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The Importance of Prayer

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The Importance of Prayer

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:18 pm



Bismillaah, wal-hamdulilaah, was-salaatu was-salaamu 'alaa rasoolillaah, As Salamu 'Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakatuh


All Muslims are commanded to pray five times a day every day at set times in the day. However many Muslims pray a few times a day, others pray but not in the correct time and some never pray at all.[1] All of these people have one thing in common they have not understood the importance of the five daily prayers in Islam. The prove that these people have not understand the importance of the prayers is that if they did understand there importance they would pray five times a day every day.

Prayer is so important that Allah made it Waajib[2] on all the prophets Allah spoke[3] directly to Musa (Moses) and Allah said “And I have chosen you, so listen to that which is inspired to you. Verily, I am Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, so worship me and offer prayer perfectly for my remembrance.”[4]

Also Allah further shows the importance of the prayer in a hadith of the prophet. The messenger of Allah, sall'allahu alayhi wasalam was once asked by a man what is the most virtuous deed. The prophet stated “That the most virtuous deed is the prayer.” The man asked again and again. The first three times, the prophet again answered, “The prayer,” then on the fourth occasion he stated, “Jihad in the way of Allah.” [5]

Prayer is the right of Allah so it is important that all Muslims are steadfast upon this act of worship. The messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will bad.”[6] This hadith clearly shows that if your prayers are sound the rest of your deeds will be sound. Therefore if a Muslim wants to make sure when they stand before Allah there deeds are sound they must guard their prayers and not be heedless of the prayer. So if your prayers are not sound then this hadith indicates all of your deeds will be bad. In the Quraan Muslims read how those Muslims who die with bad deeds may end up in hell unless Allah forgives them.

Furthermore Muslims must guard there prays as it is the best way to achieve the forgiveness of Allah. The messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their wudoo, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu (humility and concentration in the prayer) has a promise from Allah that he will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” [7] From this hadith it is clear why the five prayers should be so important to all Muslims. The reason for this is Muslims sin everyday and our in need of Allah’s forgiveness, however this something that no Muslim is guaranteed. However this hadith indicates to any Muslim with intellect that the one who prays the five prayers as they are suppose to be prayed, when they are supposed to be prayed Allah has promised these Muslims he will forgive them. The Muslim who does not pray or is heedless over his prayer has no promise of forgiveness and so is almost certainly doomed and Allah knows best.

Built upon this point is that the messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said “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 then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.”[8] The statement of the messenger here further emphasis the pervious hadith, because it reinforce the fact that Allah forgives the Muslims through there performance of the five prayers.

The prayer is the pillar of the religion the thing that holds the religion up, the one action that helps to maintain the link between the servant and his Lord. If this important pillar did not exist than the religion could not stand with out it.

The Messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said “Shall I not tell you of the head of the whole matter and its pillar and top?” I [Mu’aadh] said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is prayer and its top is jihad.”[9]

So the Allah made the five daily prayers a pillar of this blessed religion also Allah made the five prayers more important than jihad. Meaning the rewards attached to prayer are even greater than those attached to jihad. This alone shows the status of the prayer and its importance in Islaam. The rewards for jihad are so great and numerous and for the prayer to be made a pillar of the religion, which without it the religion itself could not stand. Clearly demonstrates that this act of worship holds greater importance with Allah than jihad. If fighting and maybe dying for the sake of Allah are not even as important to Allah as praying to none but him five times a day and in the correct time, than all Muslim men and women must guard there five prayers like how a mother would guard her young child from a fire. Any mum would guard the child with their life and would rather die then see her child die in the fire. This is how a Muslim should be with his five daily prayers. They must guard them with their life as their success in this life and the next life depends on how well they performed the five prayers.

Any Muslim who releases that prayer is a better act of worship than jihad should release that the prayer is a mercy from Allah and a great gift from Allah. The reason for this is jihad is something only some Muslims will do in their life while many Muslims will never fight jihad in their life. So they can never attain this great reward. However Allah has made the five prayers waajib upon all Muslim adults until they die which means they have five chances every day to gain a reward great than that of jihad. But if Allah had want he could have made the five prayers like jihad and Allah could have made the five prayers only waajib on a few Muslims allowing them to gain the reward. Allah however is the most wise and merciful that’s why out of his eminence wisdom and mercy Allah made the five prayers waajib upon all Muslims. So do not waste this mercy that Allah has given you by not praying your five prayers or praying them whenever you feel like it or praying less than five times a day.

