The Prophet taught that “the time for zuhr [noon] prayer begins from the inclination of the sun to the west and closes at the time when the shadow of a person shall be the length of his own stature, which time marks the beginning of the’ asr [afternoon] prayer. The time of the ‘asr prayer is from that time till the sun assumes a yellow appearance. The time of maghrib [sunset] prayer is from sunset as long as the red appearance in the horizon remains. The time of the ‘isha [night] prayer is from that time till near daybreak. And the time for the fajr [daybreak or morning] prayer is from the break of day till the sun rises.” When the sun has just arisen, a Muslim must wait to recite his morning prayers [if not already recited] until the sun has well arisen.
Aim of the Prayers
The prayer is a type of worship consisting of specific statements and actions. It is begun by pronouncing the greatness of God, and is concluded with salutations of peace. As prayer is the essence of Islam, we will discuss it here in detail. To state it simply, prayer must exist, for without it Islam can not stand. The aim of the prayers enjoined upon Muslims is to worship and think of God, to have a pure heart, to take care of the body and clothes, to overcome evil desires, and to be a good-natured, decent person in all respects. The prayers recited by an immoral person are not acceptable. Good character comes before everything else.
Considering that modern life obliges us to do hard and tiring work, one may say that there would be no time to perform Salât five times a day. But the case is quite contrary; by performing the stated prayers, the body will be kept clean and at ease in virtue of the repeated ablution or washing which is a preparatory practice to performing prayers. By Salât, the stiffness of the organs will be enlivened and will regain their natural liveliness. Thus no better means than the two rites of ablution and Salât can be suggested to remove the laziness and exhaustion caused by the tiresome work of the day. In other words, the practice of Salât ensures us moral, spiritual and material advantages.
To the Muslim, the prayer is his spiritual diet, of which he partakes five times a day. Those who think that prayer is too prescribed should remember that how many times a day they require food for their physical bodies. Thus, is not the spiritual growth much more essential than the physical growth.
The following is the translation of the azân:-
“God is Greater, God is Greater. God is Greater, God is Greater. I do testify that there is no deity save God. I do testify that there is no deity save God. I do testify that Muhammad is God’s messenger. I do testify that Muhammad is God’s messenger. Come to prayer. Come to prayer. Come to prosperity, come to prosperity. God is Greater. God is Greater. There is no deity save God.”
This is what a Muslim hears from the mosque five times a day, the call from the mosque reminds him that he shall not serve the inner man by living by bread alone, but God is the greatest, and all other concerns are small. God alone is to be served first. And if man is keen for prosperity, true prosperity shall come to him through prayer, which is to live on words that he/she recites and revealed from God.
One would naturally ask whether the stroke of the church bell has any comparison to make with that soul-edifying Muslim azân. The answer is best given by Pastor Mogola Agbebi, D.D., Lagos, Director of the Niger Delta Mission, in his paper contributed to the First Universal Races Congress held in London: “Five times a day from the turrets and minarets Islam’s call to prayer startles Africa, demanding attention from dawn to dark; and Christianity in its best form, whatever that may be has never presented a formula more rousing than:
Rise ye believers.
Prayer is better than sleep.
Prayer is better than sleep.
 Sayed Sabiq, Figh Al-Sunnah.
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