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Salat: The Key to Good Life

By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Observe the regular prayers and the prayer in the best way; and stand before Allah as devout people. (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

Perform the regular prayer in the period from the time the sun is past its zenith till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur’an at dawn – dawn recitation is always witnessed – and during the nigh wake up and pray as an extra offering of your own, so that your Lord may raise you to a highly praised status. Say, ‘My Lord, make me go in truthfully and come out truthfully, and grant me supporting authority from You. (Al-Isra’ 17:78-80)

Perform the regular prayer at both ends of the day , and during parts of the night, for good things drive bad away – this is a reminder for those who are aware. (Hud 11:114)

Salat or regular prayer is the command of Allah. It is the most important Pillar (rukn) of Islam. It distinguishes between the believers and non-believers. Salat is not an option; it is obligatory (fard). It is not once a week or few times a week. Salat is obligatory five times a day. All prophets of Allah told their people to pray; Islam, however, made it a very essential part of religion. The Prophet –peace be upon him- called the Salat as the “pillar of religion” (‘imad al-din) and in one Hadith he is reported to have said that there is no good in a religion in which there is no ruku’ or bowing (meaning prayer).

The Prophet –peace be upon him- said that the key of Jannah is Salat. (al-Tirmidhi, chapter on Purification, Hadith no. 4). This means that the sincere and devoted Salat helps a person to enter Jannah; but it also means that Salat is the key to everything that is good. The benefits of Salat are many both in this world and in the Hereafter.

Salat is our link, our bond and our communication with Allah. If you love Allah and you want Allah to love you, then you should pray. The Prophet –peace be upon him- called the Salat “the coolness of my eyes.” (Qurrat ‘aini). When he wanted Bilal –may Allah be pleased with him- to give Adhan for Salat, he used to say to him, “Give us comfort by it, O Bilal.” (Arehna biha, ya Bilal). He used to spend long time in his nightly prayers. Sometime he used to pray one third of the night and sometimes half of the night, sometimes even more than that. He used to find great comfort and joy in Salat.

Salat has many benefits. Its benefits are spiritual, moral, physical, individual and social. Its rewards are here in this world and in the hereafter. The whole structure of Salat is so beautiful and so remarkable that there is nothing like it or comparable to it in any religion. Salat is not just meditation, or recitation or physical movements. Salat involves mind, soul and body, all of the three together in a most harmonious way. Salat is done both individually and collectively. Salat is done both in public and in privacy. If we observe our Salat as it should be observed then everything in our lives will become better. Our relations with Allah will be good because we shall be living fully conscious of Allah all the time. Our relations with our families, our co-workers, our neighbors and with everyone and everything will be very good. We shall be clean from sins, corruption and aggression as much as a person who takes bath five times a day will be clean from every kind of dirt.

Allah says in the Qur’an that the Salat restrains from all kinds of evils, vulgarities and indecencies.

Recite what is revealed to you of the Scripture and keep up the prayer: prayer restrains from shameful and evil (behavior). Remembering Allah is great. Allah knows everything you are doing. (Al-‘Ankabut 29:45)

Allah says in the Qur’an that the Salat saves from distresses and fears and it helps people during the time of difficulties:

Man was truly created anxious: he is fretful when misfortune touches him, but tight-fisted when good fortune comes his way. Not so are those who pray and are constant in their prayers.

(Al-Ma’arij 70:19-23)

Allah says in the Qur’an that Salat brings success in this life and in the life to come:

Successful are the believers. Those who pray humbly … and who keep up their prayers, they shall be the heirs who shall inherit the Paradise and they shall be there forever .

( Al-Mu’minun 23:1-11)

Salat requires Taharah (cleanliness of the body, clothes and the place of prayer). The people who are conscious of Taharah five times a day, their bodies, their clothes, their environment everything should be clean. Salat is to be performed on appointed times. The people who are conscious of their appointments five times a day, should be time conscious always. In Salat Muslims stand together without any distinction of race, color, economic status or political position. The people who perform prayer in Jama’ah (congregation) regularly they learn equality, solidarity and brotherhood. Salat in Jama’ah is performed behind an Imam and everyone has to follow the Imam. The people who pray regularly they learn discipline, order and organization. If the Imam makes any mistake any person can correct him. This is the most democratic way. The benefits of Salat are countless, but it must be performed with full consciousness.

Let us pray regularly and pray in the best way, so that its benefits and beauty may reflect in our lives.

Mu’adh reported that one day the Prophet took my hand and said, “By Allah, I love you.” Mu’adh said, “By the honor of my mother and father, O Messenger of Allah, I also say this by Allah that I love you. He said, “I advice you, O Mu’adh, do not leave to say this after every prayer, “O Allah, help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You in the best way.”

(Al-Hakim 1010)

Khutbah at ISOC – Sha’ban 18, 1428/ August 31, 2007

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