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Salat in the Quran

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Every religious individual in the world usually has some form of worship. Muslims worship God through a ritual known as salat or ṣalāh (صَلوٰة), meaning prayer. It is performed five times a day. The Quran has laid great emphasis on this act of worship and has made it obligatory. Salat has been mentioned nearly 90 times directly in the Quran, including its different inflections, such as the plural and verb form. In this article, we will analyze the act of salat in the Quran from various aspects.

What Happens if a Muslim Does Not Perform Salat?

If a Muslim man or woman decides not to offer this form of prayer, he or she has committed one of the greatest sins. In fact, they have listened to Satan, who tries to hinder them from salat and God’s remembrance. 1 However, if they repent and decide to become a praying individual, they must make up all the prayers they missed, an act known as qaḍā’ (قَضاء).

The Quran describes the righteous individuals by stating that they offer their salat and give zakat (زكوٰة), the poor-due, which includes both the obligatory and recommended form of charity. In most verses of the Quran that is about salat, zakat is also mentioned, which shows both are equally important.


Salat in the Quran: Not Exclusive to Muslims

There are several verses in the Quran that indicate that the followers of the religion of other prophets also had a form of worship or salat. Some Christians and Jews think that when God commands the Israelites (بَني إِسرائيل) to uphold salat, 2 or when Jesus says that God has enjoined him to salat and zakat when he spoke the moment he was born, 3 means that Muslims consider Moses and Jesus to be Muslim.

This is somewhat of a misconception. They were not Muslim in the sense that they followed all the rulings of the religion of Islam that was brought by Prophet Muhammad, but rather they were Muslims because the word Muslim (مُسلِم) means someone who submits himself to God. All prophets were Muslims in this sense from Adam to Muhammad. However, their Divine laws and rulings may have been different including their acts of worship such as salat and zakat.

Therefore, one could easily say that all Abrahamic religions had some kind of salat or prayer as mentioned in the Quran.

The Godwary Maintain Salat

The very first time that we have salat in the Quran is concerning the Godwary or the muttaqīn (مُتَّقين) in the first few verses of surah Baqarah

بِسْمِ ٱللَّـهِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful.

الٓمٓ ﴿1﴾

Alif, Lām, Mīm.

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿2﴾

This is the Book, there is no doubt in it, a guidance to the Godwary,

ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴿3﴾

who believe in the Unseen, and maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them. 4

So, after believing in the Unseen, the very first attribute of the Godwary that is mentioned in the Quran is that they maintain the prayer, that is, they offer salat.

The Israelites Are Told to Maintain Prayer

The second verse of salat in the Quran is about the Israelites. God commands them to believe in what He has revealed of the Holy Scriptures and also to maintain the prayer, give the zakat, and bow down with those who bow down. 5

In another verse concerning salat in the Quran, God reminds the Israelites the pact that they made with God; that they should:

  1. Not worship anyone but God
  2. Be good to their parents, relatives, the orphans, and the needy
  3. Speak good words to people
  4. Maintain salat and give zakat in the form of their religion (Judaism) 6

The Criteria for Piety

In a very lengthy verse, 7 God describes true piety by introducing salat as one of its crucial elements. God says in this verse that whether you face the east or west as the direction you are praying toward is not what makes you pious, but rather:

  1. Believing in God (الله)
  2. The Day of Judgment (يَومُ الآخِر)
  3. The angels (مَلائِکَة)
  4. The Holy Scriptures (کُتُب)
  5. The prophets (رُسُل)
  6. And, giving away your wealth in the way of God and despite your love for it to your:
    1. Kin (قُربیٰ)
    2. Orphans (يَتٰمیٰ)
    3. The needy (مَسٰکين)
    4. The wayfarer (اِبنُ السَّبيل)
    5. Those who ask for it (اَلسّائِلين)

God emphasizes that piety also means:

  1. Maintaining the prayer
  2. Giving zakat
  3. Keeping ones promises
  4. Being patient during times of stress, distress, and in the heat of battle 8

