Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Salah (Prayer) and The Ablution

Assalama 'Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

“Live as you wish, safe, in the shade of the towering castles;
Whatever your desire is, whether it’s in the morning or in the evening.
But when the souls quiver in the shade of a rattling chest,at that moment you will know for certain, that all of this was nothing more than delusion.”
-Abu Latahiy.

If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.
His reply to you is guaranteed;
but in the way He chooses,
not the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire.
- Ibn Ata'illah Iskandari.

 The Five Times Are Specified in the Quran

(1)  The Dawn Contact Prayer is mentioned by name in 24:58. Before sunrise.
(2)  The Noon Contact Prayer is specified in 17:78. When the sun declines.
(3)  The Afternoon Contact Prayer is in 2:238. Midway between noon & sunset.
(4)  The Sunset Contact Prayer is mentioned in 11:114. Immediately after sunset.
(5)  The Night Contact Prayer is in 11:114, and is mentioned by name in 24:58.

 Preparation for the Contact Prayer  (The Ablution)

O you who believe, in preparation for the Contact Prayer, you shall
(1)  wash your faces,
(2)  wash your arms to the elbows,
(3)  wipe your heads with wet hands, and
(4)  wash your feet to the ankles.                      [Quran 5:6]

Like all other aspects of Submission, the Muslims have corrupted the ablution by adding unauthorized steps. Ironically, the innovations became vested with such authority that anyone who questions them finds himself accused of innovation!!

It is therefore crucial to uphold God's commands by strictly observing the ablution decreed in the Quran. Any additional steps represent another god besides God.
 The Major Ablution

Following any sexual activity that results in a climax (orgasm/ejaculation), one must bath or take a shower (4:43).

The Dry Ablution (Tayammum)

If water is not available, one must touch clean dry soil, then wipe his hands and face. This suffices as a substitute for ablution (4:43, 5:6).

What Nullifies Ablution

Digestive excretions through the intestines, including gas, solids, or urine nullify ablution. Sleeping also nullifies ablution, since one becomes unaware. Thus one may observe a number of Contact Prayers with one ablution, provided he or she does not go to the bathroom, pass gas, or fall asleep.

      In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)showed us how to pray to Allah S.W.T. through the examples of his many companions.  Everyone deserves the chance to pray to God directly(if they want to), at the same time, and to know that God is listening.  Sami'Allahu liman hamidah (God hears the praises sent to Him) Muslims would utter after the ruku' or the bowing part of the prayer.

      Prayer is one of the biggest signs of God's Mercy.  For it is through prayer that God cleanses our sins, at five points of time throughout our day.  Just imagine waking up early for work, after a bad night - for whatever reason.  The dawn prayer is our first appointment with God.  He knows that we are in a rush for the day's work.  The dawn prayer is only 2-cycle long.  Each cycle comprises of an initial standing position, a 90-degree bowing position, standing again, and prostrating on the ground.  Many Muslims like to say that prayer makes up for a lost exercise routine.  I must admit, these days prayers are the only time I move up and down with my body.  Still, the essence of the prayer lies in our soul.

         It is a form of meditation.  For those who are aware of God's existence and love, the prayer(salah) is a superior form of meditation.  Instead of focusing on the self, one should lose oneself by focusing on the Almighty.  That is why we shouldn't hurry to our place of prayer.  The companions of the Prophet were very meticulous in cleaning themselves before prayer (a prerequisite called wudhu).  This cleaning is not just a physical cleaning - it is the cleansing of our sins.  When we rub water throughout our skin, we should feel hopeful that all our sins are falling off like the drops of water that falls off from our limbs during wudhu.

       When we approach our prayer mat, we shouldn't rush into prayer.  We should close our eyes to free our mind from previous thought processes, take a deep breath and realize Who we are reciting to.

1)Allahu Akbar, we raise our hands to the shoulder area to enter into prayer - a sacred state in which nobody should pass in front of us except due to necessity.  We shouldn't  talk to anyone or be spoken to.

