Saturday, October 22, 2011
Why is Salah SO Important?
In the name of Allah, Praise belongs to Allah, and Blessings and Peace be upon the messenger of Allah...
In the Qur’an, Allah says,
“Indeed, I am Allah. There is nothing worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me and establish the Salah for My remembrance.” (Quran 20:14)
These are the words that Allah spoke to Musa (as), to Moses, and Allah reminds us of them again in the Qur’an. There is no doubt that the Salah, the established formal daily prayer, has always been a fundamental part of Allah’s religion, even before the last messenger Muhammad (saws). Allah says elsewhere in the Qur’an,
“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid false gods." (Quran 16:36)
So why is the Salah so important? It’s simple. The Salah is so important because it is the precise way that Allah has instructed us to worship Him, and because worshipping Allah is the purpose of our creation, as Allah says,
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)
In a video titled Prayer in Islam, I explained that in Islam there are different types of prayer, or different actions that are commonly translated as prayer, and that, aside from the Salah, the established daily prayer, there is also dua, the act of calling on Allah in prayer at any time or place, and dhikr, remembrance and continuous contemplation of Allah, and all these things are considered “prayer.” What’s interesting is that the Salah itself is in many ways an established form of dua and dhikr, calling on Allah and remembering Allah.
The importance of the Salah can also be understood though the ways in which the Salah benefits us.
It’s reported that the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was speaking to his companions, and he asked them, “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 dirt left on him?” The companions said, “No dirt would remain on him at all.” The Prophet (saws) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)
Subhanallah, think about the amazing mercy of Allah, that he gives us five prayers throughout the day, every single day, with which we can be purified of our sins.
The messenger of Allah (saws) is also reported to have said, "Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu' (total concentration and spiritual connection) 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." [Recorded by Malik, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’I and others. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol. 1, p. 616.]
Really think about that! If you maintain your prayers and pray them the way they’re meant to be prayed, Allah is giving you a guarantee of forgiveness! Who can give a better guarantee than Allah?
And not only does the Salah remove the sins you have, but it also protects you from further sins! In the Qur’an, Allah says,
“Indeed, the Salah keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds” (Quran 29:45)
Just think, at any given time during the course of the day, you either just finished praying or you are going to pray soon. That consistent routine of prayer continuously boosts your level of taqwa, conciousness of Allah. Since you’re always mindful of Allah, you’re aware that He sees everything you do, you’re less likely to commit sins.
According to Allah’s messenger (saws), the Salah is the most virtuous deed anyone can perform, and that’s why it’s so important to keep the prayer. Just as performing the Salah can be of tremendous benefit, neglecting the Salah can cause us tremendous harm.
As the Prophet (saws) informed us,
“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the Salah. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.”
[Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is Sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.]
So insha’Allah now that you truly understand the importance of the Salah, you can take the next step by perfecting your Salah. That can mean different things for different people. If you are inconsistent with your prayers, it could mean disciplining yourself to pray them every day in their time. If you always find yourself praying at the last minute, it could mean making an effort to pray as soon as the prayer comes in. If you have trouble focusing in your Salah, it could mean studying the meanings of what you are saying in prayer and concentrating on it more deeply while in prayer. If you are a new Muslim, it could mean beginning to learn and practice the Salah, and make it part of your regular routine. Whatever our individual cases may be, I hope and pray that we can all remember why Salah is so important to us and to stay motivated to always improve. Until next time, Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.