Salat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a ritual prayer that Muslims offer 5 times a day at specific prayer times.
Since I grew up Muslim (Alhamdulillah), I have seen people around me offering prayers and have learned to pray myself from an early age. For other Muslims and me, offering Salat five times a day is very common and natural, but for non-Muslims, it is not.
A lot of people are not familiar with why Muslims observe Salat and what it means. Moreover, people who are new to Islam might struggle with Salat 5 times a day at fixed Prayer times.
So, we have decided to share a guide with you that shares the 5 daily prayer times, the reason Muslims offer them, and the purpose of Salat.
What is Meant by Salat?
Salat, Salah, or Namaz, is the obligatory ritual Muslim prayer. It is the second of the five pillars of Islam, along with Shahadah, Hajj, Sawm, and Zakat.
Salat is a principal ritual of the Islamic faith, and Muslims are obligated to offer Salat 5 times daily. The Salat is a Fard or obligatory Ibadah for all adult Muslims.
The first Salat of the day is the Fajr prayer followed by Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha.
What is the Purpose of Salat?
Why do Muslims offer Salat 5 times a day? Why has Allah enforced this daily prayer, and what are its benefits?
Although most believe Salat refers to the 5 daily prayers, it is more than that. In Arabic, the word Salat roughly translates to communication, contact, or connection. Thus, Salat is a prayer to Allah, but it is also a dialogue, a connection, and communication between Allah and His followers.
Islamic scholars believe that the primary purpose of Salat is to offer supplication to Allah and show our gratitude for his countless blessings.
Salat is the bridge between Allah and us; in addition to supplication, it is a way for us to communicate with Allah to forge a deeper bond with the Creator. Scholars believe that Salat strengthens a Muslim’s faith, increases taqwa (consciousness and fear of Allah), and a Muslim’s devotion to their deen (belief).
Apart from the Fard or obligatory prayers, there are many nafli or voluntary prayers, each with its own purpose. Salat ul Layl for supplication and to win the favor of Allah, Salat ul Jumma to celebrate the Jumma or Friday (which is considered a small Eid in Islam), Salat Jul Janaza to bless the death of a deceased one, and many more.
However, the primary purpose of the Fard Salat is to help Muslims remain cognizant of Allah throughout the day so that they may do everything according to His will and rules. It helps Muslims remain in the circle of Islam and strengthen their Iman (Belief).
What Does Quran Say About the Importance of Salah?
Allah talks about Salat 67 times in the Quran. There are almost 10 ayahs in Surah e Baqarah alone about the importance of offering Salah or Namaz.
Here are some choice Ayat’s to show what the Quran says about Salat:
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍۢ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌۭ
“And establish prayer and give zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do is Seeing.” Al Quran 2:110
Salah is a way of remembering your creator and asking for the light and the right path in your life. As this ayah in Surah e Baqarah says:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَأَقَامُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَوُا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” Al Quran 2: 277
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُمَسِّكُونَ بِٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَأَقَامُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ ٱلْمُصْلِحِينَ
“But those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer – indeed, we will not allow to be lost the reward of the reformers.” Al Quran 7: 170
What Does Quran Say About Prayer Times?
Quran does not specify the exact time of prayers, but some ayahs indicate the timings of prayers.
In Surah e Hud it is stated:
وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ طَرَفَىِ ٱلنَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًۭا مِّنَ ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلْحَسَنَـٰتِ يُذْهِبْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّٰكِرِين
And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. Al Quran 11:114
Surah e Asr also establishes prayer times in verse 78, it says:
أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَقُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجِْ إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًۭا
“Perform the prayers at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and during the intensification of the (lights of) dawn; for the intensification of the (lights of) dawn is visible.” Al-Quran 17:78.
As we can see, the previous ayah we quoted explicitly mentions to establish two prayers at the two ends of the day: morning and night. It also mentions to establish prayer as the night approaches, which can be taken to mean evening.
Therefore, the Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers are explicitly mentioned in this ayat.
In the Al Isra (17: 78) above, we can see the expression “perform the prayers at the sun’s decline,” which indicates that Asr time starts when the sun starts setting and lasts till the “till the darkness of night” descends.
Thus, the Asr and Fajr prayers are mentioned in this ayat.
Surah An-Nur indicates the time of the dawn prayer (Fajr prayer) and nightfall prayer (Isha prayer), it states:
“Oh, you who believe! Let those under your guardianship and the ones among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before coming into your room) on three occasions: before dawn prayer, in the afternoon when you take off your clothes (for sleeping), and after the isha prayer. These are your three times of undress. Outside those times, it is not a sin for you or for them to move about attending to each other.” Al Quran 24:58
Ayah 39 & 40 of Surah Qaf refers to Fajr time and Isha time, they state:
فَٱصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ ٱلشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ ٱلْغُرُوبِ
وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَأَدْبَـٰرَ ٱلسُّجُودِ
“Therefore, O Prophet (saws), bear with patience whatever they say, and keep up glorifying your Lord with his praise, before sunrise, and before sunset. And [in part] of the night exalt Him and after prostration.” Al Quran 50: 39 – 40
However, there are different opinions of scholars on the time of Isha prayer or nightfall prayer. The Hanafi scholars say the isha time is till midnight (which refers to the time between pitch-black darkness and dawn).
