Cracking the Five Daily Prayers (Salah): Did Allah Give the Command?

Have you ever encountered a Muslim who dismisses the authority of the Hadith, claiming to follow only the Qur’an? If so, you are not alone. I have met a lot of them. These Muslims are uncomfortable with the Hadith which contains information that are contradictory because they are based on the life of Prophet Muhammad who lived his life as he willed.
A Muslim I met online recently—a convert to Islam—particularly insisted all a Muslim ever needed to know was in the Qur’an. That prompted me to ask him if the command for Muslims to pray 5 times a day was in the Qur’an. He claimed it was. He pointed to some verses trying to prove his claim. Let us see if the Qur’an actually says Muslim must pray 5 times a day and if it doesn’t, where Muhammad got the idea.
The Qur’an mentions only two out of the five daily prayers by name namely, Fajr (dwan) and Isha (late evening) in Qur’an 24:58. The other three: Dhuhur (solar noon), Asr (mid afternoon) and Maghrib (right after sunset) are not mentioned in the entire Qur’an.
There are indirect references like “two ends of the day” and “approaches of the night” in Qur’an 11:114 which Muslims interpret to mean Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers.
Qur’an 17:78 has “Establish regular prayers-at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer” which has Fajr directly and Isha indirectly mentioned.
Qur’an 30:18 “Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline” has some Muslims commentaries trying to squeeze in Asr and Dhuhur as what this verse was alluding to even when the verse was not a command to pray. I thought Allah gave Muhammad the 5 daily prayers when he “ascended” to the heavens! What happened? Why does the Qur’an only mention two of these important daily prayers by name and does not command Muslim to pray at least 5 times a day?
My online Muslim friend continued to tell me in Qur’an 2:238 “middle prayer” apparently refers to Asr even when the verse does not say so. He just assumes since Muslims currently practice 5 daily prayers and Asr is the middle prayer, he sells out on the idea. Little does he know only at most three prayers are “mentioned” in the Qur’an at one time and even these three have a “middle prayer.” To make the matter even worse, this verse was revealed in Medina, years after the command for the 5 compulsory daily prayers were supposedly given in the Hadith. Qur’an chapter 17 contains Muhammad’s alleged ascension to the seven heavens and only mentions two daily prayers: Fajr (directly) and Isha (indirectly). The Hadith is the only source that has the number—five—and all the names of the compulsory daily prayers
If Allah really meant Muslims must observe the 5 daily prayers (Salat), shouldn’t he have made it clear in the Qur’an? He didn’t. Muhammad’s Hadith appear more lucid on the 5 daily prayers (Salah) than the Qur’an.
Prophet Muhammad must have borrowed the idea of the 3 daily prayers in the Qur’an from the Jews. Daniel 6:10:
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Daniel prayed toward Jerusalem. Muhammad prayed toward Jerusalem for the first 14 years of Islam. Daniel, like others who practice Judaism, prayed three times a day.
I have no doubt Muhammad borrowed the idea of the 3 daily prayers which are in the Qur’an from the Jews and the 5 daily prayers from Zoroastrians. He did not ascend to the heavens to get the command to pray five times. Even the Qur’an claims the “ascension” was a mere dream (Qur’an 53:13-18).
The Hadith is the only source where Muslims can find information on the 5 daily prayers and how to observe them. Though it is a boom for critics of Islam like me, it has answers to key issues in Islam as mundane as the 5 daily prayers without which a Muslim would not be granted paradise. That is another Crack in the Crescent for you.

  • Simon Jones

    I was inclined to believe that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet before I became a Muslim revert. But both faiths must respect one another’s views as neither will be able to prove until Judgement day when it will be revealed.
    Generally logic tneds me towards the strict monotheistic line, and the Islamic doctrine that God has no mixing with our material dimensions.
    Christians say he sent his only begotten son (though many modern translations omit the ‘begotten’ i.e. sexual-innuendo part). But as the creator who can do anything just by saying ‘Be’ he can have as many sons or daughters as he wishes. It is below God’s dignity to ascribe him as an infertile father who can only manage one son.

  • Hassan

    The Bible is just like the hadiths. Full of concoctions and outright contradictions. Humans have been blessed with ears, sight and intellect (brain) to hear, see and think. Let us use these God given abilities properly and the truth will be as clear as day.

  • Seeking for guidance

    Megan,
    You said
    “Contrary to what you said, it can be proved from the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh” and to make your case you quoted John 10:30 “I and the Father are one” okay perfect.
    Now while you are in the same place I would like you to go up to John 14:28. It says “….my Father is greater than I”. Now explain to me how Jesus and the father are one when Jesus himself says my father is greater than I .

