Verses 4:101-104

I find the description of SALAT in verses 101-104 in Surah Nisa (#4) not clear to me. I find their purpose even less clear. The main source of non-clarity is the abundant use of translator’s opinions in parenthesis. When such use of opinions is made I suspect some loss of meaning, or even its possible corruption.

It all started with my trying to understand: إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا  . This partial verse is often cited in support of a rigid timings for Salat and their number (5) in a day. But I realize that to base the understanding on a partial verse is perhaps unsafe.  There may be additional verses on this topic but I have not seen them. So I looked at full verse and it does not add clarity to this partial quote often cited. Then I looked at the preceding and following verse it offered no further transparency. The part  إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا seems to be standing there by itself.

These are my difficulties. If you can point to some sources that might be helpful for me.

4 thoughts on “Verses 4:101-104”

  1. Salaam Whisper

    Not clear what you are asking.

    Arab did not have arithmetic so there is no mention of numbers as in 5 number of Salats per day.

    How the other verses indicated the time and number of prayers is as following:

    1. Dawn (Rum 18)
    2. Sunset (Rum 18)
    3. Dusk (dark night, Hud 114)
    4. Midday (Zuhur, Rum 17)

    So this takes care of 4, double check the verses and I am sure you find others.

    Then there is a mention of maintaining the Middle Salat which is the Asr, which is between Midday and Sunset, and that finishes the 5 (Taha 130, Hud 114, Baqara 123 double check please).

    Arab did not use numbers for describing quantities, they used nouns and phrases, to us today this makes no sense, but remember at their time number systems really did not exist internationally. So there are phrases describing numbers as opposed to digits and sequences of digits.

    Order for additional prayers in the night were canceled, there are only 1. This was so since the Prophet asked Allah to reduce the number of prayers in the night due to hardship for people and many people were not really worshipers.


  2. Salaam Dara and everyone,
    I made two mistakes in asking this question. It was the first time I used the “New” menu item. It seems I used something like ‘reply ALL’ instead of simple posting. That is because I received so many messages saying message undeliverable. I am not clear how I should have done it.
    My second mistake was non clarity of my question, though the above response by Sayyadi Dara covers the grounds. Thank you Sayyadi Dara and may Allah shower blessings upon you.

    1. Salaam Whisper
      There is an IT problem between Word Press and Yahoo where the yahoo emails give errors, no idea how to fix that. It is a Yahoo issue.

      just do reply and you should be all set.


    2. Salaams to all,

      I’ve started to read “The Study Quran”. When reading 4:101-104 in it, there is only one instance of using brackets. You can also find a commentary on each aya, taken from both ‘outward’ and ‘inward’ (e.g. Sufi) sources, which are explicitely mentioned.

      The part you’re interested in, i.e. part of Q 4:103, has been translated thus:


      This follows the remark: THEN WHEN YOU ARE SECURE, OBSERVE PROPER PRAYER, …

      In the footnote to Q 4:103 a long commentary has been given to the part you are interested in, as well as the part preceding it.

      It would be perhaps too long a contribution if I’d present the complete commentary, but in case you cannot access “The Study Quran” I’m willing to type it, time permitting.

      I now only give the Sufi commentary (and not the rest) about the part you’re interested in:

      “Ibn ‘Ajibah also gives a spiritual meaning to this latter command, suggesting that when one has completed the physical prayer, one should immerse oneself in the ‘prayer of the heart’ until one becomes secure in the Holy Presence; once secure in that Presence, one should perform the ‘prayer of witnessing and seeing’ which is the ‘constant prayer’ (see 70:22-23). Other Sufi commentators stress the distinction between the canonical prayer, done at specific times and when one is secure, and the practice of invoking or remembering God – that is, the ‘presence of the heart’ – which should be constant (Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri). PRAYER AT FIXED HOURS IS PRESCRIBED FOR THE BELIEVERS is considered the scriptual basis for the obligatory canonical prayers and is often cited in daily Muslim life. These words are inscribed in many places of worship and cited in various texts”.

      PS: I’ve been unable to give italics in the above text.

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