𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐡𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐈𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐖𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Islamic prayer, called Salah, is the second pillar of Islam. It is mandatory for a sane adult Muslim to pray five times a day. Be it a man or a woman, rich or poor, young (above 10 years of age) or old, healthy or sick it is obligatory for a Muslim to bow down and submit himself to Allah. In fact:
An adult Muslim man is never exempted from offering prayer even if he is on a battlefield or on his death bed. A Muslim woman however is exempted from not praying in two situations: she is either menstruating or she is in a state of postpartum bleeding. Beyond these two reasons she too must sincerely pray and fulfill her obligation to Allah.
Salah is so important to Allah (see ‘Message of Allah to His Creation‘) that on the night of Isra He initially ordered our Prophet (pbuh) and his Ummah to pray 50 times a day. Since continuous worship would consume the whole day The Prophet (pbuh) requested Allah to bring down that number.
After few deliberations the number was brought down to five. However Allah said to The Prophet (pbuh), those who pray 5 times a day will be rewarded equal to praying 50 times a day. That’s 10 times more !!
O Muhammad! Indeed My Word does not change; these five prayers will be recorded for you as fifty. ~ Tirmidhi 2/65
The Importance of Salah
Salah is a must-do ritual for every Muslim. Infact the Sharia considers a Muslim to be like a disbeliever if he does not prayer 5 times a day. This is understood from the following narration of The Prophet (pbuh),
Between a person and Kufr (disbelief) is abandoning the prayer. ~ Ibn Majah 5/1131
Quran has also explicitly mentioned that those who don’t pray five times a day will find a place in Hell.
(And they will say to them) “What led you to Hell Fire?” They will say, “We were not of those who prayed.” ~ Quran 74:42-43
On the day of resurrection, the first question the believer will be asked is about his Salah. The Prophet (pbuh) warned:
The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is complete, then the voluntary (prayers) will also be recorded for him (as an increase). If it is not complete then Allah will say to His angels: ‘Look and see whether you find any voluntary prayers for My slave, and take them to make up what is lacking from his obligatory prayers. Then all his deeds will be reckoned in like manner. ~ Ibn Majah 5/1492
The Quran says:
And when it is said to them, “Bow” (in prayer). they do not bow. Woe … to the deniers! ~ Quran 77:48-49
And then we have this verse from The Quran where Allah says the very purpose in creating all of us is to worship Him:
I created the jinn and men only to worship Me. ~ Quran 51:56
Salah for Children: Since this section is about the importance of Salah, the Sharia has an advise for parents too. As praying is not mandatory for children below 10 years of age, parents are advised to get their children accustomed to praying from the age of 7.
Slowly inculcating the habit ensures that parents don’t face any push back from the child once he attains the age of puberty. Else managing children in today’s age, where we have lots of fitna, is extremely difficult.
Thus if you practice the following Sunnah, then, in sha Allah, getting children to pray when they become 10 years old is much easier. But beware: if you don’t have a habit of praying yourself then probably it will have an impact on your child too.
The Prophet (pbuh) advised:
Command your children to pray when they become 7 years old, and beat them (lightly; if they don’t pray) when they become 10 years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately. ~ Abu Dawud 2/105
Pray because Prayer Prohibits Immorality and Wrongdoing
The immediate question is, how does Salah prohibits immorality and wrongdoing? Here’s an explanation. Prayer is an expression of communicating with the Divine, an act that purifies our soul or helps us get closer to Allah in many ways. Praying from the bottom of the heart, sincerely, helps one become God fearing and helps him not do things that he would have done otherwise.
Thus Salah is a guardian for the believer from evil, and that level of devotion reminds a sincere Muslim to develop and build a good moral character. One who does not do that then Allah says in The Quran:
And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him. ~ Quran 43:36
Thus sincerity in Salah makes one God conscious and saves the person from doing anything wrong that will lower his chance of getting into Paradise. But if someone performs evil things in spite of praying is a consequence of not remembering Allah from the bottom of his heart. So, remembering Allah in the Salah with full devotion is equally important than just praying merely. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
There is no Muslim who performs wudu and performs it well and then stands and offers 2 units of prayer with devotion of heart and mind in the two of them, except that Paradise becomes guaranteed for him. ~ Muslim 288
One can argue that there are many non-Muslims or Muslims who don’t pray yet have a good character. However if you consider the long term implications of goodness, it means whether the person will be successful in the Hereafter or not. If no Paradise for that person despite having a good character then what is the value and resultant benefit of his goodness?
