Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Missionary In-charge UK
The topic of iqamatus-salat – the observance of Salat – is based on just two words, yet its subject matter entails a diverse ocean of wisdom and understanding. These two words encompass a fundamental commandment of Allah the Exalted; in fact, they entail the purpose for mankind’s creation and the means of acquiring this purpose.
The first injunction for mankind mentioned in the Holy Quran is to worship Allah. Islam has made it compulsory for Muslims to observe a specified form of worship called Salat, one of the five pillars of Islam and a fundamental requirement of faith.
The topic of iqamatus-salat possesses a major significance in the life of a Muslim. It has been made the responsibility of every Muslim that they firmly act upon this commandment, enlightening themselves with its true understanding and fulfilling this purpose of their life, when they hear the call:
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ارْجِعِيْ إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً فَادْخُلِيْ فِيْ عِبَادِيْ وَادْخُلِيْ جَنَّتِيْ
“Thou, O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. So enter thou among my chosen servants, and enter thou My garden.” (Surah al-Fajr, Ch.89: V.28-31)
Significance of observing prayer
The observance of prayer is a fundamental pillar of Islam, the fulfilment of which is obligatory upon every Muslim. In the beginning of the Holy Quran, Allah says that true believing and virtuous people are those who “yuqimunas-salat” – observe prayer. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.4)
Later on in the Holy Quran, Allah emphatically states:
أَقِيْمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَلَا تَكُوْنُوْا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِيْنَ
“… observe prayer, and be not of those who associate partners with God.” (Surah al-Rum, Ch.30: V.32)
On the day of resurrection, when the wrongdoers will be asked what led them to Hell, their answer shall be:
لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّيْنَ
“…We were not of those who offered prayers.” (Surah al-Mudathir, Ch.74: V.44)
In the sight of Allah the Exalted, beloved and accepted worshippers are those:
الَّذِيْنَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُوْنَ
“…who are constant in their prayer.” (Surah al-Ma‘arij, Ch.70: V.24)
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
“Who are humble in their prayers.” (Surah al-Muminun, Ch.23: V.3)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ
“And those who are strict in their observance of prayer.” (Surah al-Ma‘arij, Ch.70: V.35)
Consistency in prayer, humility in prayer and the safeguarding of prayers are the fundamental pillars of iqamatus-salat. Similarly, the offering of prayer in congregation and its timely observance, and the fulfilment of all the conditions with firm assiduousness are essential for the fulfilment of iqamatus-salat.
Regarding the consideration of time, the Quran states:
إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوْتًا
“…verily prayer is enjoined on the believers to be performed at fixed hours.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.104)
With regard to the safeguarding of prayer, Allah the Almighty’s commandment is:
حَافِظُوْا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطٰى وَقُوْمُوْا لِلّٰهِ قَانِتِيْنَ
“Watch over prayers, and the middle prayer, and stand before Allah submissively.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.239)
In other words, the more engagements to which one is tied, the greater the significance becomes of observing prayers on time. Abandoning all other engagements, granting precedence to the prayer and assembling for its observance on time is in actuality the true meaning of iqamatus-salat. This shall be the apparent expression of the oath which every Ahmadi Muslim, by the grace of Allah, undertakes; namely that “I shall give precedence to my faith over all worldly affairs.”
It is mentioned in a Hadith, “One who does not offer his prayers intentionally has committed infidelity” (Majma al-Zawaid, Kitab al-Salat) and in another Hadith, “On the day of resurrection, the first thing one shall be called to account for is the prayer” (Sunan al-Nisai, Kitab al-Salat). Elsewhere in the Hadith, it is mentioned that the thing which separates a believer from an infidel is the observance of prayer. Furthermore, it is stated, “Salat is the pillar of religion.” (Shuab-ul-Iman, Al-Salat)
In other words, Salat is the foundation of Islam, without which the edifice of faith cannot remain erect.
