Are We Praying?

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Amna Ahmad

Latest posts by Amna Ahmad (see all)

salah hibaIn today’s materialistic world, Muslims are often so lost in mundane pursuits that they end up giving a blind eye to their Salah, which scars their connection with Allah (swt) the Almighty. Here’s a reminder to all the brothers and sisters to keep the bond with Allah (swt) strong.

Salah has Falah

Salah, being the second pillar of Islam, is the most important form of worship that Muslims perform for Allah (swt). It is also the first thing a person shall be accountable for on the Day of Judgment. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Salah is a pillar of the religion (Islam). He who establishes it, establishes religion; and he who destroys it, destroys religion.” (Tabrani)

Salah contributes to the moral development of a worshipper and also nourishes him or her spiritually, as it is sustenance for the human soul. Furthermore, Salah in congregation helps to establish healthy social relations between various members of the Muslim Ummah.

Belief in the divine existence of Allah (swt) is turned into a certainty, when the believer performs Salah, in which the glorification of the Creator is carried out and help and guidance is sought from Him. The Holy Quran says: “So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” (Al-Hijr 15:98-99)

It is obligatory for all adults (sane male and female Muslims) to perform Salah five times a day at the prescribed timings.

Importance of Salah in the light of the Quran and Sunnah

The importance of Salah in Islam is highlighted by the fact that emphasis on establishing regular prayer has occurred 700 times in the Quran. The Quran states: “So woe unto those performers of Salah (prayers) (hypocrites), who delay their Salah (prayer) from their stated fixed times, those who do good deeds only to be seen (of men)” (Al-Maun 107:4-6)

Salah acts as the distinguishing feature between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Failure to offer Salah after verbally admitting the existence of Allah (swt) as the Only Creator comes across as a refusal to obey Him. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said in this regard: “He who gives up prayer has indeed disbelieved.” (Tirmidhi)

Benefits of Salah

The objective of prayer is to remember Allah (swt); hence, the Prophet (sa) has said: “Prayer has been made a coolness for my eyes.”

Praying five times a day renews and strengthens a believer’s close connection with Allah (swt) and makes him God-conscious. He feels that Allah (swt) is within him and he is able to forget all his worldly fears and anxieties as he asks Allah (swt) for guidance and help. It instills in him the realization that Allah (swt) is watching him all the time, and this constant reminder prevents him from surrendering to the worldly temptations and from committing evil deeds.

When performed regularly and punctually, Salah makes a Muslim abstain from sin and keeps him on the straight path that Allah (swt) has enjoined upon him to follow. In relation to this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said: “He, whose Salah does not stop him from committing indecencies, has no prayer.” Thus, Salah enables a Muslim to become God-fearing and stops from straying away from Allah’s (swt) commands.

Meet Allah (swt) in silence and solitude

While performing Salah, it is essential that the believer concentrates only on his worship. He must erase all worldly thoughts from his mind, when he is addressing Allah (swt) the Almighty.

The Prophet (sa) said: “You should worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him; if you do not see Him, then He surely sees you.”(Muslim) Praying with an absent mind is not acceptable. Also, performing Salah to please others and gain their praise are the characteristics of a hypocrite and are condemned in the Quran.

Salah for our body and soul

Salah energizes the soul and takes a Muslim to a higher level of awareness, where he achieves freedom from all earthly connections and boundaries. The early Muslims of the Prophet’s (sa) time would eagerly wait for the call to prayer. One, the Prophet (sa) addressed Bilal (ra), a Muadh-dhin of that time, saying: “O Bilal! Give the call to prayer and bring comfort to my heart.”

In medical terms, Salah relaxes the mind and body, and harmonizes blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. According to Amina Asad’s book “Healing Body and Soul”, “Many studies now show the evidence of reduced rates of depression, melancholy, sorrow and pessimism among individuals who perform their prayers regularly.”

Regular offering of Salah five times a day develops qualities of punctuality and perseverance in a person.

According to the Quran: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-2)

Regular Salah creates a routine in the life of a Muslim that consists of waking up early for the morning prayer and sleeping early after the night prayer. It also makes him self-disciplined, as he must perform prayer, no matter what he may be doing at the moment. If he is unable to perform it standing due to sickness, then he must perform while sitting down, and if that is difficult, then while lying down.

Various bodily postures, such as sitting, bowing and prostrating, and the recitation of Quranic verses in Salah are used to express complete adoration for and submission to Allah (swt). A believer must perform his Salah humbly, reinforcing his total dependence on his Creator.

The Quran emphasizes: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-3)

Salah is, therefore, the most vital link between a Muslim and his Creator, which allows him to be close to Allah (swt) and seek help from Him, and also the best tool for the harmonization of Muslim society.

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