|The Inception of ‘Prayer’ in Islam
A Chronological Study
M Anwarul Islam
ISBN 984 70220 0030 1 2009 106p 215x136mm HB Tk.320.00 US$23.00
The concept of ‘prayer’ came into the religion of Islam soon after the ‘call’ to prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) in 610 AD and by the time of his death in 632 AD, it was established as an obligatory ritual with all its liturgical details. The process of the inception of this significant ‘pillar’ of Islam within these 22 years has not yet been presented in a chronological order and this work is an effort towards such an order.
The research was based on information obtained from the three main sources, i.e., (i) the Qur’an, which is the holy book and the principal source of guideline for a Muslim, (ii) Hadith or the sayings, reported actions and anecdotes relating the words and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, and (iii) the sira (biography) of the Prophet. Most of the earliest biographies, dating back to the second century AH, have now been translated to English and the interpretation of the Qur’an as well as several versions of the chronology of revelation of its verses are available. The word ‘prayer’ (salat) is mentioned in the very first revealed surah (chapter) of the Qur’an. These two sources provided the data to establish a sequential development of prayer in the pre-Hijra period of Islam, i.e., during the life of the Prophet before his migration from the city of Makka to Madina in 622 AD. The Sahih (authentic) Hadith, whose compilation began about 150 years after the Prophet’s death, include a large number of his traditions on prayer, especially in the post-Hijra Madina. While the core aspects of a Muslim’s prayer, i.e., the basic manner of performance and its orientation towards a Qibla, were established in Makka, the final shape of the canonical prayer including the details of all the different prayers were finalised in Madina.
Muhammad Anwarul Islam is a retired engineer, architect and academic with some publications emanating from his personal research. He is one of the first five architects qualified in Bangladesh (BArch/1966) who also obtained BScEng (1957) and MSc (1974) degrees from the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology. Having worked in engineering design and architecture for eighteen years he left for England where he was awarded the degree of PhD by the University of Warwick in 1978. He then began a teaching career that continued until he retired from the Manchester School of Architecture in 2006. This included supervision of the research work of a number of PhD students of the University of Manchester and the Manchester Metropolitan University in various aspects of Islamic architecture.
Although Dr Islam’s early publications are in the field of structural design, all his recent works involve the influence o religious beliefs and practices on the architectural design of buildings in the Muslim world. The last one, entitled ‘The Dome of the Rock – Origin of its Octagonal Plan’, was published in ‘The Palestine Exploration Quarterly’ in 2007. The present book of the author is the outcome pf his last research n a field other than engineering or architecture.