Ruku`: The Internal Component

Ruku`

True worship comes through humility of the soul.

When we recite the Qur’an, we know we should have khushu` (devotion) because we are reciting the words of Allah. When we go into sujud (prostration), we know that God answers our du`a’ (supplication), so we try hard to concentrate. Yet what do we feel when we go into ruku` (bowing)?

Fulfilling the Needs of the Soul

We all have certain daily needs. A parent cannot wait to get home from work to embrace their children, and even if the children are asleep, the parent will give them a kiss just to fill that space. When we feel hunger, we sometimes become tired and cranky until we eat.

Just like we have emotional and physical needs, we also have spiritual needs. The soul thirsts for the worship of God. Many people feel an emptiness, and try to fill it with other things. But just like a hungry person cannot satisfy his hunger by running—we would find that absurd—this spiritual thirst cannot be fulfilled except through the true worship of God.

Humility through Ruku`

True worship comes through humility of the soul, and ruku` represents a part of that. One of the Arabs, Hakim bin Hizam, when accepting Islam, told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that he would fulfill all of the commandments except ruku` during Prayer because of the humility it involved.

Thus when we go into ruku`, we should make a conscious effort to make the straightening of our backs, the lowering of our heads, and the uttering of “subhan rabbiya al-`azheem” (Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) a reflection of our internal state.

When we say “subhaan rabbiya al-`azheem,” we are disassociating Almighty Allah from anything. “Rabb,” as with many other words, does not just have one meaning—rabb means the Lord, the Sustainer, and the Cherisher. When we think of what we have—the clothes we wear, our wealth, our health, our loved ones—who has provided them? So, how can we not humble ourselves to our Lord? And how can we not feel a special closeness to Him—that He is my Lord?

Glorifying Allah, the Supreme

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:  “In the ruku`, therefore, glorify the Supremity of the Lord, Mighty and Sublime.” (Muslim)

When you recognize the supremity of Almighty Allah, and the words are reflected in your heart, you should then have reverence for everything associated with Him. Almighty Allah has said in the Qur’an:

And whoever honors the symbols of Allah—indeed, it is from the piety of hearts. (Al-Hajj 22:32)

Thus, reverence during ruku` is from piety of the heart and we should all strive to perfect it. Ibn Al-Qayyim, a medieval Muslim scholar, stated that the ruku` is almost an introduction to sujud, when we take one form of humility before Almighty Allah to a deeper level. This effort that goes into feeling humility in ruku` can only increase our love for Him, and is one way of manifesting the meanings in the famous hadith qudsi:

“If my servant comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him or her an arms-length; and if he or she comes to Me walking, I come to him or her at speed.” (Muslim)

As we increase in good deeds to grow closer to Almighty Allah, He loves us, and what more could we want than Allah’s love? This is why the Prophet would lengthen his ruku`, such that his ruku`, his standing after ruku`, his sujud, and his sitting in between the two prostrations, were nearly equal in length (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).

Bear in mind that his ruku` was also almost as long as his standing before ruku`, where he would sometimes recite five sections (ajza’). (Muslim)

Muslim bin Makki once described `Abdullah bin Al-Zubair  (may Allah be pleased with him) as he was praying. He said that he saw him go into ruku`, and in that time, Muslim read chapters Al-Baqarah, Aal `Imran, An-Nisaa’ and Al-Ma’idah, and `Abdullah bin Al-Zubair was still in ruku`.

Some of us may be inspired by this, but others of us may think, “I can never reach this level,” and not even try. However, let us remember the hadith above about servants who try to move closer to Almighty Allah by as little as a hand span—as long as we are trying to change the state of our Prayers, we have fulfilled this part of the hadith.

May Allah allow us to taste the sweetness of ruku`.

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This article first appeared at suhaibwebb.com. It is republished with slight editorial modifications.