So, one of the important duties of a pious person is performing salat and they are the ones who have been promised paradise in many verses. 9

Salat in the Quran and Patience

In two regarding salat in the Quran, God enjoins believers to performing salat and having patience at times of hardship:

وَٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱلْخَـٰشِعِينَ

“And take recourse in patience and prayer, and it is indeed hard except for the humble.” 10

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

“O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer; indeed Allah is with the patient.” 11

Therefore, salat is the key to the solution of many problems when it is accompanied by patience. This also shows that patience is a very great act as it has been mentioned before salat and has been placed next to it.

At the height of difficulty, when a person turns to God and humbles himself before Him and asks for His help, God will definitely help him, as He has said: Whoever helps His cause will definitely be helped by Him and granted success:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِن تَنصُرُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ

“O you who have faith! If you help Allah, He will help you and make your feet steady.” 12

وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ ٱللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُۥٓ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ لَقَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ

“Allah will surely help those who help Him. Indeed Allah is all-strong, all-mighty.” 13

This is one of the sunnahs (سُنَّة plural: سُنَن) of God, which is roughly translated as precedent in English. It is a fixed rule that is always enforced by God and everything is governed by it. God says that His sunnah will never undergo any change. 14

The Middle Salat in the Quran

In one of the verses that talks about salat in the Quran, God orders us to safeguard our salat, meaning to perform all of them on time, especially “the middle salat” (الصَّلوٰةُ الوُسطیٰ).Verse 238 of surah Baqarah reads:

حَـٰفِظُوا۟ عَلَى ٱلصَّلَوَٰتِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ٱلْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا۟ لِلَّـهِ قَـٰنِتِينَ

“Be watchful of your prayers, and [especially] the middle prayer, and stand in obedience to Allah.” 15

It means that we have to make sure to perform our salat on time, while observing all of its rulings and etiquette, and performing it with full attention to God.

As for the middle salat, most Quranic exegetes have said that it is the noon prayer (صَلوٰةُ الظُّهر). During the time of Prophet Muhammad, the weather would become very hot in the mosque where the Prophet offered salat. As a result, few people attended the noon salat in congregation. Due to the difficulty of offering the noon salat in congregation especially during hot seasons, God orders us to especially be careful of our noon prayer. Perhaps the reward for it being done in congregation is greater than other salat.

The Circumstances of Salat in the Quran

Even though the Quran enjoins Muslims to maintain salat and give importance to it, the exact way of performing it is not mentioned in the Quran. In fact, the exact details of many of the acts of worship including salat, hajj, and fasting have not been explained in the Quran. It is the duty of the Prophet and his rightful successors to teach people how they must be done. That is why God says in the Quran:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَنَـٰزَعْتُمْ فِى شَىْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱللَّـهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّـهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

O you who have faith! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those vested with authority among you. And if you dispute concerning anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you have faith in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more favourable in outcome. 16

As this verse clearly states, if we do not know of certain Islamic laws, we must refer to the Prophet and the ones with authority (i.e. his rightful successors) and seek their guidance.

وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَٱحْذَرُوا۟ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا ٱلْبَلَـٰغُ ٱلْمُبِينُ

“And obey Allah and obey the Apostle, and beware; but if you turn your backs, then know that Our Apostle’s duty is only to communicate in clear terms.” 17

These two verses indicate that obeying the Noble Prophet of Islam and his successors is just like obeying God Himself.

