placement of 2:238 has generated a lot of debate among the exegetes. It reads
حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَى وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ
Guard strictly your
prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before Allah in a devoutly.
To me the most
plausible opinion is that of Islāhī
according to whom this verse is actually the last of the directives stated in
Sūrah Baqarah regarding the Sharī‘ah that began with verse 177. Verse 177 also
mentions the prayer. In this way, a section which began with the prayer also
ends with it keeping in view its supreme importance in Islam.
The words ‘Salātu’l-Wustā’,
in my opinion, do not connote a specific prayer. They actually mean
‘Salātu’l-Wustā bayna’l-‘amal’. This implies every prayer that comes in between
any activity. In other words, it does not connote any specific prayer but rather
any prayer that might seem to interrupt some work/activity/routine one might be
doing. Muslims are told to be specially mindful of such a prayer and to guard it
with more diligence since one tends to be a little careless about such a prayer
and is always thinking of postponing it.