All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )
(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا)
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
O Muslims! In the wake of the famous Battle of Yarmuk, the king of the Romans stood asking the remnants of his defeated army. He stood asking them while bitterness has squeezed his heart, anger has filled his chest, and foolish was almost taking away his sense. He told them: Woe to you! Tell me about those who fight against you; are they not human beings like you? They said, Yes of course, O king! Are you larger in number or they? They said, we are more than them in every place. He said, why is it that you’re being defeated? An old man from amongst their warriors answered: they defeat us because they pray at night, fast during the day, fulfill the covenant, and deal with one another equitably .
Indeed, those great qualities and noble potentials, which were testified to by their enemies even before friends were the reasons for that pride and celebrated glory. Such are the reasons that made the outstanding epic of Jihad, paved way for the extraordinary victory, established the universal civilization of Islam, and enabled the people to smack the necks of their enemy, until the earth and its people surrendered to them, and the world yielded to them in utter humiliation. This huge revolution moved our ancestors from the thresholds of Al-Laat and Al-Uzza, and Manât, the other third (idols of the pagan Arabs) to the households of “You alone we worship, and You alone we ask for aid”, wherein are lives aspiring to ascend to the heaven, and souls swimming in perches.
The situation has changed, and the nation has plunged from its meteoric highs, to settle in the dust bowl. Today, it is we who ask ourselves: Why do we condescend while our enemies rise? The answer, dear beloved ones in Allâh, is: Why should that not be when we have lost those lofty qualities and noble values ? I wish it ended at that. I wish it ended at the night prayer which we have lost, and fast during the day, which we have neglected. Had it ended there, the matter would have been simple though it is not unassuming, I swear by the Lord of the Kaabah! But we wasted what is much greater, the obligatory prayer, which is the mainstay of the religion of (Islam), and its basic centerpiece, which today has become an object of disregard and neglect for some people. Allâh, the Almighty, says,
( فَخَلَفَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ خَلۡفٌ أَضَاعُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَٱتَّبَعُواْ ٱلشَّہَوَٲتِۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَلۡقَوۡنَ غَيًّا )
Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salâh (the prayers) and have followed lusts, So they will be thrown in Hell [Maryam : 59].
O Muslims! If we review the conditions of people and attitudes towards prayer, we will discover that they are in categories and classes:
A category of people have been deceived by themselves, deceived by the life of this world, and they thought they will not return to their Lord. Such do not give any regard or value to prayer. They do not offer it at all, or they do offer it sometimes, or during events only. So they are badly in need to correct the basis of faith in their hearts. They need someone to remind them of Allâh, the Almighty. Regarding those who neglected their prayers, Allâh the most High said,
(مَا سَلَڪَكُمۡ فِى سَقَرَ (٤٢) قَالُواْ لَمۡ نَكُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُصَلِّينَ)
“What has caused you to enter Hell?” (42) They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer the Salâh (prayers) [Al-Muddaththir: 42-43].
Their deprivation of intercession, is but a clear evidence that leaving the prayer is of the grave sins.
Our Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), has explained the condition of one who does not pray, the extent of his relationship with other Muslims, and the difference between him and them. In this regard, he (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “The covenant between us and them is prayer. Whoever abandons it, has disbelieved” (Ahmad). This stresses for us the significance of the issue of prayer, and the seriousness of abandoning it.
So fear Allâh, O you who abandon the prayer. Let all those who neglect the prayer know that they are committing a fatal mistake, and lethal act, upon which the whole of their fate depends, if they fail to bail out themselves, and stop their obstinacy. They have wronged themselves, and exposed themselves to the wrath and torment of Allâh. Moreover, we call upon such people with every sympathy and sincerity, we call upon them while our hearts are squeezed with fear, pain and pity for them. We invite them to reconsider their reality, and the course of their lives. We summon them to examine themselves, and ponder over their situation, before it is too late. We indeed advise them not to be carried away by appearances, nor be deceived by the health and wellness, youth and strength, they live in. These are only a mirage in a desert, which the thirsty one thinks it to be water. Swiftly do they disappear and wear off. Sound health will be followed by sickness, youthfulness is being chased by old age, and strength is doomed to weakness. Let those who neglect prayers remember that they would return to the bleak graves and dark pits, when no wealth nor offspring, nor friend nor wife would avail.
Slaves of Allâh! There is another class of people who would delay the prayer past its fixed time. They perform it according to their whims, in line with their mood, and according to their circumstances. If they were asleep they would perform it when they are awake, and if they were busy they would observe it at their leisure hours. Thus, Prayer is a secondary thing in their lives, and a naive thing in their minds. Such illusionist people have failed to realize that they are the ones meant by the saying of Allâh, the Almighty:
( فَوَيۡلٌ۬ لِّلۡمُصَلِّينَ (٤) ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَن صَلَاتِہِمۡ سَاهُونَ )
So woe unto those performers of Salâh (prayers) (hypocrites), (4) Those who delay their Salâh (prayer from their stated fixed times) [Ma’un: 4-5].
Masruq, May Allâh bestow mercy on him, said, “i.e. they do not perform the prayer on the prescribed time.”
Al-Faruq, may Allâh be pleased with him, was stabbed with a poisoned dagger belonging to Abu Lu’luah. He was carried to his house in a state between life and death, while the people say: O Leader of the faithful! Prayer! Prayer! But he replies: Yes, prayer! Hence, there is no place in Islam for those who neglect the prayer. In spite of the severity of affliction with tragedy and terror, the Muslims did not forget about the prayer, neither did Umar, may Allâh be pleased with him, neglect it.
