How many raka?

Traditional Muslims conduct their Salat in units which they call raka. One raka is a cycle of standing, bowing then 2 prostrations. They also follow a strict format for the Salat which is 24434. This means that the first of their Salat (Fajr) has 2 raka, the second of their Salat (Zhohr) has 4 raka and so on. We don’t find this format, nor any other format in the Quran. In addition, the word raka itself is not found in the Quran.

The Quran gives us the following assurances:

Should I seek other than God as a lawmaker when it is He who has brought down to you the Book fully detailed?

We did not leave anything out of the Book.

This (Quran) is not a fabricated hadith, but an authentication of what came before it, a detailed account of all things, and guidance and mercy for people who believe.12:111

We brought the Book down to you providing explanations for all things, guidance, mercy, and good news for the Submitters.

Nevertheless, many still argue against God's words about the full detailed attribute of the Quran. They are often heard saying:

- "If the Quran has all the details, then can you show me where do we find the number of raka in the Quran?"

By asking such a question, they rubber stamp a clear admission that they do not believe any of the above verses!
They will reject the direct and straightforward meaning of these verses and will always come up with a twisted meaning then claim that these verses in fact, mean something else!

Indeed the Quran does not have any number of raka, but it is not because the Quran does not have all the details, but because the concept of raka itself is not authorised by God.
As a result, when they ask to be shown the number of raka in the Quran, the answer to them would be: How can we show you in the Quran something that was never authorised by God in the first place?

Their question about the number of raka is not any different from someone asking the following question:
- "Where would we find in the Quran the number of pebbles we must throw when we observe the ritual of rajm (stoning) during our Hajj?"
The same answer is given:
God never authorised the ritual of stoning, so how do you expect God to provide a number (of pebbles) for a ritual that He never authorised in the first place?

The Quranic Salat is simply made up of standing, bowing then prostrating in that order. This means that as soon as prostration is observed, the Salat is complete.
To observe one sequence of standing, bowing and prostrating does not mean that the Salat will be reduced to a very short time either! Not at all, those who observe Salat are free to spend as much or as little time in each of the three positions. One can stand in prayer for two minutes, twenty minutes or for any duration of time. The same applies to how much time is spent bowing and prostrating.

Some have also suggested that in 4:101 God gives us the concession to shorten our Salat at times of war or danger. As a result, they claim that the Salat must be made up of at least 2 raka since it is not possible to shorten one raka!
Once again, the error in their interpretation is because they chose a starting point (number of raka) which is not a Quranic concept, thus their result is also un-Quranic.
Shortening the Salat is related to the overall time that is given to the Salat and not to the number of the un-Quranic rakas observed. How can it be possible that God would instruct us to shorten something He never authorised in the first place?
When we adopt the correct meaning of shortening the Salat (time spent), it follows that if we normally spend 10 or 15 minutes in our Salat, at times of war this can be shortened to only a few minutes. In all cases, the Salat would still be comprised of standing, bowing then prostrating.

In addition, we are given Quranic evidence in 4:102 that prostration marks the end of the Salat. The words in 4:102 which speak to the prophet (or to any leader of the Salat at times of war) say:

And if you are among them and you lead the Salat for them, let a group of them stand with you and let them hold on to their weapons. Then once they have prostrated, let them be positioned behind you and let another group, who has not yet observed the Salat, observe the Salat with you while remaining cautious and while holding on to their weapons. 4:102

The words
'once they have prostrated' are very clear and they indicate that as soon as any group has prostrated, this would mark the end of their Salat, and thus another group may come and observe the Salat with the same Imam. Note that God never said that they should prostrate a number of times, nor did God say that they should stand and repeat the cycle. A clear Quranic proof that the Salat is complete after the first prostration.
If we wish to repeat any of the positions of the Salat, or all of them, as many times as we wish, that is fine, but we should never impose rules and un-Quranic concepts and attribute them to God. This in the Quran is labelled as an act of shirk:

Or do they have 'shuraka' (partners) who legislate for them of the religion what God did not authorise? If it were not for a decisive Word, judgement would have already been passed over them. Indeed, the transgressors shall have a painful punishment. 42:21

The word
'shuraka' is the plural of the word 'shareek' which means partner. The importance of this word should not be overlooked.
God could have said: 'do they have others who legislate for them', but God deliberately chose the word 'shuraka'. The word 'shareek' is an adjective from the noun 'shirk' (setting up partners with God in any of His exclusive rights). One of God's exclusive rights is that He is the Only Lawmaker (6:114). Since the words in 42:21 connect the word 'shuraka' with the words 'of the religion what God did not authorised', thus the word 'shuraka' in this verse can only be speaking about partners with God in His exclusive right to be the Only Lawmaker. It follows that all who advocate or follow religious rules or rituals not authorised by God are committing shirk. On the Day of Judgement, those who committed shirk will be asked:'where are your shuraka?' (6:22).