Allah says: “Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient” (Quran 2:238). The middle prayer that He refers to here is the Asr prayer. This is one of the five daily prayers that are compulsory for Muslims.
Asr prayer happens at a critical time of the day for humans. For the average person, this is a time where we begin to tire. A long day at work or school begins to take its toll. Thus, it’s a prayer that we may find hard to offer at times. However, it’s a very beneficial prayer and one that we can’t afford to neglect at any cost.
Importance of Asr prayer
The Asr prayer is one of the five obligatory prayers; thus, it has significant importance. However, the Prophet (PBUH) went further and said, “Whoever misses the Salat Asr prayer, then it is as if he was robbed of his family and his property.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Jami at-Tirmidhi)
The Messenger of Allah also expressed his dismay at missing out on the Asr prayer. During a battle, he exclaimed, “They diverted us from saying the middle prayer, i. e. the ‘Asr prayer. May Allah fill their houses and graves with fire.” (Sahih Muslim)
What is the time for Asr prayer?
The time for Asr commences as the time for Zuhr comes to an end. That time is when the shadow of an object becomes longer than the object itself. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When you pray ‘Salat al Asr, its time is until the sun turns yellow” (Sahih Muslim). However, praying after the sun has turned yellow is still permissible, but it’s more praiseworthy to do so earlier. The time for Asr Salah finishes at sunset, as the time for Maghrib begins.
How to begin Asr prayer
This namaz consists of four obligatory (fard) rakat. There are some sunnah and nafl that are part of the sunnah, but there are no sunnah rawatib to be prayed with Asr.
The pre-condition, as with all prayers, is to be in the state of wudu. Men are to be covered from the navel to the knees. Women are to be covered entirely except the hands and face.
Offering the first of four rakat
This prayer, like the others, commences with us standing upright, with the intention for prayer (in the heart).
After that, we raise our hands to our ears and say Allahu Akbar and place our right hand on our left, on the chest.
Next, we recite the sana: Subhaanak Allahumma wa bi hamdika wa tabarak asmuka wa ta aa’la jadduka wa la ilaha ghairuk. (Glory and praise be to You O Allah, blessed be Your name and exalted be Your Majesty, and there is no god but You.)
Following this, we recite one of the essential parts of the salah: Surah Fatiha.
Thereafter, we recite a verse or a Surah from the Quran.
After this, we say Allahu Akbar and bow down, placing our hands on our knees. We then say Subhana Rabbi yal azim (How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme), three times.
Next, we rise up and say SamiAllahu liman hameeda (Allah hears those who praise Him). While standing, we say Rabbanaa lakal hamd (Our Lord, praise be to You).
Following this, we say AllahuAkhar and prostrate ourselves on the floor as our hands, knees, toes, forehead, and nose touch the ground. During prostration, we say Subhana Rabbi yal aa’la (How Perfect is my Lord, the Highest), three times.
After this, we say Allahu Akbar and sit up straight. While sitting, we say Rabbigh firlee (O, my Lord! Forgive me). Then, we say Allahu Akbar and repeat the procedure for a second prostration.
Offering the remaining rakat
After the second prostration, we say Allahu Akbar, stand up and offer the second rakah the same way as the first. However, we don’t recite the sana this time.
After completing the second prostration, this time, we sit up straight and recite the Tashahhud. Next, we stand up again and repeat the procedure for two more rakat. However, we omit the Surah after al-Fatiha in the last two rakat.
After the final prostration, we sit down and recite Tashahhud, follow by Durood-e-Ibrahim. This is followed by a few other duas from the Quran and Sunnah (Learn Quran Online) to finish before offering the taslim, “Assalam-u-alaikum wa-rahmat-ullah.”
Virtues of the Asr prayer
Angels witness asr prayer alongside the Fajr prayer. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “(A group of) angels stay with you at night and (another group of) angels by daytime, and both groups gather at the time of the ‘Asr and Fajr prayers. Then those angels who have stayed with you overnight, ascend (to Heaven) and Allah asks them (about you) —- and He knows everything about you. ‘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.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
In another Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) stated: “He who The observes Al-Bardan (i.e., Fajr and ‘Asr prayers) will enter Jannah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Muslim)
Double the reward – the Prophet (PBUH) declared: “It is you (i.e., Muslims) who are doing the work from the `Asr till sunset, so you will have a double reward.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)