Select More about Islam >> Importance of salaat

All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His assistance and His forgiveness. We believe in Him and place our trust in Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of our souls and our bad actions. He whom Allah guides no one can mislead him, and he whom Allah misleads no one can guide him. We bear testimony that there is no god except Allah. He is alone and has no partner and we bear testimony that our leader Muhammad is His servant and messenger. O Allah, shower your peace and blessings on him andon his descendants and the companions. I seek refuge in Allah from the Shaitaan accursed. 

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. 

“Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed” (i.e. who amongst you do the good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance to the legal ways of Prophet Muhammad( sallallahu alayhi wasallam)) (The Qur’an, Al-Mulk 67:2). 

Introduction

The mistakes wish to highlight here are ones frequently committed in salaat by men and women,

boys and girls. Because they are serious mistakes, it is imperative that rectification is made urgently. Will start by first of all explaining the virtues and significance of the five obligatory salaats. 

Importance of salaat

Salaat is a supreme form of worship. In particular, the five daily salaats are very special. Initially, Almighty made the performance of fifty daily salaats obligatory on this Ummah but due to the intercession of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam this command was changed to five. Further, Almighty Allah said that if a person prays five times a day he or she shall be conferred the reward of having prayed fifty times a day. This is the virtue of the five daily salaats. May Almighty Allah instil its significance into our hearts (aameen). I will now turn to some fascinating reports regarding the origins and wisdom of the five obligatory salaats. 

Fajr Salaat:

The first person to offer the two rak’ats of Fajr salaat was Hadhrat Adam alayhis salaam. He was taken out of Paradise, which was illuminated, and sent into the world. When he arrived here it was night-time. This made him deeply anxious and distressed. Slowly it began to light up and subha sadiq appeared. Hadhrat Adam(a s) felt revivified. Before sunrise he offered two rak’ats of salaat by way of thanksgiving. 

The first rak’at was for the dispelling of darkness and the second in gratefulness of the daylight. Almighty Allah liked this prayer so much that He made the two rak’ats of Fajr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

 Zuhr Salaat:

The first person to offer the four rak’ats of Zuhr salaat was Hadhrat Ibrahim (a s). The salaat was performed after successfully fulfilling the command of Almighty Allah and offering his son Hadhrat Ismail (a s) for sacrifice. The first rak’at was performed to thank Almighty Allah for helping him overcome this difficult test; the second for substituting a ram (from Paradise) for Hadhrat Ismail (a s); the third for the direct address he received from Almighty Allah, saying:

“And We called out to him: “O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus We do reward the Muhsinun” (i.e. good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allah’s sake only, without any show off or to gain praise or fame etc. And do them in accordance to Allah’s Orders) (The Qur’an, As-Saffat37:104-5). 

The fourth rak’at was performed to thank Almighty Allah for granting him such a patient child. Had Hadhrat Ismail (a s) flinched, it would have been difficult for Hadhrat Ibrahim (a s) to fulfil the command of Almighty Allah. Accordingly, after seeing the dream Hadhrat Ibrahim (a s)  consulted with his son: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So what do you think?” The son replied: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha’Allah, you will find me amongst the patient.” Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Ibrahim (a s) so much that He made the four rak’ats of Zuhr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

 Asr Salaat:

The first person to perform the four rak’ats of Asr salaat was Hadhrat Yunus (a s). Almighty

Allah has reported his plea while inside the belly of the fish as follows: “But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O, Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You above all that (evil) they associate with You]. Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.” So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers” (i.e. who believe in the oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness)” (The Qur’an, Al-Ambiyya 21:87-88). 

After being taken out of the fish's belly, he offered thanksgiving prayer of four rak’ats for being freed from four states of darkness. Firstly, the darkness of the fish’s stomach; secondly, the darkness of the water; thirdly, the darkness of the clouds; and fourthly, the darkness of the night. Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Yunus (a s) so much that He made the four rak’ats of Asr salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah). 

Maghrib Salaat:

The first person to perform the three rak’ats of Maghrib salaat was Hadhrat Dawood (a s).

Prophets alayhis salaatu wassalam are innocent and do not commit sins. However, if they make any mistakes or errors, albeit slightly, they are duly admonished. Hadhrat Dawood (a s) once happened to err. Subsequently, Almighty Allah pardoned him: “So We forgave him” (The Qur’an,Saad 38:25). 