 

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Prayer in the Qur’anic Sense

Do you recall when was the last time you prayed?… Readers’ answers may vary, but what is common to all is that most people pray, at one time or another. Indeed, people can pray to Allah, our Lord, at any time and in any place they like, for anything they wish. Allah calls attention to the fact that people can pray and remember Him anywhere they wish:

Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying]: “Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire. Our Lord, those You cast into the Fire, You have indeed disgraced. The wrongdoers will have no helpers. Our Lord, we heard a caller calling us to faith: “Have faith in your Lord!’ and we had faith. Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions, erase our bad actions from us and take us back to You with those who are truly good. Our Lord, give us what You promised us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Rising. You do not break Your promise.” Their Lord responds to them: “I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female…” (Aal `Imran 3:191-195)

In the Qur’an, Allah describes the kind of prayer He most likes, which we will explain in this series of articles.

1- Praying Humbly, Without Loudness of Voice

When you are in distress or feel desperate and thus feel the need to pray to Allah, where would you like to pray? Surely, the solitude of one’s own room at night or a very tranquil place that will give you the sense of Allah’s nearness would be the place you are looking for.

While worshipping, spiritual integrity can best be attained in a time and place that offers secure undivided attention. A person who feels the need to pray to Allah for the correction of his or her mistakes prefers to be alone and pray in secret. The Prophet Zakariyya’s prayers, through which he asked for a descendant, is an example of secret prayer:

When he called on his Lord in secret and said, “My Lord, my bones have lost their strength and my head is crowned with white, but in calling on You, My Lord, I have never been disappointed.” (Maryam 19:3-4)

As stated above, prayer is “accepting one’s weaknesses and limited power before Allah’s infinite might and asking for help from Him.” For this reason, prayer demands absolute consciousness and acceptance of one’s weaknesses and destitution before Allah. In this sense, there is no doubt that one will fail to attain such consciousness if one is insincere. In the Qur’an, Allah recommends believers to pray humbly and secretly:

Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits. (Al- A`raf 7:55)

Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and with awe, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be one of the unaware. Those who are in the presence of your Lord do not consider themselves too great to worship Him. They glorify His praise and they prostrate to Him… (Al-A`raf 7:205-206)

In the Qur’an, Allah calls our attention to solitary prayer that is performed with a deep feeling of dire need. In this sense, the place, the sophistication of the outward performance, the number of participants, or the supplicants’ loud voice can by no means be the criteria for a successful prayer.

One must be aware that a loud voice in prayer is not an element that makes it heard by Allah. As already mentioned, Allah, the All-Knowing, knows even our inner thoughts and He is closer to us than our jugular vein. In this sense, it is needless to raise our voice so as to be heard by our Lord Who is close to us. One can either pray secretly or in a tone of voice audible only to oneself.

From the verses below we understand that both while praying or going about our daily business, a person needs to use his or her voice at a moderate level:

Be moderate in your tread and lower your voice. The most hateful of voices is the donkey’s bray. (Luqman 31:19)

Say: “Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, the Most Beautiful Names are His.” Do not be too loud in your prayer or too quiet in it, but try to find a way between the two. (Al-Israa’ 17:110)

As the verses reveal, the form of worship described in the Qur’an is far from ostentation. It is not performed to impress people: the sole purpose is the due fulfillment of one’s duty towards the Creator. The Qur’an emphasizes this point strongly. In verses related to prayer, there are strong references to “calling on Allah, making one’s religion sincerely His,” which means, performing one’s prayer to earn Allah’s good pleasure alone and not seeking any other purpose. We can see this from verses such as the following:

He is the Living—there is no god but Him—so call on Him, making your religion sincerely His. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Ghafir 40:65)

So call upon Allah, making your religion sincerely His, even though the disbelievers detest it. (Ghafir 40:14)

Say: “My Lord has commanded justice. Stand and face Him in every mosque and call on Him, making your religion sincerely His. As He originated you, so you will return.” (Al-A`raf: 29)

The religion belongs to Allah alone. All forms of worship are performed to earn Allah’s good pleasure. The only way to attain this goal is to perform our worship in the form Allah describes.

Those who do not make their prayers or any other form of worship sincerely Allah’s, that is, those who seek “ostentation,” are in great delusion. As Allah says:

So woe to the praying ones, Who are unmindful of their prayers, Who do [good] to be seen. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-6)

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The article was first published in Harun Yahya’s book: Prayer in the Qur’an. Here taken with kind permission from www.harunyahya.com

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Prayer in Islam

brunei-ramadan-mosque-water-reflection

God is accessible at anytime and in any place.

Nowadays the media reports a lot on the religion of Islam and the Muslims; but the majority of this ‘primetime’ is used to mar the image of Islam. Muslims are often depicted as being fanatical or extreme for simply following the basic tenants of Islam.

The media goes a step further in marring the image of Islam by confusing cultures with what Islam really is. Basic practices and pillars of Islam begin to take on strange connotations when the reality is they are acts of worship that denote piety and God consciousness.

Muslims testify with certainty that there is none worthy of worship except God alone. They believe that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His messenger. They fast, they give in charity, and they try to go to Mecca for pilgrimage. Muslims also pray five times per day.

Five times! When some hear this, they throw their hands up in shock and wonder just how much time this must take and how it can be slotted into a 24 hour period.

Others, who are used to communicating with God in their own form of prayer will often question the rules and regulations that are attached to Prayer in Islam. God, they say, is accessible at any time.

According to the Muslim belief, God is accessible at anytime and in any place. Muslims call on God frequently throughout the day and night. They raise their hands in supplication and ask for His help, mercy, and forgiveness.

This, however, is not the act that Muslims refer to as Prayer. This is called making du`a’ (supplications) wherein one calls unto God asking Him for His help. For Muslims Prayer is a set of ritual movements and words performed at fixed times, five times per day.

God says in Qur’an, “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specific times.” (An-Nisa’ 4:103) Muslims pray in the early morning before sunrise, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. Muslims pray in obedience to God because they believe God created humankind for no other purpose except to worship Him. We read in the Qur’an: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Consequently, for a believer, worship is a way of life. Prayer at fixed times serves as a reminder of why we are here and helps to direct a person’s thoughts and actions away from sin and onto remembrance of God.

Prophet Muhammad emphasized the importance of Prayer when he explained its ability to remove sin. He said, “What would 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, with it God erases sin.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prayer is just one act amongst many acts of worship; it holds a very special place in Islam because of the way it was enjoined. It was not brought down to earth by an Angel rather it was bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad during his unique ascension into the Heavens.

Fifty prayers were first enjoined upon the believers but this was reduced to five, while the reward for Prayer remains as if it were still fifty. This reduction shows just how great God’s love for humanity is, a few minutes throughout the day are rewarded as if they were continuous worship.

Muslims pray five times per day. If possible men should pray in a mosque or in a congregation of men. Women have the option of praying at home. The believers stand alone, or surrounded by others, they stand in their homes and workplaces, the parks and the mosques. They stand, bow, prostrate, and sit. Their voices are sometimes raised and sometimes silent, but the words remain the same.

When a Muslim prays he or she addresses God in the Arabic language and uses the same words and movements as every other Muslim across the globe. Muslims unite in the ritual and language of Prayer.

For Prayer, Muslims stand facing the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the House of God, known as the Ka`bah is situated. If a person is ill or injured it is possible to pray sitting, or even lying down. The leader of the Prayer known as the imam, is not an intermediary between the people and God; rather, he is usually the person able to recite the most Qur’an. Women may also pray with a congregation of women. When Muslims pray together they stand shoulder to shoulder. Their proximity to each other demonstrates unity. No one person is better than another except by his or her piety.

Kings stand next to the poor, the white stand next to the black, Arabs stand beside Europeans. The believers then raise their hands to ear level and proclaim that God is the greatest. This indicates that the Prayer has begun and that all matters related to this world are left far behind. The connection is made and in the few minutes, it takes to pray each person stands before God in full submission. Interestingly the Arabic word for Prayer is Salah and it is derived from a root word that means to connect. Muslims then recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an, al-Fatihah, and sometimes another chapter from Quran. They then go through a set of ritual movements bowing and then prostrating, all the while proclaiming God’s greatness, glory and majesty.