    In fact there is not a single statement in the whole bible where Jesus (peace be up on him) says I am God or worship me. In contrary to what you think the bible itself says Jesus is a messenger.
    “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30
    Leave all other things and see what Jesus has said here. Doesn’t this verse tell you that Jesus is a messenger? Please open your eye and think logically. what kind of God would come to earth and eat like a man, sleep like a man and do all staffs like a man. whipped and beaten like a man. This is not a character of God who created man kind from a single soul and know every movement of the universe. This is not a character of God who created earth and planets. This is not a character of God who knows when and how every living things die and resurrect them all on the day of judgment.
    May God guide as to the straight path.
    Peace

  • Ben

    24:58

    O you who have believed, let those whom your right hands possess and those who have not [yet] reached puberty among you ask permission of you [before entering] at three times: before the DAWN PRAYER and when you put aside your clothing [for rest] at noon and after the NIGHT PRAYER.

    17:78

    Establish prayer at the DECLINE OF THE SUN [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.

    NOON is when the sun begins to decline. We all hopefully know this.

    11:114

    And establish prayer at the two ends of the day AND at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Same old. Where is the command from Allah for Muslims to pray Five times a day? You can’t find it in the Qur’an. Prophet Muhammad said he was given the command on the Five Daily prayers on the Night Journey. Where is the command in the Qur’an?

  • ahmed

    “That says it all. The command for Muslims to observe the Five Daily prayers is not in the Qur’an. Muhammad concocted it borrowing from the Jews and Zoroastrian without any attribution. Now that I have presented to you a simple question on ablution, without which no Muslim can pray, you decline to investigate it. Thank you for your honesty.”

    Really ? You think people don’t read and comprehend bs ? The five times to pray are without doubt proved from the Quran. You are still struggling to make a case. Instead you use my apathy to do your homework on ablution as victory. How pathetic. lol. All in all you just have a bunch of claims that is outright false and ridiculous. You can keep repeating the lie in a cyclic fashion. It just proves how christianity works.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Really ? You think people don’t read and comprehend bs ?

      Ahmed,
      Take your foul language elsewhere! I know you are upset. If you don’t behave, you lose your commenting privileges on this blog. Thank you.

      I repeat. The Five Daily Prayers are not in the Qur’an. The command for Muslims to pray five times a day are not in the Qur’an. What part don’t you understand?

      I brought to your attention the case of ablution just to drive the point home. Islam is a concoction of Muhammad. Allah had nothing to do with it.

  • ahmed

    not at all. look closely.

    http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/1092

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Again, your links do not answer any questions. The command for Muslim to pray five times a day is not in the Qur’an. Even your link makes that concession. By the way, your link has this verse below which I already discussed in this article but will do it again. I wrote:

      Qur’an 30:18 “Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline” has some Muslims commentaries trying to squeeze in Asr and Dhuhur as what this verse was alluding to even when the verse was not a command to pray. I thought Allah gave Muhammad the 5 daily prayers when he “ascended” to the heavens! What happened? Why does the Qur’an only mention two of these important daily prayers by name and does not command Muslim to pray at least 5 times a day?

      Now that I have broken it down for you, would you please explain? Thank you!

      • ahmed

        No, your unfortunately in denial. To make you denial apparent, know, even if you wish you could skip a certain interpretation (even though its a interpretation of the foremost mufassirs from the prophets companions) as “squeezing”, its pointless because there are other verses that make explicit that “squeezed” time. Quran explains Quran.

        And if your argument is over the absence of titles like “asr” or “zuhr” or “five” to describe the times of prayer, then thats a irrelevent aspect. What matters is the specific times stated which forms the meaning, not titles or names.

        Now even if you were to live in denial and still believe your imaginery arguments, that too is pointless, because Quran itself is evidence to follow, obey and validity of what Prophet gives. The hadith thereby becomes evidence, and is evidence for 98% of muslims your trying to proselytize. In short, from every possible angle, this topic is a fail, like everything else on this site. Better luck next time.

        • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

          Do you agree with the Hadith Isra Miraj took place before Hijra, in 621 AD? Didn’t Muhammad supposedly get the command from “Allah” to observe the Five Daily Prayers on this journey? How come nowhere in the Qur’an–a book that supposedly contains what “Allah” revealed to Muhammad–the Five Daily Prayers are mentioned?

