The Virtue of the Prayer (salat)
By HARUN YAHYA
The Qur’an and our Prophet’s teachings provide a detailed account of acts of worship. Our Prophet (saas) outlines the five obligatory acts of worship:
The religion of Islam is based on five fundamental principles. Attesting that there exists no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger, praying, fasting and pilgrimage. (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
Our Prophet (saas) states that the first act of worship that people will give an account of in the Hereafter is the prayer (salat) and the servant will be saved if he has fulfilled them and that he will be among the lost if he failed. (Al-Tirmidhi)
In a hadith revealed by Omar (ra), people asked Allah’s Messenger which act of worship is most liked by Allah. Our Prophet (saas) answered: The prayer (salat) performed during its specific time. Whoever abandons his prayer, he has no religion. The prayer (salat) is the pillar of the religion of Islam. (Al-Baihaqi)
Among the five obligatory prayers, our Prophet (saas) especially emphasized the importance of the prayer in the morning and afternoon. He gave the good news of the Garden to those who safeguarded these prayers. (Sahih Bukhari)
He never showed the slightest negligence towards prayer. On the contrary, he continued to pray until he was so exhausted as not being able to stand. One of his people asked him why he exhausted himself so much though he was given the good news of the Garden. He (saas) replied: “So that I can be a servant who gives thanks a lot.” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal)
Some of the hadiths of our Messenger (saas) about prayer are the following:
The obligatory prayers made five times a day is like a strongly flowing river flowing just before one’s door in which a person bathes five times a day.
Prayer (salat) is a curtain between a believer and unbeliever. Abandoning the prayer is to remove this curtain. (Sahih Muslim)
The distinguishing factor between them and us is the prayer (salat). Therefore, the one abandoning the prayer has resembled an unbeliver. (Al-Tirmidhi)
The rewards of praying together with the community is twenty times more than the one performed alone. (Sahih Bukhari)
If only believer knew the rewards of the prayer performed at night and at dawn, they would go to perform it with the community, even if crawling. (Sahih Bukhari-Sahih Muslim)
If a person cleans himself thorougly at home and goes one of the mosques in order to perform one of Allah’s obligatory acts, one of his steps erases his sins while the other raises his grade. (Sahih Muslim)
The one who receives the most rewards in return for praying is the one who is most distant to mosque. (Sahih Bukhari)
Attest one’s faith who goes regularly to mosque. (Al-Tirmidhi)
Our Prophet (saas) saw someone playing with his beard during the prayer and said, “if he had any fear full of respect in his heart, he would have it also in his limbs and would not play with his beard.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Waiting for fourty years is better than passing before the one who prays. (Bazzar)
A time will come when people will talk about worldly matters in mosques; those people will have no worth at Allah’s sight. Never keep company with them. (Al- Baihaqi)
Allah’s messenger (saas) used to make this prayer after every obligatory prayer: “There exists no god but Allah. He has no partner. The Kingdom is His. Everything in the heavens and everything on Earth glorifies Him. He has the power to create everything. My Lord! There is no hindrance to anything if You have granted it. There is noone who can give anything that You have not granted. The fortunes and position of anyone will benefit him if he resists You.” (Sahih Bukhari-Sahih Muslim- Al-Nasa'I)
He recommended to make the following prayer after every prayer (salat) following the recital of thirty three times “SubhanAllah”, thirty three times “Al-hamdulIllah” and thirty three times, “Allahu Akbar”: “There exists noone but Allah. He has no partner. Everything in the heavens and on Earth glorifies Him. He has the power to create everything.” (Sahih Muslim)
The most important element in performing the prayer (salat) is to be in a spirit of fear filled with respect. In order to be in this spirit, our Prophet (saas) advised us: “When you pray, pray like the one who says farewell to his lower self, his desires and his life, and turns to his Lord. (Sunan Ibn Maajah)
Aisha (ra) relates how meticilous our Prophet (saas) was about prayers:
Our Prophet (saas) talked to us and we talked to him, we laughed and conversed. But when the time for prayer came, presumably out of Allah’s majesty, he became as if he did not know us and we did not know him.