However, Imaam Shafi believes that the latest time for nightfall prayer is until one-third of the night passes. The time for this prayer will elapse after this part of the night elapses.
There is another prayer that is ranked high in Islam, but it is optional – the Tahajjud prayer.
وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةًۭ لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًۭا مَّحْمُودًۭا
“And wake up for prayer in some part of the night as an additional obligation for you: It may be that your Lord will raise you to a station of praise and glory! “(Al-Isra, 17:79)
Prophet S.A.W narrated the importance of Tahajjud as:
أَفْضَلُ اَلصَّلَاةِ بَعْدَ اَلْفَرِيضَةِ صَلَاةُ اَللَّيْلِ
“The most virtuous prayer after the obligatory prayers (fard) in the midnight (Tahajjud) prayer”
What Are the 5 Daily Prayer Times in Islam?
Islamic scholars called the Imams studied the ayahs in Quran and the Prophet’s practices or hadith to conclude that Muslims must offer mandatory prayers five times a day.
Before each prayer, Adhan is called, but adhan time differs as per every sect. However, you can offer Salat after its time starts, as mentioned in Quran. The five obligatory salaat for Muslims are:
1. Fajr Prayer – Before Sunrise
As mentioned above, this is the dawn prayer, and it is supposed to be offered before sunrise. It comprises of 2 fard rakaats and 2 sunnat rakats.
2. Dhuhr Prayer – Midday or After the Sun Has Passed Its Highest Point
This is the first midday prayer, and it has 4 fard rakaats and 6 sunnat rakats.
3. Asr Prayer – Third or Late Part of The Afternoon
What follows the Dhuhr prayer is the Asr prayer or the second midday prayer. It has 4 fard rakaats only.
4. Maghrib Prayer – After the Sun Sets or At Dusk
This is the sunset prayer or Maghrib prayer, and it should be offered before the sun sets completely. It has 3 fard rakaats and 2 sunnat rakats.
5. Isha Prayer – After Sunset
Isha time starts after the sun sets, and it is known as the nighttime prayer. It has 4 fard rakaats, 2 sunnat rakaat, and Muslims often combine 3 wajibs of the night with it known as Vitar.
During the time of Salat, Adhan is called to let people know the time for the Salat has started. However, there is no fixed adhan time; it is customary to say Adhan when the prayer time has started, but it varies as per each sect.
Caution: During traveling, war, or illness, there are certain allowances given from Almighty Allah to make prayers easier. During travel (when applicable), Muslims may offer half of the fard rakaats for each prayer only.
Why Do Muslims Observe Salah?
Salah is obligatory for every Muslim, and it is a way of connecting to Allah. Muslims consider Salat an act of spiritualism. Muslims stand facing Mecca for each prayer in complete submission and obedience in front of Allah.
The soul of Islam is complete submission to Allah and Muslims consider namaz as a way to show the submission of their will to Allah completely.
However, there is more to each prayer, and it serves a purpose. However, it is quite hard to enlist all the reasons but keep reading to know why Muslims pray.
The reasons are:
– Salah is Obligatory and a Great Way to Start Your Day
Salat is obligatory for all Muslims from the age of 10, and children should be encouraged to pray when they turn 7. Starting your day with Salat and with the name of Allah puts lots of blessings and barakah in your day.
– Salat is a Way of Connecting with Allah
In Islam, Salat is considered a way to connect with your creator and to remember who we belong to. Salah is something of great spiritual importance to believers, as indicated by this hadith
Muslims make dua after every prayer, and that is another way to communicate with Allah as he listens and responds to all the heartfelt duas.
Allah says in Quran:
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا۟ لِى وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا۟ بِى لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, [tell them] I am indeed near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls.” Al Quran 2:186
And another ayah states:
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدْعُونِىٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِى سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
“Your Lord has proclaimed, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you. Surely those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell, fully humbled.” Al Quran 40:60
This shows that namaz provides you to bond and get intimate with your creator.
– Salat Enhances the Concept of Brotherhood Among Muslims
Muslims are encouraged to pray in masjid together soon after Adhan is called. This means they often meet up and pray together, which not only strengthens the bond between them but also spiritually brings them closer.
When people stand to pray together behind the same Imam without any discrimination, it enhances the feelings of equality and brotherhood among Muslims.
Now You Know About the 5 Daily Prayer Times in Islam
Muslims observe Salat because it’s mandatory, but there are several other reasons for doing so. It brings peace and connects you to Allah. There are five prayers a day and a fixed prayer time for each Salat that let you constantly stay in touch with Allah throughout the day.
If you have any other questions regarding Salat, please leave a comment below and share it with other people to help them understand the prayer times and their importance.