When was the last time we let ourselves be the Satan‘s toilets? Because once our Prophet was told about a man who slept through the morning and missed Fajr. Our Prophet said “Satan urinated in his ears”. [Bukhari]
Missing prayers, praying late or even leaving the prayer is a major problem facing this Ummah today. This problem is so severe that today there is a genuine need for us to give Dawah not only non-Muslims but to Muslims as well. In the old days, you became Muslim, you lived among practicing Muslims and you started practicing yourself and that was a wrap. Now there is actually a need for Muslim to invite other Muslims to the Masjid. I can only imagine trying to explain to a new Muslim the importance of the prayer and him retorting “Why don’t Muslims pray then?”.
Prayer is the most fundamental manifestation of faith. Prayer is the most important form of worship we can perform. When prayer is established, the rest of the Deen will follow but if prayer is lacking, the rest will be lacking as well. Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam after the Shahadatain. It is so important that according to some scholars, leaving prayer constitutes Kufr. All four Imams recommended severe punishments for someone who openly refuses to pray and persists in that sin. Prayer will be the first thing we will be asked about on the day of judgment.
Our Prophet said
“The first deed for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is good then he will have prospered and succeeded, but if it is bad then he will be doomed and have lost.” [Recorded by al-Tabarani].
Allah (subhana hu wa tala) erases our sins by means of prayer. Our Prophet said
“What do you think if there was a river by the door of any one of you and he bathed in it five times a 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 like the five daily prayers, by means of which Allah erases sin.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Prayer is the most important religious duty and commitment and when prayer is lost, all religious commitment is lost because our Prophet said
“Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.” (Muslim)
I know I have gone on and on about the importance of the prayer but this simply shows the importance of the prayer since I have said so much yet I have not even begun the touch the surface.
The importance of the prayer is not just limited to our own souls. Every now and then, I like to read conversion stories online and I have read many stories about people coming to Islam just by watching and observing prayer. I read the story of one lady who became interested in Islam. The story of her conversion went as follows. She was passing by a Masjid and she saw a man sweeping the floor of the masjid. The call for prayer was made and the man left his sweeping and joined the prayer. Right then, a man in an expensive car came and he joined the prayer right besides the sweeper and they prayed together. The lady said that’s when she decided to convert to Islam because Islam has the power of uniting people and it reduces differences among people. We constantly hear “try this dawah technique, try that dawah technique“. An excellent dawah technique is prayer. Just pray and show people what it means to pray and that will be dawah from you.
Another story I read was about a young man who converted to Islam. He said that he once took a class on world religions. One day his professor, who happened to be Jewish, was explaining Islam to the class. His professor showed the class how the Muslims prayed and prostrated. The guy said “When I saw that that was how Muslims prostrated, I knew that was the religion I belonged in” and this was a non-Muslims showing a non-Muslim how to pray. Imagine what would happen every Muslims started practicing his religion.
There are dawah benefit and there are many other benefits of prayer but is that why we pray? The reason we pray is that Allah has commanded it and for no other reason. We hear a lot of people saying “Prayer teaches discipline, prayer does this and that”. Prayer may have physical, emotional and other benefits but that is not the reason we pray. We pray solely to obey the command of Allah. If Allah had commanded us to prostrate fifty times a day instead of five, we would be doing it fifty times a day and the reason Iblis was banished from the company of the angels was not because of Adam. Iblis refused to obey the command of Allah when he didn’t prostrate to Adam and that was why he was cursed. When we prostrate our example is similar to that of the angels who obeyed and prostrated. When we refuse to do so, we imitate Shaitan.
We must also understand that before we try to do any extra religious duties, we must first check to see if our prayer is correct because prayer is obligatory while the other acts are not. It is foolish to look towards completing extra acts when what is obligatory upon us is lacking.
I leave you with just one example of how important the Sahabah considered the prayer to be. After Umar Ibn-Al-Khattab was stabbed by a poisonous dagger and mortally wonded, he became unconscious. People said “nothing would wake him but the call for prayer”. So someone said to him “The prayer has finished Ya AmeerulMominin.” He woke up and said “Verily there is no room for anyone in Islam who abandons prayer” and he performed salah while he was bleeding from a wound that eventually took his life. How close do we hold the salah in our hearts? May Allah (subhana hu wa tala) help us establish prayer completely and may he help us develop Khushu in it. Ameen.
The title is not mine. I read a story on Islamcan.com and the title just stuck to me. You can click on thier main page, click Islamic stories or you can clikc this link to get to the original story.
The title was just so amazing that I had to use it.on June 8, 2004 11:15 PM
excellent topic Faisal, and excellent article, believe it or not, this is a true epidemic in the American Muslim Community.