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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 09: Institution of Prayer (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 09:
Institution of Prayer (Summary of the Chapter):


In this chapter I have collected the hadith relating to the times of prayer and other external circumstances relating to it, while the prayer-service itself is dealt with in the next chapter.

Prayer was made an institution by Islam. It was not left to individual choice to resort to prayer when and how one liked. The order to establish prayer as an institution is very frequent in the Holy Qur'an, the first three verses quoted above being given as an example. The purification of the mind is the great aim (vv. 1, 2 : hh. 1, 2), which is attained by resorting to the remembrance of Allah time after time in the midst of one's worldly pursuits. The spirit to serve humanity is also imbibed through prayer; and unless that spirit is imbibed, prayer is simply a show (v. 6). The times of prayer were fixed by Divine ordinance (v. 4). There is a continuity in prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night (v. 3)--early afternoon, late afternoon, after sunset and early hours of the night (h. 3)--and then there is a break till dawn (v. 3), which is the time of the fifth prayer (h. 3). To say prayer purposely when the sun is rising, or when it is setting, is prohibited (h. 5). The two afternoon prayers and the two early night prayers may be combined (h. 6). The morning and the late afternoon prayer must not be missed on any account (h. 7). When a prayer has been unavoidably missed (h. 8), or when one forgets the saying of a prayer (h. 9), the prayer must be said at the first opportunity. It is undesirable to sleep before the `Isha' prayer or engage in unnecessary talk after it (h. 10). Everything must be avoided which may distract one's attention from prayer (hh. 11-13). One must not hurry for prayer, for it would destroy the calm of mind which is so essential for prayer (h. 14) : nor should one when taking food make haste and leave his food for the sake of prayer (h. 15). Prayer may be said even when riding (h. 16), in a boat or a railway carriage. As regards dress, a man may wear any dress that he can afford or that is convenient for him, and prayer may be said even in knickers and shirt (h. 17). It is not proper for any one to pass in front of the man who is praying (h. 18) and a sutra may be set up when prayer is said in an open place.

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 09: Institution of Prayer (Summary of the Chapter)

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