1st. ‘The Soobhoo Namaaz,’ to commence at the dawn of day.
2nd. ‘The Zohur,’ at the second watch of the day, or mid-day.
3rd. ‘The Ausur,’ at the third day watch.
4th. ‘The Muggrib,’ at sunset; and,
5th. ‘The Eshaa,’ at the fourth ghurrie of the night.
These are the commanded hours for prayer. Mahumud himself observed an additional service very strictly, at the third watch of the night, which was called by him, ’Tahujjoot,’ and the most devout men, in all ages of their faith, have imitated this example scrupulously.
‘The Soobhoo Namaaz’ is deemed a necessary duty, and commences with the earliest dawn of day. The several prayers and prostrations occupy the greatest part of an hour, with those who are devout in their religious exercises; many extend the service by readings from an excellent collection, very similar to our Psalms, called ’The Vazefah’.
‘The Zohur Namaaz’, an equally essential duty, commences at mid-day, and occupies about the same time as ‘The Soobhoo’.
‘The Ausur Namaaz’ commences at the third day watch. The religious men are not tempted to excuse themselves from the due observance of this hour; but the mere people of the world, or those whose business requires their time, attach this service to the next, and satisfy their conscience with thinking that the prayer-hours combined, answers the same purpose as when separately performed.
‘The Muggrib Namaaz’. This is rigidly observed at sunset; even those who cannot make it convenient at other hours, will leave their most urgent employment to perform this duty at sunset. Who that has lived any time in India, cannot call to mind the interesting sight of the labouring classes, returning to their home after the business of the day is over? The sun sinking below the Western horizon, the poor man unbinds his waist, and spreads his cummerbund on the side of the road; he performs his ablutions from his brass lota of water, and facing Mecca, bows himself down under the canopy of heaven, to fulfil what he believes to be his duty at that hour to his merciful God.
‘The Eshaa Namaaz’ commences at the fourth ghurrie of the night. The form of prayer for this Namaaz is much longer than the rest. The devout men extend their prayers at this still hour of the night; they tell me that they feel more disposed at this time to pour out their hearts to God in praise and thanksgiving, than at any other period of the day or night; and I have known many of them to be at silent prayer for hours together.
Many persons in their early life may have neglected that due obedience expected in the commanded daily prayers; in after life, they endeavour to make up the deficiency, by imposing on themselves extra services, to fulfil the number omitted. By the same rule, when a member of the family dies, and it is suspected the due performance of Namaaz had been neglected by him, the survivor, who loved him or her in life, is anxious for the soul’s rest, and thus proves it by performing additional prayers for the benefit of the soul of that beloved individual.