From your award winning charity
28 March 2019

The Five Daily Prayer Times and Why We Observe Them

Muslim Hands
The Five Daily Prayer Times and Why We Observe Them

‘You shall glorify and praise your Lord and be with the prostrators, and worship your Lord until you attain certainty.’ (Qur'an, 15:98)

Prayer (salah), is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is an important guiding principle that all Muslims must follow. Muslims should aspire never to miss a prayer (Namaz), although if a prayer is missed due to reasons outside of your control, you must make up the missed prayer promptly or recite the missed prayer in your next regular salah.

Why Must Salah be Observed?

Daily prayers remind us to be faithful to Allah (swt) and provide opportunities for us to seek His forgiveness and guidance. Prayer also contributes to the connection we feel with our brothers and sisters across the world, as together, we share in the sacraments that strengthen our faith.

What are the Prayer Times?

Prayer (Namaz) times are dictated by the positioning of the sun in the sky and where you are in the world. In communities with a high Muslim population, prayer times are announced by a daily call to prayer known as Adhan. Adhan is a call made from the local Mosque by the designated caller of prayer, known as a Muezzin.

The Muezzin delivers the Takbir, proclaiming Allahu Akbar - 'God is Great' - and the Shahada - 'There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of God'. These are known as the Kalimah, an important part of the call to prayer and the first of the Five Pillars of Islam. A further announcement, called the iqama, is made to inform Muslims that it is time to start lining up in preparation for the beginning of prayer. Alongside delivering the Kalimah, the Muezzin announces the call to prayer so Muslims in the area can retain an accurate prayer schedule.

Muslims must observe five prayers throughout the day, each based on the positioning of the sun. These are:

  • Fajr (dawn): The first prayer to start your day is performed before sunrise at true dawn in remembrance of Allah (swt)
  • Dhuhr (midday): A prayer to remember Allah and seek His guidance is performed either shortly before or after noon, depending on the time of year. Usually, you will have already started your work day and will need to take a short break
  • Asr (afternoon): A prayer to reflect on the greater meaning of our lives takes place in the late afternoon
  • Maghrib (sunset): The fourth daily prayer takes place not long after the sun has set in order to remember Allah (swt) before the day finishes
  • Isha (night): The final prayer of the day, before going to bed and resting, you must take time to pray and show gratitude for Allah's presence, mercy, guidance and forgiveness

In addition to these obligatory prayers, many Muslims choose to pray voluntary prayers as well to earn more reward. These include Tahajjud, a night prayer, often prayed in the last third of the night; and Duha prayer, offered between sunrise and noon.

Observing Prayer Times

Prayer times must be observed in the time given and never performed before the prescribed time, although making up a missed prayer is acceptable. If you are in a place with height variations, consideration must be paid to the height above sea level as this can affect your prayer time by a few minutes. For example, someone living or working on the top floor of a high-rise building will have a different prayer time to someone living or working on the ground floor.

Salah is the second of the Five obligatory Pillars of Islam, and is followed by Zakat – which makes the third pillar. If you would like to learn more about Zakat and what it entails, please visit our Zakat page for more information. We also have an article about how to perform wudu.

Did you know you can earn the reward of a thousand prayers with a single action? Visit our Masjid Al-Aqsa page to learn more.

‘And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down in worship.’ (Qur’an, 2:43)


Muslim Hands UK

Established in 1993, Muslim Hands is an aid agency and NGO helping those affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster in over 20 countries worldwide.