Thus if you want Allah’s help and Him to be with you (in this world and in the Hereafter), then remind yourself the following verse from The Quran:
O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Indeed Allah is with the one who is patient. ~ Quran 2:153
Importance of Dressing up for Salah
While praying is important, there are certain ground rules for a prayer to be valid. Here are six conditions for a Salah to be accepted by Allah. These apply before someone starts praying.
- The time for prayer must have begun. This is the most important condition. A prayer offered before its time has begun is not valid.
- Covering the Awrah (parts of the body which must be covered with clothing). If a person prays with his Awrah uncovered, his prayer is not valid. The (basic) awrah for a man is covering of navel to knee and the awrah for a woman is covering from head to toe.
- Free from ritual purity: Being in the state of Ghusul or being in Wudhu.
- Free from tangible purity (najas): purity of the body, purity of the clothes, purity of the place where the prayer is offered.
- Facing the qiblah – the direction of Mecca
- Stating the right intention of the prayer (or niyah)
One of the conditions for a prayer to be valid is wearing of clean clothes. If the clothes are dirty then it has an impact on the validity of the prayer.
Not only wearing clean clothes is crucial but it is equally important for a believer to dress up well for Salah. Wearing any kind of clean dress (viz. sleepwear etc.) is not sufficient but weightage is given to how well one has dressed. The Quran says:
O Children of Adam! Adopt your beauty (dress well) at every place of Salah (wherever you pray)… ~ Quran 7:31
The rationale is if we go well dressed to work or a family function but do not wear the best of our attires while going to masjid (for men) or praying at home (for women), then we are, in a sense, doing disservice to the above Quranic guidance from Allah. The best of attire would vary depending on the capacity of the individual. If the person is poor he should dress up with whatever best he has within his own capacity.
Importance of Each of the Five Salah
>> Fajr Salah time: After dawn and before sunrise. This is one of the most blessed. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
He will never enter the Fire, the one who prays before the sun rises (Fajr) and before it sets (Asr). ~ Nasai 5/24
In another instance The Prophet (pbuh) said:
Whoever offers the morning prayer (Fajr), he is under the protection of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. ~ Muslim 5/330 | Ibn Majah 36/21
Giving a perspective of how important Fajr Salah is and what it entails, The Prophet (pbuh) said,
The two rakahs (before) Fajr are better than the world and what is in it. ~ Muslim 6/118 | Tirmidhi 2/269 | Nasai 20/162
>> Zuhr Salah time: After the sun declines from its zenith until it is about midway on its course to set. The Prophet (pbuh) would pray four (Rakah) after the Zawal of the sun before Az-Zuhr. He (pbuh) said:
It is an hour in which the gates of the heavens are opened, and I love that a righteous deed should be raised up for me in it. ~ Tirmidhi 3/26
>> Asr Salah time: After the expiration of the noon prayer until sunset. The Quran states,
Guard strictly your (five obligatory) prayers, especially the middle prayer. ~ Quran 2:238
There’s a difference of opinion among the scholars on which is the ‘middle prayer’. Some believe it is the Fajr prayer as Islamic day starts after sun sets. However some scholars believe it is Asr and that is more correct opinion based on one narration of The Prophet (pbuh). On the day of al-Ahzaab, he (pbuh) said, “They distracted us from the middle prayer, Asr prayer.” Another reason is because The Prophet (pbuh) emphasized the calamity of missing it and described it as loss of family and wealth.
