The Act of Prayer

Allah SWT says in the 37th ayat of Sura Al-Noor:

[Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is a great reminder as most of us are here having taken a break from our work, business or studies. We are here to remember Allah SWT and we are here to carry out the obligation of performing prayer.

We recognize then that prayers have a huge status in Islam. And today’s reminder helps remind us of this through the six points raised.

Firstly, it is the pillar of Islam that holds all others in place. The imam relayed a hadith in relation to this point which is translated to say:

“Shall I not inform you of the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad.”

Secondly, the status of prayer is second only to the Shahada itself – i.e. the act of testifying belief in Allah SWT and his Messenger SAWS. The hadith mentioned in relation to this point is translated to say:

(The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is His bondsman and messenger, and the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka’ba) and the fast of Ramadan.

Thirdly, the prayer has a special status in that it is an act that was commanded to us like no other. As the Prophet SAWS taught us, this command was communicated to him directly from Allah SWT during the time he was raised to the heavens. It was ordained upon the Ummah three years before their migration or hijrah to Medina.

Fourthly, prayers remove our sins. They are the cleanser to the soul. The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

“Do you think that is there was a river by the door of any one of you, and he bathed in it five Ftimes each day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?” They said: “No trace of dirt would be left on him.” He said: “That is the likeness of the five daily prayers. By means of them Allah erases sins.”

Fifthly, the prayer is the last of the worship to be lost. And once the prayer is lost, the religion is lost. Dear brothers and sisters, the prayer during the five prescribed times during the day is so critical to our wellbeing that we cannot warn against missing them enough. In fact, the missing of these prayers is paramount to disbelief.

This is based on the hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he is reported to have said:

Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of prayer.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must strive to use every technique, tool and method we can to ensure that we are not missing or even delaying our prayers. We should be aiming to complete the prayer at the beginning of it’s time and not rushing to make the prayer towards it’s expiry time.

To be lazy in prayer might suggest that one does not have the necessary level of care or attention placed on it. Tools such as alarms on phones and azan clocks can help also. Our own MyMosque app offers this functionality.

Lastly, prayer is the first that gets mentioned on Judgement Day. The imam relayed the following hadith which is translated to say:

Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: The first of his actions for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, then he will have prospered and succeeded: and if they are wanting, then he will have failed and lost. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord (glorified and exalted be He) will say: See if My servant has any supererogatory prayers with which may be completed that which was defective in his obligatory prayers. Then the rest of his actions will be judged in like fashion.

Dear brothers and sisters, the topic of this week’s reminder may sound basic on the onset. However, who here isn’t guilty of rushing prayers or praying without focus. Today’s reminder is just a refresh to advice given before but because it is so significant to us in front of Allah SWT, it is worth mentioning again.

Let us be mindful of this, correct our habits and take heed from the last advice given to us by our teacher SAWS in that he taught us to pray our prayers and pray them on time.

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