The Five Daily Salat in the Quran

We have been told by God and the Noble Prophet to perform five obligatory salat:

  1. Salat al-Fajr (فَجر): Dawn prayer
  2. Salat al-Ẓuhr (ظُهر): Noon prayer
  3. Salat al-‘Asr (عَصر): Afternoon prayer
  4. Salat al-Maghrib (مَغرِب): Evening prayer
  5. Salat al-‘Isha (عِشاء): Night prayer

There are several verses that are indicative of these five daily salat. For example:

وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ طَرَفَىِ ٱلنَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلْحَسَنَـٰتِ يُذْهِبْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّٰكِرِينَ

“Maintain the prayer at the two ends of the day, and during the early hours of the night. Indeed good deeds efface misdeeds. That is an admonition for the mindful.” 18

The two ends of the day according to narrations are the Maghrib (evening) and Fajr (dawn) salat, while the one during the early hours of the night is the Isha (night) prayer. What is in between is the Zuhr and ‘Asr salat.

Another verse, which is verse 78 of surah Isra, states:

أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَقُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ ٱلْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

“Maintain the prayer [during the period] from the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and [observe particularly] the dawn recital. Indeed the dawn recital is attended [by angels].” 19

This verse refers to the Zuhr (noon), ‘Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (evening), ‘Isha (night), and at the end the Fajr (dawn) salat, respectively. The verse lays special emphasis on the dawn salat, stating that it is attended by the angels. Moreover, it is more likely for one to miss the dawn salat because one may sleep through it. That could be another reason the dawn prayer is so important.

Number of Rakat (رَكَعات) for Each Prayer

Only narrations talk about the number of rakat one must perform for each prayer. From the moment when one is standing in prayer, known as qiyām (قِيام), until prostrating twice while sitting down, known as sajdah (سَجدَة), is considered as one rakah (رَکعَة), which nowadays is known as “unit” in English. The number of rakat in each prayer is as follows:

  1. Fajr salat: two rakat
  2. Zuhr salat: four rakat
  3. Asr salat: four rakat
  4. Maghrib salat: three rakat
  5. ‘Isha salat: four rakat

In total, one must pray seventeen rakat each day.

Why Do Some Muslims Pray Three Times a Day Instead of Five?

We have been told to offer salat five times a day. However, the Zuhr and ‘Asr salat, as well as the Maghrib and ‘Isha salat can be performed together, such that one prays in three time periods. This has been reported in narrations from both major sects, the Shia and Sunni. However, Shiites usually pray in three intervals, while Sunnis most often pray in five intervals.

Nonetheless, even narrations that have been mentioned in authentic Sunni books of hadith such as Sahih Muslim (صَحيح مُسلِم), in the section on “Combining Zuhr and ‘Asr salat and Maghrib and ‘Isha salat while one is not on a journey,” write that combining Zuhr with ‘Asr, and Maghrib with ‘Isha is permissible.

Sahih Muslim narrates from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet used to perform the Zuhr and ‘Asr prayer, as well as the Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers right after another in Medina. When he was asked why the Prophet would do so, he said, “So that my ummah would be at ease.” 20

Another hadith that has a similar substance to the one mentioned is recorded in another authentic Sunni book of hadith, Sahih Bukhari (صَحيح بخاري). 21

The Rituals of Salat

There are certain rituals that must be performed before, during, and after salat including:

  1. Making ablution (wudu; ghusl; tayammum)
  2. Saying the adhan (أذان) and iqamah (إقامَة)
  3. Facing the Qibla (قِبلَة)
  4. Making a pure intention, that is, performing salat for nearness to God (قُرب)
  5. Praying in congregation (جَماعَة) and in the mosque (recommended but not obligatory)
  6. Commencing salat with takbirat al-ihram (تَكبيرةُ الٳحرام)
  7. Finishing salat with salam (سَلام)
  8. Saying tasbih (glorification of God) after finishing salat
  9. Sending salutations to the Prophet and his household

Wudu, Ghusl, and Tayammum

Before one performs salat, one must make sure that he/she is ritually pure by making specific forms of ablution that are known as:

  • Wudu (وُضو), which is the minor ablution done after sleeping or using the bathroom.
  • Ghusl (غُسل), which is the major (full-body) ablution that becomes obligatory when one is ritually impure, such as:
    • After intercourse or ejaculation a ghusl known as ghusl of jinābah (غُسلُ الجِنابة) for both men and women
    • After being purified from menstruation, known as ghusl of ḥayḍ (غُسلُ الحَيض) for women
    • During non-menstrual bleeding, known as ghusl of istiḥāḍah (غُسلُ الإِستِحاضَة) for women
    • After being purified from lochia, known as ghusl of nifās (غُسلُ النِّفاس) for women

If one cannot find water for wudu and ghusl in order to perform salat, one must do tayammum (تَيَمُّم) which is using the palms to rub the forehead and back of the hands with clean dust.

In the Quran, the way of doing wudu, ghusl, and tayammum has been mentioned in brief:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَٱطَّهَّرُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَـٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّـهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

O you who have faith! When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles. If you are junub [ritually impure], purify yourselves [by bathing your whole body]. But if you are sick, or on a journey, or any of you has come from the toilet, or you have touched women [i.e. you have had intercourse], and you cannot find water, then make tayammum with clean ground and wipe a part of your faces and your hands with it. Allah does not desire to put you to hardship, but He desires to purify you, and to complete His blessing upon you so that you may give thanks. 22

The Stages of Wudu as Mentioned in the Quran

  1. Washing the face
  2. Washing the arms up to the elbows
  3. Wiping the head
  4. Wiping the feet up to the ankles

The Stages of Tayammum

  1. Wiping a part of the face (forehead) with dust
  2. Wiping the hands with dust

The fact that the Quran only says you must purify yourself with water for ghusl by using the phrase faṭṭahharū (فاطَّهَّروا) without mentioning which parts of the body must be washed, exegetes of the Quran have said that this indicates that the whole body must be washed. Of course, the exact way and stages of doing ghusl has not been mentioned in the Quran. That is why we have to refer to narrations from our Prophet and Imams.

The Stages of Ghusl

Islamic jurists have said that ghusl must be performed in the following stages:

  1. Making a pure intention
  2. Washing the impure parts of the body
  3. Washing the head and neck
  4. Washing the right side of the body from the right side of the neck and right shoulders to the feet
  5. Washing the left side of the body from the left side of the neck and left shoulders to the feet

Invalidators of Wudu, Ghusl, and Tayammum

  1. Using the toilet
  2. Sleeping (according to narrations)
  3. Intercourse or ejaculation

In case of intercourse or ejaculation, one must first do ghusl of jinābah. If one’s ghusl is not invalidated, one must pray with the ghusl. If it is invalidated other than by intercourse or ejaculation, one must make wudu and then pray. It is not permissible to make wudu while one’s ghusl of jinābah is still valid.

Moreover, one must not be in a state of jinābah or ritual impurity while one is fasting during the month of Ramadan. That is, one must perform the ghusl before the dawn adhan. If one deliberately does not do so, one’s fast is invalidated and one must make up for the fast and perform the compensatory act which is known as kaffārah (کَفّارَة).

Of course, if one experiences nocturnal emission (إِحتِلام) and wakes up from sleep after the dawn adhan, one’s fast is valid, and one must simply perform ghusl before offering salat. However, if one wakes up in a state of ritual impurity before the dawn adhan, one must quickly perform ghusl before the adhan is chanted.

Most jurists say that one cannot perform salat with the other two types of ghusl which is exclusive to women. That is, they must make wudu either before or after performing ghusl.

Adhan and Iqamah

It is recommended (mustaḥabb: مُستَحَبّ) to say the adhan followed by the iqamah before beginning one’s salat. Adhan is said in the following way:

  1. Saying “Allāhu akbar” (اللهُ أَکبَر) four times
  2. Saying “Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah” (أشهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَّسولُ الله) twice [I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God)
  3. Saying “Ashadu anna ‘Aliyan waliyullah” (أَشهَدُ أَنَّ عَليًّا وَليُّ الله) twice [I bear witness that ‘Ali is the vicegerent of God] (this is recommended but not obligatory)
  4. Saying “Ḥayyi ‘alā al-ṣalāh” (حَيِّ عَلی الصَّلوٰة) twice [Hasten to prayer]
  5. Saying “Ḥayyi ‘alā al-falāḥ” (حَيِّ عَلی الفَلاح) twice [Hasten to success]
  6. Saying “Ḥayyi ‘alā khayri al-‘amal (حَيِّ عَلی خَيرِ العَمَل) twice [Hasten to the best deed]
  7. Saying “Lā ilāha illā Allah” (لا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله) twice [There is no deity but God]

