The prayers in the school of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), are offered in three times instead of five times:
• One time for the Fajr (dawn) Prayer
• One time for the Dhuhr (midday) and Asr (afternoon) Prayers
• One time for the Maghrib (time of sunset) and Isha’ (evening) Prayers
We have written a separate chapter in our book “To be with the Truthful” to prove the legality of these three times from the Holy Qur'an and the pure Prophet’s Sunna; therefore, we do not want to expatiate or repeat what we have already said. Let whoever wants to see the details refer to that book.
Anyhow, we want here to explain the wisdom of Allah in gathering between the times of the prayers in this way. As we have said in a previous chapter – (the Ahlul Bayt and modern Muslims) most of whom are employees who form three thirds of a society, do not offer the prayer or offer it lazily and unwillingly, or offer it with difficulty and hardship. This is because they know that it is not permissible for them (in the view of religion) to leave the work during the time of work, for which they receive wages, in order to offer their prayer.
We have nothing to do with those, who cry out in the mosques calling people to leave their jobs at the times of prayers even if it costs them to lose their jobs, because Allah - as they claim - is the One Who provides His servants with sustenance, and not the employer or the owner of the factory.
What is odd is that these very imams, who bear this thought, contradict themselves in the same subject. Once, I heard one of them praising Umar ibn al-Khattab and saying, “One day, our master Umar came into the mosque and saw some man offer the prayer before the coming of people. The second time, he came and found him offering the prayer. In the third, he (Umar) asked him (the man), “Who spends on you?”
The man said, “My brother spends on me.”
Our master Umar said to him, “Get out of the mosque! Surely, your brother is better than you are. The sky does not rain gold or silver.”
When I was alone with the imam (of the mosque) I, said to him, “Did you not say a month ago, ‘Allah is the One Who provides His servants with sustenance, so leave your work in order to offer the prayer’?”
He looked at me with a smile and said, “For every occasion there is a certain saying! My first saying was from the Qur'an, and my second saying was our master Umar al-Farouq’s. My first and second sayings are both true…”
I said, “May Allah reward you with good! I have benefited from you.”
We come back to the subject of the wisdom of Allah behind the gathering of prayers in one time. We say that Allah is the Wise, the All Knowing, the Creator of everything, Who knows the past, the present, and the future; nothing is hidden from His knowledge. He has known that in some certain time people would be confined to their jobs that would limit their freedoms and times, and since Muhammad (S) was the last of prophets, His law would be valid until the Day of Resurrection and be within reach of all human beings. The wisdom of Allah provides for ease and relief for people who abide by religion. Therefore, Allah recommended His messenger to offer the Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in one time either by advancing the Asr Prayer or delaying the Dhuhr Prayer, and offer the Maghrib and Isha’ Prayers together either by advancing the Isha’ Prayer or delaying the Maghrib Prayer1 and to teach his nation this way in order to relieve them from hardship.
The Messenger of Allah (S) did what he was ordered to do. He led congregational prayers in Medina many times in this way, and when he was asked why, he said, “in order not to make it hard for my nation or in order not to embarrass my nation”.2
Ibn Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah (S) offered in Medina seven (rak’as) and eight (rak’as); the Dhuhr and the Asr prayers (together) and the Maghrib and Isha’ Prayers (together).”3
This is the wisdom of Allah the Almighty and this is the prayer of the Messenger of Allah (S) according to the order of his Lord, in order not to cause the nation any hardship. Then, why do we refrain from this way in offering the prayers, when it is easy and possible for all people; employees, workers, students, soldiers…etc.? There is no job in the world that may disturb these times and there shall be no excuse for any Muslim after that.4
It is well known that the labor law in the world limits the hours of work to eight hours a day into two periods - the first one from eight o’clock AM to the midday, and the second from two o’clock PM to six o’clock PM, where there is a break of two hours for rest at midday. In this case, a Muslim can offer the Dhuhr and Asr prayers during this time of rest before coming back to his work. Thus, he offers the Dhuhr and Asr prayers in their right times and comes back to his work with a tranquil mind and a pleased conscience.
If the work is continuous for all day as in the mines and some other factories - the labor law determines the work in seven continuous hours including a break of half an hour for rest. A company may manage the work by dividing the workers into three groups alternating each other in this way:
• from 7 o’clock AM to 2 PM
• from 2 PM to 9 PM
• from 9 PM to 4 AM
By this Divine wisdom of the times of prayers, all groups can offer their prayers in their right times without any difficulty or embarrassment, and no one after that may say that he cannot find time for the prayer or that he missed the right time of prayer.5
By this, we follow the Holy Qur'an and the Prophet’s Sunna in offering the prayers in their times, for the prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers. At the same time, we keep away from ourselves and from others any hardship and embarrassment. Perhaps, most of the youth who give up the prayer, may return to it when they know that Allah the Almighty has permitted it in this way, and the Messenger of Allah (S) and his progeny (peace be on them all) had offered it in this way.6