Prayer is the most important relation between created and creator, the best program of education, means of purifying ourselves and self constitution, dissuasive from prostitution and forbidden acts and is the reason to get closer to Allah, and performing prayer in congregation causes Muslims to be powerful and keeps the unity of their formation and increases vivacity and exaltation of Islamic society.
Primarily, prayer is performed five times a day, and heart and soul of person continuously is being washed in the pure stream of grace of Allah. Holy prophet (s.a.) knew prayer as the reason of clarity of his eyes and said: “Clarity of my eyes is in prayer”.1 He knew that as ascension of a believer and said: “Prayer is the ascension of a believer”2.
And introduced prayer as the means of approaching pious persons to Allah, “Prayer is the means of approaching of pious person”.3
Here we discuss about the issue that is it a obligatory ruling to separate prayers in five times which acting in other way invalidates that (like performing prayer before time) or it is possible to perform prayer in three times (noon and after noon together, and sunset and night together)?
Shiite scholars, as following Ahl -e- Bait (a.s.), generally believe that it is allowed to perform prayers in three time although it is a lot better to do it in five times.
But most of Sonni Faqihs, except a little group, believe that performing prayer in five times is obligatory (only has permitted conjunction of noon and afternoon prayers of day of Arafa in Arafat and sunset and night of Eid -e- Qurban (festivity of sacrifice and getting close to Allah) in Mash’ar Alharaam, and lots of them also permitted to conjunct two prayers during travel or in rainy weather which going to mosque for performing Jama’at prayer is hard).
According to Shiite Faqihs, as it is said before, while emphasizing the preference of performing prayer in five times, permission of doing this in three times is known as a divine gift for facilitating in performing prayers and expanding it to all people, and they know this issue in harmony with the soul of Islam which is “Religion is tolerant and easy”.
And experience showed that insisting on performing prayer in five times, sometimes mainly causes forgetting prayer at all and a group of people leave prayer.
1- Makarem Alakhlagh, page 461.
2- Although we did not find this sentence in quoting books but it is very famous that Allame Majlesi refers to that among his expressions. (Bahar Alanvaar, vol. 79, page 248 and 303)
3- Kafi, vol. 3, page 256, Hadith 26.
▲Results of Insisting on Five Times in Islamic Societies
Why Islam permitted the conjunction of noon and afternoon prayers of Arafa and sunset and night of Mash’ar?
Why lots of Sonni Faqihs permitted the conjunction of two prayers in travel and rainy weather according to cabbalas of Prophet (s.a.)? Surely, for facilitating for the nation.
This facilitation necessitates that conjunction of prayers permitted in other problems, in past and in future.
In our days, life of people is changed and condition of lots of workers in factory, clerks in office and students in classroom does not allow them to perform prayers in five times, it means that this act will be very difficult for them.
According to cabbalas that have been quoted from holy prophet (s.a.) and Shiite Imams (a.s.) insist on it, whenever it is permitted for people to conjunct prayers a renovation will happen in the issue of prayer and the number of persons who perform prayer will increase.
In the other way leaving of prayer and existence of people who do not perform prayer will be increased and maybe it is according to this argue that it is said lots of young person of Ahl -e- Sonnat left prayer, while persons who do not perform prayer are less existed among follower of Shi’aa.
It is correct that according to “I have been chosen for a tolerant and facile religion” and according to several cabbalas which are quoted from prophet of Allah (s.a.), while emphasizing the preference of performing prayer in five times, and with congregation, we permit that people perform their prayers in three times, even individually, in order that life problems do not cause leaving prayer.
Now we return to holy Qur'an and cabbalas of prophet of Allah (s.a.) and Imams (a.s.) and discuss about the issue fairly and without fanaticism.
It has been quoted about thirty cabbalas about conjunction of noon and afternoon prayer or sunset and night without pointing to travel, rain or risk of damage in famous resources like Sahih of Muslim, Bokhari, Sunan of Tirmizi, Muwatta’ of Malik, Musnad of Ahmad, Sunan of Nisa’ee, Musnaf of Abdul Razzaq and other books, which all of them are from famous and known resources of Ahl -e- Sonnat. These cabbalas mainly are quoted from five famous tellers:
1- Ibn Abbas
2- Jaber ibn Abdullah Ansari
3- Abu Ayyub Ansari
4- Abdullah ibn Omar
5- Abu Harira
Which a part of them will be shown as follows:
1- Abu Zubayr quotes from Saeed ibn Jubayr from Ibn Abbas: “Prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed prayers of noon and afternoon conjunct where there was no fear or travel”.
Abu Zubayr says that I asked Saeed ibn Jubayr: Why Prophet (s.a.) performed such an act?