In prostration, when the forehead touches the ground, the believer is closer to God than at any other time. There is now an opportunity to make supplication, asking God for help, mercy or forgiveness (this can be in any language).

Towards the end of the Prayer, Muslims sit to praise and ask God to bless Prophets Muhammad and Abraham (peace and blessings be upon them). The Prayer concludes with the words As-salamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullah (may God’s peace and blessings be upon you) spoken while turning the head towards the right and then the words are repeated while turning towards the left.

The Prayer has now ended and the world comes rushing back. However, for those few minutes the believer was alone with God. Whether he or she was praying alone or within a congregation, the connection was between God and the individual. It was a moment of bliss, peace, and tranquility. Prayer is a reminder and a comfort. Every hour of every day somewhere in the world, a Muslim is praying. The believer is seeking the comfort that comes from feeling close to God and the peace that comes from feeling God’s love and mercy.

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Taken with modification from: islamreligion.com.

 

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Introduction to Prayer

It was here in Makkah where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad was flown from his house in Makkah to Jerusalem mounted on Al-Buraq, which travelled at the speed of light.

When he arrived in Jerusalem Prophet Muhammad led the previous Prophets in prayer at AL-Masjid Al-Aqsa.  After he was descending to the heavens it was there that the prayer was established and made compulsory.

It’s till today that the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) answer the call to prayer in order to thank, praise and remember Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He).

As the sound of the Adhan (call to Prayer) is heard throughout the world, Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, thanking Him, remembering Him, bowing down to him in prayer.

Salah is the most important Pillar of Islam after the two Shahadah (testimony of faith): ‘Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash hadu anna Mohammadan rasoolu Allah’ (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger).

The aim of the project is to introduce salah to those who don’t know how to pray at all, for beginners or for those who have some idea or for those who want to perfect their prayer.

 

 

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Strength and Nobility in Prayer

The importance of the second pillar of Islam is discussed by first exploring its place in the lives and teachings of all the prophets of God. Dr. Badawi then proceeds to emphasize the fact that prayer in Islam is not a mere ritual but rather a practical way of remembering and worshipping the Creator and doing good. Other areas covered are the significance and virtues of prayer which include preparation, form, and congregation.
httpv://youtu.be/jWRlLiliUjM
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Source: IslamOnDemand.com.

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Are We Praying the Real Prayer?

Are you alive to the significance of your prayer? If yes, you should be working on strengthening your own unique link with your Lord.

Besides, what does khush` in prayer truly mean? Is it just about praying slowly?

What does the Qur’an say about the khush`? How could one get his heart, mind, body and soul collectively attentive in salah (prayer)?  How could we develop that link with God?

Have you ever contemplated on God’s words: Successful indeed are the believers, Who are humble in their prayers. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-2)?

Learn here how to get on the trail…

 

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This video is a part of a lecture by Sheikh Abu Bilal Sanel titled ‘Common Mistakes Made in the Prayer’.

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Our Children and Prayer (1/2)

The Prophet said: "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten."

The Prophet said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten.”

 

• “My son does not pray except because he fears me.”
• “If I did not remind him of the prayer time, he would wait until its due time had passed.”
• “My son only prays to silence my yells. Can you imagine that he does not even perform ablution before praying?”

Dear parent, if you are among this group, I would like to invite you, from the depth my heart, to contemplate my words; perhaps you could find guidance in what I have compiled from the opinions of experts in the field of education and parenting to make full use of it in laying the optimal and best foundation in your precious child [i.e., your beloved son] of which you are dreaming.

Before We Start

Before we start our journey on that road and go through the details, we should adopt the following narration as our motto in the process of teaching our children to perform prayers; the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten (if they do not pray).” (Graded as Sahih by Al-Albani)

Why the Age of Seven in Particular?

