By Editorial Staff
Prayer is the daily ritual act of worship enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. A constant reminder throughout the day keeps believers mindful of God in the daily stress of life. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
Jarir bin `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“I pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to establish Salah, to pay the Zakah and to have the welfare of every Muslim at heart.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Any Muslim who fails to observe his prayers and has no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and a heinous sin.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah (prayer).” (Muslim)
The obligatory (fard) Prayer in Islam includes the five daily prayers and the weekly noon congregational prayer; Friday Prayer.
It was narrated that `A’ishah said:
“The first time the Salah was enjoined it was two rak`ahs, and it remained as such when traveling, but the Salah while resident was made complete.” (An-Nasa’i)
Times of Prayer
Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about the times of prayers. He said: The time for the morning prayer (lasts) as long as the first visible part of the rising sun does not appear and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from the zenith and there is not a time for the afternoon prayer and the time for the afternoon prayer is so long as the sun does not become pale and its first visible part does not set, and the time for the evening prayer is that when the sun disappears and (it lasts) till the twilight is no more and the time for the night prayer is up to the midnight. (Muslim)
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever catches up with a rak`ah of the prayer, then he has caught up with the prayer.” (An-Nasa’i)
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “There is no prayer after the morning prayer till the sun rises, and there is no prayer after the `Asr prayer till the sun sets.” (Al-Bukhari)
A congregation is an association of men who, animated by the same aspiration, concentrate themselves on a single object and open up their inner selves to the working of a single impulse.
Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a salah performed individually.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:
The Messenger of Allah said: “If anyone goes out from his house after performing ablution for saying the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for hajj pilgrimage after wearing ihram (robe worn by the hajj pilgrims).
And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this purpose, will take the reward like that of a person who performs `Umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in `Illiyyin (the highest levels of Heaven). (Al-Albani)
This weekly convention of Friday Congregation is compulsory upon every Muslim man who is required to observe the other five daily prayers and has no reasonable excuses to abstain. It falls on Friday of every week.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The Friday prayer in congregation is a necessary duty for every Muslim, with four exceptions; a slave, a woman, a boy, and a sick person.
Abu Dawud said: Tariq Ibn Shihab had seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) but not heard anything from him. (Al-Albani)
Women’s Prayer at Mosques
One of the wives of `Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to offer the Fajr and the `Isha’ Prayer in congregation in the mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that `Umar disliked it, and he has great self-respect. She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Messenger: ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slaves from going to Allah’s Mosques’ prevents him.” (Al-Bukhari)
Many hadiths by the Prophet show the significance as well as importance of the Night Prayer and the merits attributed to those who regularly and properly perform it.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing sawm (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best salah (prayer) next after the prescribed salah is salah at night (Tahajjud prayers).” (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah said, “The best month for observing fasting after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night.” (Muslim)
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
“Allah, Our Lord, descends (in a manner befitting His Majesty) to the nearest heaven to us of this universe during the last third of the night and says: ‘Is there anyone to call upon Me so that I shall respond to him (fulfill his prayer). Is there anyone to ask of Me that I may grant his request. Is there anyone to seek My forgiveness so that I shall pardon him (and forgive his sins)’.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said: “You should pray qiyam al-layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.”(At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
Ibn `Abbas narrated:
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) got up at night to offer the tahajjud prayer, he used to say: (O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You have the possession of the Heavens and the Earth And whatever is in them. All the praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth And all the praises are for You; You are the King of the Heavens and the Earth; And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true. O Allah ! I surrender (my will) to You; I believe in You and depend on You. And repent to You, And with Your help I argue (with my opponents, the non-believers) And I take You as a judge (to judge between us). Please forgive me my previous And future sins; And whatever I concealed or revealed And You are the One who make (some people) forward And (some) backward. There is none to be worshipped but you. (Al-Bukhari)
Zaid ibn Thabit said:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to offer the Zhuhr Prayer in midday heat; and no prayer was harder on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah than this one. Hence the revelation came down: “Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer” (Al-Baqarah 2:238). He (the narrator) said: There are two prayers before it and two prayers after it. (Abu Dawud)
Abu Huraira said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A prayer performed in congregation is twenty-five times more superior in reward to a prayer performed by a single person. The angels of the night and the angels of the day are assembled at the time of the Fajr (Morning) prayer.” Abu Hurairah added, “If you wish, you can recite:- “Verily! The recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn (Morning prayer) is ever witnessed (attended by the angels of the day and the night” (Al-Israa’ 17:78)” (Al-Bukhari)
Narrated `Abdullah Ibn `Umar:
I offered with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) a two rak`ahs prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs after the Zhuhr Prayer, two rak`ahs after Jumu`ah, Maghrib and `Ishaa’ prayers. (Al-Bukhari)
`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) never omitted four rak`ah prayer before the Zhuhr Prayer and two rak`ahs prayers before dawn (Fajr) Prayer. [Al- Bukhari]
When the muezzin pronounced the Adhan for Fajr Prayer and the dawn became evident the Prophet ordered a two rak`ahs light prayer (sunnah) before the iqamah (second call to Prayer) of the compulsory (congregational) prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “There is a salah (prayer) between every Adhan and Iqamah; there is a Salah between every Adhan and iqamah.” (While saying the same for the) third time (he added), “It is for him who desires (to perform it).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prohibited Actions in Prayer
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When the Iqamah is called, no prayer should be performed except the obligatory prayer.” (Muslim)