A Daily Prayer
The second pillar of Islam, the daily 5 prayers, symbolize a believer's submission to Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ and serve as a public display of their commitment to Islam. This pillar holds immense significance, ranking after the Shahada. It is through this regular practice that Muslims acknowledge their dependence on Allah and their need for spiritual nourishment, seeking guidance, and seeking forgiveness.
What is Salah in Islam? – The Second Pillar
The obligation to perform the 2nd pillar of Islam is one of the most emphasized duties in Islam. Muslims, regardless of their gender, are required to perform these prayers diligently and sincerely at their designated times, as prescribed by Sharia (Islamic law).
Before each prayer, Muslims must perform ablution (Wudu), a mandatory act of washing. It is essential to perform ablution correctly. After this the major question that arises is “what are the times to pray in Islam” The five daily namaz are known as Fajar (before sunrise), Zohar (midday, after the sun's highest point), Asr (evening), Maghrib (evening, after sunset), and Isha (night). It is crucial to observe the prayers at their specified times. Through these prayers, Muslim nurtures their connection with Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ, constantly remembers Him, and remains clear of sins.
The Prophet of humanity, the tranquility of our hearts and minds, the most kind and compassionate, صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, advised those who glorify Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and recite Durud Sharif after offering Salah, saying, ‘Present your supplication, it will be answered; ask (for anything), you will be granted.’ (Sunan Nasai, pp. 220, Hadis 1281)
The Quran and Hadiths mention numerous virtues of offering prayers and severe punishments for neglecting it. Therefore, the 9th verse of Surat al-Munafiqun in Para 28 states: “O believers! Let not your wealth or your children make you negligent from the remembrance of Allah and whoever does that, they are the losers.” (Kanzul Iman [Translation of Quran])
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Muhammad bin Ahmad Zahabi رحمتہ اللہ علیہ narrates that the honourable Mufassirin state, "In this Holy Ayah, the remembrance of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ refers to the five daily Salah, therefore, the one who does not offer his namaz at its specified time because of his preoccupation with his wealth (i.e., trading), cultivation and employment, goods and his children, is at loss." (Kitab-ul-Kabair, p. 20)
Virtues of Salah
Salah is also a comprehensive spiritual exercise that carries numerous virtues and benefits. In the following list, we explore 25 virtues of Salah:
1. Salah is a means of pleasing Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.
2. Salah is the coolness of the eyes of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
3. Salah is a Sunnah of the blessed Prophets صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
4. Salah is a lamp in the dark grave.
5. Salah protects against punishment in the grave.
6. Salah is [a means of] shade from the sun on the Day of Judgement.
7. Salah brings ease on the Bridge of Siraat.
8. Salah is Noor [light].
9. Salah is the key to paradise.
10. Salah protects one from the punishment of Hell.
11. Salah causes mercy to descend.
12. On the day of Judgement, Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ will be pleased with the person who offers Salah.
13. Salah is the pillar of Islam.
14. Salah brings about the forgiveness of sins.
15. Salah is a means of Du’as being answered.
16. Salah protects against diseases.
17. Salah provides comfort to the body.
18. Salah brings about blessings in sustenance.
19. Salah protects against indecency and bad deeds.
20. Satan dislikes Salah.
21. Salah provides companionship in the loneliness of the grave.
22. Salah makes the scale of good deeds heavy.
23. Salah is the Mi’raaj [ascension] of a believer.
24. Offering Salah on time is the most superior of all deeds.
25. The greatest blessing for the person who offers Salah is that he will see Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ on the Day of Judgement.
Upon Whom Is Salah Fard?
The five prayers are Fard every day upon every male and female Muslim who is sane and Baaligh (i.e., who has reached puberty according to the Islamic law). It is disbelief (Kufr) to deny that it is Fard. The one who deliberately misses even a single Salah is a transgressor, a major sinner, and deserves to be punished in Hellfire.
