Timings Of Salat According To The Quran

Prayer stands with only four others as the fundamental pillars of Islam. Above all other rules and guidelines set for all Muslims, the five pillars of Islam are the ones that set the very infrastructure of the religion, without which, everything else falls apart. How is it then that so much discussion can erupt over marginal, and often ridiculous, questions while a subject as essential and fundamental to the Islamic religion, the Salat, is left untouched? Like everything else underlined in the Quran, the Salat is clearly discussed in the Holy Book, with no ambiguity of any type. And if indeed what sets the Quran apart from other Holy scriptures is the fact that it comes directly from God, why is it then that Believers must search elsewhere for what is already stated entirely on the pages and in the ayaat of the Holy Book?

The rituals and guidelines surrounding the Salat have been taken for granted, set down in stone by the “middlemen” that have come between the orders of the Divine and His Believers. And yet if Islam is indeed a religion that has always opted to remove the “middleman”, then it is the duty of each Muslim to delve into the Quran and find the exact guidelines that have often been clouded by religious discourse and jargon.

The most essential guidelines set forth by the Quran retaining to the Salat are directed towards the reasons behind prayer and the actual logistics of praying. While the former might be more theoretical and abstract, the latter is straightforward and concrete, leaving no space for confusion or controversy.

Believers have blindly accepted that the Salat implies the five daily prayers at their respective times: the fajr, thohr, 3asr, maghreb, and esha. And yet, the ayaat throughout the Quran all allude to only three prayer times throughout the day: sunrise, sunset and early hours of the night, see aya 11:114.

Perform prayer at both ends of the day, as well as during the early watches of the night: for, verily, good deeds drive away evil deeds: this is a reminder to all who bear (God) in mind.

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّـيِّئَاتِ ذَلِكَ ذِكْرَى لِلذَّاكِرِين

The fajr and esha are once again confirmed in the following aya:24:58

O YOU who have attained to faith! At three times (of day), let (even) those whom you rightfully pos¬sess, as well as those from among you who have not yet attained to puberty, ask leave of you (before intruding upon your privacy): before the fajr prayer , and whenever you lay aside your garments in the middle of the day, and after the esha prayer : the three occasions on which your nakedness is likely to be bared. Beyond these (occasions), neither you nor they will incur any sin if they move (freely) about you, attending to (the needs of)one another. In this way God makes clear unto you His messages: for God is all-knowing, wise!

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِن قَبْلِ صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاء ثَلَاثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ طَوَّافُونَ عَلَيْكُم بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌَ

The wusta prayer is then confirmed separately in aya 2:238.

Maintain prayers and the wusta prayer and; and stand before God in devout obedience.

حَافِظُواْ عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ والصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى وَقُومُواْ لِلّهِ قَانِتِين

And in 17:78.

Perform prayer till the time when the sun has passed its zenith till the darkness of night, and (be ever mindful of its) recitation at dawn: for, behold, the recitation (of prayer) at dawn is indeed witnessed .

أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودً

And thus, not only have the times been clearly identified separately and as a whole, but their cumulative number has been very accurately stated: “At three times of the day”. Need it be more specific? The number is clearly highlighted, with no reference of later rebuttal anywhere else in the Holy Book. If indeed there were the other two prayers, their names, like those of the three already mentioned, would be clearly included rather than scattered around the different verses. Why must we always find ways to complicate what is in essence so simple and direct?

References to the five times of prayer have thus been derived solely from texts external to the Quran. By means of example, it is perhaps noteworthy to refer to the Jews and the way in which they began to digress from the Torah, a text having descended directly from God, and began to elaborate and innovate with their texts of the Mishnah (oral) and Gemarah (traditions), from which most of their rituals and codes have been adopted. They resorted to the latter and deviated from the Truth, as referenced to in the Quran, see 7:144-146.

7:144 Said (God): “O Moses! Behold, I have raised thee above all people by virtue of the messages which I have entrusted to thee, and by virtue of My speaking (unto thee): hold fast, therefore, unto what I have vouchsafed thee, and be among the grateful!”

