This article is to feature the most important evidences stated in the Quran to come out with the conclusion the number of times a Muslim have to establish their daily obligatory prayers. One of the most misleading argument in the number of prayers commanded by Allah in the Quran is based on the number of names of prayer mentioned in the Quran. They contended that there are only three prayer names mentioned –
1- Salat Al-Fajr (Dawn Prayer) 24:58. 2- Al-Salat Al-Wusta (The Middle Prayer) 2:238 3- Salat Al-Isha (Night Prayer) 24:58
On the contrary, Allah commanded in the Quran to establish the prayers is not based on specific names but on specific times as stated in Surah 4:103 When ye pass (Congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah’s praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at specific times.
If one can initiate contemplating just one verse in the Quran at Surah 2:238 it is conclusive enough to show that the number of prayers Muslims have to perform daily is more than three! At Surah 2:238 Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers and the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind). This single verse show prayers in plural where the Arabic word prayers or “As Salawaat” must come with a plural of three or more. In the case of Surah 2:238 since there is mentioned of plural in prayers “and the Middle prayer” a plural of three times of prayer cannot accommodate this “Middle prayer” or in another word a three plus one prayers which give a total of four times of prayers, an even number cannot have a “middle”. Only an odd total number of the times of prayer can have a middle time located among the other four times of prayer. It is therefore conclusive enough that the number of times of prayer commanded by Allah in the Quran is five and this number is supported by various verses as indicated and explained below.
The verses indicating the five specific times of prayers in the Quran is as quoted in
Surah 11:114 And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night. In this verse it is mentioned there are three specific times of prayer by which the two ends of the day make up the early part of the day is the time of sunrise and the other end of the day is the time of sunset. The other specific time mention is the early part of the night. In Arabic the three specific times is known as the time of Fajar, Maghrib and Ishaa.
In Surah 17:78 “Establish regular prayers at the sun’s decline towards the darkness of the night.” This specific time is when the sun decline from its zenith at noon pointing towards the night. Allah mentioned in this verse the sun decline at noon pointing towards the night in order to avoid it being duplicate to that of sunset or maghrib which is the other specific time of prayer mentioned in Surah 11:114 previously.
The four times mentioned so far are sunrise or fajar at Surah 11:114; Noon or Dhzur at Surah 17:78); Sunset or Maghrib at Surah 11:114 and Night or Ishaa at Surah 11:114)
Apart from the above four timings, Allah also mention the time of business at Surah 62:9-10 O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on the Day of Congregation, hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah.
It is common in the Arab world from the time of the Prophet (Pbuh) until modern times the “business or commercial time” is most active at late noon after the Arabs have taken a short afternoon nap but before the time of sunset. This “business time” at late noon when trading is active conform to the Middle prayer as stated in Surah 2:238 as it satisfy the meaning in term of “middle” among the four other prayer times and also in term of equal time span or in the midst between two prayer times which is between the time when the sun decline from its zenith at noon or dzhor at Surah 17:78 and at the time of sunset or maghrib at Surah 11:114. It is therefore true in form as “middle” in term of name among four times of prayers and in term of time span or duration between two known prayer times between noon and sunset.
Thus, with the above evidences in the Quran all the specific times of prayer for Muslims can be accounted as follows
The early end of the day at Surah 11:114 is sunrise or fajar.
The specific time at the sun’s decline from its zenith 17:78 at noon is noon or dzhor.
The business or trading time at Surah 62:9-10 as the Middle Prayer at Surah 2:238.
The late end of the day at Surah 11:114 is sunset or maghrib.
The night prayer at Surah 11:114 is early night or ishaa.
And all the timings of the above five specific times of prayer is the time to establish the prayers and must be guarded or preserved well as Allah commanded at S2:238 Guard strictly your prayers, and the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).
Further to consolidate that it is five specific times that is being commanded for the daily prayers, the times is fixed and can be easily calculated based on the movement of the sun. It is time to pray when the sun starts to rise. After rising the time when the sun starts to decline from its zenith at noon is the sign of the specific time to pray. It is time to pray again during the busy trading times when the sun is midpoint between the time it declines at noon and its setting in the evening. When the sun starts to set at the horizon is another specific time to pray and finally when the sun sink and all form of light is hidden and total darkness prevails is the last specific time for Muslims to establish their prayers which is at night time.
Thus, any other argument whether there are only three specific times of prayer or there is no form of any ritual prayers in the Quran will cause contradiction against the verses stated above and most important they cannot reconcile the specific times of their prayer to that fixed by Allah mentioned in all the verses in the Quran. And when it causes contradiction it is stated in the Quran In Surah 4:82 Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.