The Iqamah is similar to the adhan with a few differences:

  • Allahu Akbar at the beginning is said twice instead of four times.
  • After “Hayyi ‘ala khayri al-‘amal” one must say “Qad qāmati al-ṣalāh” twice [Indeed, prayer is established].
  • At the end, “La ilaha illa Allah” is said only once.

Facing the Qibla

It is obligatory that one faces the direction of the Kaaba (کَعبَة) which is known as the qibla, when praying. Therefore, it is necessary that one finds the exact direction of it using a compass.

Stages of Salat in the Quran

  1. After making a pure intention, that is, intending to perform salat only for God, one must say the commencing takbir.
  2. One must face the Qibla at all times and is not allowed to:
    • Speak to others
    • Laugh
      • Smiling is okay
    • Cry (in such way that salat deviates from the norm)
      • Shedding tears is okay
  3. One must recite surah Fatiha followed by another surah
  4. Then one goes to ruku‘ (state of bowing down)
    • One must say dhikr (ذِکر) of God in ruku‘ such as:
      • Subḥāna Rabbiya al-‘Aẓīmi wa bi ḥamdih

        سُبحانَ رَبّيَ العَظيمِ وَبِحَمدِه

        [Clear is my Supreme Lord from any attribution and all praise belongs to Him]
  5. Then one must stand straight and go to sujud (سُجود) twice [state of prostration]
    • One must say dhikr of God in sujud such as:
      • Subhana Rabbiya al-A‘lā wa bi ḥamdih

        سُبحانَ رَبيَّ الأَعلیٰ وَ بِحَمدِه

        [Clear is my Exalted Lord from any attribution and all praise belongs to Him]
  6. After the second, sujud, one rakat is completed.
  7. In the second rakat, after the surah is recited, it is recommended to do qunūt (قُنوت), that is, holding one’s hands out together in front of the face.
    • One can say whatever prayer one wants in in this position, even in one’s own language.
    • It is recommended to say the prayers mentioned in the Quran, especially the ones beginning with rabbana (رَبَّنا) such as:
      • رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

        “Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire.” 23
      • رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً

      • إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْوَهَّابُ

        “Our Lord! Do not make our hearts swerve after You have guided us, and bestow Your mercy on us. Indeed, You are the All-munificent.” 24
  8. Then, after doing sujud twice, one must say tashahhud (تَشَّهُد) [bearing of witness] and then stand up for the next rakat.
  9. In the third or fourth rakat (depending on the salat) one must say the four dhikr (تَسبيحاتُ الأَربَعَة) once or thrice:
    • Subhallah, wa al-Hamdulillah, wa la ilaha illa Allah, Wallahu akbar

      سُبحانَ اللهِ والحَمدُ لله وَ لا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَاللهُ أَکبَر

  10. In the last rakat while sitting down, one must say the tashahhud again, this time one says the salam:
    • Assalamu ‘alayka ayyuha al-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      اَلسَّلامُ عَلَيكَ ٲيُّهَا النَّبيُّ وَرَحمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَکاتُه

      [This salam is recommended and not obligatory]
    • Assalamu ‘alayna wa ‘ala ‘ibadillahi al-salihin

      السَّلامُ عَلَينا وَعَلیٰ عِبادِ اللهِ الصَّالِحين

      [This salam is recommended and not obligatory]
    • Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      السَّلام عَلَيكُم وَرَحمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَکاتُه

      [This salam is obligatory]
  11. Then, it is recommended to finish one’s salat by saying takbir thrice.

