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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

Also called salat al-atama (salat of black night), and salat al-layl (night prayer). When the people felt need of burning lamp in early night. (Ibid. p. 24). Its time begins soon after the disappearance of the twilight and extends until the end of the first third of the night.

According to The Encyclopaedia of Islam (1995, 8:926), "In the Koran as a whole, the times of prayers are indicated with a richness of vocabulary which shows a practice still at the evolutionary state. There are, it seems, three essential times, to which the median prayer is added somewhat later."

W. Montgomery Watt writes in Muhammad in Medina (London, 1956, p. 305) that, "When the worship was stabilized by the later jurists, it became obligatory for every Muslim to perform it five times daily. It is doubtful, however, whether the five daily hours were regularly observed even during Muhammad's closing years, and a phrase in the Quran shows that there must have been at least three hours of prayer daily."

In view of The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (London, 1956, 10:197), "Some of the earliest verses of the Quran require Muslims to perform the salat thrice every day in the morning before sunrise, at the close of day, and during a part of the night."

"And glorify the name of your Lord morning and evening, and adore Him during part of the night, and give glory to Him through the long night." (36:25-26)

Above verse further boost to explicit evidence of three times prayer as well as the midnight worship in a day. This Islamic practice in fact is being performed by the Shi'ite Ismaili Muslims.

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