Saturday, April 14, 2018

Prayers (Salah)

Believers of all religion have their places of worship which they go to to attend routine religious sermons or bowing their heads to their Creator. The Jews go to the Synagogues, the Christians attend the Churches and Muslims got to the Masjids (mosques) to offer their prayers and thank the Almighty Allah for the blessings bestowed upon them and seek forgiveness of the sins they may have committed.

While in other religions, the attendance is usually once a week, the Muslims have to bow their heads in front of their Creator five times a day. Although the offering of prayers in a masjid is much preferred, the midday prayer on Fridays is mandatory to be offered in the special Friday congregation in masjid.

The prayer (Salah in Arabic), which should generally take 5-10 minutes each, establishes a direct link between a Muslim and Allah with no one in between. The five times exclusively set for prayers start before the dawn, noon, afternoon, just after the sunset and late at night. The complete cycle thus begins a Muslim's day with a prayer and ends with a prayer with three other prayers at varying intervals during day with the movement of sun.

At a number of places in the Qur'an, Allah has commanded believers to offer prayers for it prayers directly connects a believer to Allah:

اِنَّنِىۡۤ اَنَا اللّٰهُ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاعۡبُدۡنِىۡ ۙ وَاَقِمِ الصَّلٰوةَ لِذِكۡرِىۡ‏ 
"Verily I am Allah. There is no god beside Me. So serve Me and establish Prayers to remember Me." (Surah 20 Ta Ha :14) 
This is the real object of Salat. It has been prescribed to remind people that they should not become neglectful of Allah by worldly diversions and that they should remember that man is not an unbridled free being but a servant of Allah. Salat has been prescribed five times a day to remind man of Allah’s presence.
The five prayers are offered before the dawn , noon, mid afternoon, just after sunset and then at night.

Once a man asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the most virtuous deed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated that the most virtuous deed is the prayer. The man asked again and again. The first three times, the Prophet (peace be upon him) again answered, "The prayer," then on the fourth occasion he stated, "Jihad in the way of Allah." [This is form a hadith recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban. According to al-Albani, the hadith is hasan. Muhammad Nasir al-Din al-Albani, Sahih al-Targheeb wa al-Tarheeb (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1982), vol. 1, p. 150]

The importance of offering prayers can be gauged from one of the saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him):
"The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad." [Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.
Since prayers are obligatory, these have to be offered no matter where one is. If a masjid is nearby, it is better performed there. But in case a masjid is not nearby, it can be offered anywhere, be it one's home, office or any place of work. Even one is not allowed to miss a a prayer when traveling. However for travelers a 50% concession is given in their numbers.

The prayers are a type of purification for a human being. He turns and meets with his Lord five times a day. As alluded to above, this repeated standing in front of Allah should keep the person from performing sins during the day. Furthermore, it should also be a time of remorse and repentance, such that he earnestly asks Allah for forgiveness for those sins that he committed. In addition, the prayer in itself is a good deed that wipes away some of the evil deeds that he performed. These points can be noted in the following hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
"If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?" The people said, "No filth would remain on him whatsoever." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them." (Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Ablution is a must before offering a prayer. One has to be clean to offer a prayer physically as well as the clothes one is wearing. One has to take a bath in case of performance of marital engagement. In case the water is not available, one can cleanse oneself with dust called Tayammum. 

The details of these process and method of offering prayer will be added shortly.

You may refer to our reference page: As Salat / Prayers for any Q&A you may have with regard to prayers.

Photo | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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