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14916

The importance of prayer and the wisdom underlying its legislation

Place : Saudi Arabia / Riyadh / None / None /
Business Category : Prayer
date of publication : 1439/05/27
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Elements speech
1- Legislation of acts of worship for the benefit of the slaves of Allâh. 2- Status of (Salah) Prayer in Islam. 3- Wisdoms underlying the legislation of Prayer (Salah). 4- The attention prophets gave to prayer. 5- Benefits of prayer. 6- Reality of the desired prayer.

First Sermon:

 

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 ye 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].

 

( يا 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].

 

Slaves of Allâh! Allâh has legislated a number of acts of worship, and has enjoined them upon His slaves, not because He is in need of them; for He, the Most Purified stands not in need of all that exists but they stand in need of Him. Allâh the Almighty said,

( يَـٰٓأَيُّها ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ)

O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allâh, but Allâh is Rich (Free of all needs), Worthy of all praise [Fatir: 15],

 

He has only given them these orders due to their need of Him, the Most Purified and for the fact that their religious and worldly interests rest on Him. Therefore, if they obey and do what He has enjoined them to do, they will attain grace in this world and the hereafter. But if they disobey and refuse to conform, they will lose the good in this world and the hereafter. And Allâh the Most Purified does not benefit from the obedience of the obedient nor does the disobedience of the disobedient harm Him. Allâh, the Almighty said,

 ( إِنۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ أَحۡسَنتُمۡ لِأَنفُسِكُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِنۡ أَسَأۡتُمۡ فَلَهَا‌)

If you do good, you do good for your ownselves, and if you do evil, (you do it) against yourselves [Al-Isra: 7].

 The Most Purified said,

( مَّنۡ عَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا فَلِنَفۡسِهِۦ‌ۖ وَمَنۡ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيۡهَا‌ۗ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّـٰمٍ۬ لِّلۡعَبِيدِ )

Whosoever does righteous good deed it is for (the benefit of) his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against his ownself, and your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves [Fussilat: 46].

 

In the hadith Qudsi (divine tradition) Almighty Allâh said, (O My slaves, you can neither do Me any harm nor can you do Me any good) (Muslim).

Therefore, whosoever does good will get good for its reward and whosoever does evil he will get the recompense commensurate to the evil he has done.

 

Establishing regular prayer is among the greatest things Allâh has commanded us to do as He, the Almighty said,

( وَأَنۡ أَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ )

 And to perform As-Salât (prayer) [Al-An’am: 72].

 

It is of great importance in Islam. It is the link between a person and his Lord, and a pillar among the pillars of Islam. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Islam is built upon five pillars (and he mentioned the prayer)” (Agreed upon).

 

It has been preferred to other acts of worship, and it shall be the first act of worship about which the slave of Allâh will be called to account for on the day of Resurrection. It was reported that the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salah. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser”(At-Tirmidhi).

 

He stated it particularly due to its greatness, and then precisely mentioned other acts of worship. Allâh, the Almighty says,

( يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱرۡڪعُواْ وَٱسۡجُدُواْ وَٱعۡبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ )

O you who have believed! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord [Al-Hajj: 77].

 

In interpretation of this verse, Ibn A’shoor said, “What is meant by bowing and prostrating is the prayers. They have been stated particularly because they are the greatest of the basic elements of prayer. As regards the order to worship, it means that which Allâh commanded people to worship with, such as fasting, pilgrimage to Makkah, doing the good to the people by giving out Zakah, and good treatment such as keeping the ties of relations, promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, and the rest of praiseworthy morals”.

 

It is upon prayer (salah) that one’s religion is based, so whoever protects it has saved his religion and whoever is negligent about it will be even more negligent about other things. It is the distinction between the obedient and the disobedient slave of Allâh and between an unbeliever and a Muslim. That is why the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “The covenant that stands between us and them is prayer, whoever abandons it, has committed disbelief”. (Ahmad). Whoever that is negligent about it has missed all goodness, and lost this world and the Hereafter. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “The first thing you will lose of your religion is trust, and the last thing you will lose is the Prayer” (As-Silsilah As-Saheehah).

 

Ahmad said, “Anything whose end goes away will have nothing left “(Al-Mughni).

O believers, there are many wisdoms behind prayer. They include the following:

  • Moral wisdoms. Prayer purifies a person and brings him happiness and success. Allâh, the Almighty said,

  ( قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّهِۦ فَصَلَّىٰ)

Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, (14) And remembers (glorifies) the Name of his Lord (worships none but Allâh), and prays. [Al-A’la: 14,15].