2) We put our arms together on our chest area, or according to another opinion (Maliki jurist),  simply leave our arms in a relaxed position on the side.  This is when a recitation is required. The Prophet said, "Whoever does not recite Surah Al-Fatiha in his prayer, it is not valid" (Bukhari, #435)  Al-Fatiha means the Opening.

3)After completing the Al-Fatiha, we should recite more Qur'an - even if it is only three verses long - but it is not obligatory.  Then one bow down on a 90-degree angle while praising God, and then return to the previous position.

4) Next, one prostrates on the ground and this is the time when a believer is the closest to God, and should make supplications to Him.  The sujood or prostration is something that should transport our mind to the day of Arising.  On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will appear in front of the gathering of people who are then instructed to prostrate.  (Sahih Bukhari, vol 9 hadith 532B.)

     Allah informed us, "The Day when the shin (of Allah) shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves but the hypocrites shall not be able to do so. " (Al-Qalam,68:42)

     In addition, the same hadith quoted above also informed us regarding Muslims whose deeds land them in the hellfire.  "When Allah intends mercy on whomever He likes amongst the people of Hell, He will order the angels to take out of Hell those who worshipped none but Him Alone.  The angels will take them out by recognizing them from the traces of prostrations.  For Allah has forbidden the fire to eat away those traces....The Water of Life will be poured on them and they will grow......"

        How Merciful is Allah.  Prayer maybe hard for us, but in reality it is just an appointment with Our Creator who loves us.  He wants to test our obedience to Him in this world, and show us our grades on Resurrection Day.   Prayer is like one of those energy points that we try to collect while playing video games.  We accumulate a lot of blunder, a lot of sins - and prayer erases all the minor sins.  It keeps us grounded to the belief in God and make us steadfast in order to execute the command of God in our daily lives despite all the challenges.

        There are only five appointments a day (no doctor or psychiatrist would be so generous!): 1) At dawn, 2) At noon -right after the sun reaches its apex and there is no shadow(or short one) on objects, 3) At midafternoon, when the shadows of objects at this time minus the shadow of objects at the previous prayer (noon) is equal to the height of the object, (too mathematical, which is why we now have the prayer calendar - just google online!)  4)After sunset, and 5) After twilight - ie. when real darkness of the night emerges.

May God accept our prayer.  O God, make the prayer easy for us to perform so we may draw closer to You.  Indeed You have created us for the sole purpose of worshipping You.  Make us amongst your grateful ones, through our sincere and focused prayer

Allah (SWT) has said in the Noble Qur'an: "I have not created the jinn and humankind for any other purpose except that they should worship Me." (Noble Qur'an 51:56)

It is clear from the above verse of Noble Qur'an that the purpose of our birth and of our life is no other than that of the worship of Allah (SWT). There are many acts of worship (Ibadah, Ibadat) in Islam, and Salah is one of the most important obligatory acts.

Salah (Salat, Namaz) is the ritual prayer practiced by Muslims in supplication to Allah (SWT). The term is commonly used to refer to the five daily prayers, which are compulsory upon all mature Muslims. Salah (Salat, Namaz) is considered the most important act of worship (Ibadah, Ibadat) in Islam and its importance is such that under very few circumstances it can be omitted.

Salah (Salat, Namaz) strengthens the foundations of our faith. It prepares a person to live the life of goodness and obedience to Allah (SWT), and it builds courage and determination. Every time we perform Salah, we renew our commitments to Allah (SWT) and we rid ourselves from worldly pressures five times a day.

According to a Hadith a companion of Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) came to him one day and asked him "What is the thing that Allah (SWT) loves most?" Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied "The thing that Allah (SWT) loves most is when his people pray Salah on time."

Salah (Salat, Namaz) is a practical sign of obedience to the commands of Allah (SWT). Its importance has been emphasized about 500 times in the Noble Qur'an.

Once Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) shook a dry branch of a tree so that all of the leaves of the branch fell off than the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said "The sins of those who pray Salah, drop off as the leaves of this branch fell off."

Before Salah, we make Wudu. Wudu (Ablution) is a unique way of cleansing certain parts of our body so we are clean before bowing down to the one who created us, who created the universe the one and only Allah (SWT).

