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1. "Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book, and establish prayer: surely prayer keeps one away from indecency and evil" (29:45). 2. "And establish prayer in the two parts of the day and in the first hours of the night; surely good deeds take away evil deeds this is a reminder to the mindful" (11:114). 3. "Establish prayer, from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night, and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed" (17:78). 4. "Surely prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers" (4:103). 5. "Guard (your) prayers and the most excellent prayer, and stand up truly obedient to Allâh" (2:238). 6. "Woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers, who pray to be seen ,and withhold alms" (107:4-7). In this chapter I have collected the hadîth relating to the times of prayer and other external circumstances relating to it, while the prayer-service itself is dealt with in the next chapter. Prayer was made an institution by Islâm. It was not left to individual choice to resort to prayer when and how one liked. The order to establish prayer as an institution is very frequent in the Holy Qur'ân, the first three verses quoted above being given as an example. The purification of the mind is the great aim (vv. 1, 2: hh. 1, 2). which is attained by resorting to the remembrance of Allâh time after time in the midst of one's worldly pursuits. The spirit to serve humanity is also imbibed through prayer; and unless that spirit is imbibed, prayer is simply a show (v. 6). The times of prayer were fixed by Divine ordinance (v. 4). There is a continuity in prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night (v. 3)--early afternoon late afternoon, after sunset and early hours of the night (h. 3)--and then there is a break till dawn (v. 3), which is the time of the fifth prayer (h. 3). To say prayer purposely when the sun is rising, or when it is setting, is prohibited (h. 5). The two afternoon prayers and the two early night prayers may be combined (h. 6). The morning and the late afternoon prayer must not be missed on any account (h. 7). When a prayer has been unavoidably missed (h. 8), or when one forgets the saying of a prayer (h. 9), the prayer must be said at the first opportunity. It is undesirable to sleep before the 'Ishâ' prayer or engage in unnecessary talk after it (h. 10). Everything must be avoided which may distract one's attention from prayer (hh. 11-13). One must not hurry for prayer, for it would destroy the calm of mind which is so essential for prayer (h. 14): nor should one when taking food make haste and leave his food for the sake of prayer (h. 15). Prayer may be said even when riding (h. 16), in a boat or a railway carriage. As regards dress, a man may wear any dress that he can afford or that is convenient for him, and prayer may be said even in knickers and shirt (h. 17) It is not proper for any one to pass in front of the man who is praying (h. 18) and a sutra may be set up when prayer is said in an open place. 1 Abû Hurairah reported that He heard the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, say: "Tell me if there is a stream at the door of one of you, in which he bathes five times every day, what dost thou say, will it leave anything of his dirt? " They said, It would not leave anything of his dirt. He said: "This is the likeness of the five prayers, with which Allâh blots out (all) faults." (B. 9:6.) 2 Anas reported The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said: "When one of you says prayers, he holds confidential intercourse with his Lord." (B. 9:8.) 3 Ibn 'Abbâs said, The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said: "Gabriel acted as imâm for me twice in the (Sacred) House; so he said the Zuhr Prayer with me when the sun had declined from the meridian and (the shadow) was the measure of a thong. and he said the 'Asr prayer with me when the shadow of everything was the like of it, and he said the Maghrib prayer [1. This hadîth should be interpreted in the light of the Qur'ân which says, as quoted in the heading "Prayer keeps one away from indecency and evil" (v. 1). By the blotting out of faults is therefore meant curbing the tendency to go against Divine injunctions. The man who feels himself in the Divine presence five times a day, has his mind purified of all dross, just as the bather is purified of physical dirt. 2. That is the essence of prayer; a man should feel when praying that he is alone before his Maker. and he should open his mind to Him in its fulness.] with me when one who fasts breaks the fast, and he said the 'Ishâ' prayer with me when redness in the horizon had disappeared, and he said the Fajr prayer with me when food and drink are prohibited to one who fasts. When it was the next day, he said with me the Zuhr prayer when the shadow (of a thing) was the like of it, and he said with me the 'Asr prayer when the shadow (of a thing) was its double, and he said with me the Maghrib prayer when one who fasts breaks the fast, and he said with me the 'Ishâ' prayer when one-third of the night had passed, and he said with me the Fajr prayer when the dawn was bright. Then he turned to me and said, O Muhammad! This is the time of the prophets before thee, and the time is between these two times."