What is wrong with observing 5 Salat?

Question:

What is wrong if we offer Salat 5 times a day? After all we would be worshipping God more. Can worshipping God more be an act of ‘shirk’?

Reply:

The heart of this matter is related to whether we are following God’s law to worship Him more, or we are following man made rituals, claiming that these rituals are God given and then wondering why it is wrong to worship God?

To review this subject in detail, we analyse the following cases:
1- Repeating one of the three Quranic Salat.
2- Offering a Salat outside the specified times for Salat, or observing individual rituals, like bowing or prostrating on their own, at any time.

Case 1: Repeating one of the Quranic Salat:

Let us start here with the example of Hajj:
- Is Hajj a ritual authorised by God in the Quran? Yes.
- Is Hajj a worship ritual? Yes.
- Can Hajj be observed any time? No, it is decreed for specific times of the year.
- Can we observe Hajj more than the single required time? Yes.

Now we can apply the same inquiries to the Salat:
- Is the Salat authorised by God? Yes.
- Is the Salat a worship ritual? Yes.
- Is the Salat decreed for specific times of the day? Yes.
- Can we repeat the Salat, just like we can repeat our Hajj? Yes.

Just like observing Hajj more than once, we can also observe a Salat, such as Salat Al-Fajr (for example), more than once. If we do so, it would indeed be a case of worshipping God more, and also by means of a ritual which is authorised by God.
We have the example in 4:102 where we are told that the leader of the Salat was observing the same Salat with different groups of believers, and thus he was observing the same Salat more than once.
God encourages us to worship Him and commemorate Him frequently:

"The Safa and Marwah are among the rites decreed by God. Therefore anyone who observes Hajj at the house or observes Umrah commits no error by passing by them, and as for those who volunteer extra good work, God is Appreciative, Knowledgeable." 2:158

We note here that the words
"extra good work" follow the rituals of Hajj and Umrah, which indicates that in repeating any of these we would find God to be appreciative, and since there are no instructions anywhere in the Quran which forbids us from repeating any of the worship practices, which are authorised by God, then doing so is indeed a righteous act.
To conclude, we can observe any of the 3 Salat (Fajr, Wusta and Isha) once or as many times as we wish inside the specified times for each.
If that is so, then why does observing the 5 Salat (some of which are not in the Quran) constitute an act of shirk? The answer is because if we observe a Salat called Asr (for example) we would not be repeating a ritual which is authorised by God, but we would be observing a ritual which God never authorised. Consequently we would have made the source of that ritual a partner with God as a source of law:

They follow partners who decree for them religious laws never authorized by God. If it were not for the predetermined decision, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.42:21

In addition, the ones who follow these non Quranic rituals and claim that they are God given are guilty of uttering lies against God:

“Among them are a group who twist the scripture with their tongues so that you think it is from the scripture, when it is not from the scripture, and they say it is from God, when it is not from God, and they say lies about God, knowingly.”
3:78

Case 2: Observing a Salat, or a Salat ritual outside the Salat times:

What is the case if we wish to offer a Salat to thank God or to implore God or simply to glorify God and it is a not a time for one of the 3 Quranic Salat?
Once again, we are perfectly entitled to offer such a Salat. There is nothing in the Quran which forbids us from offering a full Salat outside the specified times of the 3 Salat. In this case it would not be one of the 3 prescribed Salat, nor would it be one of the Salat prescribed in hadith, but it would simply be an un-named Salat dedicated to God.
Alternatively, we can observe ruku (bowing) or prostrating (sujud) on their own at any time to glorify God.
The Quran contains various verses which speak about bowing or prostrating as independent acts outside of Salat. We have the example of the prophet David when he bowed down in submission (38:24). In 2:43 we read the words Salat and bowing separately, again to suggest that bowing can be observed independently of Salat.
In 3:113 God speaks of believers who recite God's revelations in the night while prostrating, the word Salat is not mentioned in 3:113. Once again, this confirms that it is perfectly alright to prostrate at any time in worship of God, independent of the ritualised Salat.
Further insight is found in the following words:

“You shall complete the Hajj and Umrah for God. If you are prevented, then make a convenient offering, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. And for those who are ill, or suffering a head injury, they shall expiate by fasting, or giving to charity, or by observing a worship ritual.” 2:196

The importance of the underlined words is that they tell us that God accepts individual worship rituals on their own.

Indicators:

From the above, we arrive at a number of indicators which define the heart of this matter:
1- Are we observing rituals which are already authorised in the Quran, such as bowing and prostrating? Yes we are, thus we are perfectly entitled to do so.
2- Are we repeating rituals which are already decreed in the Quran, such as any of the 3 Salat? Yes we are, thus we are entitled to do so.
3- Are we following rituals which are not decreed in the Quran (such as Salat Al-Asr), but can only be derived from other sources such as the hadith? We better not! If we do then we would be guilty as per 42:21. There are no ifs or buts about this matter. God gives us the truth of this matter in the following words:

"Say: Shall We inform you who are the greatest losers through their work?
"They are the ones whose efforts in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good." 18:103-104

Conclusion:

First: Why do people observe 5 Salat when they know that there are only 3 Salat authorised in the Quran?

If they are honest with themselves, they will realise that they do so because they do not believe that the Quran has all the details (6:114) and that nothing has been left out of the book (6:38). Somehow they will allow the devil to dupe them by means of his "ifs" and "buts". On the other hand, the resolute believers who accept that all the details are 100% in the Quran will not entertain any such trickery.

Second
: What is the real danger of observing the 2 extra Salat?

The answer is always given in the Quran, and the answer to this question is given in the following glorious Quranic words:

They follow 'shura'kaa (partners with God) who decree for them religious laws never authorized by God. If it were not for the predetermined decision, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.
42:21

Third: Be smarter than the devil!

Whenever the devil tries to trick you by saying "how can it be wrong to worship God more?" Answer him back by saying: "When I wish to worship God more I will extend the time I give to any of the 3 Salat, or if I wish, I will repeat any of the 3 Salat as often as I wish.

Be clever, follow God alone, follow the Quran alone, follow the only Salat authorised by God, they are three Salat.

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For the Quranic details of the three salat please check the following page:

Three Salat authorised in the Quran