In fact, there are several issues that are related to that specific age. At that age, the children’s mental horizons broaden and they are willing to learn essential life skills. Moreover, seven-year-old children are more eager to seek their parents’ pleasure; since they are full of deep admiration for their parents in this phase of their lives. In fact, children then are willing to do whatever they are told, to get in return simple words of praise or encouragement.

Furthermore, children at that age tend to imitate adults in their various actions and behavior; they are rather keen to go to the mosque and pray, unlike the eleven-year-old son and older children who believe that implementing their father’s commands is a return to the childhood phase.

Therefore, children try to keep away from implementing their orders at the age of puberty. In fact, children at that age believe that their rejection to their father’s orders is the utmost level of attaining the phase of youth and being a grown-up.

Let us Overcome the Obstacles of Teaching Together

• Failing to understand the meaning of the word “obligatory” i.e., when your child is informed that performing prayer is obligatory; since such abstract words are rather hard for children to comprehend at that age as they have simpler understanding abilities at that time. Hence, you should resort to using intelligible and simple language.

For example, you may tell him, “Prayer is obligatory; this means that we cannot neglect it and as soon as we hear the Adhan (call to prayer), we should immediately perform the due prayer”, and so on.
• Lack of innate readiness to pray; the child may pray when he is asked to do so.
• Lack of commitment to perform the five daily prayers at their due times without the supervision of parents.
• Accustoming him to perform Fajr (Dawn) Prayer.
• Accustoming him to perform ablution before each prayer.

Step by step … do not hasten things.

Purification is the Key to Performing Prayers

A parent or teacher should first teach the child the significance of prayer, and the fact that it was the last advice of the Prophet  before his death. Moreover, you should inform him that the one who wishes to be able to talk to Allah The Exalted, can simply pray.

Dear parent and educator, you should teach your child how to perform ablution; you can perform ablution in front of him several times, and then ask him to perform ablution before you so that you can correct his mistakes.

In fact, when the child masters ablution, the father should encourage him by offering him some sort of reward, or a piece of candy as an encouraging gesture so as to urge him to continue. However, if he makes a mistake in performing ablution, the father should not scold or reprimand him; instead he should correct him nicely.

In fact, numerous Companions have adopted the same method in teaching the Tabi`in (Followers) how to perform ablution correctly. Thus, the virtue of ablution would take root within the child’s heart. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If the Muslim performs ablution, his sins will get out from his ears, eyes, hands and feet; and as he finishes (i.e. performing ablution) and sits, he will be forgiven.” (Graded as Sahih by Al-Albani)

Hence, the child would learn that whenever he wants to purify himself physically and psychologically, he can perform ablution.

Teach him Through Representation 
A parent or a teacher should start teaching his child how to pray after he is taught how to perform ablution. The first stage in this process is for the father to pray before his child duly while observing Khushu` (submission); since the first stage of learning is observation for several times before the child gets used to performing its due movements, if the child has not yet reached the age of distinction.

However, when he reaches the age of seven years and is able to comprehend, he should be instructed to perform the prayer with its pillars and acts of Sunnah. Moreover, when the child performs his first obligatory prayer correctly, the parent should offer him a big reward; so that prayer would be associated with reward in his heart, and as he grows older and reaches puberty, he would come to know that the real and big reward in the Hereafter is Paradise.

Moreover, when the child reaches the age of ten, he should be made to perform the prayers regularly, and if he is negligent, he should be reproved, then threatened, then rebuked and reprimanded severely, then the father can hit his child for what he has been negligent of in terms of performing the due acts of worship. In fact, the parent should resort to corporal punishment only after trying all other parenting methods of punishment.

Dear parents, let us instill love for prayer into our children at an early age by allocating a special outfit for prayers for the girl, or allocating a prayer mat for the boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             To be continued…

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Source:  Islamweb.net.

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The Call to Prayer..Meaning & Uniqueness

The Adhan (call to prayer) is that gentle meaningful alert after which Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, get in touch with Him.

The Adhan (call to prayer) is that gentle meaningful alert after which Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, get in touch with Him.

Five times a day from hundreds of thousands of mosques and places of worship the sound of the Adhan (call to prayer) is heard throughout the world, announcing prayers five times a day.