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) once asked his companions "Tell me if there was a river at the door step of one of you in which you washed five times a day would any of your dirt remain?" When Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) received the reply that none of it would remain he then said "That is like the five times Salah, with which Allah (SWT) wipes out sin.

The last thing that Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) emphasized at his deathbed was Salah. He also said the first thing we will have to answer about on the day of judgement is Salah.

While in Salah one communicates with Allah (SWT) and experiences his presence. That's why a Hadith says: Salah is the Meraj of a Momin (Namaz is called as Meraj-ul-Momineen).

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) also said "The key to Heaven is Salah. The key to Salah is Purification."

" Salah (  Namaz) is a pillar of Religion. If  salah  (Namaz) is accepted all other deeds are accepted. If Salah(Namaz) is rejected then all other Deeds are rejected." (Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh))
Importance of Salah in Islam: Sayings on Salah (Salat, Namaz)

Sayings on Salah (Salat, Namaz)Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "Almighty Allah (SWT) has set the light of my eyes in Salah (Salat, Namaz) and made it the most desirable thing for me, like the food for the hungry and the water for the thirsty. The hungry is contented after the meal and the thirsty is satisfied after drinking water. But my thirst for Salah (Salat, Namaz) is never quenched."

Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said: "Everything has a face and the face of your religion is Salah (Salat, Namaz); none of you should stain the face of his religion."

Commander of the Believers Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (pbuh) said: "Almighty Allah (SWT) has ordained the obligation of faith for purification from polytheism and the obligation of Salah (Salat, Namaz) for refraining from pride and arrogance."

Imam Jafar Sadiq (pbuh) said: "The superiority of Salah (Salat, Namaz) performed in the earliest moments over the one offered in the last moments of its specified time is the same as the superiority of the Hereafter over this world."

Imam Jafar Sadiq (pbuh) said: "It is quite possible that a person lives for fifty years and not even a single prayer of his is accepted. Is there anything harder and more painful than this? There are some people ... whose prayers ... will not be accepted ... because they belittle Salah (Salat, Namaz), while nothing but good is admitted to Almighty Allah (SWT). How can Almighty Allah (SWT) accept that which is considered to be of little worth?"

Imam Ali bin Moosa Al Ridha (pbuh) said: "When it is time for Salah (Salat, Namaz), perform your prayers; you never know what will happen afterwards ... Nothing is dearer to Almighty Allah than Salah (Salat, Namaz). Worldly affairs must not detract you from the prayer timings. Do not delay your prayers (from the prescribed timings) for no reason. Always perform your Salah (Salat, Namaz) on its best time."

Imam Ali bin Moosa Al Ridha (pbuh) said: "When you are praying, avoid being drowsy, slumberous, playing and hastening. Pray with solemnity, gravity and soberness. It is up to you to remain attentive, humble and submissive in Almighty Allah's presence. Stand in front of your Lord as a slave appears before his master. Keep your feet in order and your stature firm. Do not look here and there. Be as if you could see Him; for, if you do not see Him, He sees you."
Importance of Salah in Islam: Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and Salah (Salat, Namaz)

Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and SalahOne of the companions of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), by the name of Sa'd, was very poor and was regarded as one of the People of the Ledge. Sa'd used to offer all his Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayers behind the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), who was greatly distressed by Sa'd's poverty. One day, the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) promised him that if he got some money, he would give it to Sa'd. Time passed but no money came to the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) who became even more distressed at Sa'd's situation. It was at this time that Jibril (Gabriel) descended, bringing with him two Dirhams.

Jibril (Gabriel) said to the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), "Allah (SWT) has said: We are aware of your distress in connection with Sa'd's poverty. If you want him to emerge from this state, give him these two Dirhams and ask him to engage himself in business."

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) took the two Dirhams and set out of the house for the Dhuhr prayers when he found Sa'd waiting for him near one of the rooms of the mosque.

Turning to Sa'd, the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) asked: "Could you engage yourself in business?"

"By Allah (SWT)! I have no capital with which I can do business," replied Sa'd.

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) handed him the two Dirhams and told him to start business with this capital.

Sa'd took the money and after offering the Dhuhr and Asr Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayers set about to earn his livelihood.