Saeed said: I also asked the same question from ibn Abbas and he answered: “The purpose of his holiness was that none of his nation will be in trouble”.1
2- We read in another Hadith from Ibn Abbas: “Prophet (s.a.) performed prayers of noon and afternoon, and sunset and night conjunct without fear or rain and there written beneath the Hadith: They asked from Ibn Abbas that what the purpose of Prophet (s.a.) was from that?
He answered: “The purpose of his holiness was that none of Muslims will be in trouble”.2
3- Abdullah ibn Shaqiq says: “One day Ibn Abbas delivered a sermon for us after sunset prayer until sun went down and starts showed up. Crowd said prayer prayer, then a man from Bani Tamim tribe came and was continuously saying: Prayer! Prayer! Ibn Abbas said: You want to teach the tradition of Prophet (s.a.) to me, you rootless! Prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed prayers of noon and afternoon (and also) sunset and night conjunct. Abdullah ibn Shaqiq says: I doubted and I went to Abu Harira and asked him, and he confirmed the words of Ibn Abbas!”3
4- Jaber ibn Zayd says: Ibn Abbas said: “Holy prophet (s.a.) performed seven Rak’ats together and eight Rak’ats together (points to conjunction of sunset and night prayers, and noon and afternoon prayers”.4
5- Saeed ibn Jubayr quotes from Ibn Abbas: “Holy prophet (s.a.) performed prayers of noon and afternoon, and sunset and night conjunct in Medina, without any fear (of enemy) or rain, they asked Ibn Abbas that what the purpose of his holiness was from this act? He said: “He wanted that his nation were not in trouble”.5
6- Ahmad Hanbal has quoted this story similar, from Ibn Abbas in his Musnad book.6
7- Malik, famous Imam of Ahl -e- Sonnat, quotes from Ibn Abbas in the book “Muwatta’” without expressing anything about “Medina”: “Prophet of Allah performed prayers of noon and afternoon conjunct, and prayers of sunset and night conjunct without existence of fear (of enemy) or rain”.7
8- It has been quoted in the book “Musnaf of Abdul Razzaq” that Abdullah ibn Omar said: “Holy prophet preformed noon and afternoon prayers conjunct, while he was not in travel, somebody asked Ibn Omar why Prophet (s.a.) did that act you think? He said: “Because if anyone performed these prayers conjunct, then nobody will be in trouble (and nobody animadvert that person)”.8
9- Jaber ibn Abdullah says: “Prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed prayers of noon and after noon, and also sunset and night conjunct in purpose of permitting the nation to do the same, even if there is no fear or any other trouble”.9
10- Also Abu Harira says: “Prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed two prayers conjunct in Medina where there was no fear (of enemy)”.10
11- Abdullah ibn Mas’ood also quotes: “Prophet of Allah performed prayers of noon and afternoon, and also sunset and night conjunct, somebody asked for the reason. His holiness said: “I did this in order that my nation won’t be in trouble”.11
And other Ahadith;
There are two questions asked here:
1- Sahih of Muslim, vol.2, page 151.
2- Sahih of Muslim, vol. 2, page 152.
3- The Same evidence.
4- Sahih of Bokhari, vol. 1, page 140 (chapter of time of sunset).
5- Sunan of Tirmizi, vol. 1, page 121, Hadith 187.
Almost in all of above Ahadith which are quoted in famous books and first grade resources of Ahl -e- Sonnat and their documents are from a group of superior Sahaba, it has been emphasized on two points:
First that prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed conjunction of two prayers when there were no specific problems like rain or travel, or fear of enemy.
The other is that purpose of his holiness was “facilitating for nation” and preventing “Trouble and labor”.
Now is it correct that some persons make troubles and say that these conjunctions were for emergency cases? Why shall we close our eyes to the truths and prefer our prejudices over the explicit words of prophet of Allah (s.a.)?!
Allah and his prophet forgave, but unfortunately fanatics of nation do not forgive! (Points to a Persian proverb) Why?!
Why they do not want that young Muslims performs the most important Islamic duty (daily prayers) in any situation and anywhere, in Islamic countries and out of them, in universities and in offices and factories?
We believe that Islam is for any time and any place until the end of days.
Surely, holy prophet (s.a.) saw all Muslims with his extended view in all centuries and he knew that, if he wanted to force anyone to five times of prayers then a group will leave praying (as we see that today). In this purpose he facilitated the duty for his nation, in order that anyone in anywhere and anytime can easily perform their daily prayers.
Qur'an says: “and he has not imposed any difficulties on you in religion”.1
One of amazements of this issue is that in two verses of holy Qur'an, when it is talked about times of prayers, only three time has been mentioned for daily prayers, and despite this fact, it is wonderful that why a group of these brothers insist on necessity of five times for performing prayers.
