Re-examining the Importance of Prayer

True gratitude necessitates Prayer

‘A’isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray at night until his feet became cracked. “I said to him, ‘Why do you do this. Messenger of Allah, when Allah has forgiven you all your past and future wrong actions?’ He said, “Should I not want to be a grateful slave?'”

I ask the one who delays their prayers, the one who believes he is no need of prayers, the one who has taken prayer as nothing more than a custom…Should you not be grateful to Allah for everything He has given you?

“…and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship” -2:172

You claim to worship Allah? If so, then show Him gratitude. How you ask? By praying.

Purpose of creation is to worship and show gratitude

“And I have not created the jinn nor man except to worship Me” -51:56

Your purpose in life is to worship Allah. This is why you have been created. This what you will be judged upon. Very simple.

“And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that perhaps you might give thanks” -16:78

Allah has created you and I to worship Him and this entails being grateful to Him. You cannot claim gratitude and not worship Allah. So, if you are grateful to Allah then you should worship Him alone and the greatest act of worship is prayer.

Primary reason to prostrate to Allah in pure submission

The reason has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Allah and who He is. We worship and prostrate to Allah because truly He is worthy of it. Simple as that.

“He is Allah than Whom there is La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him” -59:23

Secondary reason to prostrate to Allah in pure submission

To thank Him for His infinite bounties upon you.

“And He found you poor, and made you rich (self-sufficient, self-contentment)” -93:8

“[It is Allah] Who hath fed them against hunger and hath made them safe from fear” -106:4

But know that you will never be able to thank him accordingly.

“And He gave you all that you asked for, and if you were to count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them”

Importance of Prayer

“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness…And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours)” -23:1-9

Success in this life and hereafter is tied to prayer. We can’t expect to run away from prayer, to delay prayers, to not prayer properly and then expect success. That’s not just. If we want to be successful we must seek out the ways to better our prayers, we must learn about it.

How important do you think this act worship must be…when we know that of the last words our beloved Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam said on his death bed were, “Guard the prayer! Guard the prayer!”

Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam has told us: “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer.”

We all have the questions for the last and surely the biggest exam of our lives. A question we should ask ourselves is…”am I prepared?”

Warning for those who do injustice to their Prayers

“So woe unto those performers of Salat (prayers) (hypocrites). Who delay their Salat (prayer) from their stated fixed times” 107:4-5

Ibn Kathir states that this verse is aimed at three types of people:

1) Those who always delay their prayers until the end of its time, or they usually do so.
2) Those who don’t fulfill the pillars and conditions of salat, and in the required manner.
3) Those who don’t perform the salat with humility and contemplation of its meanings.

The wording of the verse comprises all of these meanings. However, whoever has any of these characteristics then a portion of this verse applies to him. And whoever has all of these characteristics, then he has completed his share of this verse, and the hypocrisy of actions is fulfilled in him.

This is confirmed, as the Prophet of Allah sallalahu alayhi wasalam says:

“This is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite. He sits watching the sun until it is between the two horns of Shaytan. Then he stands and pecks four (Rak`ahs) and he does not remember Allah (in them) except very little.”

Some abandoned etiquettes of Prayer

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam used to move at a measured pace during prayer, allowing every bone to return to its place. He commanded those who were not doing their prayer properly to do this too. He said, “None of you has prayed properly until he does this.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1/536, no. 858).

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam said, “The one who does not do rukoo properly, and pecks in sujood, is like a starving man who eats only one or two dates; it does not do him any good at all” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, 4/115)

Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam said, “Beautify the Qur’aan with your voices, for a fine voice increases the Qur’aan in beauty” (Reported by al-Haakim, 1/575).

It was reported from Aa’isha that the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alayhi wasalam used to pray with his head tilted forward and his gaze lowered, looking at the ground.(Reported by al-Haakim, 1/479)

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasalam said: “It is more powerful against the Shaytaan than iron” (reported by Imaam Ahmad, 2/119) i.e., pointing with the forefinger during the Tashahhud is more painful to the Shaytaan than being beaten with a rod of iron, because it reminds the slave of the Unity of Allaah and to be sincere in his worship of Him alone, and this is what the Shaytaan hates most.

The Reward

“Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allah Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.” -98:8

The reward for praying sincerely and worshiping Allah in the manner that He has told us will be nothing less than Paradise, inshallah ta’ala.

Get ready for the journey of your Life

Ibn al-Qayyim reports: “My pens have no done justice to the blessings you (Allah) have written for us. O Allah! I seek refuge from all the sins that I have committed. O People! Those who are unaware of the purpose behind their creation. Then strengthen yourself for the big travel of your life because verily at the moment you are sleeping”

My brothers and sisters, its time to wake up and see the reality of this life. Allah loves you, He wants you to come close to Him. Take a step towards Allah and see where it takes you. Surely, your heart will find comfort in it and those who neglect it will find themselves amongst the losers in the hereafter.

Next Steps

1. Sincere intentions starting now to establish the prayers in a manner you are supposed to; praying on time, 5 times a day, with concentration and comfort. Start with what is mandatory (2 Fajr, 4 Dzuhr, 4 Asr, 3 Maghrib, 4 Isha)
2. Keep prayer times with you and/or put alarms in your phone to remind you of the time for prayer. Plan your day around prayer. We plan around our appointments but what about the appointment we have with Allah?
3. Keep a list of masjids in your car. You never know when you will need it.

Resources

Complete flash presentation of how to pray — http://www.islamicfinder.org/prayer/index.html
Salat101, blog dedicated to providing information on prayer — http://salat101.blogspot.com
The Importance of Prayer (Yasir Qadhi) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THAI2ztr8ZU
33 Ways to Develop Concentration in Prayer — http://islamworld.net/docs/khushoo.htm
The Prophets Prayer Described – http://www.qss.org/articles/salah/toc.html

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