Origin and Wisdom of the Five Prayers

Salaam and Greetings of Peace: 

Origins and Wisdom of all 5 Prayers

Fajr salaat
The first person to offer the two rak’ats of Fajr salaat was Hadhrat Adam alayhis salaam. He was taken out of Paradise, which was illuminated, and sent into the world. When he arrived here it was night-time. This made him deeply anxious and distressed. Slowly it began to light up and subha sadiq appeared. Hadhrat Adam alayhis salaam felt revivified. Before sunrise he offered two rak’ats of salaat by way of thanksgiving. The first rak’at was for the dispelling of darkness and the second in gratefulness of the daylight. Almighty Allah liked this prayer so much that He made the two rak’ats of Fajr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

Zuhr salaat
The first person to offer the four rak’ats of Zuhr salaat was Hadhrat Ibrahim alayhis salaam. The salaat was performed after successfully fulfilling the command of Almighty Allah and offering his son Hadhrat Ismail alayhis salaam for sacrifice. The first rak’at was performed to thank Almighty Allah for helping him overcome this difficult test; the second for substituting a ram (from Paradise) for Hadhrat Ismail alayhis salam; the third for the direct address he received from Almighty Allah, saying:

“And We called out to him: “O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus We do reward the Muhsinun.” (The Qur’an, As-Saffat 37:104-5)

(i.e. good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allah’s sake only, without any showing off or to gain praise or fame etc. And do them in accordance to Allah’s Orders) .

The fourth rak’at was performed to thank Almighty Allah for granting him such a patient child. Had Hadhrat Ismail alayhis salaam flinched, it would have been difficult for Hadhrat Ibrahim alayhis salaam to fulfil the command of Almighty Allah. Accordingly, after seeing the dream Hadhrat Ibrahim alayhis salaam consulted with his son: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So what do you think?” The son replied: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha’Allah, you will find me amongst the patient.” Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Ibrahim alayhis salaam so much that He made the four rak’ats of Zuhr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

Asr salaat
The first person to perform the four rak’ats of Asr salaat was Hadhrat Yunus alayhis salaam. Almighty Allah has reported his plea while inside the belly of the fish as follows:

“But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O, Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You above all that (evil) they associate with You]. Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.” So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers.” (The Qur’an, Al-Ambiyya 21:87-88)

(i.e. who believe in the oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness)”

After being taken out of the fish’s belly, he offered thanksgiving prayer of four rak’ats for being freed from four states of darkness. Firstly, the darkness of the fish’s stomach; secondly, the darkness of the water; thirdly, the darkness of the clouds; and fourthly, the darkness of the night. Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Yunus alayhis salaam so much that He made the four rak’ats of Asr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

Maghrib salaat
The first person to perform the three rak’ats of Maghrib salaat was Hadhrat Dawood alayhis salaam. Prophets alayhis salaatu wassalam are innocent and do not commit sins. However, if they make any mistakes or errors, albeit slightly, they are duly admonished. Hadhrat Dawood alayhis salaam once happened to err. Subsequently, Almighty Allah pardoned him:

“So We forgave him.” (The Qur’an, Saad 38:25)

By way of thanksgiving, Hadhrat Dawood alayhis salaam commenced four rak’ats of salaat. He had performed the first three rak’ats when contrition so overtook him, he was unable to proceed with the fourth rak’at. Accordingly, he terminated the salaat after the first three rak’ats (Bazlul Majhood). Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Dawood alayhis salaam so much that He made the three rak’ats of Maghrib salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

Isha’ salaat
There are two reports regarding the wisdom of the four rak’ats of Isha’ salaat. The first says that Hadhrat Musa alayhis salaam was the first person to perform this salaat. He had stayed with Hadhrat Shuayb alayhis salaam for ten years and was returning with his family to Misr (Egypt). While travelling he was besieged with four anxieties: first, his honorable wife was expecting; secondly, the journey was particularly lengthy; thirdly, he was concerned about the welfare of his brother Hadhrat Harun alayhis salaam; and fourthly, he was worried about his mortal enemy Fir’awn. With these four worries he was traveling and then they got lost which added to the distress. He walked in a perplexed state until they approached Mount Toor, standing on the right side facing the west. It was a dark and cold night. The honorable wife’s labor had begun, and the flint stone did not produce a spark. In this agonizing and distressing situation, he saw a fire from Mount Toor. He told his family members to remain behind while he went to Mount Toor to collect some flames. When he reached Mount Toor he was favoured with the special privilege of conversing with Almighty Allah, Who said:

“And when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name: “O Musa! Verily! I am your Lord! So take off your shoes, you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa. And I have chosen you. So listen to that which is inspired to you.” (The Qur’an, Ta-Ha 20:11-13)

This honour of talking to Almighty Allah removed from Hadhrat Musa alayhis salaam all four anxieties he had faced. Someone has aptly remarked:

If I find You there is no illness,
If I don’t, there is no cure.