Az-Zuhri, May Almighty Allâh bestow mercy upon him, said, “I visited Anas bin Malik at Damascus and found him weeping and asked him why he was weeping. He replied, “I do not know anything which I used to know during the life-time of Allâh’s Messenger except this prayer which is being neglected (not offered as it should be).” (Al-Bukhari).
This means the prayer has been delayed past its appointed time. Think, May Allâh protect you, of this scene about the companion of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), while his eyes flowed with tears out of pain and heartbreak !
Indeed, the Salaf (rightly guided predecessors) of this nation, were according the prayer its due right, paid attention to it as it should be treated, and performed it on time, no matter what the hard circumstances and soured situations might be. Why should they not perform it on time when the sound of the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), kept rattling in their ears, and enduring in their hearts, when, according to the hadith of Buraidah, may Allâh be pleased with him, he said: ” He who neglects the ‘Asr Salah (deliberately), his deeds will be rendered null and void” (Al-Bukhari).
O believers! Indeed, part of the delay of prayers, which was clearly forbidden, is the act of sleeping and lazing about some prayers, especially the dawn (Fajr) and afternoon (Asr) prayers. In the hadith of Samurah, may Allâh be pleased with him, it was stated that the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said in the long hadith of vision, “Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me, ‘Proceed!’ I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man’s head, injuring it. The rock rolled away and the thrower followed it and took it back. By the time he reached the man, his head returned to the normal state. The thrower then did the same as he had done before… At the end of the hadith, it was interpreted for the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), that this man whose head is being stricken with the rock is the symbol of the one who studies the Qur’an and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers”.
This is what has overwhelmed many people, where they have taken the prayers for granted, and abused them until that became part of their nature. They committed excesses with respect to performing the prayers at their prescribed times, thus violating the words of Allâh, the most High:
( إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ كَانَتۡ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ كِتَـٰبً۬ا مَّوۡقُوتً۬ا )
Verily, As-Salâh (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours [An-Nisa: 103].
Moreover, particularly performing the morning and Asr prayers late. That is only due to the weakness of faith, and the sins that prevent from achieving such good, in addition to the excessive preoccupation with side talks at night, which do not entail any benefit, following up news and correspondences, which consume most of the time, and excessive lack of sleep in general. All of that and other factors help to spoil the lives of individuals and communities, and one of the most important things that suffer these bad consequences of loss is the prayer especially, which is the mainstay of the religion of Islam.
Hence, it was necessary for man to seek to strengthen his faith in Allâh, the most High, to do a lot of good deeds that connects him with Allâh, and make up for his diligence in acts of worship, and to strive to do and earn good deeds. Allâh , the most High, says,
( وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ طَرَفَىِ ٱلنَّہَارِ وَزُلَفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلَّيۡلِۚ إِنَّ ٱلۡحَسَنَـٰتِ يُذۡهِبۡنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِۚ ذَٲلِكَ ذِكۡرَىٰ لِلذَّٲكِرِينَ)
And perform As-Salâh at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory prayers] [Hud: 114].
May Allâh bless me and you in the Glorious Qur’an, and benefit me and you with the wise reminder.
I said what you have heard, and I ask forgiveness from Allâh, the Almighty for you and me. Hence, ask for His forgiveness; for He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. He gives and withholds, elevates and debases, causes benefits and harms, and verily to Allâh is the outcome of all affairs.
I invoke prayers, graces, honours, blessings, and mercy of Allâh upon the Gifted Mercy, the Granted Favour, and his family, companions and followers.
O believers! As for the third category of people they are folks, who are extremely keen to perform prayers on time, with every enthusiasm and determination, but their enthusiasm fades and their determination to perform the prayer with the Muslim congregations in mosques weakens.
There are textual evidences urging and referring to observe prayer in congregation. These include what Allâh has enjoined on the Mujahideen (those striving in the cause of Allâh particularly those fighting the holy war), while they are engaged in the midst of the battle in the darkest hours of confrontation, to attend prayers in congregation. On this note, He said,
( وَإِذَا كُنتَ فِيہِمۡ فَأَقَمۡتَ لَهُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَلۡتَقُمۡ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ۬ مِّنۡہُم مَّعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُوٓاْ أَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡ فَإِذَا سَجَدُواْ فَلۡيَكُونُواْ مِن وَرَآٮِٕڪُمۡ وَلۡتَأۡتِ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ أُخۡرَىٰ لَمۡ يُصَلُّواْ فَلۡيُصَلُّواْ مَعَكَ وَلۡيَأۡخُذُواْ حِذۡرَهُمۡ وَأَسۡلِحَتَہُمۡۗ )
When you (O Messenger Muhammad) are among them, and lead them in As-Salâh (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salâh (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you taking all the precautions and bearing arms [An-Nisa: 102].
Thus, Allâh prescribed the congregation in the darkest circumstances and most inconvenient situations. A group observing prayer and another guarding, then the positions are exchanged, those who were in prayer shift to guard, while those who were guarding are arranged in lines to offer the prayer in congregation. All that happens while the enemy seeks to cause harm to them. He is motivated and has approached with his knights or mounted warriors and footmen, and all the lots of army and arms.
O Allâh! Guide us and return us beautifully to Your religion, and help us to remember and thank you and worship you properly.
Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,
( إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا )
Allâh sends His Salah (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salah on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].