Prayers (Salaat) was made obligatory in and as always Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) leads all Sahabah in performing the prayers. In fact, when Salaat was first legislated (before incorporation in the Shariah), most Sahabah had not even accepted Islam.
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) listing the many firsts to his credit:
You are the first man (Muslim) to pray with me, while the people were steeped in paganism. (Jahiliyyah).
- Uyoon al-Akhbar v 1 p 303-304
- Basharah al-Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) v 2 p 125-126, 220-221
- Behar al-Anwar v 38 p 139-140, v 39 p 211-212
Precedence of Ameerul Momineen – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) – in prayers (Salaat) over all Muslims is well-documented. This is clearly established even by the Ahle Tasannun going by the following reports.
- Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) declared – I am the servant of Allah and the brother of His Prophet (s.a.w.a.), I am the Foremost Testifier, none shall claim this after me except a liar. I preceded others in prayers by seven years.
- Sunan of Ibn Maajah trad. 117
- Kanz al-Ummal trad. 32,939
- Also Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain v 3 p 111-112
- The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed – Indeed the angels invoked blessings on me and on Ali for seven years, because over that period there was none praying along with me except Ali (a.s.).
- Osod al-Ghaabah fi Marifah al-Saḥaabah v 4 p 18
- Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) declared to Usman (Ibn Affan) – I am better than you and both of them (first and second claimants). I worshipped Allah before both of them as also after them.
- Al-Fusool al-Mukhtarah part 88 – Age of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) at the time of embracing Islam
- When a person was abusing Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) companions countered: Isn’t he (Ali a.s.) the first to accept Islam and the foremost in praying Salaat?
- Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain v 3 p 500
Yet these very Sahabah were (and are being) given precedence by the Muslims over Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in caliphate, as if precedence in Salaat – the foundation of religion – has no meaning for them.