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A Spiritual Benefits of Prayers

Prayer, or Salat, was made obligatory for all Muslims, whether they be rich or poor, strong or weak, black or white, male or female. Prayer allows the believer to enrich their spirituality and cultivate the soul’s right to love and worship the Creator, Allah.

“Verily, I am Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, so worship Me and offer prayer perfectly for My remembrance.” [Quran 20:13-14]

The importance of prayer is conveyed constantly in the Quran and was also stressed by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “Know that among your duties, prayer is foremost”.

The performance of prayer five times a day is considered vital to attain success in this life and the hereafter. Following the testimony of faith, performance of the prayers at their correct times and complete in bowings, prostrations and humility, will guarantee forgiveness from God and everlasting paradise. Muslims believe that the first matter that they will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of their deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.

Prayer provides a constant reminder of the essence of our creation and provides a direct connection to Allah, who linked success and felicity to humility in prayer. It emphasizes the proximity between religion and daily life. Life, from an Islamic standpoint, is to be directed to Allah. Life is an opportunity for worship and the remembrance of Allah. Praying repeatedly throughout the day and interrupting the daily activities brings about the realization of this concept. The believer, through prayer, acquires a spiritual awareness that he takes with him throughout all of life’s endeavors.

Prayer purifies the heart and truly, through Prayer, a believer attains spiritual devotion and moral elevation. Prayer not only gives a deep connection with God, but in prayer one establishes patience, humility and sincerity. Prayer provides a means of repentance and is a restrainer from shameful and unjust deeds. This is portrayed through the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
“If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?” The people said, “No filth would remain on him whatsoever.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (From the Hadeeth collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Praying five times a day engages the believer in constant remembrance of God and keeps him away from any unjust deeds and leads him only to deeds that will earn the pleasure of God. It is through prayer that one really finds inner peace and fulfillment. It is also a source of patience, courage, hope, confidence, inner peace, stability, equality, unity and an expression of thankfulness to God.

 

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A Cry of The Inner Soul

His arrogance and pride has often led man to behave as an oppressor and a tyrant. Some men have been so carried away by their own self-importance that they have even claimed divinity. Pharoah (Firaun), the ruler of Egypt, was among those who announced: "I am your supreme lord."
With his sense of greatness and pride, Firaun subjugated the Israelites and made their lives wretched and miserable.
But is man really as strong and great as his ego tells him? The Quran tells us the reality of man's nature.

"Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and gray hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful (i.e. Able to do all things)." [Quran 30:54]

Weakness in the beginning and weakness in the end: this is the essence of man. He is so weak and helpless at birth that his entire existence depends on his parents and family. If he were to be abandoned in these crucial first years, he could not survive on his own. He needs a gentle and loving hand, not only in his infancy but in his childhood and even in the teenage years.

As this child enters the years of youth and independence, he begins to take control of his own life. He looks with pride at his strong physique, his handsome features and his many talents. He begins to despise those of lesser abilities, even scorning those parents who exhausted their own health to nurture him. He becomes unjust and cruel, using his strength and vigor to dominate others. He thinks he is a master, free to act as he wills. But does this youth, these good looks and this strength last forever? Only in a few decades he begins to lose his strength. His health begins to deteriorate, gray hair covers his head and slowly, his youth is replaced by old age. This transformation from young to old is slow, but it is there.

The seconds of time are ticking away mercilessly, taking every young person towards their old age. The young dictator will one day be as feeble and weak as the day he was born. But this time there will be no parents to nurture him; if, as is often the case, he is rejected by his own family, his future will be a desolate one in some persons' home.

"Weakness in the beginning, weakness in the end." The message is clear: the real Master is Allah. He alone is Mighty, He Alone is Great. He alone is never tired, never needs rest, is never dependent upon anyone.

Allahu Akbar - Allah is the Greatest. With this message clear in his mind, man realizes that he should show his humility to the Almighty Lord, the One Who created him. And what can be a better way to show one's humility than to stand like a slave before Him; to bow and prostrate to Him; to raise hands in supplication to Him.

Prayer is not a burden forced upon man but is the inner cry of every soul. A cry of each heart to recognize its Creator. It is but a small token of gratitude for all the innumerable bounties bestowed upon mankind by the Creator.

In our everyday lives, we smile and say a warm thank-you to the small acts of kindness which others do for us. so what about thanking Allah, Who in His infinite Mercy has provided for every single one of our needs. Just observe the beauty and perfection of the earth around you, and fall down in gratitude to you Lord.