Allah (SWT) blessed Sa'd in such a way that whatever he purchased for a Dirham, he would sell it for double the amount. Consequently, his financial state gradually improved. This continued till he eventually purchased a shop near the mosque and began conducting his business from there. As his business picked up, he began to become lax with respect to his acts of worship (Ibadah, Ibadat), even to the extent that when Hazrat Bilal ibn Rabah recited the Adhan he would not get ready for the prayers. Previously, he was ready well before Adhan was recited!

When the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) noticed Sa'd's lateness for Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayers, he said to him: "Sa'd, this world has made you so busy that it has even weaned you away from your Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayers."

Salah is the Meraj of a MominSa'd replied, "What can I do? If I leave my wealth unattended, it will go to waste and I will end up in loss. From one person, I have to collect the money for the goods sold, while from another I have to take possession of the goods purchased."

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was disturbed at Sa'd's involvement with his wealth and his negligence with respect to his acts of worship and Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayer. At that moment, Jibril (Gabriel) descended again and said: "Allah (SWT) has said: 'We possess knowledge of your distress. Which of the two states do you prefer for Sa'd?"

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) indicated that the previous state was beneficial for Sa'd. Jibril (Gabriel) agreed, "Yes, love for the world causes man to become heedless of the hereafter. Take back the two Dirhams, which you had given to him previously."

The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) approached Sa'd and asked him if he could return the two Dirhams that he had given to him.

"If you desire, I shall even give you two hundred Dirhams," replied Sa'd.

"No, just give me the two Dirhams, which you had taken from me." said the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

Sa'd handed the money to the Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and within a short time, his financial situation turned a full circle and before long he found himself in his previous state.

Importance of Salah in Islam: Salah Timings (Prayer according to Islam, Salah Time)
Salah Timings
He remembered his grandmother's warning about praying Salah (Salat, Namaz) on time: "My son, you shouldn't leave Salah (Salat, Namaz) to this late time". His grandmother's age was 70 but whenever she heard the Adhan, grandmother got up like an arrow and performed Salah (Salat, Namaz). He however could never win over his ego to get up and pray Salah (Salat, Namaz). Whatever he did, his Salah was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it in on time. Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15 minutes left before Salat ul Isha. He quickly made Wudu (Ablution) and performed Salat ul Maghrib. , he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed Salah (Salat, Namaz). His grandmother prayed with such tranquility and peace. He began making Dua and went down to make Sajda (prostrating) and stayed like that for a while.

He had been at school all day and was tired, so tired. He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting. He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every direction he looked in was filled with people. Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting. Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was.

His heart was about to burst. It was the Day of Judgment. When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgment, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up? No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this. The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer him. All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him. Two people grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd. The angels brought him to the center and left him there. His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world. The people were all helping others. He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared.

He pleaded his case; "I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of Allah (SWT). I performed my Salah (Salat, Namaz). I fasted in the month of Ramadan. Whatever Allah (SWT) ordered us to do, I did. Whatever Allah (SWT) ordered us not to do, I did not."

He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah (SWT). He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah (SWT) deserved and his only protector was Allah (SWT). He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over. His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision. At last, the decision was made. The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd. His legs felt like they were going to collapse. He closed his eyes as they began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam (Hell). His name was read first. He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn't be, "How could I go to Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah (SWT) to others". His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat. The two angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam. He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Noble Qur'an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him. The Jahannam angels continued to drag him. They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas. Had not Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, "How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salah (Salat, Namaz) performed five times cleanse someone of their sins"? He began yelling, "My prayers? My prayers? My prayers?"

prayers Salah  ( Namaz )is called as Meraj-ul-MomineenThe two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Hell (  Jahannam). The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him. One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard. He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, "Who are you?" The old man replied, "I am your Salah (Salat, Namaz) prayers".

"Why are you so late? I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in". The old man smiled and shook his head, "You always performed me at the last minute, and did you forget?" At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajda (prostrating). He was in a sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the adhan for Salat ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudu (Ablution).

Say Your Prayers Before Prayers For You Are Said .

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