1. DEAR ABE: My friend recommended that this summer, I put the Maghrib Sunset and Isha’ Night prayers together at the time of Maghrib. The reason he gives is that the time period between the standard Isha’ Night prayer and Fajr Dawn prayer is very short and not sufficient for rest. He said he merges them together. Can I merge my prayers together so I can sleep longer during the summer nights? – AHMED, IRELAND
DEAR AHMED: Each of the Contact Prayers must be observed during the specified period of time . Contact Prayers are separate and distinct and cannot be combined or made up if one is missed . The Arabic word Salat means to make contact. Thus, the five daily Contact Prayers (Salat) constitute a specific ritual of contacting God, our Creator, and providing the daily meals for our soul growth. The specific practice of Salat was given to prophet Abraham and passed down through the generations, and was already in place at the time of prophet Muhammad . Sometimes modifications to the Salat are allowed; but not merging, and only under extenuating circumstances .
Relevant Quran Verses:  4:103, 70:34;  38:30-35;  14:40, 21:73, 10:87, 19:55, 31:17, 8:35, 16:123;  4:43, 4:101 .
2. DEAR ABE: I was asked to be a Juma khatib prayer leader in the local masjid, but they stipulated that I should recite dua out loud after every prayer. I am the only one who is studying Islamic sciences in my town, so I was requested for this duty and I would like to accept, but I have not heard of this practice before. Should I recite dua loudly after every prayer? – MAJID, ILLINOIS
DEAR MAJID: When the Imam performs the Friday Prayers, he must follow the specified rituals and protocols of delivery for Friday Congregational Prayers without deviation, since the Imam is responsible for leading the Friday Contact between the congregation and God . The religious practices, including all the Salat Contact Prayers and Juma Prayers, were delivered through prophet Abraham and then passed down through the generations to us . Any corruptions that had crept into our worship practices have been corrected for in the Quran . For example, the tone of all prayers has been corrected in Verse 17:110 to a moderate tone, not too soft and not too loud. Nothing else should be added or taken away from the Friday Prayers. Thus, you should not recite dua out loud after every prayer .
Relevant Quran Verses:  62:9-10, 70:34;  2:127-130, 21:73, 22:78, 4:125, 16:123;  41:3, 45:18-20;  22:32, 2:128 .
3. DEAR ABE: I know Islam forbids taking drugs, but what if the doctor prescribes a pain reliever after surgery? My doctor insists that I will heal better and quicker if I take the pain reliever medication after my surgery. Is it permissible for me to take this medicine? – JANNAH, CALIFORNIA
DEAR JANNAH: In the Quran we are advised to stay away from intoxicants. The Arabic word “khamr” (intoxicant) means “to cover or obscure.” The Quran informs that intoxicants are an abomination of the devil, we must not pray while intoxicated. Satan uses them to provoke animosity and hatred, and to distract us from remembering God . These occur with the abuse of intoxicants. Thus, one has to determine the intended use of the intoxicant; will it be of targeted use to help in recovery? The Quran discusses good provisions in grapes, but reminds that bad from the intoxicants is not a far reach . The Quran teaches us that God does not want to make the religion a hardship and that our intention counts the most . Thus, it should be alright to take medications which are expected to help us over a short period of time, as long as we do not abuse it as an intoxicant.
Relevant Quran Verse:  5:90, 5:91, 4:43;  16:67, 2:219;  5:6, 2:225, 16:106 .
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