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Praying 3 times or 5 times?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Mr. Burhan Bhai,


Re:  Saying of Prayers (Namaz).


Can you pls advise us if it is correct by Shiites to say 'Farizat' Namaz three times (03) only and NOT five times (05) separately as all Sunni Muslims do.  I mean to say praying Fajar, Zohar & Asar (together) and Magrib & Isha (together) either at home or in the Mosque with Imama'at and why during Asar prayers the Ima'am in the Qibla recite 'rakaat' in silence and not aloud?


Also advise us if the "Tarawee" Namaz which all Sunni Muslims pray during Ramadhan after the Isha prayers is a Must for all Muslims or not? and if so, pls clarify.


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Praying 3 times or 5 times?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Your question: Is it correct to pray 3 times a day and not five?

For every act of worship, we must see how the Prophet of Allah (saws) performed the act. That is the only correct way to worship Allah. We cannot and should not follow anybody else, in any act of worship to Allah, as it will not be accepted by Allah. And we know from the authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet, that he (saws) always prayed 5 seperate times a day when he was in Medina after the commandment in the Holy Quran was revealed regarding the obligatory prayers.

A point to note when reading and understanding the Quran is that we must see how the Prophet (saws) understood and implemented the aayaahs. There is no doubt and even the Bohra scholars will have to agree that the Prophet (saws) and all his companions prayed five different times in Medina and not three times as some factions of Islam pray today. There are many evidences in the traditions of the Prophet that he went for Asr and Isha prayers separately again to the Mosque everyday to lead the congregation. Prayer was such a thing that it happened 5 times a day in front of thousands of people and thousands of people witnessed the timings and related them in their narrations. This is something where there is absolutely no doubt about it in any school of thought in Islam.


The Prophet (saws) did pray 3 times a day, but only when he was travelling and this too is very evident from his various traditions. In times of extreme rain, he did join sometimes the dhuhr/asr and also the magrib/isha prayers according to one tradition. But on a regular basis, he always led the congregation on the allotted 5 different times.


Praying 3-times a day regularly is an innovation which was added about 300 years after the Prophets (saws) death to make it easier for the followers of some sects. But the majority of muslims carried on the correct tradition of the Prophet (saws) and continued to pray 5 times a day. The choice is clearly between following the Prophet (saws) or an innovation.

The other obvious thing to note here is that everybody agrees that there are five prayers and not three... fajr, dhuhr, asr, magrib and isha. For convenience, some mis-guided people have added dhuhr and asr and again magrib and isha, but the Prophet led prayers 5 times a day everyday in regular times in Medina and all scholars of every school of thought agree to this. Ask a scholar of any sect of Shia to prove that the Prophet (saws) prayed 3 times instead of 5 times on a regular basis, and he will vouch that the Prophet (saws) and his companions prayed 5 different times a day in Medina as long as he was alive and the companions and believers carried on this tradition.


Your question: Why during Asar prayers the Ima'am in the Qibla recite 'rakaat' in silence and not aloud?

The obligatory prayers of Fajr, Magrib and Isha are prayed loudly by the imam in congregation, and the prayers of Dhuhr and Asr are prayed in silence. This is how the Prophet (saws) prayed and all the muslims followed him accordingly. Even till this day, all the differenct sects, although they may have many a difference in their understanding of Islam, pray the Fajr, Magrib and Isha prayers in a loud voice in the first two rakahs. The wisdom and guidance behind this is best known to Allah and His Messenger (saws). We are allowed to try and determine the wisdom behind these commandments to increase our faith.

It could have been that since Fajr, Magrib and Isha prayers are prayed in the dark, they are to be prayed in a loud voice so that people could wake up and come to these prayers. And because Dhuhr and Asr were prayed in daylight hours, these did not need to be prayed in a loud voice as the people were awake and at their work-places. We must remember that during the time of the Prophet (saws), they did not have the techonology that is available to us today like loud-speakers, alarm clocks, etc. And Allah and His Messenger know best.


Your question: Also advise us if the "Tarawee" Namaz which all Sunni Muslims pray during Ramadhan after the Isha prayers is a Must for all Muslims or not? and if so, pls clarify.

The only prayers that must be prayed and are made obligatory by Allah and His Messenger (saws) on the muslim ummah are the five ‘fard’ prayers. Other than that, all prayers are optional. Thus if one prays the optional ‘sunnah’ or ‘nawafil’ prayers, he will get extra ajr and reward from Allah, Insha Allah. The ‘taraweeh’ prayers by the Sunni Muslims in Ramadan is optional and not a must for muslims by any means


May Allah guide you and us all to the Siraat al-Mustaqeem


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,





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