Allah tells Muslims himself in the Quraan that he has made praying to him waajib in the appoint times. Allah said “Verily, As-Salaah (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours”.[10] When Allah our Creator tells that he himself has commanded us to do this act of worship it highlights the importance of this act of worship. Meaning that Muslims should pay even extra attention to this particular act of worship, as the Quraan is the speech of Allah and Allah does not tells us he has made something waajib upon us, for Muslims just to turn away from what he said and ignore his speech by not praying five times a day in the correct times. Rather he tells us because he is our Creator and he knows how he wants to be worshiped and also he wants to guide us to that which is good for us. If no Muslims prayed to Allah it would not harm him at all and if all Muslims prayed to Allah it would not increase him in anything, pray is for you to gain reward with your Creator and to gain his mercy which we are all in need of.

A Muslims belief is judged to be correct through their performance of the five prayers. This is why the five prayers come after the shahaada (testimony of faith) as a pillar in Islam. The Messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said, “Islaam is built on five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god worth of worship (in truth) except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, establishing prayer, paying zakaah, performing pilgrimage to the House, and fasting Ramadan.” [11]

So if a Muslim has the correct beliefs about Allah this would lead him to fear Allah’s punishment so he would pray, he would love Allah so he would pray to gain the love of is Lord[12], and he would pray because he hopes for the mercy of his Lord.

Additionally Allah said “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity (generations) who have given up As-Salaat (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts.”[13] This indicates that those who do not give importance to the five prayers but are heedless of them, are following their desires these desires will make some Muslims loser on the Day of Resurrection.

Allah said, “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.”[14] Are property (wealth) and children (worldly life) are both two desires which can turn a person away from the remembrance of Allah. The remembrance of Allah is the five daily prayers. That is why Allah called the one that follows their desires and does not pray five times a day a loser. If a Muslim does not want to be a loser in the hereafter they must pray five times a day in the correct times and give importance to these five prayers.

Following your desires instead of praying the five prays could make a person become a disbeliever the Messenger of Allah said “Between a man and shirk [associating others with Allah] and kufr [disbelief] there stands his giving up prayer.”[15] It is clear from the above hadith that not giving importance to the five prayers and neglecting them will either make a man a disbeliever or it puts person on the edge of disbelieve. A famous scholar from the past called Ibn Hazm said: We have narrated from Umar ibn al-Khattaab, Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, Ibn Mas’ood, a number of the Sahabah[16] …………………a total of seventeen (sahabah) that the one who deliberately and knowingly does not offer an obligatory prayer until the time for it has ended becomes a kaafir and apostate.[17]

Furthermore the messenger of Allah, sall'Allahu alayhi wasalam said, “The covenant between us and them (disbelievers) is prayer, so if anyone abandons it he has become a disbeliever.”[18] This is another hadith which indicates that a Muslim who is heedless and careless with regards to his five prayers may leave Islaam. The reason for this is if one does not prayer he has broken the covenant which he is supposed to up hold and therefore he has either committed major disbelief[19] or minor disbelief[20]. Any act of worship which if left a Muslim is threatened with disbelief indicates that this action is important to Allah. Whatever is important to Allah was important to the messenger of Allah thus this action should be considered important to all Muslims.

The prayer is not considered to be important to some Muslims. They say it is important but there actions show other wise (not praying etc). If a Muslim claims the prayer is important then he must pray five times a day everyday in the correct time. But if he does not do this then he should fear that Allah may put him into hell[21] for not praying. Allah said “The people in Hell will be asked, “What has caused you to enter Hell?” They will say, “We were not among those who used to pray. Nor did we feed the poor. And we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allah hated) with vain-talkers. And we used to belie the Day of Recompense. Until there came to us that which is certain (i.e., death).” So no Intercession of intercessors will benefit them”.[22] So from what was just mentioned it is clear that one of the things that could lead a Muslim to hell is not praying, as some of the people of hell will say that not praying leaded them to hell.

Additionally, Allah has warned those Muslims who do pray but do not pray their prayers in their prescribed time, therefore not giving their prayers the importance they deserve. Allah said, “Woe unto those performers of prayers who are unmindful of their prayers (i.e., delay their prayer from its stated fixed time)”.[23] Therefore the one who gives the five prayer importance must also give the prayer time importance because praying five times at when you feel like it is a major sin.

I ask Allah to guide us to the straight path and upon the straight path which is the path to success in this life and in the next. Ameen.

Footnotes

[1] Obviously there are many Muslims who do pray five times a day, every day on time alhamduallah.

