Offering three Rak`ahs for the `Asr Prayer

Q 2: Some people offer the ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayer as three Rak‘ahs (units of Prayer), and sometimes they offer Salah (Prayer) without pronouncing Taslim (salutation of peace ending the Prayer). What is the ruling on their Salah?

A: First, the number of Rak‘ahs of the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers prescribed every day is known and fixed by Ijma‘ (consensus) of Muslim scholars and lay people. The ‘Asr Prayer consists of four Rak‘ahs; nothing can be added to or removed from them. If a person adds anything to the Prayer or removes anything from it, they have changed the religion of Islam. They should be advised and taught if they are ignorant. If they insist on their ignorance, or they know the correct ruling, they are considered apostates from Islam, and they should be reported to the concerned entity to examine their case. Second, Taslim is one of the pillars of Salah; it is impermissible to end Salah without it, according to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) about Salah: “The key to Salah is purification. Its Tahrim (forbiddance of any actions outside prayer) is (starts) with the Takbir (saying: ‘Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]’ upon commencing Prayer) and its Tahallul (ending of the praying state) is with the Taslim (salutation of peace ending the Prayer).” If a person ends Salah without Taslim, their Salah is invalid. If they are ignorant, they should be taught the correct ruling. All the Muslims everywhere should learn the obligatory matters of Shari‘ah (Islamic law) from which no one is excused for ignorance, including the way of Salah, which is one of the pillars of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said concerning it: (Part No. 5; Page No. 434)  “Offer Salah (Prayer) the way you have seen me offering Salah.” (Related by Al-Bukhari) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.