[2:130] Who would forsake the religion of Abraham, except one who fools his own soul?
We learn from the Quran that all religious practices of Submission (Islam) were given to Abraham. Therefore, these practices, Salat (Contact Prayers), Zakat, (obligatory charity), fasting, and Hajj pilgrimage, were already established before the revelation of the Quran to Prophet Muhammad. This is contrary to the common belief that Muhammad is the founder of the religion of Submission.
[14:35-40] Recall that Abraham said, "My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and protect me and my children from worshiping idols. My Lord, they have misled so many people. As for those who follow me, they belong with me. As for those who disobey me, You are Forgiver, Most Merciful. Our Lord, I have settled part of my family in this plantless valley, at Your Sacred House. Our Lord, they are to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), so let throngs of people converge upon them, and provide for them all kinds of fruits, that they may be appreciative. Our Lord, You know whatever we conceal and whatever we declare—nothing is hidden from God on earth, nor in the heavens. Praise be to God for granting me, despite my old age, Ismail and Isaac. My Lord answers the prayers. My Lord, make me one who consistently observes the Contact Prayers (Salat), and also my children. Our Lord, please answer my prayers." (14:35-40)
[21:73] We made them imams who guided in accordance with our commandments, and we taught them how to work righteousness, and how to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat)....
In fact, according to the Quran, Submission is called the religion of Abraham, and Muhammad was a follower of Abraham. So were Isaac, Ismail, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Jesus, and other messengers of God.
Abraham was indeed an exemplary vanguard in his submission to God, a monotheist who never worshiped idols. Because he was appreciative of His Lord's blessings, He chose him and guided him in a straight path. We granted him happiness in this life, and in the Hereafter he will be with the righteous. Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper. (16:120-123)
The practices of our religion have been preserved in their basic form since the time of Abraham despite the efforts of corruption and distortion by idol worshipers and disbelievers. Each messenger who came after Abraham purified and followed these practices in accordance with God’s will, making sure that all practices are devoted to God alone.
And mention in the scripture Ismail. He was truthful when he made a promise, and he was a messenger prophet. He used to enjoin his family to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat); he was acceptable to his Lord. (19:54-55)
[10:87] We inspired Moses and his brother. "Maintain your homes in Egypt for the time being, turn your homes into synagogues, and maintain the Contact Prayers (Salat). Give good news to the believers.
[19:29-31] She pointed to him. They said, "How can we talk with an infant in the crib?" (The infant [Jesus] spoke and) said, "I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet. He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.
In fact, according to the Quran, there is only one acceptable religion to God: Submission to His will.
Anyone who accepts other than Submission as his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be with the losers. (3:85)
The only religion approved by God is "Submission." Ironically, those who have received the scripture are the ones who dispute this fact, despite the knowledge they have received, due to jealousy. For such rejecters of God’s revelations, God is most strict in reckoning. (3:19)
The five daily Contact Prayers are very important aspects of Submission. They are constant reminders for us of our Creator throughout the day by bowing and prostrating before Him. God does not need any of our prayers. It is we who need these practices to redeem ourselves and to attain certainty. Observing the contact prayers are among the traits of the believers. They also enjoin their family to do the same, like Luqmaan did:
[31:17] O my son, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat). You shall advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and remain steadfast in the face of adversity. These are the most honorable traits.
Those who are too arrogant to worship God, the Most Gracious, are the ones who refuse to prostrate before Him (25:60). However, they suffer the consequences by losing their souls, or having shrunken souls when they face God on the Day of judgment. Unfortunately, they will not be able to prostrate before the Lord of the universe then as they are required. They will have to run away from God to Hell since they will not be able to withstand the light of God. They will be in darkness there, and they will not be allowed to borrow any light from the believers (57:13). This temporary world is our only chance to nourish our soul in order for it to be saved from the eternal retribution. If we can manage to be saved, even barely, this will be the greatest triumph by God’s will. The recompense for the righteous soul is beyond our imagination. That is God’s promise and incredible mercy.