Anyone who loses his Asr prayer is like a person whose family has perished and whose property has been looted. ~ Abu Dawud 2/24
The importance of Fajr and Asr Salah can be derived from the following message by The Prophet (pbuh):
Whoever could get one rakah (of the Fajr prayer) before sunrise, he has got the (morning) prayer and whoever could get one rakah of the Asr prayer before sunset, he has got the (Asr) prayer. ~ Bukhari 9/55
>> Maghrib Salah time: After the sun sets until all reddish of sun finishes (about 20 minutes).
The Prophet (pbuh) said,
My Ummah will continue to continue to be on good (or he said on Fitrah) so long as they do not delay the Maghrib until the stars have come out. ~ Ibn Majah 2/23
>> Isha Salah time: After the expiration of the Maghrib prayer time until dawn. The Prophet (pbuh) said,
If people knew what (reward) there is in the Isha prayer and Fajr prayer, they would come even if they had to crawl. ~ Bukhari 657 | Ibn Majah 796
Importance of Praying in a Congregation
Great rewards for congregational prayer have been mentioned in the hadiths, some of which have been cited below. The more the people present in congregational prayer, the more it’s reward. One should also ensure that he gets his place in the first row, as standing in the first row has greater reward as compared to the second and thereafter. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
If the people knew what (reward) is in the call (Adhan) and the first row, and they found no other way to get that except drawing lots, then they would draw lots. ~ Tirmidhi 2/77
The Prophet (pbuh) highlighted the reward of praying in congregation v/s praying alone by saying,
The prayer in congregation is 27 times superior to the prayer offered by person alone. ~ Bukhari 645
Not just praying in congregation is meritorious for men but it is must for men to pray together in masjid. The following hadith alludes the seriousness of this aspect where The Prophet (pbuh) said:
Certainly, I felt the urge to order the Mu’adhdhin (call-maker) so that he would pronounce Iqama, then order a man to lead the people (in prayer), then take a flame of fire so that I burn (the houses) upon those who had not left for the prayer yet. ~ Bukhari 10/51
If some people are late for Salah (i.e. when Salah has started) many people hastily rush towards the congregation. The Prophet (pbuh) discouraged this by saying:
When you come to pray, do not come rushing; come walking in a dignified manner, and whatever you catch up with, pray, and whatever you miss, make it up. ~ Nasai 10/85
For women, it is better and more meritorious if they pray at home. However if they wish to go to masjid to pray they should not be stopped. It is also said that if the woman prays alone at home she will get the same reward as the men get when attending the congregational prayer.
Importance of Leaving for Jummah (Friday) Salah Early
The following verse from The Quran is explicit:
When the call is made (Azan) for the Salah on the day of Jum’ah (Friday), then hasten to the remembrance of Allah (Khutbah & Salat) and leave business. That is best for you, if you knew. ~ Quran 62:9
The Final Word of Caution for Those Who Don’t Pray
One of the major sins in Islam is not praying five times a day. Every sect of Islam agrees on this. We must also understand that everything in this universe glorifies Allah. Whether we do it or not doesn’t make any difference to Allah ― The Mighty, The Creator, The Sustainer and The Destroyer. In the hindsight, those Muslims who don’t pray might have everything in life but in the Hereafter they will be the ultimate losers.
On those whom Salah is fardh and do not pray, The Quran highlights a serious warning:
Destruction be for those performers of Salah, who neglect their Salah… ~ Quran 107:4-5
The Quran also states elsewhere that everything in this world glorify Allah:
The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him. There is nothing that does not glorify his praises. ~ Quran 17:44
Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth glorifies Allah. ~ Quran 59:1
Some questions to consider, if you have not considered praying yet:
- Is it fair to assume that our prayers won’t be answered if we are half-sincere in our Imaan?
- Don’t we give our best shot at exams in school/college or in our jobs in order to get the best results?
- If we expect Allah to answer our prayers, isn’t it important for us to prove our sincerity and then expect Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, to shower His favors upon us?
If we have accepted Islam as our way of life, then it is expected to be fully on-board. Know that despite their deep faith in Allah, even the Prophets and Messengers went through several trials in life.
Credit Fear Hellfire
Allah knows Best.
Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.
Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan
Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.