The aim of writing this article is to simply raise awareness to Muslims about the Importance of Salah – Prayer in Islam.
This article will comprise three parts which will consist of:
- Preparation for prayer
- How Prayer is Performed
- After the prayers
- Sunnah Prayers
- Witr Prayers
- Friday Prayer
- Eid Prayer
- Funeral Prayer
PRAYER – SALAH
Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam. Indeed it is the dividing line between Islam and infidelity. It is a duty incumbent on every Muslim, male or female, who has attained the age of maturity and has a sound mind. There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran commanding Muslims to observe prayers regularly. The almighty Allah says:
“Guard the prayers strictly, especially the middle prayer (i.e., ASR).” (2/238)
“Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at stated times.” (4/103)
The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessing of Allah be Upon Him) constantly reminded the community, of the importance of salah and warned them of the consequences of neglecting it.
Abdullah Ibn Ma’sud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:
I asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): “Which of the actions is the best?”
He replied: “Prayer at its stated time.” I said: “What comes next?” He replied: “Kindness to parents.” I further asked: “What comes next?” He replied: “Struggle in the cause of Allah”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
In another Hadith, the prophet (PBUH) asked his Companions:
“Tell me, if one of you had a river at his door and took bath in it five times a day, would there remain any dirt on his body?” The companions replied: “No, no dirt would be left on his body.” The companions replied: “No, no dirt would be left on his body.” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “This is the example of the five prayers by which Allah washes away the sins”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (PBUH) said in yet another Hadith:
“The dividing line between a believer and the disbeliever is the negligence of prayer.” (Muslim)
In another report the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“The first thing about which a person will be asked on the Day of Judgement will be the prayer.”(Abu Dawud and At – Tirmidhi)
PREPARATION FOR PRAYER
When one intends to perform prayer, one has to make sure that the following conditions are fulfilled:
- The first condition is the cleanliness. This includes the cleanliness of the body, the dress and the place where the prayer is to be performed.
- Second is the covering of the private parts of the body. This means, in the case of a man, to cover the parts of the body from the navel down to the knees. Shoulders must also be covered- because the Messenger of Allah ( PBUH) said:
“None of you should observe prayer in a single garment which does not cover his shoulders.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
A woman is required to cover all of her body except the hands and face.
- Third is the commencement of the stated time. Prayer performed before the stated time is not valid. The stated time for each of the five daily prayers is as follows:
- The time for Fajr (morning) prayer is between the break of dawn and sunrise.
- The time of Zuhr (noon) prayer starts when the sun declines from meridian, and ends when the shadow of an object becomes equal to it in length.
- The time of ASR (Afternoon) prayer begins when the time of Zuhr ends, and lasts until sunset.
- The time of Maghrib (sunset) prayer starts with the sunset, and ends with the disappearance of the red line from the horizon.
- The time of Isha (night) prayer begins when the time of Maghrib ends, and remains until Fajr.
Facing the direction of the Ka’bah in Makkah is the fourth condition for the validity of the prayer.
Prayer is enjoined on believers at stated times
Cleanliness is of two types:
- Ghusl or washing of the whole body;
- Wudu or ritual ablution
Both are required for the validity of the prayer. The first. I.e. Ghusl becomes compulsory in the following cases:
- After sexual intercourse
- After ejaculation of semen by any reason;
- When the monthly menstruation of a woman has ended;
- When a woman’s postnatal bleeding stops;
- and when a non- muslim embraces Islam.
Ghusl is performed by washing the private parts and removing the filth from the body, then performing the ritual ablution without washing the feet, then washing the whole body. The feet should be washed at the end.
WUDHU OR RITUAL ABLUTION
Ablution is a requisite for prayer. Allah, the Exalted said:
“O you who believe! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads (with wet hands) And wash your feet up to the ankles”. (5/60)
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Allah does not accept prayer without ablution”.
HOW TO PERFORM ABLUTION
- Make the intention in your mind to make ablution. There is no need to express your intention in words.
- Say Bismillah – In the Name of Allah
- Wash the hands up to wrists
- Rinse the mouth. Clean your teeth with a Siwak – tooth stick. It was highly recommended by the Prophet (pbuh).
- Sniff water into the nostrils and blow it out.
- Wash the face from the limits of the hair to the bottom of the chin, and from ear to ear.
- Wash the hands up to the elbows, start with the right hand first.
- Pass wet hands over the head, and rub with wet fingers inside and outside of your ears.
- Wash the feet up to the ankles, starting with the right foot.
If a person is wearing socks, he does not need to take them off for ablution, provided he has put them on while he had ablution. This concession is available for 24 hours for someone who is at home and for three days and nights for a travelling person.
The washing of the parts of body in ablution may be done once, twice or three times but no more than three times. Passing wet hands over the head, inside and outside the ears on the socks is to be done only once.
After completing the ablution say:
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah Alone. There is no partner unto Him. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.
End of Part one…