 

Source: "Why Do We Pray?" By Dr. Shuaib Hasan

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Prayer: The Ascension For A Believer

This prayer was a gift given to every Believer to enable him to experience a spiritual ascension five times a day. The prayer is the Mi`raaj (Ascension) of the Believer. It gives every Muslim the chance to communicate with his Lord. During each prayer, the Muslim recites Surah Al-Faatihah: This recitation is not a dull monologue by the Believer, but Allaah promises that it is a conversation between Him and the worshipper. The Messenger of Allaah e reported that Allaah, the Almighty says: ‘When my slave says in his prayer: "All praise is for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds," I say: "My slave has praised Me" When he says: "The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgement," I say: "My slave has glorified Me." When he says: "You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek," I say: "This is between Me and My slave." When he says: "Show us the Straight Path," I say: "This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants."

The Messenger of Allah once said: "Prayer is the pillar of religion." (Narrated by Al-Baihaqi) He also informed us that Islam is built upon five pillars, the second being to establish prayer five times a day. (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari) This makes the image very clear: Islam is like a building supported by five columns; remove just one column and the entire building weakens. In the same way, when a person stops praying, his faith becomes weak, and the mildest blows can cause it to crumble. The prayer is so very important that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Verily, between man and polytheism and disbelief is abandoning prayer." (Narrated by Muslim)

Allah says, concerning the plight of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement, that they will be asked by the Believers: {"What led you into the Hell-fire?" They will say: "We were not of those who prayed."} [Quran 74:42-43].

Allah also says: {Successful indeed are the Believers, those who humble themselves in their prayers} [Quran 23:1-2], and: {And those who guard [strictly] their worship, such will be the honoured ones in the Gardens [of Bliss]} [Quran 70: 34-35].

Allah has emphasized the need for humility and concentration in prayers. There is no doubt that Satan is the most bitter enemy of man; he always tries to disturb the Believer’s prayers. He (the worshipper) finds his mind suddenly engulfed with memories, problems, worries, work and his family… and he will often find himself wondering whether he has prayed three rak`ah or four. This is how Satan steals the prayer. Man was created only to worship Allaah. He says: { I created not the jinns and mankind except to worship me} [Quran 51:56]. Man is to live in this world as a worshipper of Allaah and prayer is the best for of worship. On the Day of Judgement, man will have to answer for his deeds. Allaah says: {Then shall you be questioned about the joy [you indulged in]} [Quran 102:8]

 

Source with slight modifications

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Prayer Is Like A Fortress

Prayer is the basis of all good actions. Below are quoted two passages of the Quran, both of which list a number of good actions. Prayer comes before and after all good actions:-

B. Surah Al-Maarif: (70:19-35)
"Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient; irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; and niggardly when good touches him. Except those devoted to Salat (prayers), those who remain constant in their Salat (prayers), and those in whose wealth there is a known right, for the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened). And those who believe in the Day of Recompense, and those who fear the torment of their Lord. Verily! The torment of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure. And those who guard their chastity (ie, private parts from illegal sexual acts), except with their wives and the (women slaves and captives) whom their right hands possess, -for (then) they are not to be blames. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers. And those who keep their trusts and covenants, and those who stand firm in their testimonies, and those who guard their Salat (prayers) well; such shall dwell in the Gardens (i.e. Paradise) honored."

 

A. Surah al-Muminun (23:1-11)
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehoods and all that Allah has forbidden). And those who pay the Zakat. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, -for then, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors. Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants. And those who strictly guard their Salat (five compulsory congregational prayers at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever."

 

In these passages, the believers are said to have certain characteristics, the first of which they concentrate on their prayers. Other signs of believers are:

  • They avoid vain and vulgar activities.
  • They pay their Zakat (obligatory charity) regularly.
  • They guard their chastity and avoid illicit relations. Their marital lives are confines to their wives and salve-girls (assuming such a situation exists in which the presence of slaves is justified).
  • Those who do not betray covenants and trusts.
  • Those who stand by their testimonies (as in Surah Al-Maarij.).


After mentioning these five characteristics, regularity in prayers is once again commended. The quotation from Surah Al-Maarij is similar to the one from Surah al-Muaminun. It shows that prayer is like a fortress which protects and preserves other good deeds. To guard one's prayer helps guard one's other virtues. The Prophet (pbuh) said in a similar way: "Prayer is the pillar of the religion" (Al-Baihaqi)

Allah's Messenger (pbuh) also said: "The first thing about which a man is going to be questioned on the Day of Judgment is prayer. If it is found to be sound all his other reactions will be sound as well. If his prayer is not sound all his remaining actions would be spoiled." (Al-Tabarani)

 

Source: "Why Do We Pray?" by Dr. Shuaib Hasan

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Prayer Is Like A Weapon

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
"O you who believer! Seek help in patience and Salat (prayer). Truly! Allah is with the patient."
[Quran 2:153]

Man is, by nature, weak. He needs help at times of misery and hardship. And the best aid we can have is that of patience in adversity and prayer. Any difficulties, unhappiness and loss should be faced with calm and wisdom. A hasty response or an unwise remark will only cause more problems. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) used to look for solace in prayer whenever he experienced difficulties. In prayer one seeks help from Allah, and who can be a better helper than Allah?

