A Historical Account of Namaz or Salat (the Islamic Way of Worship) Part 1
By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
November 7, 2013
All Islamic schools of thought are unanimous on the number of obligatory prayers performed five times a day. They also agree upon the number of Rak’ats (prescribed movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers to Allah) i.e. two Rak’ats in Fajr (the dawn prayer), four Rak’ats in Zuhar (the afternoon prayer), Asr (the late afternoon prayer) and Isha (the night prayer), while Maghrib (the evening prayer) is offered with three Rak’ats.
Not a single Islamic school disagreed to the fundamental shape or essential structure of Salat ever in the past or present. Although there have been some slight differences in minor details that are not related to the basic tenets of Salah. All Islamic sects follow the same styles of Ruku (bowing) and Sujud (prostration) with the same number of Rak’ats associated with them. No Muslim sect has any disagreement or problem with it. Turning face towards the Qibla is mandatory in all Islamic schools. Differences lie only in the secondary and exterior features of the prayer such as reciting the Qur’anic verses in the prayer aloud or silently, raising or not raising finger during Tashahhud (sitting), reciting or not reciting Qunut (a special supplication), turning head right and left during Salaam (turning face to the right saying: "Assalam u Alaikum wa Rahmatullah" (peace and the mercy of Allah be on you) and then to the left repeating the same words), choosing to recite small or lengthy verses of the Quran in the prayer etc. But these are trivial issues that do not affect the fundamentals of the Islamic prayer (Salah).