Salah - The Luminous Path
The significance of salah in Islam is highlighted by its central role in the daily lives of Muslims. There’s an importance of namaz in Quran in numerous verses, underlining it as a means of communication with Allah and a way to attain spiritual growth and mindfulness. The act of praying involves physical postures coupled with recitations of verses from the Quran, fostering a sense of discipline, humility, and devotion. It is through Salah that Muslims seek forgiveness, guidance, and blessings, while also purifying their souls and elevating their spiritual consciousness.
In the Hadith, the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, the hadith about importance of Salah is further underscored. One well-known Hadith narrates the significance of namaz through the words of the Prophet, stating that "The prayer is a light, charity is proof (of one's faith), and patience is illumination."
This succinctly captures the multifaceted importance of namaz in Hadith – illuminating one's path through life, validating one's faith through charitable acts, and fortifying patience in the face of challenges. The regular performance of Salah cultivates a sense of consistency, self-discipline, and devotion, helping Muslims to remain steadfast in their faith and mindful of their responsibilities to both Allah and their fellow beings. In essence, Salah stands as a bridge between the material and spiritual realms, nurturing a holistic sense of well-being and connectivity for Muslims within the tapestry of their faith.
First Question in Afterlife
Although Salah is the second pillar of Islam but the beloved and blessed Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “On the Day of Judgement, the very first question that will be asked to man out of his deeds will be about Salah; if his Salah is correct, he will succeed but if it is incomplete, he will be disgraced and will suffer loss.” (Al-Mu’jam-ulAwsat-lit-Tabrani, pp. 32, vol. 3, Hadis 3782)
Importance of Worship in Islam
Salah, also known as Namaz, holds profound significance in both the Quran and Hadith, forming a cornerstone of Islamic faith and practice. Allah Almighty and Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم have emphasized the importance of Salah in Quran and Hadith respectively, underscoring its role as a direct means of communication with Him عَزَّوَجَلَّ and a source of spiritual nourishment. Through regular prayers, believers establish a deep connection and seek guidance and forgiveness.
1. In verses 9,10 and 11 of Surah Mu’minoon, in the 18th Juz, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ states:
“And those who guard their Salah. These people are the heirs. That (they) will attain the inheritance of Paradise; they will abide therein forever.”
2. In several places in the Holy Quran, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has commanded Muslims to offer Salah. It is stated in verse 14 of Surah Ta-Ha, in the 16th Juz:
“And establish Salah for My remembrance.”
3. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ states in the 5th Juz, in the 103rd verse of Surah al-Nisa:
“Indeed, Salah has been made obligatory upon the Muslims at fixed times.”
4. In verse 114 of Surah Hood, in Juz 12, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
“And keep Salah established at the two ends of the day and in some parts of the night; verily, good deeds erase evil deeds; this is advice to those who accept advice.”
5. In verse 56 of Surah al-Noor, in Juz 18, our Merciful Lord has said:
“And keep Salah established, and pay Zakah and obey the Messenger; in the hope that you attain mercy.”
The Honourable Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated:
“Salah is the light of a believer’s heart, face, grave, and resurrection,” (Sharh Muslim-lil-Nawawi, vol. 2, p. 101, derived from; Mirat-ul-Manajih, vol. 1, p. 232, derived from).
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم further clarified who will attain the light of Salah and who will not:
“Whoever safeguards his Salah, for him on the Day of Judgement will be a light, an open proof, and protection. And he who does not safeguard his Salah will not have light, an open proof, or any protection, and he will be resurrected with Qaroon, Fir’awn, Haman, and ‘Ubay Bin Khalf,” (Musnad Ahmad, vol. 2, p. 574, Hadith 6587).
He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم added, “Glad tidings of a complete light be for those who walk to the masjid on foot, in darkness,” (Tirmizi, vol. 1, p. 261, Hadith 223).
Islamic Prayer - Nur for the Faithful
The Messenger of humanity, the serenity of our hearts and minds, the most benevolent and compassionate, صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, stated, “The one who secures his Salah, the Salah will be Nur, evidence and salvation for him on the day of judgement; and the one who does not protect it, there will be no Nur, evidence or salvation for him on the Day of Judgement and such a person will be kept with Pharaoh, Qarun, Haman and Ubay bin Khalaf on the day of judgement.” (Musnad Imam Ahmad, pp. 574, vol. 2, Hadis 6587)
Washes Away Sins – Benefits of Prayer
Sayyiduna Usman رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا narrates that the Messenger of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ said: “Do you think if any one of you had a river in their courtyard and they bathed it in five times each day, there would be any dirt left upon him?”