The Prophet (pbuh) used to say to Bilal: "O Bilal! Provide us with rest with prayer."

 

 

Source: "Why Do We Pray?" by Dr. Shuaib Hasan

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Prayer As A Reminder

A non-Muslim once asked the following question during a discussion: "I can understand why Muslims were required to pray five times a day during the early days of Islam. They did not have many things to do in those days so the Prophet kept them busy with prayer. But our sophisticated and modern life leaves man with little spare time. He is much too busy to be expected to pray five times a day."

The answer given was what is the primary objective of prayer. The Quran says:
"...and establish prayer for My Remembrance." [Quran 20:14]

As man is by nature forgetful, prayer reminds him of the allegiance due to his Creator and Lord. If prayer was needed fourteen hundred years ago when man did not lead such a busy life style, then it is even more necessary in today's hectic world. On the one hand, education and work keep people occupied constantly. And when it is time to relax. Shaitan (Satan) has found many new channels to operate through, such as television, the cinema and videos.

Man becomes so engrossed in this life that he has no thought for Allah and the Hereafter. The need to remind man of the realities of his existence has thus intensified, and not declined in modern times. Prayer is still of utmost importance and benefit in our high-tech lives.

Prayer acts as a shield against evil. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
"...Verily, As-salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha (i.e. great sins of every kind unlawful sexual intercourse etc. ) and al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed etc.)..."
[ Quran 29:45]

The following incident will help understand this point:
In the time of Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) lived a man who drank alcohol, gambled and committed thefts habitually.. He came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and asked for some advice which would help improve his character. The Prophet's advice was simple; "don't tell any lies." The man then left, after having been told to report back the next day. he was feeling very pleased, as the instructions given to him seemed very easy to obey. At home the man poured himself his usual glass of wine. As he lifted the glass to his lips, he suddenly remembered that he had to report back to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the next day. he would be asked about that day's activities, and if he admitted in front of all the Companions that he had been drinking, it would be terribly embarrassing for him.

If, however, he did not admit to having drunk wine, it would be a lie. So he put the wine away. The same thing happened when he was about to start gambling and go on his robbing expedition. And once this man had taken the first positive step towards fighting his evil habits, he was able to reform very quickly.

Prayer can have a very similar effect. If a person remembers five times a day that he will stand on his prayer-mat and address his Lord, it will prevent him from committing the sins that Shaitan has been encouraging him to do. The quality of the prayer is of utmost importance as well. Consider a house with solid foundations, concrete walls and a strong roof. this house will be able to withstand all forms of bad weather, be it winds, hail or storms. After all, the purpose of a house is to provide shelter and protection against these elements. If, on the other hand, the house is loosely constructed with leaves and grass, it will blow away at the slightest hint of bad weather.

This image applies very clearly to prayer. If a prayer is offered regularly, at the correct time, with sincerity of intention and concentration on what is being recited, it will strengthen the person's Faith and provide comfort and strength in times of trouble.

Irregular and insincere prayers will be of little use to a person in times of distress. A healthy body can combat viruses with more ease that can a weak body.

 

 Source: "Why Do We Pray?" By Dr. Shuaib Hasan

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Prayer As An Expiation Of Sins

Prayer not only stimulates a person to do good deeds, but it also takes away his minor sins. Allah said: "Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins), " [Quran 11:114]

As prayer is the best of all good actions, it can erase many sins. 'Ali narrated that Abu Bakr heard Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) saying: "Whoever commits a sin, but performs ablution in the best way, then offers two Rakat prayer, and he asks for the forgiveness of Allah, Allah almighty forgives his sins." (Ahmad)

This does not mean to say that a person can commit as many sins as he likes, as long as he follows each sin with a prayer. What Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) was showing is that repentance opens the door to forgiveness. Prayer is a form of repentance and should be offered with sincerity and a true desire to amend one's character. After repenting, the person's Faith should be revived, and he should fight all Satanic temptations to do evil. In Surah Al-Furqan repentance is described as a way out for those who commit major sins:

"And those who invoke not any other Ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse - and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance. " [Quran 25:68-71]

 

Source: "Why Do We Pray?" By Dr. Shuaib Hasan

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