By way of thanksgiving, Hadhrat Dawood (a s) commenced four rak’ats of salaat. He had performed the first three rak’ats when contrition so overtook him, he was unable to proceed with the fourth rak’at. Accordingly, he terminated the salaat after the first three rak’ats (Bazlul Majhood). Almighty Allah liked this prayer of Hadhrat Dawood (a s) so much that He made the three rak’ats of Maghrib salaat obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

 Isha’ Salaat:

There are two reports regarding the wisdom of the four rak’ats of Isha’ salaat. The first says that Hadhrat Musa (a s) was the first person to perform this salaat. He had stayed with Hadhrat Shuayb (a s) for ten years and was returning with his family to Misr (Egypt). While travelling he was besieged with four anxieties: first, his honourable wife was expecting; secondly, the journey was particularly lengthy; thirdly, he was concerned about the welfare of his brother Hadhrat Harun (a s); and fourthly, he was worried about his mortal enemy Fir’awn. With these four worries he was travelling and then they got lost which added to the distress. He walked in a perplexed state until they approached Mount Toor, standing on the right side facing the west. It was a dark and cold night. The honourable wife’s labour had begun, and the flint stone did not produce a spark. In this agonising and distressing situation, he saw a fire from Mount Toor.

He told his family members to remain behind while he went to Mount Toor to collect some flames. When he reached Mount Toor he was favoured with the special privilege of conversing with Almighty Allah, Who said: “And when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name: “O Musa! Verily! I am your Lord! So take off your shoes, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. And I have chosen you. So listen to that which is inspired to you” (The Qur’an, Ta-Ha 20:11-13). 

This honour of talking to Almighty Allah removed from Hadhrat Musa (a s) all four anxieties he had faced. Someone has aptly remarked: If I find you there is no illness, If I don’t, there is no cure. It was Isha’ time when Hadhrat Musa (a s) performed the four rak’ats of thanksgiving for the removal of all four anxieties. Almighty Allah liked this prayer so much that He made the four rak’ats of Isha’ obligatory on the Ummat of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (E’nayah).

According to the second report, the first perform to perform the four-rak’ats of Isha’ salaat was

Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam (Bazlul Majhood). This is another reason why this salaat is particularly important. 

Thus in the hereafter, the first question to be asked after beliefs will be about salaat. This is why salaat is so important. In one hadith it says that if a person’s salaat is found satisfactory, then the rest of his deeds will also come out similarly. But if his salaat is found unsatisfactory, the remaining deeds are sure to be found wanting (Tabraani). Therefore, it is necessary to perform salaat correctly and rectify any mistakes.

A person who observes salaat is also likely to observe other injunctions.

Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafee rahmatullah alayh would often relate the proclamation issued by Hadhrat Umar Farooq radhiyallahu anhu during his caliphate to all officers under him, saying: “From all your duties and responsibilities, in my estimation the most important is salaat. A person who observes salaat is likely to observe other injunctions of Islaam as well; but if he discards salaat, he is more likely to discard other injunctions and be deficient in them.” In reality, salaat is the touchstone of a true believer. A person who is punctual with his or her salaat is likely to observe the fasts of Ramadhan, perform the Hajj, pay the Zakaat and execute other commands; but if a person does not pray his or her salaat, how will he or she observe the fasts? How is he or she likely to pay attention to the rights of others or do any good deeds? This is why it is necessary that we are punctual in our salaat and we rectify any mistakes that are found. 

The Worst Thief

There is a well-known saying of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam about salaat. “The worst thief is one who steals from his salaat.” The companions inquired, “How can one steal from his salaat? O Prophet of Allah!” He replied, “When one does not do his ruku’ and sajdah properly” (At-Targheeb). Therefore if salaat is not performed in the manner taught by the sunnat, then this is stealing. will now discuss in detail two serious mistakes that are frequently committed in salaat. You will be able to evaluate to what extent these mistakes spoil salaat. Unfortunately, people do not pay attention to them.

 Mistakes in qaumah and jalsah

In salaat, we are prone to committing serious mistakes in four places:

Firstly, while in ruku’ (the posture of bowing lowly); secondly, while in sajdah (the posture of prostration or placing the forehead on the ground); thirdly, while in qaumah (the posture of standing erect after the ruku’ before going into sajdah); and fourthly, while in jalsah (the sitting posture which separates one sajdah from the other). 