The Adhan (call to prayer) is that gentle meaningful alert after which Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, get in touch with Him; thanking Him, remembering Him, bowing down to him in prayer.

Instead of using material objects to announce the prayers like a bell or any artificial or digital sound the Islamic Adhan is a human voice carrying a very delicate and passionate message.

It has a special formula that affirms the faith in God and is a summary of the message of Islam and the content and nature of its teachings.

The Adhan begins with an affirmation of the supremacy and greatness of God. Then comes the Shahadah (Testimony of Faith), which consists of the profession of the unity and oneness of God the negation of shirk (associating other beings/gods with Allah), and the confirmation that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of God.

After that comes the call to the prayer and to success (in this life and Hereafter) and then rounding it up by praising God again as the great and affirming faith in Him.

Each line is repeated for affirmation and emphasis.

The words of the Adhan are articulated as follows:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.

Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah

Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah

Ash hadu anna Mohammadan rasoolu Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

Ash hadu anna Mohammadan rasoolu Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

Hay `ala as-Salah, hay `ala as-Salah

Hasten to the Prayer, hasten to the Prayer

Hay `ala al-falah, hay `ala al-falah

Hasten to real success, hasten to real success

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest.

La ilaha illa Allah

There is none worthy of worship but Allah.

Click here to listen to the call to prayer (with English translation- subtitles):

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Prayer: The Foundation of Faith

By: Abul A`la Mawdudi

You seek His guidance and ask Him again and again to enable you to avoid His wrath and follow His chosen path.

You seek His guidance and ask Him again and again to enable you to avoid His wrath and follow His chosen path.

The frequency and timings of the Prayers never let the object and mission of life be lost sight of in the maze of worldly activities.

`Ibadah (act of worship) is an Arabic word derived from `abd (a slave) and it means submission. It portrays that Allah is your master and you are His slave and whatever a slave does in obedience to and for the pleasure of his master is worship.

The Islamic concept of worship is very wide. If you free your speech from filth, falsehood, malice, and abuse and speak the truth and talk goodly things and do all these only because Allah has so ordained to do, they constitute `ibadah, however secular they may look in semblance.

If you obey the law of Allah in letter and spirit in your commercial and economic affairs and abide by it in your dealings with your parents, relatives, friends, and all those who come in contact with you, then all these activities of yours are worship.

If you help the poor and the destitute, give food to the hungry, and serve the ailing and the afflicted persons, and do all this not for any personal gain of yours but only to seek the pleasure of Allah, they are nothing short of worship. Even your economic activities, the activities you undertake to earn your living and to feed your dependants, are worship if you remain honest and truthful in them and observe the law of Allah.

In short, all your activities and your entire life are worship if they are in accordance with the law of Allah, and your heart is filled with His fear, and your ultimate objective in undertaking all these activities is to seek the pleasure of Allah.

Thus, whenever you do good or avoid evil for fear of Allah, in whatever sphere of life and field of activity, you are discharging your Islamic obligations.

This is the true significance of worship, namely total submission to the pleasure of Allah; the molding into the patterns of Islam your entire life, leaving out not even the most insignificant part thereof. To help achieve this aim, a set of formal `ibadat (acts of worship) has been constituted, which serves as a course of training. These acts are thus the pillars on which the edifice of Islam rests.

Prayer (salah) is the most primary and the most important of these obligations. And what is salah? It is the prescribed daily Prayers which consist in repeating and refreshing five times a day the belief in which you repose your faith. You get up early in the morning, cleanse yourself and present yourself before your Lord for Prayer.

The various poses that you assume during your Prayers are the very embodiment of the spirit of submission; the various recitals remind you of your commitments to your Allah. You seek His guidance and ask Him again and again to enable you to avoid His wrath and follow His chosen path.

You read out from the Qur’an (Book of the Lord) and express witness to the truth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and also refresh your belief in the Day of Judgment and enliven in your memory the fact that you have to appear before your Lord and give an account of your entire life. This is how your day starts.