[2] This is an act that Allah has commanded Muslims to do and is therefore obligatory upon all Muslims to carry out. If a Muslim does not do a Waajib act, they may get punished by Allah as this is a sin and if it is carried out they will get rewarded.

[3] It is important not that Allah speaks directly Moses in this verse because some Muslim belief Allah does not speak or they say he speaks with no sound or no letters and words or speaks inside his own self all of this false. Allah speaks with sound, letters, words and not with in his self.

[4] Ta-Ha 13:14

[5] This is form a hadith recorded by Ahmad and ibn Hibban. According to Al-Albaane, the hadith is hasan (good), taken form his book Al-Targheeb wa al-Tarheeb (Beirut: Al-Maktab Al-Islami, 1982), vol. 1, p. 150

[6] Recorded by Al-Tabarani, according to Al-Albaane, it is saheeh (authentic) this is found in Saheeh Al-Jami, vol. 1, p.503.

[7] Recorded by Malik, Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa’ee and others. According to Al-Albaane, it is saheeh. Al-Albaane, Saheeh Al-Jami, vol.1, p. 616

[8] Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim

[9] Recorded by al-Tirmidhi, 2616; classed as saheeh by al-Albaane in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2110.

[10] al-Nisaa 4:103

[11] Recorded by Bukhari, 8 and Muslim, 16.

[12] Some Muslims belief that Allah does not love as they claim love is a human attribute however in the Quran Allah says about himself, “Surely Allah loves those who turn to him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” Al-Baqarah 2:222.

However some Muslims say Allah can not have this attribute because if he did he would be like humans so they change the meaning of the word and say Allah says love but what he really means is whatever rubbish explanation they invent. Both these types of Muslims are wrong because Allah’s attributes are not in any way like humans because none of the creation is like the creator (Allah). Plus no one can explain Allah’s attributes based on their intellect as it is forbidden to talk about Allah with out knowledge which comes either from the Quraan or Hadiths. A Muslim should belief in Allah’s names and attributes based on seven principles so he does not go astray like these other Muslims;

■Firstly we must belief in what Allah or the messenger has told regarding his (Allah’s) names and attributes.
■Secondly we do not deny any name or attribute unless Allah or his messenger denied it e.g. sleep.
■Thirdly we belief in the names and attributes as they are, we do not make up are own interpretation of there meaning from are intellect.
■Fourthly we do not say any of Allah’s names or attributes are similar, like or the same as any of the creations or any of the creations names and attributes are like, similar or the same as Allah’s.
■Fifthly we do not say how Allah’s attributes work, as only Allah knows how his attributes are e.g. how Allah his above the heavens is something only Allah knows.
■Sixthly we don’t claim we do not know the meaning of his attributes and say only Allah knows their meanings. We know the meanings of his names and attributes because they are Arabic words which are in the Quran or Hadiths and the Arabic language is a language in which the meanings of all it words are known like any other language. But as was previously mentioned in the point before what is not known is the how .e.g. how Allah sees everything in the universe at the same time is only known to Allah but Allah’s name and attribute Al-Baseer the all seeing is know from the point of the Arabic language not from the point of how he sees everything at the same time. There is a big difference between knowing a name or attribute through the Arabic language and claiming to know how that attribute works.
■Seventhly we do not call Allah by any name that he himself of his messenger did not call him e.g. we call Allah Al-Baseer (All seeing) because Allah called himself that, but we do not call him Yahweh like the Jews or Jehovah/Father as the Christians do because Allah and his messenger never used these names to mean God they used Allah so we call God Allah. The word God is just a very basic translation of Allah in English and not Allah’s name.
[13]Maryam 19:59

[14] Al-Munaafiqoon, 63:9

[15] Recorded by Muslim, 82

[16] A sahabah is a person who lived in the time of the prophet meet him, believed in his prophet hood and died believing in his prophet hood.

[17] From al-Fasl fi’l-Milal wa’l-Ahwa’ wa’l-Nihal (3/128)

[18] Recorded by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and Nasaa’ee, Ibn Maajah and Abu Dawood and its saheeh.

[19] This is when a Muslim becomes a kaafir (disbeliever).

[20] This is when a Muslim has not yet left Islam but they are on the path to becoming a disbeliever.

[21] Some Muslims will go hell but not forever as all Muslims will come out of hell when Allah wishes to take them out of hell.

[22] Al-Muddaththir, 74:42-48

[23] Al-Maa’oon, 107:4-5
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