Ruku’ and sajdah are generally performed very carelessly and often little attention is paid whether it might be contrary to the sunnat. Likewise, very serious mistakes are committed in qaumah and jalsah.  

Both ruku’ and sajdah are fardh, and qaumah and jalsah are wajib.  

The requirement of qaumah is that after ruku’, one should stand up completely erect before going into sajdah. As for jalsah, the requirement is that after making the first sajdah, one should fully straighten up the back and sit calmly in the sitting posture before going into the second sajdah. As a result of haste, some people do not allow their backs to straighten up at both these places. After ruku’, they raise their head slightly and, when the back is halfstraight, immediately go into sajdah. Similarly after the first sajdah, they will not sit properly so that the back is upright but will immediately go into the second sajdah. Such hastiness spoils both the qaumah and jalsah.  

Remember! In qaumah, if the back is only partially straight and the neck only slightly raised and a mere action of standing is done before proceeding into sajdah, the salaat will be void.  

It will have to be repeated, and this is why a determined effort should be made to abstain from such practices. 

Three stages of qaumah and jalsah

There are three stages of qaumah and jalsah. One stage is fardh; one stage is wajib; and one stage is sunnat (Ma’arifus Sunnan). If the fardh is neglected then the salaat will become void. For example, ruku’ or sajdah is fardh and leaving this out will render the salaat void. Moreover sajda-e-sahw does not compensate for this defect. Therefore, the salaat will have to be performed again.

 

The requirement of wajib is that if it is omitted by mistake then sajda-e-sahw will correct the salaat. If, however, the wajib is left out deliberately then the salaat will be void and will have to be repeated.  

As regards the sunnat, if it is observed then it will be the basis of good reward. Also, by imitating the way of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, the action will become dearer to Almighty Allah. If the sunnat is not observed, only the fardh and wajib are, then the salaat will simply be discharged. 

The fardh stage of qaumah and jalsah

The fardh stage of qaumah is satisfied when, after ruku’, the back is raised to its natural upright position. Similarly in Qaumah, the fardh stage is satisfied when, after the first sajdah, the back is fully straightened before going into the second sajdah. Therefore if a person does not allow the back to be completely erect and immediately goes into sajdah after ruku, or does not straighten the back after the first sajdah and goes immediately into the second sajdah, in both these instances, since the fardh requirement of qaumah and jalsah have not been satisfied, the salaat will become void. 

The result of haste in Salaat

On reflection, it becomes evident that we are in the habit of offering salaat very hurriedly. Generally this is so because men want to return to their business or employment and women due to their domestic commitments. Hence worldly reasons make us hasten our salaat so that it becomes reduced to nothing more that acts of standing and sitting. On such occasions, neither qaumah nor jalsah are correct. On rising from ruku’, the back is not straightened, and after the first sajdah, one hardly sits straight that the second sajdah is performed. Due to this carelessness, the fardh stage of both qaumah and jalsah are not satisfied. Thus the salaat becomes void. There is, therefore, a special need to satisfy the fardh stage of qaumah and jalsah. 

The wajib stage of qaumah and jalsah

The wajib stage of qaumah requires that after rising from ruku’, one should stand for that length of time in which “Allahu-Akbar” or “Subhaa-nal-lah” can be recited once. Similarly in Jalsah, after performing the first sajdah, one should sit for that length of time in which “Subhaa-nal-lah” can be recited once. If someone is negligent about this and fails to stand in qaumah or sit in jalsah for even the duration of one tasbih, the wajib stage will not have been satisfied. And when the wajib is neglected, whether deliberately or out of ignorance, the salaat is invalid and has to be repeated. If the duration of one tasbih in qaumah and jalsah is not observed owing to error, then sajda-e-sahw will amend the salaat. But if the latter is not performed, the salaat will remain invalid and will have to be repeated.  

Pausing and calmness necessary in salaat

Worldly tasks of no real significance assume such importance in our lives that it compels us to hasten in salaat with the result that the wajib stage of qaumah and jalsah is ignored. Sometimes, neglect of the fardh stage does not even cause concern. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure that when offering salaat individually, as opposed to offering it in congregation behind the imam when one is compelled to pray calmly, there is greater pausing and each requisite is discharged calmly.