Every person tastes death, then you receive your recompense on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever misses Hell, barely, and makes it to Paradise, has attained a great triumph. The life of this world is no more than an illusion. (3:185)
You have no idea how much joy and happiness are waiting for you as a reward for your (righteous) works. (32:17)
The Contact Prayers must be observed at specific times during the day (4:103):
- The Dawn prayer must be observed before sunrise.
- The Noon prayer is due when the sun declines from its highest point at noon.
- The Afternoon prayer can be observed from mid afternoon until prior to sunset.
- The Sunset prayer becomes due after sunset.
- The night prayer can be observed after the twilight disappears from the sky.
On Fridays, the Congregational Prayer (Salat AlJumu`ah) replaces the noon prayer. A twopart Khutba (sermon) is followed by a prayer of two units. The Friday prayer is obligatory for all believers, men and women (62:9).
Units of Contact Prayers
There is no dispute concerning the number of units (rak`ahs) in all five daily prayers enjoined by God for Abraham and his followers. They are universally accepted to be 2, 4, 4, 3, and 4 units, respectively, for the above prayers listed. These are considered as the obligatory units ordained by God. Other additional units practiced by the traditional Muslims are disputed and vary according to different sects, from none to as many as 10 units per prayer. These extra prayers are considered Sunnah, something that Prophet Muhammad was claimed to have done. However, establishing religious rites that are not authorized by God is a gross offense. Prophet Muhammad or any messenger of God would never disobey God by adding or even slightly changing anything that God had enjoined them to do. People who follow these practices not only disobey God, but they also make the religion difficult for themselves, and for their children. God tells us in the Quran that He does not want hardship for us:
[22:78] He has chosen you and placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion....
The total number of units of the five daily Salat prayers is 17: Two units at dawn, four at noon, four in the afternoon, three at sunset, and four at night. These practices were first given to Abraham, and have been preserved since then by his followers, which include Prophet Muhammad. The question often asked is how we can be sure of that. God with His infinite mercy blessed our generation with mathematical confirmations based on the number 19 that the units of the Salat prayers are indeed preserved in accordance with His will.
Fact 1. The units of daily Salat prayers consist of 2, 4, 4, 3, and 4 units, a total of 17 units. The number 24434 is a multi-ple of 19:
2 4 4 3 4 = 19 x 1286
The digits of 1286 add up to 17, the total number of units prayed each day (1+2+8+6 = 17).
Furthermore, the units of daily Salat prayers followed by the sequence number of the prayer is also a multiple of 19:
2 1 4 2 4 3 3 4 4 5 = 19 x 112759655
Fact 2. The total number of units prayed each day is 17. However, on Fridays the Congregational Prayer replaces the noon prayer. This prayer has only two units instead of the usual four units of noon prayer, because of the Friday sermon. Thus, the total units prayed on Friday is 15. Now, let us take every day of the week, from Saturday to Friday (assuming Friday being the last day of the week), and write down the number of units prayed each day. The resultant number is a multiple of 19:
|17||17||17||17||17||17||15||= 19 x.....|
Fact 3. Let us insert the number of the day before the units of prayer in each day. The resultant number is also a multiple of 19:
|1 17||2 17||3 17||4 17||5 17||6 17||7 15||= 19 x.....|
Fact 4. In above table, replace every 17 by 24434 which represents the individual units of daily prayers for Saturday through Thursday, and replace 15 by 22434 which represents the individual units of prayers for Friday. The resultant number is also a multiple of 19:
|1 24434||2 24434||3 24434||4 24434||5 24434||6 24434||7 22434||= 19 x.....|
Fact 5. The same as Fact 3, except take Friday as the first day of the week, instead of the last day. The resultant number is also a multiple of 19:
|1 15||2 17||3 17||4 17||5 17||6 17||7 17||= 19 x.....|
Fact 6. The same as Fact 4, except again take Friday as the first day of the week, instead of the last day. The resultant number is also a multiple of 19:
|1 22434||2 24434||3 24434||4 24434||5 24434||6 24434||7 24434||= 19 x.....|
Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe.
Submitters' Perspective, September 1997