When Abraham implored God in 14:40, he did not ask for wealth or health; the gift he implored for was: “Please God, make me one who observes the contact prayers (Salat).” The religious duties instituted by God are in fact a great gift from Him. They constitute the nourishment required for the growth and development of our Souls. Without such nourishment, we cannot survive the immense energy associated with God’s physical presence on the Day of Judgment. Belief in God does not by itself guarantee our redemption; we must also nourish our souls (6:158, 10:90-92). Additionally, 15:99 states that observing the religious duties instituted by God is our means of attaining certainty: “Worship your Lord in order to attain certainty.”
The Contact Prayers (Salat)
The five daily contact prayers are the main meals for the soul. While a soul may attain some growth and development by leading a righteous life, and without observing the contact prayers, this would be like surviving on snacks without regular meals.
We learn from 2:37 that we can establish contact with God by uttering the specific Arabic words given to us by God. Sura 1, The Key, is a mathematically composed combination of sounds that unlocks the door between us and God:
The Dawn Prayer must be observed during two hours before sunrise (11:114, 24:58).
The Noon Prayer is due when the sun declines from its highest point at noon (17:78).
The Afternoon Prayer can be observed during the 3-4 hours preceding sunset (2:238).
The Sunset Prayer becomes due after sunset (11:114).
The Night Prayer can be observed after the twilight disappears from the sky (24:58).
* The Friday noon congregational prayer is an obligatory duty upon every Submitting man and woman (62:9). Failure to observe the Friday Prayer is a gross offense.
Each contact prayer is valid if observed anytime during the period it becomes due until the next prayer becomes due. Once missed, a given contact prayer is a missed opportunity that cannot be made up; one can only repent and ask forgiveness. The five prayers consist of 2, 4, 4, 3, and 4 units (Rak’ahs), respectively.
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