Ruku’, sajdah, qaumah, and jalsah to be equal

In one hadith it says that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would perform ruku’, sajdah, qaumah, and jalsah so that he would spend approximately the same time in each act. But the qiyaam and qai’dah would be lengthier, since qiyaam consists of recitation and in qai’dah the Tashah-hud needs to be recited. As a result the last two acts would take longer, but the other four acts, that is, ruku’, sajdah, qaumah, and jalsah, would nearly all be of the same duration. However, Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would occasionally spend such a long time in one act, causing onlookers to think that he had forgotten or his soul had departed. 

The masnoon stage of qaumah and jalsah

In the light of ahadith, we learn that the sunnat stage of qaumah and jalsah require that in both acts one should delay for the period in which “Sub-haa-nallah” can be recited three times.

In summary, the fardh stage of qaumah and jalsah require that after rising from ruku’, and after the first sajdah, the musalli should completely straighten up his or her back by raising it to its natural upright position. This is when the fardh stage will be satisfied. To then remain in that state for the period of one tasbih is wajib; and to further remain in that state for the period of three tasbihaat is sunnat. 

The blessings of acting upon the sunnats

In acting upon the sunnat there is the knowledge that the fardh and wajib requisites are also satisfactorily observed, and there is ease and convenience. Further, the greatest achievement would be to say:I came imitating Your beloved, Consider genuine this show of mine. Outwardly at least the appearance of our salaat should conform to the salaat of our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Therefore in qaumah and jalsah, one should delay for the period in which “Sub-haa-nal-lah” can be recited three times. Similarly in ruku’ “Sub-haa-na Rab-biyal-Azeem”, and in sajdah“Subhana Rab-biyal A’laa”, should be recited at least three times respectively. Hence the length of time spent in all four acts of ruku’, sajdah, qaumah, and jalsah will nearly be the same. This is in accordance with the hadith mentioned earlier, which says that Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would spend approximately the same duration in all four acts. 

The consequence of haste in Salaat

In reality, we have developed a habit of deliberately failing to observe the wajibaat. Thus after the congregational prayers one notices that the sunnats and nawaafil are prayed in great haste. At such times we should remember the following hadith of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam: “If a person is not punctual with his salaat nor does he perform wudhu, ruku’ and sajdah properly, then salaat in an ugly and dark shape curses the person saying, “May Allah ruin you as you have ruined me!”  Then it is wrapped in a old black rag and flung back at the face of the person” (At-Targheeb). 

Therefore, a person who hastens in salaat and pecks like a crow, the salaat is wrapped in a black bag and flung at the face of the person. The salaat is neither a cause of spiritual illumination nor a means of salvation. On the other hand, if salaat is performed with calmness and dignity then it departs from a person in a bright and beautiful form and becomes a cause of salvation for him or her.

 Emphasis on ease and calmness in salaat

Once a person entered Masjid-e-Nabawi and quickly performed salaat. After the salaat he went to Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and made salaam. He replied to the salaam and said: “Go back and repeat your salaat, for you have not prayed.” 

The person went back and again repeated the salaat in haste. After that he went to Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and greeted him with salaam. He replied to the salaam and said: “Go back and repeat your salaat, for you have not prayed.”

The person went back and yet again repeated the salaat in haste. He went to Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and made salaam. He replied to the salaam and said: “Go back and repeat your salaat. You have not prayed.” 

This time the person asked, “O Rasoolullah! This is the only way I know how to perform salaat. You teach me how to perform it.” Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “When you stand up for salaat, make complete ablution, then face the Ka’ba, recite takbir and read what is easy for you from the Qur’an. Afterwards do ruku’ till you are at ease with the ruku’; then rise up till you stand erect in qaumah; then do sajdah till you are at ease with the sajdah; then rise up till you are at ease with the jalsah” (Mishkat-al-Masabih). In this manner the whole of salaat should be completed with ease. This is the teaching Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam gave to the person. 

In the foregoing hadith Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam has made special mention of ruku’, sajdah, qaumah, and jalsah so that these four acts are performed with complete ease and calmness. Yet increasingly haste is observed in these four acts.

