Emirati Imam Sheikh Jassim Al Ameri leading the Taraweeh prayer at the Rashidiya Mosque. -Supplied photo
Prayer (Salah) is a unique training and developmental programme which, if well and devotedly performed, can help a Muslim achieve valuable spiritual, physical, and ethical gains.
Fasting without prayer makes our fast soulless. Salah is a major form of worship that a Muslim offers five times a day regularly. It is an obligation upon a Muslim and no excuses are acceptable when it comes to offering Salah. The offering of Salah, in addition of representing the submission of Muslims to their Lord, also has other benefits as well. Establishing Salah is one of the major topics upon which the Quran has emphasised more than anything else.
It is the second pillar of Islam, first being the Testimony of Faith (by which one becomes a Muslim).
Strengthening the foundations of our faith, salah prepares a person to live the life of goodness and obedience to Allah and builds courage and determination. Every time we perform Salah, we renew our commitments to Allah and we rid ourselves from worldly pressures five times a day.
According to a Hadith, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came to him one day and asked him: “What is the thing that Allah loves most?” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) replied: “The thing that Allah loves most is when his people pray Salah on time.”
The last thing that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasised on his deathbed was Salah. He also said the first thing we will be answerable for, on the Day of Judgement, is Salah.
While in Salah one communicates with Allah and experiences His presence. While performing the Salah, a Muslim is nearest to Allah when he does Sajdah (prostration in front of the Almighty).
Syedna Abu Huraira, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), said: “The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state) [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Syeda Aysha Siddiqa, wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), narrates that the prophet used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Quran) before he would lift his head. [Sahih Al Bukhari].
In another Hadith narrated by Syedna Anas bin Malik, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised Muslims to perform Sajdah and bowing (Ruku) calmly and to get up only when the body has come to ease.
Salah does not ordain one simply to do the exercise of standing and sitting. The main gist of its observance is remembrance of Allah. It all depends on how an individual feels Allah’s presence and how attentive and conscious he is while reciting the Holy Quran, only then can Salah stop him from indulgence in sins, else Salah performed sans all these qualities, is like exercise in futility performed by a hypocrite.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The type of Salah performed by (hypocrites) is devoid of Allah’s remembrance or has very little of it.” What one (hypocrite) gets out of this Salah is nothing else other than widening of the gulf between him and Allah. Quran testifies that: “And keep up the prayers for My remembrance” (Quran 20:114)
The development of sublimity in the human character, quite averse to instinctive qualities, is generated in human nature by the remembrance of Allah quite often and very regularly five times a day.
A person once asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to tell him one of the commandments of Islam that he should practice diligently all his life. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Keep your tongue always moist with the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah.
(The columnist is a former Khaleej Times staffer)
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