Importance of Salat in its Prime Time (Awwal-e-Waqt) 1

The Salat is the time when the meeting with Allah and the ascension (Me'raj) of the believer takes place. We all know the importance of this obligatory act, and thus, we do not wish to delve into that area. Rather, we want to look at the greatness and rewards of performing the Salat in its ' appointed time' - meaning right when the prime time for it sets in.

There are numerous verses of the Qur'an and countless ahadith relating the merits of a punctual Salat, however, we will just take a look at some of them. We should note that we have omitted most of the 'Arabic text and references for brevity. The selection of ahadith presented have been translated from the book entitled, “Reward of Actions : The eward for Performing the Salat when it’s Time Sets in”, compiled by the well-known Iranian scholar, 'Abbas 'Azizi.

Importance of Salat at Its Appointed Time

1) The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) said, "No time of Salat sets in but an Angel calls out (from amongst the people) to the people by saying:' O' people! Get up and perform your Salat on its prime time so as to extinguish the fire which you have prepared by your own sins!"

2) The 8th Imam, 'Ali ibn Musa al-Rida (peace be upon him) said: "O' so and so! Whenever the time for Salat sets in, recite it, for you do not know what will happen (after that time)."

3) Muhammad ibn Muslim says that he heard Imam JAfar ibn e Muhammad as Sadiq (peace be upon him) say “As soon as the time for an obligatory(wajib) Salat sets in the door of the heavens are opened so that the accepted deeds of the servants can ascend upwards, and I do not like that anyone’s deeds go up before mine or that anyone’s Salat is written in the books of Allah before my Salat.”

4) The Holy Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) said the best of the deeds in the eyes of Allah (Glorified and Exhalted is He) are the Salawat (five daily Salat) in their prime times and after that, doing goodness to one' s father and mother and after that, the best act is Jihad (struggle) in the way of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He)."

5) It has been narrated that Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, "The Angel of Death, 'Izra'il states:' There is no house in the east or west of the earth made of skin or hair (animal hide) except that five times every day I look to the inhabitants of that house.' "The Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family), after hearing this stated,' These times are none other than the times of the five daily prayers. If the people of that house are of those who protect the times of their prayers, then at the time of death, the Angel will recite the Shahadatain to them and the Satan (who at this point in time wants to steal the faith away from the believer), will be pushed far away.' "

Reward of Performing the Salat in its Prescribed Time

1) Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, "When the time for Salat sets in, the doors of the heavens are opened for the ascension of the (good) deeds."

2) Ishaq ibn 'Ammar said, "I asked Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him), ' O' Aba 'Abdillah! Inform me what is the time for Salat al-Fajr that has the most merit in it?' The Imam replied,' Right at the true dawn, since Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) says in the Qur'an:(1)

إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا؛

Meaning that the performance of Salat al-Fajr is witnessed by both the Angels of the day and the Angels of the night; therefore, whichever servants recites his/her Salat starts), it will be written twice for them – the Angels of the day will write in his books and so will Angles of the night”.(2)

3) It is narrated from Imam Hasan al-Askari (peace be upon him) that prophet Musa (peace be upon him) in his whispered prayer to Allah (Glorified and Exhaulted is He) used to say, "O' Allah! What is the reward for one who performs his Salat in its proper time?" Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) replied, "Whatever he asks from Me, I will give it to him and I will make heaven permissible for him."

Effects of Performing the Salat in its Prescribed Time

Divine Light on the Day of Judgement

1) The Prophet Muhammad (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said, "One who recites his five daily Salat with complete purity and in their prime time, on the Day of Judgement, this Salat will be a divine light and proof for him; and one who disregards the Salat (does not give the Salat any importance), will be raised up alongside with Fir'awn and Haman."

Talqin at the Time of Death

2) The Prophet of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) said, "The reason why the Angel of Death looks at all the people during the time for Salat is because he wants to see who is considering the Salat important enough to recite it in its proper time; and at the time of death, the Angel of Death will recite the Shahadatain to the person and will keep Iblis away from him."

Condition for Acceptance of all our Actions

3) Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said, "The first thing that a servant will be taken to account for on the Day of Judgement is the Salat. If his Salat is accepted in the eyes of Allah, than all of his other

Protecting the Salat at its Prescribed Time

4) The 6th Imam, Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, "Recite the Salat at its prime time and be careful of it (safeguard it)."

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NOTES:

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… for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. (Surah 17, verse 78):

Al-Kafi, Vol. 3, P. 282, Tradition 2,