Tasbih in ruku’ and sajdah

In ruku’ and sajdah the tasbih should be recited at least three times. It can be recited more times than this: five, seven, nine, eleven or more, and the more times it is recited the better. But Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam advocated moderation and said:“The stage of moderation is best.” Hence when performing salaat individually, one should recite the tasbih (at least) five times in ruku’ and sajdah respectively.

Duaa for qaumah

There are certain duaas that Almighty Allah inspired Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam to recite while in qaumah. These duaas are authentic and are accepted by Almighty Allah. Similarly, if any ummati recites them Almighty Allah will also favour him or her. For qaumah there is one very simple duaa, and its background is indeed marvellous.

Angels hurrying

Once Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam was leading the Sahabah radhiallahu anhum in congregational prayer. While in qaumah he said “Sami-Allahu Liman Hamidah”, and one Sahabi after saying “Rab-Banna La-kal Hamd” also added the words, “Hamdan Katheer-an Tayyiiban Mubarakan Fih." After the salaat, Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam inquired who had recited those words? 

One Sahabi said, “It was I.” Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam remarked, “At the time when you recited those words I saw thirty Angels hurrying to collect them so that they could be the first one to record its thawab.”

This incident, which is related by Bukhaari, illustrates that the words are approved by Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam and are blessed. By reciting them the pause of reciting “Sub-haa-nal-lah” three times is also achieved. Further, they are easy to learn and should be learnt and recited in qaumah: Transliteration: “Rab-Banna La-kal Hamd – Hamdan Katheer-an Tayyiiban Mubarakan Fih.” 

Translation: O our Creator! All praise belongs unto you - praises that are abundant, excellent and full of blessings. Recitation of the above duaa in qaumah also satisfies the fardh, wajib and sunnat stages. There are other duaas that are also reported but the one mentioned is very simple to learn and recite. 

Duaa for jalsah

There are various other duaas that can be recited while sitting in Jalsah. Again, one very simple duaa which Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi is reported to have recited thrice while in Jalsah reads:  

Transliteration: “Allahummaghh-Fir-Li- Allahummaghh-Fir-Li - Allahum-maghh-Fir-Li.”

Translation: O Allah! Forgive me; O Allah! Forgive me; O Allah! Forgive me. (Ibn Maajah) 

Recitation of this duaa satisfies the fardh, wajib and sunnat stages of jalsah. If possible, also recite the other duaa of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam as related by Abu-Dawood: 

Transliteration: “Allahummaghh-Fir-Li War-Hamnee Wa-Aafinee Wah-Dinee War-Zuknee.”

Translation: O Allah! Forgive me; O Allah! Have mercy on me; O Allah! Grant me welfare, guidance  and sustenance i.e. give me physical sustenance as well spiritual. 

The words of these duaas are so beautiful yet so simple. They encompass all the goodness of this world and the hereafter. Therefore everyone should endeavour to recite these duaas when praying salaat individually. If both duaas cannot be remembered then at least the first one is easy to recollect. Although recital of the duaas in qaumah and Jalsah are sunnat-e-ghair muak-kadah, we should still observe them in following the practice of Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam. In congregational payer the imam is bound to lead a moderate salaat, taking into consideration the varying circumstances of those praying salaat behind him - the weak, the aged or others with pressing necessities. Hence if the duaas were recited by the imam the salaat might be prolonged and, therefore, he is not obliged to recite them. However, when performing salaat individually, whether it be the fardh, wajib, sunnat or nafil salaat, the duaas should be recited.

“Perform Your Salaats According to the Sunnat.” That booklet is worth reading and is a must for all homes. We should develop a habit of performing our salaat according to the teachings prescribed therein. All works require effort. If effort is made then, Insha’Allah, the mistakes in our salaat will be rectified. 

“The Method of Salaat for Females.” You should try to obtain a copy. After all, it is our responsibility to ensure that our salaat and the salaat of those who are our responsibility, namely, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, children, is correct and proper. They should be urged and instructed to ensure that their salaat corresponds to the teachings provided in the mentioned booklets. 

Finally, be particular not to rush in salaat. Sometimes owing to haste the fardh and wajib constituents of salaat are discarded. In such cases, the salaat is void but some people still remain under the illusion that they have discharged their salaat. May Almighty Allah grant us all concern for our full reformation(aameen). 

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Added: Dec-29-2015
Editor: user2
Views: 345
Category: Select More about Islam
Title: Importance of salaat
Author: article_author1
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