It was Isha’ time when Hadhrat Musa alayhis salaam performed the four rak’ats of thanksgiving for the removal of all four anxieties. Almighty Allah liked this prayer so much that He made the four rak’ats of Isha’ obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

- From Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakkharwee Sahib’s ‘Some Serious Mistakes In Salaat’.

About the Author: Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakkharwee Sahib is the Deputy Mufti at the famous Darul Uloom Koranghi, Karachi, and is a Senior Khalifah of the late Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee Sahib rahmatullah alayh, who founded the Darul Uloom. He has written extensively on various fiqh issues and is a regular contributor to Al-Balaagh, which is a magazine published monthly by the Darul Uloom.

With grateful thanks to the most excellent True Life blog.

Ya Haqq!

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11 Responses to Origin and Wisdom of the Five Prayers

  1. Merryweather says:

    Very enlightening. A great post, as always… and so well-presented.

    I will inshAllah read your book- I read its first two chapters that are available as extracts of the book on the Master of the Jinn website- very gripping!

    Praise be to Allah. May He bless & guide us all towards His Light

  2. Irving says:

    Amin to your prayer, dear Sister. And thank you for the kind words, but I only reposted the excellent post from the True Life blog, which also has the full book from which this was an excerpt.

    You are always so kind :) Inshallah, you will enjoy the book.

    Ya Haqq!

  3. Achelois says:

    Enlightening, indeed! Just this morning I was thinking why must we pray five time?! How do you read my mind, brother Irving? This post is just in time to motivate me :) Thank you.

  4. Sheila says:

    AOA,
    thank you for sharing this. It gives a whole new light to the salaah. I always wondered how the five salaah came about.
    JK,
    Sheila

  5. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Sisters:

    “And all we relate to you of the accounts of the messengers
    is to strengthen your heart therewith; and in this has come to you
    the truth and an admonition, and a reminder to the believers. ”
    (011:120) – Shakir translation

    Ya Haqq!

  6. almiskeenah says:

    Assalamu alaikum dear brother Irving for bringing this to our attention, and also to True Life blog. May our Salat be deepened by such knowledge, and be a comfort for our eyes as it was for our Blessed Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, and may you both be the recipients of all rewards we may be blessed with in our struggle to improve this Command, Ameen.
    Wassalamu alaikum

  7. Sana says:

    Salam Irving,

    When I was a child, I had this old lady for a neighbour and she delighted in telling us of the horrible things that would happen to us if we didn’t pray. She had a different punishment for each Salah, which, I presume she had heard or read of somewhere. Even now, I receive a forwarded email every few months quoting the various punishments that I will incur if I don’t pray.

    But NEVER did anyone tell me why or how these different prayers came about – the stories of devotion and love that prompted them. If they had, I might have been be more inclined to pray as a child. I wonder why our religious education as kids revolves around fear rather than love and mercy.

    Thanks a lot for this post. Its given my Salah a whole new meaning.
    Much love,
    Sana.

  8. Muse says:

    This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I agree with Sana. Nobody told me about this growing up. It certainly gives my prayers a new meaning.

  9. Sharif says:

    I am very interested in knowing the source of this information.
    As this is not something that is found regarding facts around the salat.

    The legislation of the salat was done during the isra wal mi’iraaj and so is in contradiction with what you have listed.

    The number of rakah’s for the prayer was not the same during makkah as it was during madeenah and hence would also be in contradiction with this.

    As according to this the number of rakahs was known from before the Prophet’s time.

  10. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brothers and Sisters:

    Thank you all for the kind comments :)

    Brother Sharif: The link to the original post on the True Life blog is given at the bottom of the post. On it, it says:

    This is taken from Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakkharwee Sahib’s ‘Some Serious Mistakes In Salaat’. I thought this interesting excerpt of it was worth his own post. It’s about the origins and wisdom of all five obligatory prayers.

    About the Author: Hadhrat Mufti Abdur Rauf Sakkharwee Sahib is the Deputy Mufti at the famous Darul Uloom Koranghi, Karachi, and is a Senior Khalifah of the late Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafee Sahib rahmatullah alayh, who founded the Darul Uloom. He has written extensively on various fiqh issues and is a regular contributor to Al-Balaagh, which is a magazine published monthly by the Darul Uloom.

    Ya Haqq!

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