Obligatory Prayers Prayer in Islam

`Asr: The Middle Prayer

The Middle Prayer

`Asr: The Middle Prayer

The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever prays the two cool prayers (`Asr and Fajr) will go to Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

By: Editorial Staff

Allah, Almighty has addressed the Ummah (Muslim nation) to keep on the salah (prayer) at its fixed times, taking into consideration the conditions of validity of prayer. Keeping on something means to maintain and devote oneself assiduously to abide by it. Almighty Allah has singled out the mention of the middle prayer after ordering the Muslims to offer the prayer in general which gives the honor and importance to this specific prayer. It is known in the “Science of Rhetoric” as mentioning something specific after something general. There are many examples in the Qur’an such as:

In both of them are fruit and palm trees and pomegranates. (Ar-Rahman 55:68)

In the previous verse, Allah has specified the palm trees and pomegranates among all other kinds of fruits due to their importance.

What is the Middle Prayer?

There are two views among Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and scholars regarding the middle prayer as follows:

1- That is Fajr Prayer

This is the view of Abu Umamah, Anas, Jabir, Abu Al-‘Aaliyah, ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Umair, ‘Ata’, ‘Ikrimah, Mujahid and others, and it is one of the two views of Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas.

It is also the view of Malik and of Ash-Shafa’i as stated in Al-Umm. (Fath Al-Bari).

2- That is `Asr Prayer

This is the view of most of the scholars, and it is the correct and reliable view.

`Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said on the day (of the Battle) of Al-Ahzab: “They distracted us from offering the middle prayer, i.e. the `Asr prayer. May Allah fill their houses and graves with fire; he then observed this prayer between the evening prayer and the night prayer.” (Muslim)

Samurah ibn Jundab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The middle prayer is the prayer of Al-`Asr.” (At-Tirmidhi)

This report states that it is ‘Asr prayer according to the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

This is also the view of Ibn Mas’ud and Abu Hurairah, and it is the correct view according to the school of Abu Hanifah. It is also the view of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the view which most of the Shafa`is agreed on.

At-Tirmidhi said that it is the view of most of the scholars among the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Al-Mawardi also said that it the correct view of most of the righteous predecessors.

Time of `Asr Prayer

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The time of `Asr Prayer is as long as the sun has not become yellow…” (Muslim)

The time for `Asr begins after the time of Zhuhr Prayer comes to an end, i.e., when the length of an object’s shadow becomes equal to the length of the object itself.

1- The Preferred Time

This begins from the time of `Asr Prayer until the sun begins to turn yellow due to the previous hadith.

2- The Time of Necessity

This begins after the sun turns yellow until the sunset. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever catches up with one rak’ah of ‘Asr before the sun sets has caught up with ‘Asr.” (Agreed Upon)

Virtues of `Asr Prayer

1- Double reward for One who keeps on it

It was narrated that Abu Basrah Al-Ghifari said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) led us in praying `Asr in Al-Mukhamas. He (the Prophet) said: ‘This prayer was enjoined upon those who came before you, but they neglected it. Whoever prays it regularly will have a two-fold reward, and there is no prayer after it until the Shahid appears.” (Shahid is the star) (An-Nasa’i)

2- It is a cause of entering Paradise

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Musa said my father narrated that the “Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Whoever prays the two cool prayers (`Asr and Fajr) will go to Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

They were called the “two cool prayers” as they are offered during the cool time of the day. Fajr is before the sun rise and therefore it is a cool time. And `Asr is when the sun changes its angle and starts coming towards the sun set. At this time, it has lost much of its hotness and therefore it is a cool time.

They were called the “two cool prayers” as they are offered during the cool time of the day. Fajr is before the sun rise and therefore it is a cool time. And `Asr is when the sun changes its angle and starts coming towards the sun set. At this time, it has lost much of its hotness and therefore it is a cool time.

3- It is a cause of seeing Allah on the Day of Judgment

Jarir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: We were sitting with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he looked at the moon on the night of the full-moon and said, “You people will see your Lord as you see this full moon, and you will have no trouble in seeing Him, so if you can avoid missing (through sleep or business, etc.) a prayer before sunrise (Fajr) and a prayer before sunset (`Asr) you must do so.” (Al-Bukhari)

4- Angels gather at the time of Fajr and `Asr

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Angels keep on descending from and ascending to the Heaven in turn, some at night and some by daytime, and all of them assemble together at the time of the Fajr and `Asr prayers. Then those who have stayed with you over-night, ascent unto Allah Who asks them, and He knows the answer better than they, “How have you left My slaves?” They reply, “We have left them praying as we found them praying.” If anyone of you says “Amin” (during the Prayer at the end of the recitation of Surat Al-Faitihah), and the angels in Heaven say the same, and the two sayings coincide, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)

Leaving the `Asr Prayer is a great loss

Buraidah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “He who misses the ‘Asr Prayer (deliberately), his deeds will be rendered null and void.” (Al-Bukhari)

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) said that, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever misses the `Asr prayer (intentionally) then it is as if he lost his family and property.” (Agreed Upon)

No doubt, the middle prayer (‘Asr) has a great importance. This does not mean that the other prayers are any less significant. It is just to emphasize and remind that we better not leave our prayers, especially the ‘Asr prayer as people usually tend to forget this prayer either we are busy working, or studying, or even resting. May Allah make us of those who keep on the prayer at its proper time.

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