Sunday, February 8, 2009

صلوة: The Five Obligatory Prayers---and their times

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

In a previous post http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/salat-importance-and-benefit-of-prayer.html the importance and benefit of salat صلوة were touched upon. There are many different kinds of prayer in Islam, as there is a prayer for every aspect of daily life, as one strives to remember Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in all things (because Islam is a complete guide for mankind). You are a baby muslimah so for now we'll stick to what you have to know first, the second pillar of Islam----upholding the five daily prayers.

The first key to learning HOW to pray is knowing WHEN to.

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala informs us in His Book: Verily, As-Salah [the prayer] is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours. (4:103)

Prayer is performed five times a day: at dawn (this prayer is called fajr), at noon (this prayer is call dhuhr), in the afternoon (this prayer is called asr), at sunset (this prayer is called maghrib) and at nightfall (this prayer is called isha'a). The five prayers are fard (obligatory) for all Muslims once they have reached puberty---to neglect them is to sin and to abandon them is to commit shirk.

We know the times for the prayers because the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said in authentic ahadith: "The time for the morning prayer [lasts] as long as the first visible part of the sun does not appear, and the time of the noon prayer is when the sun declines from its 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 the time for the night prayer is to the middle of the night." (Sahih Muslim, [Eng. Trans. vol. 1 #1276])

If you are lucky enough to live in a country where Islam is a major religion you will hear the prayer announced, but if you do not, here is a link for a website that will help you search the prayer times for your local area. http://www.islamicfinder.org/world.php Just search your country, then your city, and you will be able to have a timetable for all the prayer times for the month that we are in. I repeat: the first key to learning HOW to pray is knowing WHEN to.

Prayers cannot be made early [before their prescribed times] or delayed past their times. This is known to us because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wrote in the beloved gift of the holy Qu'ran:

So woe unto those performers of salah [i.e hypocrites] who delay their salah from their fixed times (107:4-5)

Now that you know the prayer times for where you are in this world, set about thinking of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala within those times, and if you know nothing else yet, repeat the words of your shahada: "Ashadu an la illah ill Allah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadar rasoolullah." within these times. Make the intention to learn more, and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to make learning easy for you.

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