The Benefits of Salat in the Quran and Hadith

There are many verses and narrations that praise salat and enumerate its benefits. One of the most significant benefits of a salat is that it keeps one from committing indecent and sinful acts:

ٱتْلُ مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلْفَحْشَآءِ وَٱلْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ ٱللَّـهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَٱللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ

Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and maintain the prayer. Indeed the prayer restrains from indecent and wrongful conduct, and the remembrance of Allah is surely greater. And Allah knows whatever [deeds] you do. 25

It has been said that the sign of the acceptance of one’s prayer, is to see whether it stops one from committing sins and indecency. This is because salat reminds one of God and causes one to fear His disobedience.

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq says in this regard:

فَمَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ یعْلَمَ مَا أَدْرَک مِنْ نَفْعِ تِهِ فَلْینْظُرْ فَإِنْ کانَتْ تُهُ حَجَزَتْهُ عَنِ الْفَوَاحِشِ وَ الْمُنْکرِ فَإِنَّمَا أَدْرَک مِنْ نَفْعِهَا بِقَدْرِ مَا احْتَجَز

Whoever wants to know whether his salat is accepted or not, must see whether it stops one from committing sins and indecency. Thus, however much one’s salat stops one from committing sins, it is accepted to that same extent. 26

Imam Rida has said:

فَمَنْ صَلَّی وَ لَمْ یزَك لَمْ تُقْبَلْ مِنْهُ صَلَاتُه

“The salat of one who performs salat yet does not give zakat is not accepted.” 27

Furthermore, the Noble Prophet of Islam has been quoted as saying:

الصَّلوٰةُ مِعراجُ المُؤمِن

“Salat is the means of ascension for the believer.” 28

Through one’s salat, one is able to achieve lofty spiritual stations. However, it is important that salat is performed with full attention, a concept known as “presence of the heart” (حُضورُ القَلب). That is when it will have the most benefits.


  1. Cf. Quran 5:91.
  2. Cf. Quran 2:43.
  3. Cf. Quran: 19:31.
  4. Quran 2:1-3 (Qarai).
  5. Quran 2:41-43.
  6. Quran 2:83.
  7. Quran 2:177
  8. Ibid.
  9. Cf. Quran 13:35; 15:45; 47:15; 51:15; 52:17; 54:54; 77:41.
  10. Quran 2:45 (Qarai).
  11. Quran 2:153 (Qarai).
  12. Quran 22:40 (Qarai).
  13. Quran 47:7 (Qarai).
  14. Cf. Quran 33:62.
  15. Quran 2:238 (Qarai).
  16. Quran 4:59 (Qarai).
  17. Quran 5:92 (Qarai).
  18. Quran 11:114 (Qarai)
  19. Quran 17:78 (Qarai).
  20. Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, p. 15, section on “Combining the two salat while not being on a journey” (باب جمع بین الصلاتین فی الحضر).
  21. Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 601, hadith 1588.
  22. Quran 5:6 (Qarai).
  23. Quran 2:201 (Qarai).
  24. Quran 3:8 (Qarai).
  25. Quran 29:45 (Qarai).
  26. Wasā’il al-Shī‘ah (وَسائِلُ الشّيعَة), vol. 5, p. 476.
  27. Ibid., vo. 9, p. 25.
  28. Kashf al-Asrār wa ‘Iddat al-Abrār (کَشفُ الأَسرار و عِدَّةُ الأَبرار), vol. 2, p. 676.
3/5 - (2 votes)
  1. Akan says

    Thank you for this great article. It would also be good if you explained salat al-lail.

  2. Hannah says

    Salamun alaikum. Thank you so much for the informative article. I found it extremely useful. I have just begun my journey on embracing the beautiful religion of Islam and I’m discovering new things every day. This article really shed some light on issues that I have had trouble understanding for quite some while. It would be great if your team could share more articles regarding topics on belief and “aqa’id” for those of us who are just becoming familiar with Islam.

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