In the Prayers you recite many things quietly and if you do not recite them or make any deviation from them, there is no one to check you.

Then, after a few hours you hear the call for Prayer, and you again submit to your Allah and renew your covenant with Him. You dissociate yourself from your worldly engagements for a few moments and seek audience with Allah. This once again brings to the fore of your mind your real role in life. After this rededication you revert to your occupations and again present yourself to the Lord after a few hours. This again acts as a reminder to you, and you once more refocus your attention on the stipulations of your faith.

When the sun sets and the darkness of the night begins to shroud you, you again, submit yourself to Allah in Prayer so that you may not forget your duties and obligations in the midst of the approaching shadows of the night. And then after a few hours you again appear before your Lord, and this is your last Prayer of the day.

Thus before going to bed you once again renew your faith and prostrate before your Allah. And this is how you complete your day. The frequency and timings of the Prayers never let the object and mission of life be lost sight of in the maze of worldly activities.

It is but easy to understand how the daily Prayers strengthen the foundations of your faith, prepare you for the observance of a life of virtue and obedience to Allah, and refresh that belief from which spring courage, sincerity, purposefulness, purity of heart, advancement of the soul, and enrichment of morals.

Now see how this is achieved: You perform ablution in the way prescribed by the Prophet. You also say your Prayers according to the instructions of the Prophet. Why do you do so?

It is simply because you believe in the prophet-hood of Muhammad and deem it your bounden duty to follow him ungrudgingly.

Why do you not intentionally misrecite the Qur’an? Isn’t it so because you regard the Book as the word of Allah and deem it a sin to deviate from its letter?

In the Prayers you recite many things quietly and if you do not recite them or make any deviation from them, there is no one to check you. But you never do so intentionally. Why? Because you believe that Allah is ever watchful and that He listens to all that you recite and is aware of things open and hidden.

Prayers are also a symbol of equality, for the poor and the rich, the low and the high, the rulers and the ruled…

What makes you say your Prayers at places where there is no one to ask you to offer them or even to see you offering them? Isn’t it so because of your belief that Allah is ever looking at you? What makes you leave your important business and other occupations and rush towards the mosque for Prayers? What makes you terminate your sweet sleep in the early hours of the morning, to go to the mosque in the heat of the noon, and to leave your evening entertainments for the sake of Prayers?

Is it anything other than sense of duty – your realization that you must fulfill your responsibility to the Lord, come what may? And why are you afraid of any mistake in Prayer? Because your heart is filled with the fear of Allah and you know that you have to appear before Him on the Day of Judgment and give an account of your entire life.

Now look! Can there be a better course of moral and spiritual training than Prayer? It is this training which makes a man a perfect Muslim. It reminds him of his covenant with Allah, refreshes his faith in Him, and keeps the belief in the Day of Judgment alive and ever present before his mind’s eye. It makes him follow the Prophet and trains him in the observance of his duties.

This is indeed a strict training for conforming one’s practice to one’s ideals. Obviously if a man’s consciousness of his duties towards his Creator is so acute that he prizes it above all worldly gains and keeps refreshing it through Prayers, he would certainly not be inviting the displeasure of Allah that he all along has striven to avoid. He will abide by the law of Allah in the entire gamut of life in the same way as he follows it in the five Prayers every day.

This man can be relied upon in other fields of activity as well, for if the shadows of sin or deceit approach him, he will try to avoid them for fear of the Lord that would be ever present in his heart. And if even after such a vital training a man misbehaves himself in other fields of life and disobeys the law of Allah, it can only be because of some intrinsic depravity of his self.

Then again you must say your Prayers in congregation and especially so the Friday Prayer. This creates among the Muslims a bond of love and mutual understanding. This arouses in them the sense of their collective unity and fosters among them national fraternity. All of them say their Prayers in one congregation and this inculcates in them a deep feeling of brotherhood.

Prayers are also a symbol of equality, for the poor and the rich, the low and the high, the rulers and the ruled, the educated and the unlettered, the black and the white all stand in one row and prostrate before their Lord.

