Lesson in the Prayer Times
Sūrat al-Anʿām | He stood in full wonder at the universe unveiled before him. The sun. The moon. Jupiter. `Ibrāhīm then turned to his people and said, قال لا أحب الآفلين “I do not like those which set.”
The sun’s decline in the evening sky marks its ephemerality. “Nothing gold can stay,” wrote Robert Frost. Even the sun, in its weakest point, sinks, shimmers, stretches out a final farewell wave from beneath the horizon. So `Ibrāhīm turned to his people and said, “I do not like those which set.”
The sun’s ephemerality inspired a realization: that permanency is the sole providence of Allah; that He alone is eternal; that this glorious sun and all other glorious creation pale in comparison with His might. But there’s something else: our ṣalāh revolves around the sun’s weakness. Five times a day, we poise ourselves for prayer. And each time, we are reminded that while this fiery ball of fire carries its course across the sky-—coming and going-—Allāh is always there. Permanent. Eternal.
“I do not like those which set,” he said.
At maghrib, the sun winds down to its weakest point. Darkness suffocates the sunlight. Silence. Meanwhile, in our own homes, the sound of prayer amplifies. Maghrib, ʿIshā, Fajr. Our recitation is muffled no more, as it is in the daytime prayers; rather, it intensifies, amplifies, echoing brilliantly in the night sky. It praised the permanent, the One who never sets and whose glory never diminishes. Amazing, isn’t it?