimum of three short verses are recited in the first two rak’ahs.

The important thing is contemplating and reflecting on the meaning of what is recited, rather than just rattling off the words. Muslims should choose sections of the Quran that inspire and speak to them.

Additionally, it is more virtuous to recite longer sections of the Quran during prayers. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever recites one hundred verses in a day will be recorded as one of the devout” (Sahih Muslim).

So while the above surahs are recommended, Muslims who have memorized longer portions of the Quran should strive to recite them in their prayers.

Memorizing Surahs for Salah

Here are some tips for memorizing surahs to recite in Salah:

  • Start with short surahs from juz’ 30 like Surah Al-Kafirun. They are easy to memorize repeatedly.
  • Focus on memorizing the meaning alongside the Arabic words.
  • Break long verses into smaller chunks to make them easier to remember.
  • Recite the verses out loud during your daily prayers to help reinforce them.
  • Practice reciting the verses before you sleep to memorize them long-term.
  • Write the verses out by hand to engage yourself kinesthetically.
  • Consider memorizing alongside a partner for motivation and accountability.

With regular practice and repetition, you will find yourself gradually memorizing longer surahs to recite during Salah. Small efforts made consistently will lead to great results, in sha Allah.

Benefits of Reciting Quran in Salah

Some of the many benefits of reciting Quranic verses during the daily prayers include:

  • Increased concentration and presence of heart while praying.
  • Strengthening one’s relationship with the Quran and knowledge of it.
  • Reminding oneself of Allah and one’s faith throughout the day.
  • Implementation of the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, who recited Quran in every prayer.
  • Attainment of extra blessings and reward for reciting the Quran.
  • Increased sincerity and humility in prayer.
  • Warding off laziness or showing off, as one is focused on proper recitation.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The one who recites the Quran and is skilled in doing so will be with the obedient and noble recording angels. The one who recites the Quran in hesitation and difficulty will receive a double reward” (Sahih Muslim).

Therefore, all Muslims should strive to incorporate Quranic recitation into their daily prayers. It provides immense benefits in this life and the next.

Prayer Recommended Surahs
Fajr Al-Kafirun, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, An-Nas
Zuhr Al-Kahf, Yaseen, Ar-Rahman, Al-Waqi’ah, Al-Mulk
Asr Al-Baqarah, Ali ‘Imran, An-Nisa’
Maghrib Al-Kahf, Yaseen, Ar-Rahman, Al-Waqi’ah, Al-Mulk
‘Isha Al-Kafirun, Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falaq, An-Nas

This table summarizes the recommended surahs to recite for each prayer time.


In conclusion, while no surahs are obligatory for Salah, those listed above are traditionally recommended. The best practice is reciting a minimum of three small verses in each rak’ah, while striving to recite longer portions for added reward. Memorizing small and large passages of the Quran will allow you to easily incorporate recitation into your prayers.

Reciting the Quran with contemplation is key, as this was the way of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Doing so will enrich your Salah and connect you to the divine words of Allah.

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