[3] (AD., Tr-Msh. 4:1.) 4 Ibn Abbâs reported that The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, forbade prayer after the morning prayer till the sun brightens, and after 'Asr till it sets.' (B. 9:30.) 5 Ibn 'Umar said, The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said: "Do not purposely seek [3. This is a comprehensive hadîth relating to the times of prayer. It further shows that the mode of prayer, the rak'ahs and the time thereof were taught to the Holy Prophet by Divine revelation, as it was Gabriel who led the prayers and the Holy Prophet followed him. Gabriel pointed out the time-limits within which different prayers could be said. The different times thus are: :Zuhr--when the sun begins to decline till 'Asr; 'Asr--when the sun is about midway on its course to setting till it begins to set; Maghrib--after the sun sets till the disappearance of the red glow in the west; 'Ishâ'-after the disappearance of the red glow till midnight (as other hadîth show); Fajr--after dawn till sunrise. Where the days are too shot;. he Zuhr and the 'Asr prayers may be combined, and where the nights are too short, the Maghrib and the 'Ishâ' may be combined (h. 6). Where the days or nights extend over 24 hours, the times of prayer may be fixed in accordance with the times of work and rest. Thus the morning prayer may be said on rising from sleep, the Maghrib and the 'Ishâ' when going to bed, and the Zuhr and the 'Asr in the middle of the day's work. 4. The Fajr prayer is the last prayer of the night, and the 'Asr the last prayer of the day. As h. 7 shows, these two prayers are given a special importance.] in your prayer the rising of the sun or the setting of it."[5] (B. 9:30) 6 Ibn 'Abbâs reported that The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said prayers in Madînah seven (rak'ahs) and eight (rak'ahs) Zuhr and 'Asr and Maghrib and 'Ishâ'.[6] (B. 9:12.) 7 Fadzâlah said, The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, taught me, and there was in what he taught me (the command). "And be mindful of the five prayers." He said, I said, These hours are such that I have (other) [5. What is forbidden is the commencing of prayer purposely when the sun is setting or when it is rising. If, however, a man begins his prayer before the setting of the sun, and it begins to set when he is still praying. he should finish his prayer. Similarly in the case of the rising of the sun. The prohibition aims at avoiding resemblance with sun-worshippers. 6. This Hadîth allows the combining of; Zuhr with 'Asr prayer and that of Maghrib with 'Ishâ'. According to another hadîth (Ah. I. 223), the Holy Prophet did this when there was "neither danger nor rain," and he did this so that "his ummah may not be in difficulty." This shows that the prayers spoken of may be combined in case of danger or rain. and even when there is no such reason. The combined prayers may be said at either prayer time. In combining prayers the sunnah that fall between the two prayers are dropped.] business to attend to therein, so command me something comprehensive so that when I have done it, it should suffice me. He said: "Be mindful of the two 'Asr prayers." This was not known in our idiom. So I said, what are the two 'Asr prayers? He said: "A prayer before the rising of the sun and a prayer before the setting of it."[7] (AD. 2:2.) 8 Jâbir reported that 'Umar ibn al-Khattâb came on the day of the Ditch[8] after the sun had set, and he began to abuse the disbelieving Quraish. He said, O Messenger of Allâh! I could not manage to say the 'Asr prayer [7. The hadîth does not mean that only two prayers are sufficient. It only lays stress on their special importance. Or, perhaps, the man found it difficult to attend the congregational prayer five times daily, and he was told to be mindful specially of these two prayers and not to miss them in congregation. 8. Also known as the battle of Ahzâb or Confederates, which took place in 5 A.H.] until the sun was about to set. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said. "I call Allâh to witness that I (too) have not said it." Then we got up towards Buthân, and he performed ablutions for prayer, and we too performed ablutions for it, and he said the 'Asr (prayer) after the sun had set, and after that he said the Maghrib (prayer).[9] (B. 9:36.) 9 Anas reported on the authority of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, (who) said "Whoever forgets (the saying of) a prayer, let him say the prayer when he remembers it; there is no atonement for it but this, 'Establish the prayer for My remembrance'."