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Salāh or salāt (صلاة) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the practice of formal prayer in Islam, and is compulsory (fard) for all Muslims. It is a ritual prayer, having prescribed conditions, procedures, and times. Muslims must wash before prayer; this washing is called wudu ("purification").
Number of Prayers
Most of the Five Pillars are absent from the Qur'an. Thus it only mentions three daily prayers; salat al-Fajr (dawn prayer), salat al-Isha'a (night prayer) and salat al-Wusta (the middle prayer, now al Zuhr). It is the hadith that put the number of daily prayers at five.
The prescribed time periods (waqt) for daily prayers are as follows:
- Salat Al Fajr – Dawn to sunrise.
- Salat Al Zuhr – After true noon until Asr.
- Salat Al Asr - Afternoon.
- Salat Al Maghrib – After sunset until dusk.
- Salat Al Isha'a – Dusk until dawn.
Direction of Prayer
According to the Qur'an Muslims must pray towards the Ka'aba (qiblah being the direction that one has to face in order to do this). If the earth was flat, this results in the problems such asone of the problems, a problem which can be obviated inside of the text if it is understood to believe in a flat earth.
Praying from a Sphere
Due to the sphericity of the earth, a prayer in any direction will point towards the sky/outer-space if a straight line is followed, not Mecca. As such the modern calculations of qiblah usually use the shortest distance to Mecca as the bird flies to be the "direction" of the qiblah from any given geographical point on the earth.
Praying from the Antipode
There would also be one location on Earth where a Muslim could be standing at the opposite side of Earth in relation to the Ka'aba (for example if the Ka'aba was at the North Pole and the Muslim was standing on the South Pole). This is known as the antipode, and for many centuries the apparent logical absurdity of the existence of antipodes to people who did not understand the theory of gravity was used to argue for a flat earth. For this location, any direction for all 360 degrees would be facing 'towards' Mecca and consequently, there would be no one direction that would be the correct one.As with every point on earth, an antipode for the Ka'abah does exist.
This has often resulted in the abuse of children by Muslim parents, guardians and teachers for not praying/reciting the Qur'an. For example, in Muslim-majority countries like Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, and even in non-Muslim countries like the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada where a 13-year-old girl was killed by her father for not praying.
Muhammad once commanded a call-maker to lead the prayer, then "take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses." An old man who refused to prostrate in prayer was also "killed as a non-believer."
It was reported by Aisha in several sahih hadith that Muhammad said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." She also protested about how this rule equated women to animals.
The Friday prayer (Jumu'ah) is a congregational prayer performed in mosques that replaces the zuhr prayer performed on the other six days of the week. It is compulsory for men to attend and has been mentioned in the Qur'an. According to Sahih Muslim, prayer is regarded as a dividing line between a believer and a non-believer, and under the Hanbali school of thought, a person who does not perform the required prayers is a disbeliever.
Attendance is dropping in some Arab countries, principally among younger Arabs. Iran has the lowest mosque attendance of any Muslim country, with no more than 1-1½% attending Friday prayers, and claims that a lot of those who do are "dragooned into being there."
Muslim immigrants who have lived less than a year in Europe regularly go to the mosque. But after they have lived more than a year in their new homeland, the figure drops to 48.8%. More than half rarely or never go to the mosque to pray.
In the Netherlands, mosque attendance is actually dropping faster than church attendance. In 1998, 47 percent of Muslims would attend mosque at least once a month. This figure fell by 12 percent in 2008 to only 35 percent. Whilst church attendance for Catholics fell by only 8 percent, and church attendance amongst Protestants showed no change, remaining at 63 percent.
Similarly in the United Kingdom, 48% of Muslims never attend a mosque, with another 6% only attending for special occasions rather than Friday prayers.
According to Ahmed Nassef (co-founder and editor in chief of MuslimWakeUp.com) less than 7 percent of Muslims in the United States attend mosque regularly, compared with 38 percent of Christians who attend church weekly.
Surah al-Fatiha is recited as part of all daily prayers and repeated within each prayer. A Muslim who says all their prayers would recite this surah at least 17 times a day, and over 5,000 times a year. According to hadith, "those who went astray" are the Christians and "those who earned Allah's anger" are the Jews. Thus, according to the traditional understanding of this verse, the daily prayers of every Muslim include a rejection of Christians and Jews as misguided and objects of Allah’s wrath.