Preference of performing prayer in five times is not deniable. We also perform prayers in five times, whenever it is possible, but there is a discussion about necessity of that.
First verse is in Hood Sura: “Perform prayers at the two ends of the day and some parts of the night…”.1
Phrase “طرفي النهار ” (the two ends of the day) refers to dawn prayer which performs at the beginning of the day and noon and afternoon prayers which their time continues until sunset. In another words continuity of time of noon and afternoon prayers can be understood clearly from this verse.
زلفاً من الليل ” (some parts of the night) by noticing that, according to Mokhtar Alsahah” and Ragheb in the book “Mufradat”, “زلف” is the plural form of “زلفة” which means parts of beginning of the night, so it refers to the time of sunset and night prayers.
Therefore if Prophet (s.a.) usually performed prayers in five times, surely it was for its preference of the times which all of us believe in that. Why shall we ignore the feature of verse of Qur'an and go for another interpretation?!
Second verse is in Isra’ Sura: “ Perform prayer at the noon ’s decline until the darkness of the night, and also the Qur'an (reading) of the dawn (dawn prayer) …”.2
“ دلوك ” means inclining and here it points to decline of sun from meridian that means decline of noon.
“غسق الليل” means darkness of the night which some persons interpret that to beginning of the night and others to midnight, because as Ragheb has mentioned in Mufradat, “غسق” means the extreme darkness of the night which is midnight.
Therefore “دلوك شمس” refers to the beginning of the time of noon and afternoon prayers and “غسق الليل” refers to the end of time of sunset and night prayers and also “قرآن فجر” refers to dawn prayer.
By the way, in this holy verse it has been mentioned only three times for daily prayers not five times, and this is the permission for performing prayers in three times.
Fakhr Raazi has interesting expression in interpretation of this verse which says: “Whenever we interpret “غسق” to the appearance of the first darkness at beginning of the night, which Ibn Abbas and Ata and Nazr ibn Shamil are also agrees, then “غسق” will be in meaning of beginning of sunset and therefore what is mentions in the verse referring the three times: Time of decline and time of beginning of sunset and time of the dawn.”
Then he adds: This matter behooves decline to be the time of noon and afternoon prayers, then this time is common between this two prayers, and the beginning of sunset is the time for “sunset and night payers”. Therefore, foresaid prayers has also common time and the result of all this is thatconjunction of noon and afternoon prayers and sunset and night prayers is absolutely permitted”.3
Fakhr Raazi wends the way well to here and understands the meaning of holy verse as well and mentions that, but he says in continue that because we have a proof that conjunction of prayers is not permitted without excuse or in travel, therefore we should limit the conditions of the verse to the situation of excuse.4
We should remind him that we have no proof for limiting the verse to the situation of excuse, but we have several cabbalas (which had been mentioned before) that prophet of Allah (s.a.) performed prayer of noon and afternoon, also sunset and night conjunct without any excuse or being in travel for facilitating for his nation that the can use this opportunity; moreover how is it possible to assign the verse to limited cases as in Usul science (science of fundamentals) it is said that limiting the major is not permitted.
And by the way, we cannot ever ignore the clear meaning of the holy verse in expressing three times for prayers.
We conclude from all the things that have been said in this chapter that:
1- Qur'an has been mentioned clearly the permission of three times for quintet prayers.
2- Cabbalas which have been quoted in books of two sects show that holy prophet (s.a.) had performed prayers conjunct several times, without being in travel and existence of another excuse, and he has known this matter as an opportunity for Muslims in order that they do not be in trouble.
3- Although performing prayers in five times is preferred, but insisting on this preference and preventing from using the opportunity, will cause lots of people, especially young persons, to ignore and leave prayers and this will put a heavy responsibility on persons who oppose this opportunity.
At least Faqihs of Ahl -e- Sonnat accept that their young perso ns act to Fatwa of us follower of Ahl -e- Bait (a.s.) in this issue, as great scholar Sheikh Al Azhar “Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot” accepted to act to Ja’fari Shiite Fatwas.
Again we emphasis that we should accept that in today’s world it is very difficult to perform prayers in five times for lots of workers, clerks, students and other groups of people. Should not we use the opportunity that prophet of Allah (s.a.) has given to us which is foreseen for these days, in order that young persons and other groups of people will not be encouraged to leave prayer?!
Is it correct to insist on “tradition” if it costs leaving the “duty”?
1- Hood Sura, verse 114.
2- Asraa Sura, Verse 78.
3- Great interpretation of Fakhr Raazi, vol. 21, page 27.