Salam,

Many devotees in Islam are still wandering whether their daily details in worshipping Allah especially the daily obligatory prayer is detailed in the Quran. Many still have the notion that the Quran is giving only the concept but the details are all quoted in the hadith which is claimed to be the actions and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. However, in this article the details of the actions of doing the daily obligatory prayers will be elaborated with supporting evidences from the Quran.

The daily obligatory prayers that today Muslims is doing is derived originally by following the actions of the Prophet Muhammad as shown in the Quran and that he was commanded to follow the religion of the Prophet Abraham as stated in Surah 3:68 Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, as are also this Prophet and those who believe: And Allah is the Protector of those who have faith. In the details of the Prophet Abraham doing the obligatory prayer this is his action of standing, bowing and prostration as shown in Surah 22:26 And when We assigned to Abraham the place of the House, saying: Do not associate with Me aught, and purify My House for those who make the circuit and stand to pray, and bow to prostrate themselves in prayers. This is the evidence from the Quran that the Prophet Abraham did his ritual obligatory in worshipping Allah by the action of standing, bow and doing the prostration. In the Quran this is known as doing one stand of establishing the prayer. However, in other Islamic religious books other than the Quran, instead of calling it one stand it is called “rakaat” which is actually the same action of standing, bowing and prostration.

Similarly, the Prophet Muhammad who followed the Prophet Abraham also did the same action of standing, bowing and prostration as stated in Surah 48:29 Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Taurat and their description in the Injeel; like as seed-produce that puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them; Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward. And the evidences that he was seen standing and doing his prostration in Surah 26:217-219 And put your trust in the Almighty, the All Merciful. The One Who sees you (O Muhammad) when you stand in prayer; and among those who prostrate themselves.

Nevertheless, it is stated in the Quran that the sequence of the standing, bow and prostration and the option given to the number of sequences or repetition one is commanded is stated in Surah 34:46 Say: “I do admonish you on one point: that ye do stand before Allah, (It may be) in pairs, or (it may be) singly, and reflect (within yourselves): your Companion is not possessed: he is no less than a warner to you, in face of a terrible Penalty.” This evidence shows in the verse is that when one is to stand to establish his prayer to Allah there is the option to do a pair (two times by repeating the sequence) of doing the stand, bow and prostrate or to do only one complete sequence. However, since the Surah 34:46 emphasized of mentioning doing two (a pair) instead of one, it can be elucidated that the priority is to do two instead of one complete stand, bow and prostrate It seems only on emergency during wartime, making journey or sickness then it is recommended to do one complete stand, bow and prostrate to shorten the time taken of doing a pair of stands. This options to do two or one stand is further shows by the action of the Prophet Muhammad doing his prayer in Surah 4:102.

In Surah 4:102 When thou (O Messenger) art with them, and stand to lead them in prayer, let one party of them stand up with thee, taking their arms with them: When they finish their prostrations, let them take their position in the rear. And let the other party come up which hath not yet prayed and let them prays with thee. In this verse it can be deduced the Prophet Muhammad continue to do another complete stand while some of his companions completed one stand and they moved to the rear to take caution for fearing that the disbelievers might make a sudden attack. The one complete stand therefore fulfilled the condition of the situation of emergency while the Prophet can complete his two stands with the others keeping vigilance over the security of the camp of the believers. Thus, it can be seen that from the evidences of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad did the standing, bowing, prostrating and ends his prayer at the position of prostration. After finishing the prayer from the position of prostration, he would still continue in one of these positions praising God before he completed his worship by ending his call on God 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 stated times. Meanwhile, the verses of the Quran which allows the prayer to be shorten is as when these kinds of situations occur as stated in Surah 4:101 When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers may attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you being open enemies. This is the situation described in Surah 4:102 when some believers finished their prayer with a completed one stand, bow and prostrate sequence. The other situation is when one is travelling and he is worried that while riding due to the distance of the journey he will miss doing the prayer at the specific times commanded by Allah in the Quran and he is therefore  allowed to forego the normal action of stand, bow and prostrate as stated in Surah 2:239 If ye fear (missing the prayer), pray on foot, or riding, (as may be most convenient), but when ye are in security, celebrate Allah’s praises in the manner He has taught you, which ye knew not (before). In the event the traveller reaches his destination in time before the arrival of the next specific time of prayer, he is obliged to recompense the prayer he did while riding or walking with the normal ritual of completing normal stand, bow and prostrate.

It can be seen that in the Quran the prayers that is being commanded is simple and easy to be instituted. The command at Surah 34:46 to do two or one stands cover all the five daily prayers. There is no evidence to do more than two stands in any or all the five daily prayers, and devotees were commanded to say their prayer in middle tone as stated in Surah 17:110-111 Say: “Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between.” And say: “Praise be to Allah, who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: Nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation: yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory!” Although in a congregation there will some who opted to pray two stand and while those in a hurry take the option to pray with only one stand, it does not pose a problem as the religion of Islam in such a situation give focus and priority to unity of the congregation and not uniformity of the rituals. Nevertheless, the one who lead the prayer or the Imam must do the two stands ritual as shown by the example of what the Prophet did in Surah 4:102 when he was leading his congregation in prayer.

Asar