Five Prayers Not Three

It is known that today most Shias pray at three different times each day. They combine the prayers of Thuhr and ‘Asr, then they combine the prayers of Maghrib and Isha’. This lenience by the Shia communities of combining these prayers is based upon what they find in their book. However, are these the teachings of Ali bin Abi Talib himself?

Ali bin Abi Talib sent the following Letter #53 (291) to the commanders of the regions under his rule.

“Perform the Thuhr prayers with the people when the shade of the wall of the goats’ pen is equal to the wall. Perform the ‘Asr prayers with them when the sun is still shining in a portion of the day enough for covering the distance of farsakhan (about six miles). Perform the Maghrib prayers with them when he who is fasting ends the fast and the pilgrim rushes (from `Arafat) to Mina. Perform the Isha’ prayers with them when twilight disappears and upto one third of the night. Perform the Fajr prayers with them when a man can recognize the face of his companion.”

In a more casual address to his companions, he said in Sermon #197:

Pledge yourself with prayer and remain steady on it; offer prayer as much as possible and seek nearness (of Allah) through it, because it is, (imposed) upon the believers as (a) timed ordinance. Have you not heard the reply of the people of Hell when they were asked: ‘What hath brought you into the hell? They shall say: We were not of those who offered the regular prayers (to Allah)!’ (74:42-43). Certainly, prayer drops out sins like the dropping of leaves, and removes them as ropes are removed from the necks of cattle. The Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him and his household – likened it to a hot bath situated at the door of a person who bathes in it five times a day. Will then any dirt remain on him?”

We call our brethren from the Shia communities to practice the prayers and join us in worship in our congregations five times a day, upon the teachings of the Prophet – peace be upon him – , as affirmed by Ali bin Abi Talib.

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