How to guard the Prayers
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verses – 238 & 239 of 286, Section – 31 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
238. Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah.
239. And if ye go in fear, then (pray) standing or on horseback. And when ye are again in safety, remember Allah, as He hath taught you that which (heretofore) ye knew not.
238. Haafizuu ‘alas-Salawaati was-Salaatil-wustaa; wa quu-muu LIllaahi qaanitiin.
239. Fa-‘in khiftum fa-rijaalan ‘aw rukbaanaa. Fa- ‘izaaa ‘amin-tum fazkurUllaaha kamaa ‘alla-makum-maa lam takuu-nuu ta’-lamuun.
Haafizuu ‘alas-Salawaati – (Be guardians of your prayers), that is to say; regularize your prayers in time. The scholars have categorized three stages of punctuality for prayer:
First stage – the prayers should be offered in time, without leaving Divine precepts and even obligations (Faraa-‘iz and Waajibaat).
Second Stage – the body of the individual, who is going to offer prayer, should be clean and pure. Humility and spiritless should be in his heart. He should care also for the practices (sunnahs) of the Prophet Muhammad (grace, glory, blessings and peace of Allah Almighty be upon him) and mustahibbaat (good works).
Most Superior Stage – while offering the prayer, he should deem that he is looking Allah Almighty and he would have this perception also that God Almighty is looking the devout too.
‘As-Salaatil-wustaa – (the midmost prayer), the aim from this central middle prayer is the ‘Asr Prayer, which is offered between the afternoon (Zuhar) prayer and after sunset (Magrib) prayer. Some scholars consider it as the prayer before sunrise (Fajar prayer).
qaanitiin – (to stand up) with devotion, this word has been derived from qanuut which means devotion, supplication, prayer, humility, begging, submission and obedience to Allah Almighty.
The rights and the duties regarding wives were being described in the previous verses, and the same discussion will run again in the succeeding verses. Some commands about the prayer have come in the middle. It appears from this discussion that the matters regarding society and its affairs, rules and morality are not separate from the worship. The rights of God Almighty and the rights of His servants (human beings) are going side by side in the Divine Law.
Between the commands regarding divorce, it can also be the reason of mentioning the order about the prayer that the mankind should not forget the worship of his Creator (Allah Almighty), while he is busy in the worldly matters and mutual disputes.
It has been emphasized strongly about the midmost prayer (‘Asr), because the mankind remains more earnestly diligent in the worldly works at this time (after the afternoon). So attention is drawn to this side that “Do not forget God Almighty while you are engaged in the worldly matters. Moreover, continue His remembrance and worship also”. Here some commands regarding prayers during peace and war have also been explained. If there is a time of battle and fear of enemy then you should offer prayers with reduction only while either you are foot soldiers or have any conveyance (riding horse etc.)