Importance of Salaat in the Life of a Muslim
As-Salaat is an act of worship, which is one of the greatest merits of our perfect religion and the comfort to our heart. This is the act of worship that Allah (subhanahu wa taa’ala);
- Advised Isa (‘Alayhis Salaam) with, when he was just in the cradle “…. and has enjoined on me Salaat (prayer) …” (19:31)
- Made Prophet Shu’aib (‘Alayhis Salaam) distinct from his people, when he forbade them from Shirk and mischief in the land, by depriving the people of their due and decreasing from the measure and the scale. “They said: “O Shu’aib! Does your Salaat (prayer) command that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property? Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!” (They said this sarcastically).” (11:87)
As-Salaat is the sign of the righteous people:
This act of worship has great status with all the Messengers of Allah (subhanahu wa taa’ala).
- Ibrahim (‘Alayhis Salaam) mentioned this act of worship when he left his family in a valley where there was no one to establish the prayer. “0 our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaat (Iqamat-as-Salaat),” (14:37)
- It (Salaat) is mentioned in the great position, when Allah talked to Musa (‘Alayhis Salaam) without a mediator, introducing His Noble self to Musa (‘Alayhis Salaam) saying: “Verily! I am Allah! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and perform As-Salaat (Iqamat-as-Salaat) for My Remembrance.” (20:14)
- Allah mentions Isma’il (‘Alayhis Salaam) that he used to command his family with the Salaat. “And he used to enjoin on his family and his people As-Salat (the prayers)” (19:55)
- As well as Ishaaq, Ya’qoob, Dawood, Zakariyyah (‘Alayhis Salaam). They sought refuge in the Salaat.
Importance of the Salaat in the life of a Muslim
As-Salaat is one of the acts of worship which Allah has enjoined upon His servants, that has great virtues.
- It is the second pillar of Islam:
As-Salaat is the second pillar of Islam after the testimony and it is the pillar on which Islam is established. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
1. To testify that La ilaha illa Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah)
2. Iqamat as-Salaah (to offer the compulsory Salaat dutifully and perfectly)
3. To pay Zakaat.
4. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.
5. To perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah).” [Al-Bukhari]
- It is the distinction between the Muslim & the Kaafir (the disbeliever):
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Between the slave and the kufr or the Shirk is abandonment of the Salaat. If one abandons the Salaat, he becomes a disbeliever (or he has disbelieved).” [Saheeh at-Targheeb]
- The Salaat is the first thing that the person will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection:
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The first deed which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be as-Salaat (the prayer). If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful, but if it is defected (spoiled) he will be unfortunate and a loser.” [At-Tirmidhi]
In another narration, he ﷺ said, “As-Salaat is of three thirds, the purification is one third, bowing (Ruku’) is one third, and the prostration (Sujood) is one third. Whoever has performed it dutifully (i.e. fulfilled its due right), then the rest of his deeds will be accepted from him and whoever’s Salaat is rejected, then the rest of his deeds will be neglected as well.” [Saheeh at-Targheeb]
- It prevents from al-Fahshaa’ & al-Munkar:
Allah says in Surat al-Ankabut “Verily, As-Salaat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshaa’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed)” (29:45)
There are two great merits for the Salaat in this verse; Firstly, it prevents one from every kind of evil and wicked deed or sins. This means, whoever maintains offering the Salaat, he will maintain his religion, and whoever wastes his Salaat, then he has lost his religion. It will be easy for him to commit the sins and the prohibitions, and he will not enjoin the Ma’roof (the good) or forbid the Munkar (the evil). Secondly, in the Salaat, the greatest deed is Dhikr which is the remembrance of Allah.
- As-Salaat helps to overcome difficulties and hardships of this life:
Allah says in Surat al-Baqarah, “And seek help in patience and As-Salaat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khaashi’un [i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)]. (2:45)
As-Salaat is a great matter and it has a great status with Allah. Whoever knows the value of the Salaat and he takes care of it, then this indicates that he cares about Islam and magnifies the religion of Islam. And if the person is neglecting his Salaat, then he will be neglecting everything else. Therefore, Allah has commanded a Muslim to offer the Salaat five times a day.
The Salaat should be offered in its stated time:
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Allah has (enjoined) deeds in the day which he will not accept in the evening and He had deeds (which he has enjoined) in the night which He will not accept in the day.”
Allah says in Surah an-Nisaa, “..Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (4:103)
Also in Surah al-Mu’minoon “And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawaat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.” (23:9-11)
Guarding the prayers means, they establish it in its fixed stated time in the day and night and do not play with its timing.
The categories of the people who neglect their Salaat:
- There are some people who do not offer the Salaat. They abandon the Salaat Whoever abandons the Salaat purposely is considered Kaafir (disbeliever) as many verses and ahadeeth prove that. The person is considered Kaafir even though he claims that he is a Muslim.
- There are some people who offer the the Salaat, but they don’t offer it in its stated time, i.e. they have lost their Salaat (neglects their Salaat). Allah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Maryam, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salaat (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So, they will be thrown in Hell.” (19:59)
- There are some people who offer the Salaat in its fixed time but do not offer it in congregation (for men, in the Masjid). Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Whoever hears the call for prayer and is not prevented from joining the congregation by any excuse, his prayer will not be accepted from him.” [Saheeh al-Jami’]
There are some people who answer the call for the prayer, but they join the Salaat late such that they miss some Raka’ahs or miss all the prayer and pray alone or with a group of people, who also come late to the Masjid. This is great negligence. This may gradually lead the person to abandon the Salaat totally.
- There are some people who do not offer the Salaat except on Friday. Those who neglect all the prayers, their Friday prayer will not be accepted. They should offer it all in its time in order to maintain their religion and for the Salaat to be a light for them and a plea for them with Allah on the Day of Resurrection.
If one always offers the Salaat, then it becomes easy for him to guard it and to long for it. ‘Abdullah said: I remember when no one stayed away from the prayer except a hypocrite who was known for his hypocrisy, or one who was sick. But even a sick person would walk between two men and come to prayer. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ taught us the Sunnahs of guidance, and one of the Sunnahs of guidance is praying in the mosque in which the call to prayer is given. (Saheeh Muslim)
The Muslim should guard the Salaat strictly, because it is his means of salvation, it is his religion and it is the first thing that the person will be asked about on the Day of Judgment. If the Muslim takes care of his Salaat and maintain it, he will achieve:
- A great success in this life and Hereafter
- The rest of acts of obedience will become easy for him
- It will make the sins and evil/wicked deeds hated to him.
Fear Allah concerning your Salaat!
Whoever neglects his Salaat then he becomes as the one who has no religion. The Salaat was the last advice of the Prophet ﷺ when he was in his fatal sickness, suffering from the death agony. In the evening he grew so sick, that he could not overcome the strain of the disease or go out to enter the Mosque. ‘Aishah (radi Allahu anha) said: The Prophet ﷺ asked: “Have the people performed the prayer?” I replied, “No, they haven’t. They are waiting for you.” He said, “Put some water in the washing pot.” I did what he ordered. So, he washed and wanted to stand up, but he fainted. When he came around, he asked again, “Have the people prayed?” Then the sequence of events took place again and again for the second and the third times, from the time he washed to the time he fainted after his attempts to stand up. Therefore, he sent Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhum) to lead the prayer himself. Abu Bakr then led the prayer during those days [Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/99].