Where in the Quran is it said that one should pray 5 times a day?
In the Holy Quran, only two verses speak about the praying times, and only three times are mentioned for the daily prayers, and not five times.
The first verse is in Surah Hud: Maintain the prayer at the two ends of the day, and during the early hours of the night.
The interpretation of “Tarafi al-Nahar (two ends of the day)” refers to the Morning Prayer which is performed at the beginning of the day, and the Noon and Afternoon prayers that may be held until sunset. In other words, this verse clearly implies that the time of Noon and Afternoon prayers continues until sunset.
However, considering that “Zolf” is the plural form of “Zolfeh”, as it is said by Mukhtar Al-Sahah and Ragheb in the book of Mofradat, it means part of the early night, which also refers to the time of Maghrib and Isha prayers.
The second verse is in Surah Al-Isra: Maintain the prayer from the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and [observe particularly] the dawn recital. Indeed, the dawn recital is attended [by angels].
“Doluk (the sun’s decline)” means to incline, and here it refers to the inclination of the sun from the meridian line, meaning the decline of noon.
“Ghasaq al-Layl”; (Meaning the darkness of the night) have been interpreted by some as beginning of the night and by some as the middle of the night. Because as Ragheb has said in “Mofradat”, “Ghasaq” means the intensity of the darkness of the night which is the middle of the night.
Therefore, “Doluk al-Shams” refers to the beginning of the time of the noon prayer and “Ghasaq al-Layl” refers to the end of the time of Maghrib and Isha prayers. Also, “Quran Al-Fajr” refers to the morning prayer.
In any case, in the holy verse, only three times are mentioned for daily prayers, and not five times, and this is the reason for the permission of praying in three times.
We also have several narrations that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sometimes prayed Noon and Afternoon prayers or Maghrib and Isha prayers together, without any excuse and outside of travel.