Monday, 12 April 2010

Salat is the "Crown Of Prayer".

Today we have indeed come to treat the Prayer (Salah) as something insignificant in our lives. Very often we hear elders say, "I will start praying when the time comes." Others, specially the younger Muslims, do not find much comfort, and joy in their Prayers. Due to our treatment of Prayer as a burden, our love and passion for the Prayer has vanished. Our hearts have become hardened, and we have become a depressed and defeated people. As a result,
many are searching for 'cures and remedies' to the distress in our lives, through any means available, but are unable to find any because they have ignored the greatest medicine - Salah!

If we look deep into our daily lives and diagnose the causes of our spiritual, social and psychological illnesses, we will realize that probably something as uplifting, revolutionary, and empowering as Salah is missing. If we,  realize the potential role of Prayer in changing our lives and as a constant source of hope, we would regret missing even a single

The Role of Salah in Changing our Lives

The whole purpose of Salah is to be ever conscious of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Salah is indeed, one of the most comprehensive forms of Dhikr (Remembrance). No wonder, Allah states in a hadith qudsi: "Out of all the ways through which My servant gets closer to Me, Salah is the dearest to Me." (Bukhari) It is unfortunate, therefore, that we do not always take full advantage of this gift.

In salat I find the refreshment for my eyes. - Hadith

Salat is the ascension of the believer. - Hadith

Al-Kabir - Allah, the Supremely Great

The Prophet Muhammad(SAW)may Allah bless him
with the peace of perfect union, calls salat the dhikrullah
al-akbar, the greatest divine remembrance.

On the night of his Ascension, the Prophet of Allah witnessed the angels in each of the seven heavens perpetually worshipping Allah in unique ways: standing, bowing, prostrating, kneeling, and chanting the Holy Names. In the boundless love of Allah Most High for Muhammad and humanity, all those modes were gathered together into one glorious form of praise called salat, and granted to the community of the Prophet to be offered five times daily for Allah’s pleasure alone. Salat is the crown of prayer, containing in itself all forms of praise flowing within the creation, from the angelic plane to beings on all planes of existence. It is the ascension of the believer, following the Ascension of the Prophet, and the witnessing of the Beloved. The lover comes to prayer knowing that Allah is longing and waiting. The lover is also longing to meet with the Beloved in the intimate bridal chamber of union, which is salat. Enter salat with complete faith that you meet Allah.

As you call out Allahu Akbar feel that you have left everything behind you—your dominion, your possessions, your relationships, your physical sustenance, your pleasures and your obsessions. Leave also your self on this threshold. You are a faqir, a poor and empty one, who has come to be filled with the radiance of Allah. You are flooded with the praise of Subhanaka allahuma wa bi hamdika wa tabaraka asmuka wa ta‘ala jadika wa la ilaha ila ghayruk. Audhu bilahi minash shaytan ir-rajim bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim. “Glorious are you O my beloved Allah, and all hearts are constantly praising You, Your Name is pure blessing, Your might is exalted and beyond reach and there is no reality apart from You alone. I take refuge from all negativity in Your boundless Love.” Filled with the radiance of this praise we now offer the Fatiha, the magnificent prayer which is shared between Allah and the servant:

In the name of Allah Most High
Who is Tenderly Compassionate, Infinitely Merciful
Perfect praise flows to Allah alone, Lover and Sustainer of all Worlds,
Most intimately called Rahman and Rahim,
Presiding magnificently over the Day of Divine Awakening.
O Lord, we worship only You and rely upon You alone.
Reveal Your Direct Path, the mystic way of those who,
through Your Mercy, have received and truly
assimilated Your sublime Guidance,
Those who never wander from the spiritual path
and therefore never experience Your awesome Correction.

The first part of the Fatiha is pure glorification and praise. The second part beginning with “O Lord, we worship only You” initiates the supplication of the servant, and here opens the flood of what has been hidden in one’s own heart. So salat is both praise and petition. Salat is sometimes painful because we will be facing what we have hidden, and shedding what we have gathered from prayer time to prayer time. We offer these to the only One Who can truly help us. This is why the Prophet, may divine peace be upon him, has likened the practice of the five daily prayers to bathing in a beautiful river flowing in front of our house. All dust and stain are removed through immersing ourself in pure Mercy. In fact they will never have existed.

The graceful movements of salat are the lover’s ecstacy. While standing as the primal Alif and the sacred pen, the lover praises the Beloved with His own words in rhythmic verses of Holy Koran. Then she beseeches the Beloved in bowing low and glorifying Him. Then rising up for a moment with the affirmation that Allah hears the one who praises Him, the lover falls into deep prostration, in the bliss of submission. Twice the lover travels through the cycle of praise, and then comes to her knees. This position represents the station of intimate communion with Love experienced by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the night of his ascension when he came nearer than two bow lengths to the Essence of Reality.

Hazreti Ali R.A., the mystic guide of all tariqats described an exalted degree of prayer when he proclaimed, “I do not pray to a God I cannot see.” This is the state of Ihsan, spiritual perfection. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, tells us that if we do not see Allah directly, then we should pray knowing that Allah is seeing us. In salat, feel Allah’s gaze within your heart, filling the entire heart, so that the heart itself becomes the divine gaze. Then, the body and all the space around becomes Allah’s gaze. We enter true salat and allow Allah alone to be present in the station of prayer. It is Allah Who calls to prayer, it is Allah Who comes to prayer, it is Allah Who performs the prayer and speaks the prayer. Salat is pure presence of Allah.

 .....Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,..........
         ....."Offer your salat (prayers) the way you see me offering them." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)...
The generality of the Prophet’s (SAW) statement includes women. Therefore, all the actions of the prayer apply equally to  men and women. There is nothing in the Sunnah to necessitate the exception of women from any of these descriptions.
It's a major misconception in Islam, that women pray different than men. Outside of the dress code, women do not pray  different then men. Men and women pray equally in the same manner. There is no difference between the way a man prays and the way a woman prays.

Prayer in Islam, is worship of Allah the Almighty, Praising and Thanking Him, acknowledging His Sovereignty and committing  oneself to obey and remember Him at all times. It is the central part of a way of life, which is based on submission to the  Owner of all.

The Muslim must seek to remember Allah at all times.
He must be mindful that everything he is, everything he does, everything he knows and understands, is due to the Mercy of  Allah. In acknowledging this, he remembers the fact that death lies in wait and he does not know when he will depart from this worldly life.

Five times a day, he stands in prayer. Focusing all his thoughts on the Creator. He praises, thanks and acknowledges the  Greatness of Allah and seeks His forgiveness. His sins pass before his consciousness and render him humble before the  Majesty of the One who owns all things, including the Day of Judgement. He stands, conscious that Allah Sees Him at all times and that in prostration he is the closest to His Maker.

The Muslim realizes that the Angel of death could be behind him at any time, that Jannah (Paradise) lies on his right and the  fire of hell is on his left. The truth of his actions and their consequences are unknown to him and as he prayers, his heart is  moved by sincere intent to strive harder, work more, study more, forgive more and share more.

He comes out of the state of prayer, feeling renewed; more determined to use what remains of his time in the most beneficial  way. An angry shout or unkind word, stops on the same lips that recite the Qu'ran and remembers Allah. Hands reaching  forth in greed and hate, retreat to find better solutions. Hasty careless words, dismal thoughts and attitudes disappear  beneath the light that shrouds the mind of the one who prays because of their love and fear of Allah.

No comments: