There are five prayers which are obligatory and rewardable. There are other prayers which are rewardable but optional to perform. The optional prayers require the same preparation as the five required prayers. There are several requirements of the person who performs the prayer. The person praying must be Muslim and must have reached the state of mental discrimination which is usually around seven lunar years (about 6 3/4 solar years).
The Muslim must have the proper Taharah (purification) before performing the prayers. This comprises the removal of najas (filthy) substances and performing wudu’ (ablution) or ghusl (full shower).
Removal of Najas (Filthy substances)
Islamically, there are substances that are considered filthy and must not be on the person’s body, clothes, place of prayer, or even carried when praying. Some of these substances include urine, feces, blood, vomit, pus, and discharges from the penis and vagina, except maniyy (semen and the woman’s fluid of orgasm) which is not filthy.
To clean oneself after urinating and defecating, the person dries himself of all urine with toilet paper after urinating, and then pours water on the areas where the urine was. In the case of defecation, the person is correct if he removes the defecation with toilet paper and then pours water on the stained area to remove the traces. It is also acceptable to use either toilet paper or water only. However, the exclusive use of toilet paper has conditions. The urine must not go beyond the exit area and must not dry there. Also, one’s defecation must not spread past the area of the buttocks which comes together when one is standing.