Keeping away from sins

Indeed, the prayer restrains (one) from indecency and forbidden conduct” (29:45). The underlying idea behind this verse of the Holy Quran is twofold that is Salaat has got the spiritual effect of making an individual immune from vices. But this immunity from transgressing the commands of Allah is subject to the observance of Salaat constantly and regularly.

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

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Published: Thu 9 Sep 2010, 10:29 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:32 AM

This is similar to the need to give regular doses of medicine to a patient. To get rid of spiritual illness, one should present himself before Almighty Allah with all devotion of the heart and soul, and should not act contrary to the norms of His commands. In this way, the individual will himself feel how far his regularity in the observance of Salaat has exerted a salutary effect on him.

The second underlying idea is the fact that after one’s covenant with Almighty God, while he presents himself before Allah with full devotion of the heart and soul, he should not act adversely to His commands. In other words, Salaat prohibits the devotees five times a day not to indulge in vices. It is now up the individual to go as far as possible in his honesty to keep up with his commitments to Allah. It is certainly an established fact that Salaat exerts spiritual influence on the individual.

The Holy Quran is also explicit in this matter: “Surely Allah enjoins justice and kindness and giving (gifts) to kinsmen and forbids indecency, wrongdoing and rebellion. He admonished you so that you may be mindful” (16:90).

It is hence unfortunate if, even after these exhortations by Allah one does not desist from indulgence in sins. It should be taken for certain that observance of Salaat five times a day is subject to obedience to the commandments of Allah.

Salaat does not ordain one simply to carry out the exercise of sitting and standing. The main gist of its observance is remembrance of Almighty Allah. It all depends on how far an individual feels Allah’s presence around him, and how attentive his heart and soul are while reciting the Holy Quran. It is only when these two conditions are positively met that Salaat can stop him from indulging in sins. Otherwise, Salaat performed without observing these conditions is an exercise in futility performed by a hypocrite.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said, “the type of Salaat performed by (hypocrites) is devoid of Allah’s remembrance or has very little of it. What one (the hypocrite) gets out of this Salaat is nothing else other than widening of the gulf between him and Allah.”

The Holy Quran testifies,” … And keep up the prayers for My remembrance” (20:114).

Remembrance of Allah is the gist of all prayers, or else these are all exercises in futility. It is Allah’s remembrance that one must always carry out. Time and again the Holy Quran mentions three forbidden things: transgression, unwise action and indecency.

Humans are bestowed with three instinctive powers, the bestial or carnal power, imaginative or satanic power and wrathful or carnivorous power.

When rational power is overcast by satanic power unwise actions are committed. In case man is overcome by the wrathful sense, he crosses the human limits and becomes a brute. He plays violently with the life, property and honour of others with highhandedness.

There regular observance of Salaat leaves a solitary effect on Muslims in such a manner as to keep these potential powers purified and duly controlled by wisdom.

The development of sublimity in the human character, quite averse to instinctive qualities, is generated in human nature by Allah’s remembrance quite often and very regularly five times a day. Sometimes some good acts over remembrance of Allah, but Allah’s favour should always be sought after. Anywhere, anytime if one feels inclined towards committing a sin, he should immediately divert his thoughts towards Allah.

The Holy Quran and Hadith are very explicit on this matter.

“Whenever a believer remembers Allah, he gets a response. This is a great honour which one should always seek.”

Someone asked the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) about an effective way among the several commandments of Allah, to desist oneself from indulging in sins. The holy Prophet (peace be upon him) told him: “Keep your tongue wet with Allah’s remembrance,” By this he meant that one should always pronounce Allah’s greatness.

Shah Waliullah, an eminent Islamic scholar, in one of his treatises wrote: “The time spent in performing Salaat is well spent because one is away from committing sins.” This is an appropriate interpretation of the Quranic verse: “And, indeed, remembrance of Allah’s is the greatest (virtue). And Allah knows what you do” (29:45).

It means Allah knows who is honest in his act and who is not. His treatment is according to the sincerity of each individual.

“O Allah, please give us strength to observe Salaat in such a way which would bestow favour upon us.” Ameen!

Khwaja Mohammed Zubair is former Khaleej Times staffer

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