The people responded, saying, “There wouldn’t be.”
He then declared, “Salah washes away sins the way water washes away dirt.”
Salah - A Purifying Practice
Prophet Isa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام once walked along a seashore and noticed a bird rolling back and forth in mud on the shoreline, completely covering its body. The bird then entered the sea, washed itself, and became clean. It repeated this action five times—rolling in mud and washing in the sea.
Prophet Isa عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was amazed by this sight, and Archangel Jibrail عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام explained that “What you have been shown is an example of those from the Muhammadan ummah who offer Salah. This mud represents their sins and washing in the sea represents the five salah in Islam.”
In other words, just as the bird rolled in mud and cleansed itself, sinners from the ummah of Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم will be purified of their sins through the practice of the five daily salah.
O believers in salah! Let us truly comprehend the profound importance of prayer in Islam, recognizing the great fortune we possess as Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has made salah obligatory upon us. Through this act of worship in Islam, He bestows upon us immense rewards and forgiveness for our sins. How unfortunate is the person who fails to embrace this precious treasure from the mercy of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ!
Resurrection - A Reflection of Actions
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Muhammad bin Ahmad Zahabi رحمتہ اللہ علیہ narrates that some esteemed scholarsرحمۃ اللہ علیھم have stated that “The one who abandons Salah will be resurrected with Pharaoh, Qarun, Haman and Ubay bin Khalaf on the Day of Judgement.”
Those who neglect Salah because of their involvement in state affairs will be raised with Pharaoh. Those who abandon Salah due to their attachment to wealth will be resurrected with Qarun. If the reason of abandoning Salah is ministry, he will be resurrected with Pharaoh’s minister, Haman. And those who neglect Salah due to their engagement in trade will be raised with Ubay bin Khalaf, the prominent trader among the unbelievers in Makka-tul-Mukarramah. (Kitab-ul-Kabair, p. 21)
Nur & Darkness in Prayer
Hadrat Sayyiduna Ubadah bin Samit رضی اللہ عنہ relates that our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, said, “The one who makes Wudu properly, stands for Salah and completes its Ruku’, Sujud and recitation, his Salah says, ‘May Allāĥ عَزَّوَجَلَّ secure you as you have secured me!’ The Salah is then elevated to the sky and there is glare and brilliance for it. The portals of the sky are opened for it and it is presented in the court of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and such Salah intercedes for that Musalli (the one who offered it).”
On the other hand, if he fails to complete its Ruku, Sujud, and recitation, the Salah says, “May Allāĥ عَزَّوَجَلَّ discard you as you have distorted me!’ The Salah covered in darkness is then taken to the sky. The portals of the sky are closed for it and it is then bundled up like an old piece of cloth and thrown onto the face of that Musalli.” (Kanz-ul-Ummal, pp. 129, vol. 7, Hadis 19049)
A Cause of Bad End
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Bukhari رحمۃُ اللہِ علیہ narrates that Hadrat Sayyiduna Huzayfah bin Yaman رضی اللہ عنہ observed a person performing Ruku and Sujud incorrectly during their Salah. He رضی اللہ عنہ advised the person, "If you die offering Salah in the way as you have just offered, you will not die in accordance with the teachings of Hadrat Sayyiduna Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.” (Sahih Bukhari, pp. 284, vol. 1, Hadis 808)"
Similarly, the narration in Sunan Nasai also mentions that he رضی اللہ عنہ asked the individual, " For how long have you been offering Salah in this way?” The person responded, "For forty years." To this, Hadrat Sayyiduna Huzayfah bin Yaman رضی اللہ عنہ replied, " You haven’t offered Salah at all for the past forty years; if you die in this state, you will not die following the religion of Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم (Sunan Nasai, pp. 225, Hadis 1309)"