As-Salat (the Prayer)

Muqatil bin Sulaiman said: "Salât (prayer) was established as an obligatory ritual at an early stage of the Islamic Call, a two rak‘ ah (unit of prayer) Salât in the morning and the same in the evening:

"And glorify the praises of your Lord in the ‘Ashi (i.e. the time period after the mid-noon till sunset) and in the Ibkar (i.e. the time period from early morning or sunrise till before mid-noon)." [Al-Qur'an 40:55]

Ibn Hijr said: "Definitely the Prophet [pbuh] used to pray before ‘The Night Journey’ but it still remains a matter of controversy whether or not the prayer was established as an obligatory ritual before imposing the rules of the usual five prayers a day. It is related that obligatory prayer was established twice a day, in the morning before sunrise and after sunset. It is reported through a chain of narrators that when the Prophet [pbuh] received the first Revelation, Gabriel - the angel, proceeded and taught him how to observe Wudu (ablution). When the Prophet [pbuh] had finished, he took a handful of water and sprinkled it on his loins. [Mukhtasar Seerat-ur-Rasool p.88]

Ibn Hisham reported that when it was time for prayers, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and his Companions went into a mountain valley to pray secretly. Abu Talib once saw the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and Ali praying, he asked them what they were up to. When he got to know that it was obligatory prayer, he told them to stay constant in their practice. [Ibn Hisham 1/247]