Islam is a faith practiced by over a billion people globally today. Across the globe, Muslims place huge emphasis on Salah (arabic of prayer). This practice is deeply rooted in the Quran (divine text of Islam) and Sunnah, the tradition of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is a fundamental aspect of a Muslim’s daily life. One might wonder, why Muslims pray five daily salah at very specific times. Let’s explore the reasoning behind such practice and the importance of timings.
Why pray salah at all?
The relentless pace of worldly life makes it very easy to drift away from the fundamental purposes of life like maintaining a spiritual connection. Throughout the day, Muslims find solace and guidance in salah which is rooted in the divine commands of the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Salah is not just a ritual. Salah is a profound expression and core tenet of the Muslim faith. They are also means of seeking forgiveness.
Also in Salah you will have to bow down (prostrate) which is beyond just a physical act. It’s a powerful reminder to be humble and submit yourself to Allah. It is an acknowledgment of our small but significant place in this vast universe.
Why pray 5 times?
It might be common knowledge that Muslims around the globe pray five times each and every day. The number is rooted in the divine revelation. Though secondary it has some practical considerations also. However, we’ll cover divine reasoning here.
As mentioned earlier the salah is a divine instruction. The origin of salah is firmly rooted in the miraculous event of the Night Journey (Isra’ and Mi’raj) which is a pivotal moment in Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life. During this extraordinary night, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was miraculously transported from Mecca to Jerusalem, where he ascended to the heavens and talked to God directly. He (pbuh) received direct instructions from God, including the establishment of the five (5) daily salah. Initially, fifty prayers were ordained. However, with advice from prophet Musa (Moses) and his humility prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was able to get the reduction from the Almighty and settle it 5 times a day.
Why each prayer is at a specific time?
Muslims must pray each salah (prayer) within the specified time shown in the table below. However, the evidence of praying in these specified times stems from the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic traditions).
When the prayers are over, remember Allah—whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down. But when you are secure, establish regular prayers. Indeed, performing prayers is a duty on the believers at the appointed times.Al-Quran – 4:103
Abdullah asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
“Which deed is the dearest to Allah?”
He (pbuh) replied:
“To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.”Sahih al-Bukhari 527
|Fajr (Dawn Prayer)
|Performed in the early morning before sunrise. It begins at dawn and lasts until the first light of sunrise.
|Dhuhr (Noon Prayer)
|Offered after the sun passes its zenith and continues until the shadow of an object is equivalent to its length.
Note: On Friday, Dhuhr salah is replaced by Jumu’ah.
|Asr (Afternoon Prayer)
|Begins when the shadow of an object is the same length as the object itself and continues until just before sunset.
|Maghrib (Evening Prayer)
|Performed just after sunset and lasts until the red light has left the sky in the west.
|Isha (Night Prayer)
|Begins when the red light is gone from the western sky and continues until the middle of the night.
Salah/prayer timing in the age of technology
Determining the precise time for each of these salah (prayer) can often be challenging. Factors like geographical location, season, and daylight change made it complicated. To estimate prayer times, historically Muslims relied on observable signs in nature, like the position of the sun. However, the advancements in technology made it easy to precisely calculate prayer times with great precision. Various apps and websites provide accurate prayer schedules based on one’s exact location, making it easier for Muslims to maintain their prayer routines easy to plan. Check out www.prayersconnect.com to find out the correct prayer times in your area.
This overview aims to provide some basic information about the importance and necessity of praying five times a day at specified times. However, if you’re looking for more technical explanations, please check the following resources: