When was prayer rendered fard?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Five daily prayers did not exist in the previous shari’ahs. However, there were prayers that were performed at uncertain times in general.

Prayer was rendered fard on the night of Miraj (Ascension) about one and a half year before the Migration. According to a narration from Anas b. Malik, the Prophet stated the following in brief:

"Prayer was rendered fard as fifty times a day on the Night of Isra. Then, it was reduced to five times. Then, I was addressed as follows: ‘O Muhammad! A word in us is not changed. Five daily prayers for you are equal to fifty daily prayers.’" (Bukhari, Salah, 76, Anbiya, 5; Muslim, Iman, 263; Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 122, 143)

It is definite based on the following verse that every good deed is rewarded tenfold:

"He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit." (al-Anam, 6/160; see also an-Naml, 27/89; al-Qasas, 28/84)

Before five daily prayers were rendered fard, the Prophet (pbuh) used to worship by meditating on the creatures of Allah Almighty and the loftiness of Allah. It is also reported that he performed prayers of two rak’ahs in the morning and in the evening.

Prayer as a deed of worship existed in the previous ummahs too. The following examples exist in the Quran: Hz. Luqman ordered his son to perform prayers (Luqman, 31/17); Hz. Ibrahim mentioned prayer when he prayed for the safety of Hejaz (Ibrahim,14/37); Allah wanted Hz. Musa to perform prayers during the first revelation on Mount Tur (Taha, 20/14).

The legitimacy of prayers is based on the Book, the Sunnah and Ijma (Consensus) in the Quran.

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