The Virtue of the Prayer on Friday and the Virtue in the Day of Friday
The best of the days upon which sun rises is Friday. On that day, Allah created Adam. Adam was put into the Garden on that day and was expelled from there again on that day. The Day of Judgment will also fall upon a Friday. (Al-Tirmidhi)
The special day of Jews became Saturday, known as “Sabbath” while the congregational days of the Christians became Sunday. Then, Allah created us and showed us the day of Friday. Thus were proclaimed the days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the days of worship. This way, they will follow us on the Day of Judgment. (Muslim)
Our Prophet’s (saas) recommendations regarding the day of Friday
- Sending our prayers upon our Prophet (saas):
Allah’s Messenger said. "Pray for me on Friday and the night of Friday.”(Al-Baihaqi)
Whatever good our Prophet’s (saas) people had in this world and the Hereafter, they attained them thanks to our Prophet (saas) and his magnificent teachings. Allah granted bliss both in this world and the Hereafter due to our Prophet’s (saas) sake. Because this is undoubtedly the case, we should surely acknowledge the hardships that the Messenger of Allah endured to deliver the message to us. Whilst we can never make up in our own prayers for the sacrifices he made for the Ummah, Muslims should pray for the Prophet (saas) on Friday and night in abundance. .
- The Prayer on Friday and Gathering of Muslims:
The prayer on Friday is obligatory upon all free, healthy adult men. In the time of our Prophet (saas) and the caliphs, prayer on Friday was the congregational days of the Muslims. Yet, this excellent tradition faded over time. Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi related in a hadith: “Allah seals the heart of the one who misses three prayers on Fridays out of heedlesness.” On the Day of Judgment, closeness of the people of Garden to Allah will be related to their early arrival to the prayer on Friday and their closeness to Allah.”
- Bodily Ablution (ghusl) on Friday:
Our Prophet (saas) ordered the Muslims not to neglect bodily ablution (ghusl) the night before arriving at the mosque for Friday prayers. Islamic scholars agree that before the prayer on Friday, it is an essential part of the day that those men who wish to please their Lord should perform bodily ablution before attending the Jum’ah prayers.
- Smelling good:
Especially on Fridays, Allah’s (swt) Messenger (saas) paid great attention to detail; he even made sure that the smell which he chose to wear upon his person was a beautiful one. Smelling good on that day is more virtuous than on the other days of the week.
Our Prophet (saas) said:
Whoever takes a bodily ablution on Friday, uses a beautiful perfume, if he has any, wears his best dress, goes to mosque with dignity and remains silent throughout imam’s khutba, these acts become atonement for his sins between the two Fridays.
- Coming early for Prayer:
During our Prophet’s (saas) time, believers came to the prayer on Friday as early as possible. Believers sought to know why those who could not come were absent. If anyone who attended the prayer had any trouble, his problems were solved.
- Manner of Listening to Khutba:
Our Prophet (saas) recommended believers to perform their regular prayer, to read the Qur’an and to be involved with acts of worship until imam started his khutba. The teachings of the Prophet (saas) actually direct us towards a more respectful attitude. When imam starts the khutba, it is obligatory upon those who hear him to remain silent.
A Khutbe of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (saas)
“O people, return to Allah in penitence before you die and hasten to perform righteous deeds before you are made to engage (yourselves in worldly pursuits); and weld (the relation) between you and your Lord with your abundant mention of Him, make frequent sadaqa openly and secretly, you will be provided with sustenance and will be granted succor and your condition will be emiliorated. Bear in mind that Allah has made compulsory for you the Friday prayer at this place of mine, on this day of mine and during this month of mine and in this year of mine till the Day of Resurrection. He who abandons it during my life-time or after I (have departed from this cosmos), while he has a just or tryant ruler, making little of it (prayer) or denying it, Allah will not unite his gathering; nor will He bless his affairs. Be aware, his prayer will not be valid nor will his zakat or hajj be accepted; nor will his fasting nor his virtue be accepted as long as he does not repent. So, he who repents, Allah will restore for him His Grace (and forgive him).” (Sunan Ibn-i-Majah, 1081)