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After the belief in Allâh and His Messenger, the prayer is the best deed. Allâh made five prayers obligatory upon every pubescent, sane Muslim within the night and day. One has to be keen to perform them. Also, one must learn how the time of each prayer begins and how it ends. It is a duty to check the times of prayers by observation and it is not enough to rely on a schedule based on the simple calculation.
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al-’Imam ash-Shafi`iyy said in his book, Al-’Umm: “It is conceivable that Allah, the Exalted, ordered them with facing the direction of al-Qiblah by seeking its signs. He did not leave them to determine the direction by means which please them, cross their hearts, or delude them. Allah decreed not to leave them helpless without showing them the signs”. This means that Allah showed His slaves the acknowledge signs for seeking the direction of al-Qiblah. Hence, no attention is due to that which does not rely on religious proof.
There are five prayers which must be performed by the Muslims and are called obligatory prayers. They are Dhuhr (Noon) prayer, `Asr (afternoon) prayer, Maghrib (sunset) prayer, `Ishaa’ (Nightfall) prayer and Fajr (Dawn) prayer. It is a great sin to neglect performing any of these obligatory prayers. Among the merits of performing the obligatory prayers is that one’s small sins, which may be committed between prayers, are forgiven.