- Longueuil girl, 13 dies after father slapped her - A Muslim child killed in Canada. Neighbors say she was under pressure to pray
- "who believe! let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while ye doff your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: Thus does Allah make clear the Signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. " - Quran 24:58
- "Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind). " - Quran 2:238
- "We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven (for guidance, O Muhammad). And now verily We shall make thee turn (in prayer) toward a qiblah which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye (O Muslims), wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces (when ye pray) toward it..." - Quran 2:144
- "Narrated As-Saburah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, then beat him for prayer." - Sunan Abu Dawud 2:494
- "Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately." - Sunan Abu Dawud 2:495
- Anbarasan Ethirajan, "Bangladesh teacher 'burns' legs of girl pupils", BBC News, May 3, 2012 (archived), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17938519.
- "5-year-old student lashed by teacher", Emirates 24/7, May 3, 2012 (archived), http://www.emirates247.com/crime/region/5-year-old-student-lashed-by-teacher-2012-05-03-1.457038.
- Fran Abrams, "Child abuse claims at UK madrassas 'tip of iceberg'", BBC News, October 18, 2011 (archived), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15256764.
- "UK: Muslim beat girl for not reading enough Quran, jailed", ZeeNews, June 16, 2012 (archived), http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/uk-muslim-beat-girl-for-not-reading-enough-quran-jailed_782125.html.
- "Supreme court sentences non-Italian father for child abuse", ANSA, March 30, 2012 (archived), http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2012/03/30/visualizza_new.html_158869129.html.
- René Bruemmer, "Longueuil girl, 13 dies after father slapped her", The Montreal Gazette, October 11, 2010 (archived from the original), http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20101015025541%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.montrealgazette.com%2Flife%2FLongueuil%2Bgirl%2Bdies%2Bafter%2Bfather%2Bslapped%2F3653632%2Fstory.html&date=2013-08-26.
- "Slapped teen girl dies post coma", UPI, October 11, 2010 (archived), http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2010/10/11/Slapped-teen-girl-dies-post-coma/UPI-43371286832521/.
- René Bruemmer & Max Harrold, "Girl, 13, dies after being slapped; father faces charges", The Vancouver Sun, October 11, 2010 (archived from the original), http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20101017124547%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.vancouversun.com%2Fnews%2FGirl%2Bdies%2Bafter%2Bbeing%2Bslapped%2Bfather%2Bfaces%2Bcharges%2F3654887%2Fstory.html&date=2013-08-26.
- "Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the 'Isha' prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl." The Prophet added, "Certainly I decided to order the Mu'adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses."" - Sahih Bukhari 1:11:626
- "Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud : The Prophet recited Suratan-Najm (103) at Mecca and prostrated while reciting it and those who were with him did the same except an old man who took a handful of small stones or earth and lifted it to his forehead and said, "This is sufficient for me." Later on, I saw him killed as a non-believer." - Sahih Bukhari 2:19:173
- "Narrated 'Abdullah bin Masud: The Prophet recited Surat-an-Najm (53) and prostrated while reciting it and all the people prostrated and a man amongst the people took a handful of stones or earth and raised it to his face and said, "This is sufficient for me." Later on I saw him killed as a non-believer." - Sahih Bukhari 2:19:176
- "Narrated 'Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him."" - Sahih Bukhari 1:9:490
- "Narrated 'Aisha: The things which annual prayer were mentioned before me (and those were): a dog, a donkey and a woman. I said, "You have compared us (women) to donkeys and dogs. By Allah! I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in (my) bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I disliked to sit and trouble the Prophet. So, I would slip away by the side of his feet."" - Sahih Bukhari 1:9:493
- "O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper." - Quran 62:9-10
- Wassim El Kadhi (April 2009), "Cross-Cultural Destination Image Assessment: Cultural Segmentation Versus the Global Tourist", Diplomica Verlag Gmbh, ISBN 9783836672238 p.55
- "A secular democracy-in-waiting", The Economist (print edition), January 16, 2003
- Europeiske muslimer dropper moskeen - Aftenposten (Norwegian), May 29, 2010 (English translation)
- Jeroen Langelaar - Steeds minder Nederlanders naar kerk of moskee - Elsevier, July 29, 2009
- Anthony Wells - NOP Poll of British Muslims - UK Polling Report, August 8, 2006
- Ahmed Nassef (cofounder and editor in chief of MuslimWakeUp.com) - Listen to Muslim silent majority in US - CSM, April 21, 2004
- Sunan Abi Dawood, narrated by Adi ibn Hatim
- Sunan al-Tirmidhi, narrated by Adi ibn Hatim
- "These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. … the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why ‘anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as ‘led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians. … We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews, ‘Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath’ (Sura 5:60). The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them, ‘Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path’ (Sura 5:77) [...] Imam Ahmad recorded that ‘Adi bin Hatim said, … he [Muhammad] said: ‘Those who have earned the anger are the Jews and those who are led astray are the Christians.’" - The Faithful ask for and abide by Guidance, Tafsir Ibn Kathir