The Muslim, when he stands up to pray, orientates himself; that is to say, he faces the direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca. In his daily life he may have been turning round and around like a dog chasing its own tail. Now he stands still and faces in the right direction. He raises his hands level with his ears and glorifies God. Then he recites two short passages from the Qur'ān- in Arabic- taking in his mouth the very words chosen by God to express His eternal message in a form accessible to mankind. After that he bows, glorifying God the Infinite, the All-Encompassing. After rising again, he goes down on his knees, with his forehead on the ground, and in this posture he glorifies God the Transcendent, the Absolute, and he does this twice, completing one unite of prayer…Private prayer- called du'a’- is, of course, an entirely different matter. Then we pray in our own languages in our own time, praising God or complaining to Him, expressing our gratitude or our dismay, our hopes and our fears. But salāt, the canonical prayer, is a rite- a sacrament- and every gesture is precisely regulated in accordance with the example set by Muhammad himself. It punctuates the day and gives it a particular rhythm, it breaks the monotony of time and lifts the busy man out of his business, the sad man out of his distress, the foolish man out of his folly. And the call of the muezzin, the echoing over the Islamic city from dawn till deep night, summoning to prayer, summoning to salvation, reminding the people that they are something more than poor, doomed creatures of the earth, is the characteristic sound of Islam. This is the second Pillar of the Faith.
— Reflections by Gai Eaton, page 22-23