[10] (B. 9:37.) [9. When the prayer-time is missed unavoidably, it may be said even after the time for it has passed. 10. A long hadîth is narrated by Bukhârî, showing that when sleep overcomes a person, and he misses the prayer at the right time, he should say it when he gets up (B. 9:35).] 10 Abû Barzah reported that The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, disliked sleeping before the 'Ishâ' (prayer) and conversation after it.[11] (B. 9:21) 11 Anas said, 'Â'ishah had a figured curtain of red wool, with which she had covered a side of her apartment. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said: "Remove from us thy curtain, for its figures come before me in my prayers."[12] (B. 8:15.) 12 'Â'ishah said, I asked the Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, about casting side glances in prayer. He said: [11. He disliked it, because one who went to sleep before he said the prayer might miss the prayer altogether: and because he wanted prayer to be the last act before going to bed, so that he should go to bed with a prayerful mind. 12. In order to apply the mind fully to prayer, it was necessary that there should be nothing, even in the environment, which should lead the mind away from it. That is also the reason why the mosque should be a simple structure.] "That is a snatching from the prayer of the servant, which the devil snatches away by deceit."[13] (B. 10:91) 13 Zainab, wife of Abd Allâh ibn Mas'ûd, said, The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said to us: "When one of you goes to the mosque, let her not use scent."[14] (M-Msh. 4:23) 14 Abû Qatâdah said, While we were saying our prayers with the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, he suddenly heard noise of (running) people. When he finished the prayer, he said, "What was the matter with you?" [13. Casting side glances would undoubtedly divert the attention from prayer, and this is not desirable. This is called a snatching away by the devil. 14 This order is also meant as a precaution against distraction. But scent was recommended on Fridays on account of the larger gatherings.] They said, We were hastening for the prayer. He said: "Do not do so; when you come to prayer, you should be perfectly calm; then whatever part of it you overtake, say (it with the imâm), and complete the part that has escaped you."[15] (B. 10:20.) 15 Ibn 'Umar said, The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said ."When one of you is taking food, let him not hasten until he satisfies his need, even though the iqâma for prayer has been recited." (B. 10:42.) 16 Jâbir said, The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, used to say his prayers on his riding camel in [15. Everything which disturbs the clam of mind, should be avoided, as this would be inconsistent with a prayerful attitude. Muslims need a calm atmosphere within and without the mosque, and this is the reason why they resent music before mosques.] whichever direction it turned with him; but when he intended to say the obligatory prayer, he got down and faced towards the Qiblah.[16] (B. 8:31.) 17 Abû Hurairah said, A man got up before the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, and asked him about praying in one garment. He said: "Can every one of you get two garments?" Then a man asked 'Umar, and he said, When Allâh gives ample, then you should use amply; a man wore his garments, a man prayed in a waist-wrapper and an outer garment, in a waist-wrapper and a shirt, in a waist-wrapper and a [16. This could be done in the case of a camel or a horse. A man who is in a boat or in a railway carriage should turn his face to the nearest direction to Qiblah in the first instance, but he is not required to continue changing the direction as the boat or the railway changes its direction.] cloak, in trousers and outer garment, in trousers and a shirt, in trousers and a cloak, in knickers and a cloak, in knickers and a shirt, and I think he said, in knickers and an outer garment.[17] (B. 8:9.) 18 Abû Juhaim said, The Messenger of Allâh, peace and blessings of Allâh be on him, said: "Did the passer in front of one who is praying know what burden is on him, it would be better for him to wait for forty (days) than that he should pass in front of him."[18] (B. 8:101) [17. A man must be decently dressed according to his means. Any dress, that is regarded as decent in society, is looked upon as decent for prayers. 18. This is forbidden, because by so doing a man would distract the attention of the person who is praying. The Holy Prophet set up a sutrah--a spear or a staff, etc.--in front of him when praying in an open place (B. 8:90).]

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1 Sahil Badruddin = "The Quran is not specific about praying fives times a day"
2 Enakshi Ganguly = "Explanation of Islamic Prayer Timing"