Importance of Praying Contact Prayers on Time

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The Contact Prayers (Salat): Importance of Praying them At the Five Times Specified by God

Question: Why must I do the 5 Contact Prayers at different times in the day? Can’t I do them all together at one time suitable to me? Or if I miss a prayer, can't I make it up later?

Many people miss the point about the Contact Prayers being decreed by God at 5 different times in a day. It is not a matter of just finishing 5 prayers in the day whenever possible or making up missed ones for the record. If the objective was to eventually complete 5 prayers anyhow by the end of the day, then God could decree just one main prayer (or maybe one consisting of all 5 prayers) which must be done anytime before the end of the day.

The Salat Prayers are a crucial element of soul growth for the Hereafter and have tremendous benefit in this life as well. Each prayer consists of a specific combination of sounds and body movements that must be performed exactly at particular times. When performed correctly, this mathematically proven ‘combination’ creates some sort of an effect in the universe and opens out a very special door to God, just like dialing the correct combination of a safe to open its door. The 5 prayers spread over the day enhance our remembrance of God because we have to make sure we pray at the correct time slot decreed for each prayer. Even if we believe we are consciously remembering God throughout the day, it is God’s will that He wants us to also remember or make ‘Direct Contact’ with Him through the Salat Prayers at specific times. It is a system of consciously leaving aside everything else for a few moments at periodic intervals and completely devoting both our mental and physical selves to worship God. A good way to appreciate this would be to look upon each prayer as an exceptional and exclusive audience alone with God at an appointment given by Him, which in turn ensures His continuous grace upon us. It’s like you have to eat proper meals at regular intervals as you cannot survive on snacks and irregular eating habits.

[29:45] You shall recite what is revealed to you of the scripture, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), for the Contact Prayers prohibit evil and vice. But the remembrance of GOD (through Salat) is the most important objective .GOD knows everything you do.

So if you cannot bring yourself to keep aside just a few moments 5 times a day to worship God in the way He wants, then obviously you have other things more important than God. And if you feel that the 5 prayers should at least be finished off in one session ‘to be safe’, it still has no meaning because it shows you have no regard for a system instituted by Him. This is in no way Submission to God (Islam).

If you want God to look upon you as a good Submitter (Muslim), then you have to do what He asks - no more, no less - regardless of how you perceive His command. So if God wants you to do a specific prayer at noon, where is the submission if you think it is alright to do it at some other time besides noon? The Salat prayer not only entails the correct sound and body movements, but its ‘format’ also includes performing each prayer at the time assigned for it. For example, the Dawn Prayer can only be done during Dawn, or why else would it be referred to as the Dawn Prayer? If it could be done at any other time during the day, maybe it could just be called the First Prayer! Besides, how can you pray a Dawn Prayer at noon, afternoon, sunset, or night when these periods already have their own prayers assigned for them?

Once a prayer is missed, it is missed. When the dawn is gone, so is the opportunity to do the Dawn Prayer. For example, if you miss the train that leaves at dawn, you cannot take the next train going at noon, thinking you are taking the dawn train. Possibly you may argue that sometimes the dawn train can be late and leaves after dawn, and so you can also do the dawn prayer after dawn. But that is only in the case of a train and not God’s perfect design of the universe that doesn’t allow the dawn to deviate by the minutest moment. Since you can’t delay the dawn, you can’t delay its prayer, so it is for you to catch the dawn if you want to submit to God’s command.

The Quran gives us clear verses that the Salat prayers must be performed when due. Verse 2:239 teaches us that under unusual circumstances, we can even pray while walking or riding. This means that we can do something closer to the regular method as long as we ‘make the contact’ with God at the scheduled time! For example, if you are sitting in a plane and cannot prostrate, you can easily say the words of the prayer as usual (17:110) and do symbolic body bending movements to represent the bowing and prostrating steps. The main point here is that each prayer must be done in the period assigned for it, or else God would have given us permission to pray later whenever possible.

[2:239] Under unusual circumstances, you may pray while walking or riding. Once you are safe, you shall commemorate GOD as He taught you what you never knew.

The Salat Prayers prohibit evil and vice and get us great support from God. To be accepted, they have to be performed correctly, and on time. Trying to do them all together or outside their specified times has absolutely no value, and actually violates God’s will. For additional benefits, see “Religious Duties: A Gift from God

[5:12] GOD had taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we raised among them twelve patriarchs. And GOD said, “I am with you, so long as you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and believe in My messengers and respect them, and continue to lend GOD a loan of righteousness. I will then remit your sins, and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. Anyone who disbelieves after this, has indeed strayed off the right path.”

Bear this in mind: If you keep the door open, Satan will enter it and mislead you without your realizing it. If you allow yourself the facility to make up missed prayers, Satan will give you reasons to do it and console you that at least you did them eventually. This is wrong and has no value. On the other hand, sincere submitters know that they cannot make up missed prayers but only ask for forgiveness. Accordingly, they take measures in their lives to ensure that they always do their Salat Prayers on time.

[70:32-34] And the believers keep their word; they are trustworthy. Their testimony is truthful. They consistently observe their contact prayers (Salat) on time.