Fajr and Asr

There are 2 prayers out of the 5 that have been singled out for their superiority; Fajr and Asr salah. This doesn’t meant that the  other prayers are negligible in importance, but the timing of these two specific prayers is such that they’re so easy to miss.

Many people have trouble waking up for Fajr and it’s a life long struggle for most people, if not catching it in time, then at least catching it on time. And as for Asr, it’s a time when the day is winding down, and people are coming back from work or going out to play, and are around people, and before you know it, it’s sunset. It’s easy to miss too. The solution for this is to pray it as soon as it comes in, and in many ahadeeth, it’s mentioned that the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam used to pray it early, while the sun is still ‘whitish’ or 7hayya (bright and ‘alive’ and strong – as the sun starts to descend, its light becomes more yellowish, orange-ish and even the power of the light seems to dissipate), and such that if the sahabah were to go to the other end of the city of Madinah at that time, the sun would still be bright, showing how early it still was, and so how early the Prophet salllaallahu alayhi wasalam would pray it. In fact, on a cloudy day, the Prophet sallllaahu alayhi wasallam told us to pray it early instead of waiting to see where the sun is (they were depending on the position of the sun to determine the time of prayer) lest they miss it. And then a strong warning accompanied this, that of your deeds being annulled if you miss Asr prayer.

Narrated Abu Al-Maleeh:

We were with Buraida in a battle on a cloudy day and he said, “Offer the `Asr prayer early as the Prophet said, “Whoever leaves the `Asr prayer, all his (good) deeds will be annulled.”

حَدَّثَنَا مُسْلِمُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامٌ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَبِي كَثِيرٍ، عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي الْمَلِيحِ، قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ بُرَيْدَةَ فِي غَزْوَةٍ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي غَيْمٍ فَقَالَ بَكِّرُوا بِصَلاَةِ الْعَصْرِ فَإِنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ تَرَكَ صَلاَةَ الْعَصْرِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Sahih Bukhari Book of Times of Salat Hadith 553

As an encouragement, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam also said that if you want to see Allah as clear as you can see the moon at night in a clear sky, then do not miss Asr and Fajr salah.

Narrated Qais:

Jarir said, “We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) and he looked at the moon–full-moon–and said, ‘Certainly you will see your Lord as you see this moon and you will have no trouble in seeing Him. So if you can avoid missing (through sleep or business, etc.) a prayer before the sunrise (Fajr) and a prayer before sunset (`Asr), you must do so.’ He then recited Allah’s Statement: And celebrate the praises Of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting.” (50.39) Isma`il said, “Offer those prayers and do not miss them.”

حَدَّثَنَا الْحُمَيْدِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مَرْوَانُ بْنُ مُعَاوِيَةَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، عَنْ قَيْسٍ، عَنْ جَرِيرٍ، قَالَ كُنَّا عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَنَظَرَ إِلَى الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةً ـ يَعْنِي الْبَدْرَ ـ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّكُمْ سَتَرَوْنَ رَبَّكُمْ كَمَا تَرَوْنَ هَذَا الْقَمَرَ لاَ تُضَامُّونَ فِي رُؤْيَتِهِ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَنْ لاَ تُغْلَبُوا عَلَى صَلاَةٍ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا فَافْعَلُوا ‏”‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَرَأَ ‏{‏وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ‏}‏‏.‏ قَالَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ افْعَلُوا لاَ تَفُوتَنَّكُمْ‏.‏

Sahih Bukhari Book of Times of Salat Hadith 554

In this above hadith, it was night time and the sahabah were sitting with the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. They were looking at the moon and in the desert, the sky is usually clear, so the moon was very clear. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam used this as a teaching moment. The ‘you will have no trouble seeing Him’ in Arabic is “لا تضامون في رؤيته”, which is rich in visual imagery. The word ضم means to join. When many people are trying to look at an important figure, they would crowd on each other, thereby ‘joining’ each other. This is how this is described. So, it basically means that on that day, people won’t have any trouble seeing Allah, they won’t have to crowd together to catch a glimpse of Him, but rather, they will see Allah as clearly as they can see that moon in  the sky on that clear night sky, without needing to jostle with each other. Subhanallah…

But in order for that to happen, one has to be very vigilant in not missing his Fajr and Asr prayers. Take it as a motivation to be able to see Allah on that day. If you miss these salat and are not vigilant over them, you might miss out on the opportunity to see Allah in Akhirah. May Allah not make us of those who miss out on this great favor. Ameen!

Another hadith that shows the virtue of the Fajr and Asr prayers is where it is said that the angels take their day and night shifts and gather together at Fajr and Asr prayers. When one shift ascends back up to the sky, Allah asks them for the report, even though He knows.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Angels come to you in succession by night and day and all of them get together at the time of the Fajr and `Asr prayers. Those who have passed the night with you (or stayed with you) ascend (to the Heaven) and Allah asks them, though He knows everything about you, well, “In what state did you leave my slaves?” The angels reply: “When we left them they were praying and when we reached them, they were praying.”

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ أَبِي الزِّنَادِ، عَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يَتَعَاقَبُونَ فِيكُمْ مَلاَئِكَةٌ بِاللَّيْلِ وَمَلاَئِكَةٌ بِالنَّهَارِ، وَيَجْتَمِعُونَ فِي صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ وَصَلاَةِ الْعَصْرِ، ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ الَّذِينَ بَاتُوا فِيكُمْ، فَيَسْأَلُهُمْ وَهْوَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ كَيْفَ تَرَكْتُمْ عِبَادِي فَيَقُولُونَ تَرَكْنَاهُمْ وَهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ، وَأَتَيْنَاهُمْ وَهُمْ يُصَلُّونَ ‏”‏‏.‏

Sahih Bukhari Book of Times of Salat Hadith 555

Even though Allah knows, He asks the angels, to show how important these two prayers are. This is our daily report. Imagine if our daily report is not good….

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