Prayers also inculcate in Muslims a strong sense of discipline and obedience to the elected leader. In short, Prayers train them in all those virtues that make possible the development of a rich individual and collective life.

These are a few of the myriad of benefits we can derive from the daily Prayers.

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Source: islamicity.com.

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How to Live in the Prayer before the Act of Praying

Adhan for the prayer

The Prophet said: “A person is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.”

When we say Prayer, most of us believe it begins when we stand and say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greatest). But it begins before that.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“A person is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

For men, this refers to one who has prepared for and is waiting for the prayer to start in the mosque. For women who are not at the mosque, this refers to performing wudu` (ablution) and dressing in the appropriate attire, if necessary, and waiting for the time for prayer to set in.

An oft-neglected aspect of prayer is the Adhan (call to prayer). Have we ever tasted the sweetness of the adhan? Whoever tasted the sweetness of the adhan will increase in devotion in the prayer. One could ask: what is the relation between the adhan and khushu` (devotion)?

Satan hates the prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“When the adhan is pronounced, Satan takes to his heels and passes wind with noise during his flight in order not to hear the adhan. When the adhan is completed, he comes back and again takes to his heels. When the Iqamah is pronounced and after its completion he returns again, whispering into the heart of the person (to divert his attention from his prayer) and making him remember things which he does not recall to his mind before the prayer and that causes him to forget how much he has prayed.” (Al-Bukhari)

From the time the adhan starts, Satan tries to distract you, so that you do not benefit even from the great blessings of it. So what is so special about the adhan?

An Opportunity to Seize

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The muezzin (person calling to prayer or making the adhan) is forgiven for as far as his voice reaches and whoever hears him will confirm what he says. He will get a reward similar to those who pray with him.” (An-Nasa’i and Ahmad)

So if fifty people pray, the muezzin gets the reward of fifty prayers. If it is hundred, he gets the reward of hundred prayers. Now we ask what does that have to do with me? I’m not a muezzin. Yet you too can get the same reward of a muezzin.

`Abdullah ibn `Amr (may Allah be pleased be with him) related that a man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Does the muezzin get more virtues than us?” and the Prophet responded:

“Say what they say and when they finish, ask and it shall be given.” (Abu Dawud)

When the adhan starts with “Allahu Akbar” it is reminding you that Allah is greater than what you are doing, be it the television series you are watching, the article you are reading or the conversation you are having. And why do you rise up when you hear the adhan? Because of “La ilaha ila Allah” – your belief in One God. If you find what you are doing seems to be more important, then in reality it is almost as if that is what you deem to be more important than praying to God.

We know that when we hear the adhan, we repeat what the muezzin says, except for when he says “hayy `ala as-Salah” (make haste to the prayer) and “hayy `ala al-falah” (make haste to true success). Here we say: “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah” (there is no power or strength except through God).

Why do we say that? Because we know that we will not be able to have true devotion, nor perform the prayer perfectly, except with the help of Allah.

A Higher Calling

Remember that the adhan is a calling; it is a most beautiful calling because it alerts you to meeting your most Beloved. When we are about to meet someone we love, the feelings of excitement and longing come before the meeting. They begin when that special someone tells us: “I’ll meet you in ten minutes” or “I’ll see you in a few seconds.” This implies that the person that is telling you that he or she will meet you is a special someone, which brings upon feelings of happiness.

Lady `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The adhan is telling you that now is the time to meet Allah. So those who truly love Allah will jump at the chance to meet Him, and not wait until the time for that prayer is almost over. Look at Musa (peace be upon him) as Allah the Exalted says:

And what made you hasten from your people, O Moses? He said, they are close upon my tracks, and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased. (Ta-Ha 20:83-84)

Look at how Musa (peace be upon him) said he rushed to Allah that is the action of one who truly loves and has awe.

So, enjoy the adhan, and you will, in sha’ Allah (Allah Willing), enjoy the prayer.

We ask Allah to help us perfect our prayers.

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Source: OnIslam.net.

 

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