قَالَ يَا مُوسَى إِنِّي اصْطَفَيْتُكَ عَلَى النَّاسِ بِرِسَالاَتِي وَبِكَلاَمِي فَخُذْ مَا آتَيْتُكَ وَكُن مِّنَ الشَّاكِرِي

7:145 And We ordained for him in the tablets (of the Law) all manner of admonition, clearly spelling out everything. And (We said:) “Hold fast unto them with (all thy) strength, and bid thy people to hold fast to their most goodly rules.” I will show you the way the iniquitous shall go.

وَكَتَبْنَا لَهُ فِي الأَلْوَاحِ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مَّوْعِظَةً وَتَفْصِيلاً لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَخُذْهَا بِقُوَّةٍ وَأْمُرْ قَوْمَكَ يَأْخُذُواْ بِأَحْسَنِهَا سَأُرِيكُمْ دَارَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

7:146 From My messages shall I cause to turn away all those who, without any right, behave haughtily on earth: for, though they may see every sign (of the truth), they do not believe in it, and though they may see the path of rectitude, they do not choose fo follow it-whereas, if they see a path of error, they take it for their own: this, because they have given the lie to Our messages, and have remained heedless of them,”

سَأَصْرِفُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَإِن يَرَوْاْ كُلَّ آيَةٍ لاَّ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهَا وَإِن يَرَوْاْ سَبِيلَ الرُّشْدِ لاَ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلاً وَإِن يَرَوْاْ سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلاً ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُواْ عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ

Likewise, the Muslims often resort to the Hadith and other texts to elaborate on the constituents of the Quran. But why need they elaboration when the Quran is all eloquent and articulate? And surprisingly, in the Hadith, which is the closest we have to the Prophet’s teachings, there is vaguely only one clear outline of the five-time daily prayer ( see chapter 99 ) , noted in the Isra and Mi’raj hadith. However, this hadith is perhaps the most controversial of the ahadith as it refers to the ru’ya or الرُّؤيَا. What then is the credible source behind the five-time prayer myth?

One is often surprised how a basic fundamental of the Islamic faith such as Salat can be so misunderstood. And if so, what else amongst us Muslims has not been shed light on? And if indeed, one of the most commanding ayaaat of the Holy text, proclaims “اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ” (“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created all that exists”), must we not then read and delve in the text rather than submit to blind and shameful ignorance?

“How Can We Observe The Salaat Prayers By Following The Quran Alone?”


11 Responses to “Timings Of Salat According To The Quran”

  1. 1 Rana Ammar Mazhar
    September 23, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Note that (الصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى) in (Sura Al-Baqarah 2:238) and (الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ ) in (Sura Al-Isra 17:78) are the same “Salat” because these both “Salat” has (ال) common with them indicating that these are the same “Salat” as compared to (صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ) and (صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاءِ) which are without (ال) with word (صَلَاةِِ).

    (ال) in Arabic is equivalent to the word “The” in English, indicating the importance of the middle prayer.


  2. 2 koranist
    September 30, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    this is because, I think, the middle one is not a specific timing. The fajr is a specific timing so it is refered to as salat al fajr. the isha also. But the middle one is between noon to sunset so it is refred to al salat al wusta meaning the middle prayer as its not specific but its simply the middle one between the two times.

    The middle prayer is the one in the middle. This signifies that its the one prayer in the middle. And not 2 or 3.

    So its the fajr prayer and the isha prayer and the middle one.

  3. September 30, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    yes koranist, but both 17:78 and 11:114 are mentioning the three timings
    fajr, esha and ghroob (sunset)

    so the middle one is also specific for ghoroob
    the period between (دُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ) and ( غَسَقِ اللَّيْل )

    or the period after ( طَرَفَ النَّهَار) before( َزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ )

    • 4 Zahid Muhammad
      September 21, 2011 at 12:13 am

      Stefan. The word wa between “taraf-an-nehar” and “Ghasaq-al-layl” in my understanding indicates the ranges between the “end of the daylight” and “darkness (take over)”. since there are two twilight times (before daybreak and after sunset) hence two instances of taraf an nehar and ghasaq al layl. the AND therefore indicates the upper and lower limits of the time ranges. for example eat your medicine between middle of the day AND evening…… AND indicating the range of time. … Thus I believe this ayat only refers to fajr and maghreb prayers but the Quran calls it esha. the Word maghreb comes from outside sources. Now the chapter “Jumaa” (Friday prayer) specifically mentions a prayer after which people are supposed to go back to work. Hence it appears to be the mid-prayer or wusta. In another ayat a night prayer which is voluntary “nafilah” is mentioned and Quran says that whoever establishes this night prayer “fa-tahajad” will earn “muqaam e mehmood” or distinguished status.
      Hence I understand that 3 prayer are sunrise, middle of the day, sunset which are mandatory and night time voluntary prayer is not mandatory but earns great rewards. the middle prayer on Fridays becomes the Jumaa or Friday prayer..
      Thanks for reading and May Allah grant you lots of peace and happiness. Amen

  4. September 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    In Quran ALLAH SWT has commanded to Obey Allah and His last and Final Messenger Mohammad PBUH.
    refer for more detail ch 4:59

    • September 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

      In the same Quran, Allah tells us that whosoever has obeyed the messenger has in-fact obeyed Allah (i.e. they are one in the same command) – see 4:80.

      Islam is based on the Quran alone – no hadith, no sunna, no imams, no nonsence.


      • 7 Ifti
        March 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

        Layth… How can you understand the Quran perfectly if you do not read the hadiths… For your information you can never understand the Quran alone … You have to refer to the hadiths which give the history and facts as to when and how the Ayat from the Quran was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

  5. 8 Salman Masum
    April 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    The quote from Aya 24:58 to prove that ONLY THREE salats are ordained is out of context. The subject of this aya is neither enumerating the salat nor state any timings of the salat. The subject is that of ones private moments. It is clearly mentioned that at three times in a day one needs to preserve ones privacy and forbids even the ones near ones to intrude at these times.. and what are these times.. and I quote from the Ayat; “BEFORE fajar” , AFTER esha and in waht we know as the “Afternoon”. Now surely the referecne to the names of salatas here is done to identify the time of the day where this privacy is required.. Its obvious that when one does not have a watch to go by hours, reference to time of the day in relation to salah is normal.

    Therefore, the conclusion of the original post as reproduced below is not only INCORRECT but is also MISLEADING..
    “And thus, not only have the times been clearly identified separately and as a whole, but their cumulative number has been very accurately stated: “At three times of the day”. Need it be more specific? The number is clearly highlighted…..”

    May Allah guide us to the right understanding of His Scripture… Amien

  6. 9 Salman Masum
    April 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Stefan… The Aya 17:78 does not have a wa between the two periods of time mentioned.. the contains the word ila meaning “till” so the meaning should be … at the decline of the sun till the twilight of the night.. the dusk as we know it.

    Together the ayats 11:114 and 17:78 refer to the following times: a) at the dawn of the day.. – Fajr; b) at the other end of the day.. sunset.. – Maghrib; c) at the approaches of the nightfall.. Esha; d & e) at teh decline of the Sun till the dusk.. ie. Zohar and Asar, as we know them..

    Please do not be mislead by the narration of THREE prayers above.. Please also read my post above.. to clarify this further..

    Thank you..

  7. 10 Layla
    December 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Salam. I Read this on a blog http://asar-ahmadshah48.blogspot.se/2011/06/salatul-wusta-or-middle-prayer.html?m=1
    This confused me.
    He says prayers means salawat which is used for something more than 3. Salateen is used for 2 . He then asks how come then 17:78 means 3 prayers in total? It should be 5 . Because wusta is the middle prayer. And salawat means more than 3 prayers.
    Plz respond

  8. 11 Khurram Saeed
    April 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    What salat, Quran is referring to in chapter 62 verse 9? It says and I quote

    ” Were you apprehensive of offering
    charities before your secret talks?
    So, as you did not do it,
    and Allah was clement to you,
    maintain the prayer and pay the zakāt,
    and obey Allah and His Apostle.
    And Allah is well aware of what you do”

    I am confused. It clearly asks to close business, which was a day activity in those days, temporarily for the prayer which I assume is the Zohar prayer.

    Any suggestions?


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