 

Prayer prevents against panic and alarm, as the Almighty Allâh, said,

  ( إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا * إِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلشَّرُّ جَزُوعً۬ا * وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلۡخَيۡرُ مَنُوعًا * إِلَّا ٱلۡمُصَلِّينَ * ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهمۡ دَآٮِٕمُونَ )

Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient; (19) Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; (20) And niggardly when good touches him;- (21) Except those who are devoted to Salât (prayers). (22) Those who remain constant in their Salâh (prayers [Al-Ma’arij: 19-23].

 

Meaning that if he suffers poverty, need and disease he is discontented and if he comes by good and bounty and the like, he is deadly ungenerous and tightfisted; except for those who establish regular prayers”. This is one of the greatest qualities that characterize a person and Allâh has graciously granted it to the person who prays as a reward for his turning to the Lord Almighty.

 

  • Wisdoms relating to the psychological aspect. Among these is that prayer makes man feels that he is close to his Creator. Hence, his spiritual strengths are alert and his determination and will are strengthened. Allâh, the Almighty says,

( وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ‌)

And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge) [Al-Baqarah: 186].

 

Thus, the soul is detached from the activities and concerns of life and directs its attention to its Lord. Like this, the soul is purified and relaxing. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), used to say to Bilal, may Allâh be pleased with him, ” O Bilal, make the call to prayer: give us comfort by it” (Narrated by Abu Dawud).

 

He further said, “And my comfort has been provided in prayer” (Narrated by An-Nasaei).

 

He also recommended for anyone that wishes to meet up with the prayer after it has commenced “But attend it with tranquility”. (Agreed upon).

 

It is such attitude that is appropriate for the prayer, and it is closer to steadfastness and peace of mind, and sound preparedness to turn to Allâh.

  • Social wisdoms: It creates a means of meeting for the worshipers, and thus their fraternal relations are enhanced while the disparities of wealth and color are eliminated. Islam encourages mixture and affection. Part of this stated in the hadith of the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), is his saying, “The believer is familiar and affectionate” (As-Silsilah As-Saheehah).

All this is achieved in a positive and clear manner with respect to the worshippers, who gather in the house of Allâh, the Almighty, while they are interrelated by religion, and distinguished by affection, love, and purity of soul. Places other than the mosque cannot entertain such morals that overwhelm its devotees.

 

  • One of the greatest wisdoms that can be mentioned with respect to the prayer, is that the divine wisdom required the legislation of five prayers in the day and night; owing to what usually occurs to human beings regarding negligence, oversights, forgetfulness, insatiability at work and laziness about worshipping Allâh. So Allâh ordered them to establish regular prayer for the soul to wake up from its forgetfulness and lethargy, and suppress its desires by cutting it off from its habits and turn to Allâh the most Purified, who sustains it with His blessings and generosity. In addition, due to His knowledge about the weakness of the powers of the human psyche, He did not prescribe this worship but at times when they are frequently free.

The prophets of Allâh (peace be upon them), who are the most perfect and pious creatures, used to venerate the prayer, and invoke Allâh for themselves and their descendants, that He makes them steadfast in it. Here is Ibrahim, peace and blessings be upon him, praying to his Lord to make him and his descendants of those who establish regular prayer (Salah). Allâh the Almighty said,

( رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡنِى مُقِيمَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِى )

O my Lord! Make me one who performs As-Salâh, and (also) from my offspring [Ibrahim: 40].

 

Moreover, Ismail used to order his family to establish the prayer as Allâh the Almighty said,

( وَكَانَ يَأۡمُرُ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ بِٱلصَّلَوٰةِ )

And he used to enjoin on his family and his people As-Salâh (the prayers) [Maryam: 55].

 

Again, Allâh the Almighty, addressing Musa, peace and blessing be upon him, said:

( إِنَّنِىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۟ فَٱعۡبُدۡنِى وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِذِڪرِىٓ )

Verily! I am Allâh! None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me, and perform As-Salâh for My Remembrance [Surah Taha: 14],

 

Allâh also recommended it for His Prophet Isa, peace and blessings be upon him, when He said,

( وَجَعَلَنِى مُبَارَكًا أَيۡنَ مَا كنتُ وَأَوۡصَـٰنِى بِٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَٱلزَّڪوٰةِ مَا دُمۡتُ حَيًّ۬ا )

And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salâh (prayer), and Zakâh, as long as I live [Maryam: 31].

