Muslims have five daily obligatory prayers these are
Fajr- pre dawn
Maghrib - just after sunset
Isha - evening
These prayers are likened to appointments to meet your Lord. They are a time to stop and thank God for the bounty that He has given you and to seek help in anything that is troubling you. It renews the spirit and gives one new found energy. But more importantly it is a reminder of how much we need God and shows us that He is always near. God says in The Qur'an:
"When my servants (humankind) ask you (the Prophet) concerning Me, I am indeed close to them. I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he/she calls upon Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My Call (Islam) and believe in Me, that they may walk in the right Way."
(Chapter 2: verse 186)
Prayer, as a direct connection to God, assumes a great importance in Muslim life . Often Muslims will perform optional prayers in addition to the obligatory five daily prayers because of the spiritual benefit it brings. God is the giver of blessings and the forgiver of sins and these daily prayers keep Muslims mindful of this. At the same time they offer regular breaks in the daily rush to reflect on life and ones affairs in the greater context of ones relationship with God.
In Islam prayer can be offered almost anywhere; home, office, school, etc. But for congregational prayers and social events all Muslim communities form "Masjids" (literally "places of prayer") in which to gather. Around the world Muslim communities build these places of worship on general guidelines (i.e. a large open central area for the prayer itself with a "Mihrab" (pulpit or alcove) indicating the direction of the Kaba in Mecca (the direction towards which all Muslims pray).
Many Masjids also have schools, multipurpose halls, cemeteries, etc. attached to serve the community in their respective capacities. But beyond these basics each group of people adds a little of their own culture and background to the design of the building itself. The designs of Masjids show the diversity of the Muslim community and the artistic and architectural influences that have, over the centuries, contributed to the richness of Islamic art and architecture.
Please visit our FREE Qur'an page if you would like to download or read the Quran.