By Busari Abdulhakeem
The five daily prayers were made obligatory in the night of the mi'raaj before the hijrah: or in the night that the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him- made the night journey to the Sacred House in Jerusalem, then he ascended to the heaven. That was the year before the hijrah, and some say: three or five years.
Allaah made fifty prayers during the day and the night obligatory for the Prophet - peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He accepted and descended in submission to the command of Allah and pleased with Allah's portion for him. He was the leader of this nation and he complied with the guidance, until he passed through Musa bn 'Imran - may Allah be pleased with him - who was in the sixth heaven and Musa said to him: "What are you commanded with?"
He (the Prophet) said: "I was commanded with firty prayers everyday."
He (Musa) said: "Indeed, your nation cannot be capable of fifty prayers everyday, by Allah, I have experienced some people before you, I have dealt with Banu Isra'eel in a great deal, return to your Lord and ask Him reduction for your nation."
The Prophet went, returned and said:" I returned to Him and He made reduced for me. I returned to Musa and he said the same. I returned (to Allah) and He reduced ten for me. I returned to Musa and he said the same. I returned (to Allah) and He reduced ten for me. I returned to Musa and he said the same. I returned (to Allah) and He commanded me with ten prayers everyday. I returned to Musa and he said the same. I returned (to Allah) and He commanded me with five prayers everyday. I returned to Musa and he said: "what are you commanded with?" and I said: "I was commanded with five prayers everyday." He (Musa) said: "Indeed, your nation cannot be capable of five prayers everyday. I have experienced some people before you I dealt with Banu Isra'eel in a great deal, (now) return to your Lord and ask Him for less for your nation.
He (the Prophet) said:" I asked my Lord until I felt shy to proceed, however, I'm pleased and I have accepted."
He (Allah said): "I surpass the call of the caller: I have concluded my deed and have decreased it for my slaves."¹
The Messenger - peace and blessings of Allah be upon him - descended while being pleased with that and his mind was filled with joy. Glory be to Allaah.
The first to be obligated on the prayer was two-two rak'aat except three for the Maghrib prayer. The prayer was then increased when the Prophet - sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam - migrated and it became four except Fajr and the Maghrib.
In Sahih alBukhari, from 'Aisha -may Allah be pleased with her- who said: The prayer was made two then the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- migrated and it became four, and prayers on journeys were left on the former (two rak'ah)².
Imam Ahmad narrated: Except the Maghrib, because it is witr, and Subh, because recitation is elongated in it³.
The scholars differ -may Allah be pleased with them -: Was Salaah compulsory before the mi'raaj?
Some of the scholars postulated that the prayer was not compulsory before the mi'raaj except what is in the command with the night prayer without centralization.
Some said it was compulsory with two rak'ah in the early morning and two at night.
And Allah, subhana'u wa ta'alaa knows best.
¹. Recorded by al-Bukharee in the Book of tawheed in what comes from the word of Allah - Exalted be He - : (...and to Musa, Allah addressed His word, speaking (to Him) (7517), and Muslim in the Book of Eeman, the chapter or the night journey of the Prophet - sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam (162).
². Recorded by Al-Bukharee in the Book, Virtues of the Ansaar(3935).
³. Recorded by Ahmad (265/7).