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Introduction

In Islam, the first and foremost religious obligation for a person who has reached the age of taklif (obligation) is to perform the five daily prayers, which remind the individual of his faith and muster his spiritual energies for establishing contact with the origin of the world. In prayer, one must praise God and ask Him for assistance in the resolution of one’s problems, as is asserted in the Quranic verse, “seek assistance from patience and salat” (Baqarah 2: 45). Ritual prayer prevents its performer from engaging in sinful actions (`Ankabut 29: 35). And what could be nobler than a practice that results in the purity of the individual and society by abolishing corruption and its evil consequences. 

It should be noted that the performance of ritual prayer is not confined to Islam and is present in all religions, in one form or another, as a means of establishing communion with God. The Quran quotes Abraham as saying, “My Lord, make me a performer of the prayer, and my seed” (Abrahim 14: 40). Ishmael is also said to have called his people to the observance of ritual prayer and zakat (Maryam 19: 55). God commands Mary to “Be obedient to your Lord, prostrating and bowing before Him” (Al-i `Imram 3: 43). Jesus is quoted as saying “And He has enjoined me to pray, and to give alms” (Maryam 19: 31). In His covenant with the Israelites God stipulated the performance of ritual prayer and payment of zakat as two of its conditions (Baqarah 2: 83). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is commanded to call his people to ritual prayer (Ta-Ha 20: 132). “We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, and to perform the prayer, and to pay the alms” (Anbiya’ 21: 73). 

Obligatory prayers include: the daily prayers, Friday- and `Id-prayers (in case the conditions are met), Ayat prayers (in cases of solar and lunar eclipses, earthquakes, and whatever causes fright), prayers at the time of circumambulation of Ka`bah and for the dead, and prayers that become obligatory as a result a vow.

* source: Gorji , Abolghasem "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.407 - 408

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