          Also, while you are at it, would you please show why all verses of the Qur’an commanding Muslims to perform ablution before observing the Five Daily Prayers (Salah) were revealed in Medina? Any explanation?

          • ahmed

            Because Quran is not like a bible that every story is fitted into it like a encyclopedia. Quran is the revealed book of God and is seperated from the spritual journeys, visions and dreams that the Prophet experiences. That which is to be part of the book is known by the Prophet as per guidance of the Angel Gabriel(s). There infact are hadiths called “hadith qudsi” which are narrations in which the Prophet(pbuh) relates what Allah(SWT) says. Yet, it is not part of the Quran.

            And i do not see any need in using my time to investigate your claim on ablution.

          • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

            You say:

            And i do not see any need in using my time to investigate your claim on ablution.

            That says it all. The command for Muslims to observe the Five Daily prayers is not in the Qur’an. Muhammad concocted it borrowing from the Jews and Zoroastrian without any attribution. Now that I have presented to you a simple question on ablution, without which no Muslim can pray, you decline to investigate it. Thank you for your honesty.

  • ahmed

    The five prayers are in the Quran. Even the hadith rejectors can locate them.
    see their site:
    http://www.submission.org/salat-how.html

    topic fail.

    Now realise if your going to interpret Quran like how you interpret bible by eating brownies, you will come up with such flawed claims. You will only project your personal desires onto the bible. Thats why there are close to infinite denominations in christianity. Muslims interpret Quran taking into account the Prophets teachings and actions. Inaddition to be more accurate we take into account how the companions of the prophet understood and interpreted. Inaddition we take into account how the first three generations of Islam understood. Inaddition we take into account how 1400yrs of “Imams” have understood it. Similarily the language and “usool al fiqh” is taken into account. And so on. We dont just read and simply project without confirming the accuracy of the projection with all these.

    Muslims have a perfect system of tradition well connected to the Prophet in its beliefs and acts. If your story of being a muslim was real and not a asylum seeking tool, you would be aware that muslims gives importance to “sanad”, a factor unique to Islam, unlike christianity which is all of self projections. Every one makes up their own version of christianity, the only agreed upon data being Jesus as a Human God (oh, even this is disagreed at a quite early period of christianity and today cannot be proven from the bible) and resurrection of Jesus.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Ahmed,
      Five daily prayers Muslims observe are NOT mentioned in the Qur’an. The Qur’an doesn’t say once Muslims must pray five times a day. Only Fajr (dawn) and Isha (late evening) are mentioned by name in the Qur’an. Your link just distracts those who are seeking answers. Quit beating around the bush. That is all!

    • Megan

      Contrary to what you said, it can be proved from the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh.

      “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus answered, ‘Don’t you know me Philip, even after I’ve been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’” John 14:8-9

      “I and the Father are one” John 10:30

      “‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘Before Abraham was born, I am!’” John 8:58

      “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:28-29

      “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or ruler or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:15-20

      Any disagreement over His deity came from a very small minority that early Christians all recognized as heresies.

      And denominations aren’t “different versions of Christianity.” They disagree over very miniscule, unimportant details that don’t really matter. (infant baptism or church structure, for instance) I’m a Methodist, but Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc. are just as much followers of Jesus as I am. Even Catholics or Orthodox Christians, while the differences are a little more prominent, have the essentials down. All that matters is that you’re following Jesus. :) Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again! The church is not as divided as you make it out to be.

      May God bless you :) I’m praying for you!

      • Seeking for guidance

        Megan,
        You said
        “Contrary to what you said, it can be proved from the Bible that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh” and to make your case you quoted John 10:30 “I and the Father are one” okay perfect.
        Now while you are in the same place I would like you to go up to John 14:28. It says “….my Father is greater than I”. Now explain to me how Jesus and the father are one when Jesus himself says my father is greater than I .

        In fact there is not a single statement in the whole bible where Jesus (peace be up on him) says I am God or worship me. In contrary to what you think the bible itself says Jesus is a messenger.
        “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30
        Leave all other things and see what Jesus has said here. Doesn’t this verse tell you that Jesus is a messenger? Please open your eye and think logically. what kind of God would come to earth and eat like a man, sleep like a man and do all staffs like a man. whipped and beaten like a man. This is not a character of God who created man kind from a single soul and know every movement of the universe. This is not a character of God who created earth and planets. This is not a character of God who knows when and how every living things die and resurrect them all on the day of judgment.
        May God guide as to the straight path.
        Peace