 

Furthermore, our Prophet Muhammad, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), used to say, “And my comfort has been provided in prayer” (At-Tirmidhi).

 

As earlier stated in the previous hadith, he would say, “O Bilal, give us comfort by it” (Abu Dawud).

 

May Allâh bless you and me in the glorious Qur’an and benefit you and me with the verses it contains. I said what you have heard and I ask Allâh forgiveness for you and me. So ask for His forgiveness for He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

 

Second sermon:

 

All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the final Prophet.

Slaves of Allâh! When the slave of Allâh is mindful about prayer and establishes it according to how Allâh wants it, he will achieve many benefits and great advantages including the following:

  • What is narrated from the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) that “If a person performs ablution perfectly and then stands up to pray, perfecting the ruku’ and sujud (bowing and prostration) and its recitation, the prayer will say, May Allâh protect you as you have taken care of me. Then it will be ascended to the heaven, having light and brightness, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it. But If a person does not perfect his ablution nor perfect the ruku’ and sujud, nor recitation, the prayer will say, May Allâh neglect you as you have neglected me, then it will be ascended to the heaven with darkness, but the gates of heaven will be closed. Then will be wrapped as old dress is wrapped and then cast upon the face of its owner”.
  • Prayer leads a person to goodness, and keeps him away from evil, by the order of Allâh. The person who prays leaves his prayer with a different heart; a heart full of light and joy and a cheerful and spacious heart opened to Islam. He finds himself loving virtue and hating vice and he realizes the saying of Allâh, the Almighty:

( إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ )

Verily, As-Salâh (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshâ’ (i.e. great and shameful sins of every kind) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed) [Al-Ankaboot: 45].

 

Ibn Kathir, May Allâh bestow mercy on him, said, “Prayer makes a person to leave immorality”.

  • Prayer nurtures in a person the sense of satisfaction with the predestination of Allâh, the Most High, and the desire to do other types of goodness. Allâh, the Almighty said,

( إِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلشَّرُّ جَزُوعً۬ا * وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلۡخَيۡرُ مَنُوعًا * إِلَّا ٱلۡمُصَلِّينَ )

Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; (20) And niggardly when good touches him;- (21) Except those who are devoted to Salâh (prayers). [Al-Ma’arij: 20-22].

 

This exception significantly indicates the importance of Prayer in the spiritual upgrading of Man, until he would view things with a correct and sound view that will lead him to success. This is why prayer was the major foundation pillar of Islam, the act of worship that links between a person and his Lord, the second pillar of Islam and the distinguishing trait between Muslims and disbelievers.

 

From the ongoing, we understand that the proper prayer is the one established soundly not just performed for the purpose of performance. But the one in which its basic elements (arkan), conditions (shuroot), obligatory aspects (wajibaat) and its sunnah aspects, are considered. It is such prayer that cultivates in a person the previously stated benefits and others. If these aspects are not realized in the prayer, one should check himself and the prayer, and find out the real error, so that he can attain the credit of he that established his prayers as required.

 

It is reported in the hadith that the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said to a man who did not perform his prayers well, “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed” (Agreed upon).

 

 He said this to him repeatedly until he asked him to put him through. So the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), taught him. Therefore, prayer needs special care, and that it should be observed as required. Anything that has to do with it regarding the time, how it is performed, and outward and inward tidiness, has to be maintained. Allâh the Almighty said,

( حَـٰفِظُواْ عَلَى ٱلصَّلَوَٲتِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ٱلۡوُسۡطَىٰ وَقُومُواْ لِلَّهِ قَـٰنِتِينَ )

Guard strictly (five obligatory) prayers especially the middle Salâh (i.e. the best prayer ¬ ‘Asr). And stand before Allâh with obedience [Al-Baqarah: 238]

 

At-Tabari, May Allâh have mercy on him, said, “Continuously establish the prescribed prayers at their appointed times and guard and keep to them”.

 

Prayer is the highest form of worship, and in the religion of Allâh, it has a special status. Caring about it is a sign of being successful. Hence, to seek to take advantage of its immediate and future benefits is the right thing. Let us have it in our minds, because it is the road to eternal success. Allâh says,

( قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ * ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ فِى صَلَاتِهمۡ خَـٰشِعُونَ )

Successful indeed are the believers. (1) Those who offer their Salâh (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness [Al-Mu’minoon: 2].

 

We ask Allâh to help us to remember Him, give thanks to Him, and worship Him properly.

 

Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon whom you have been commanded when Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified 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].