Importance of salat

Salmana Riyasat, Canada

Prayer, or salat, helps us to get rid of sins, inclines us more and more towards God and good things and so gradually purifies us. It brings man closer to his Creator. Salat is the Arabic word for prayer and is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the second most important pillar of Islam, after the declaration of faith.

The Holy Quran mentions this distinctive quality of salat by saying:

اُتۡلُ مَاۤ اُوۡحِيَ اِلَيۡکَ مِنَ الۡکِتٰبِ وَاَقِمِ الصَّلٰوةَ ؕ اِنَّ الصَّلٰوةَ تَنۡہٰي عَنِ الۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَالۡمُنۡکَرِ ؕ وَلَذِکۡرُ اللّٰہِ اَکۡبَرُ ؕ وَاللّٰہُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تَصۡنَعُوۡنَ

“Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book, and observe Prayer. Surely, Prayer restrains [one] from indecency and manifest evil, and remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest [virtue]. And Allah knows what you do.” (Surah al-‘Ankabut, Ch.29: V.46)

The Holy Prophetsa beautifully demonstrated the importance of salat. He asked his companions:

“If there was a river at a person’s door and he took a bath in it five times a day, can you believe that any dirt would be left on his body.” His Companionsra replied, “O Prophetsa of God, not a trace of dirt would be left.” At this, the Holy Prophetsa said, “That is the parable of the five prayers by which Allah removes sins and eliminates weaknesses.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab mawaqiti s-salat, Hadith 528)

As Muslims, we have a powerful tool that helps us overcome difficulties through salat. The Promised Messiahas has explained that a complete and unfailing recipe to overcome difficulties and hardships that has been tested by millions of righteous persons does exist. What is that? It is the recipe called salat. (Malfuzat, Vol. 9, p. 20)

On another occasion, Hazrat Ahmadas explained:

Salat is the thing that relieves one of all hardships and dispels all misfortunes.” (Malfuzat Vol. 5, p. 402)

With regard to the importance of prayer, Hazrat Khilafutal Masih Vaa emphasised that without prayer, a Muslim cannot earn the privilege of being called a Muslim. (Friday Sermon, 22 June 2012)

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said, “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Judgement will be his salat. If it is found to be complete, then it will be recorded as complete and if anything is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see if you can find any voluntary prayers with which to complete what he neglected of his obligatory prayers.’” (Sunan al-Nasai, Kitab as-salat, Hadith 466)

So, this clearly proves that we cannot pass our test on the Day of Judgement if we fail on the first question.

The importance of salat lies in its ability to transform an individual’s character and behaviour. When Muslims perform salat, they are reminded of their duty to Allah and their responsibility to live their lives in accordance with his teachings. Salat instils a sense of discipline, self-control, and devotion in Muslims, which helps them to lead a righteous and virtuous life.

Prayer is important for a Muslim, like an army for the country. The army of a country protects the borders of a country from an enemy’s attack. If someone attacks the borders, they can immediately respond. Similarly, in order to safeguard oneself from the attack of Satan, salat is like the example of mounting pickets at the frontier.

The importance of salat extends beyond the spiritual benefits and includes numerous benefits for physical health. By performing salat regularly, Muslims can improve their cardiovascular health, flexibility, mobility, mental wellbeing, sleep, hygiene and posture.

In conclusion, we can say that salat is a holistic act of worship that promotes physical and spiritual well-being and is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

May Allah the Almighty enable us to safeguard our salat. May He enable us to always be regular in observing salat and may we sincerely pray for the sole purpose of attaining the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. May He infuse our salat with delight and pleasure. May we never show slackness in our salat. May we come to understand that we will only attain salvation from the afflictions and calamities of this world when we fulfil the right of servitude to Allah Almighty. May Allah Almighty enable us to achieve this. Amin.

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