The books of the Promised Messiahas are replete with resounding instructions pertinent to the observance of prayer. For entrance into the Jamaat, in the ten conditions of Bai‘at (initiation) formulated by the Promised Messiahas, the third condition states that every individual who does Bai‘at:
“Shall regularly offer the five daily Prayers in accordance with the commandments of God and the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.”
Then the Promised Messiahas writes:
“Whosoever does not observe the five daily prayers, is not of my community.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 31)
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Prayer is the Right of Allah; fulfil it well … Even if the entire house is destroyed, let it be, but do not discard the prayer. The Holy Quran speaks of two paradises, one of which is the paradise of this world, which is the prayer”. (Malfuzat, Vol. 6, p. 370)
Significance of prayer
The entire Holy Quran is full of the emphatic mention of prayer. Prayer possesses central significance in the prophetic traditions, the Sunnah and there is abundant mention of prayer in the Hadith of the Holy Prophetsa as well. Benefitting from all three of these means of guidance, and becoming saturated by that fountain of knowledge and understanding, the beautiful manner in which the Promised Messiahas, the Imam of the Age, has mentioned prayer is a faith-inspiring exposition and one that should be pondered upon.
The Promised Messiahas has stated:
“In reality, Salat is but a name for plunging into a fire, and after plunging into a fire of Divine love and fear of Allah, to burn one’s being and burn everything except Allah; and it is but a name for such a state wherein God, and only God remains in sight; and man progresses to such a state wherein he speaks when God wishes, and walks when God wishes; the whole of his moving or remaining still, his performing an action or abandoning an action begins to conform to Allah’s will and the ego is annihilated.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 314)
The Promised Messiahasstates on another occasion:
“Prayer does not imply that prayer which is observed by the common people as a mere tradition, rather, prayer is that by which the heart of a person is tendered and falls before the Divine threshold becoming so immersed that it begins to melt”. (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 402 [new edition])
Then he states:
“What is meant by prayer? It is a supplication that is humbly entreated by extolling His holiness [tasbih], praise [tahmid] and sanctity [taqdis], and seeking his forgiveness [istighfar], and by invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophet [Durood].” (Noah’s Ark, p. 110)
Furthermore, the Promised Messiahas writes:
“What is prayer? It is to present one’s humility and supplications and weaknesses before God and to desire the fulfilment of needs from Him; at times, to stand before Him respectfully, to pay homage to His magnificence and fulfil his commandments; at times, to fall before him in prostration with complete humility and modesty, to implore one’s needs from Him – this is Prayer. Just like a beggar, to praise Allah saying, ‘You are like so and you are like such and such.’ To express His magnificence and majesty and inducing His mercy, then imploring of Him.” (Al Hakam, 31 March 1903, pp. 7-8)
He then states:
“A prayer in which there is no humility, no attraction towards God the Exalted, no weeping supplication before God the Exalted, is in itself a deficient prayer. Prayer is that in which one feels pleasure in supplication. Stand before God the Exalted with such attention that a state of emotion overcomes you, as if an individual is detained in a dreadful lawsuit and a verdict of imprisonment or hanging is to be announced. What is his state before the judge? Similarly, one should stand before Allah with a fearful heart. A prayer in which the heart is at one place, while the thoughts are somewhere else, and the mouth says something, is a curse, which is thrown back in the face of man, and is not accepted. Allah the Almighty says:
فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّيْنَ۔ الَّذِيْنَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُوْنَ
‘So woe to those who pray but are unmindful of their prayer [Surah al-Ma‘un, Ch.107: V.5-6].’ True prayer is that which feels pleasurable. It is this very prayer, in the description of which, it has been said that prayer is the spiritual apex – Mi‘raj – of a believer. Prayer is the means of spiritual progress for a believer.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, pp. 44-45 [new edition])
True meaning of iqamatus-salat
The phrase used in the Holy Quran for the observance of prayer is iqamatus-salat. This phraseology has not been used in the Holy Quran merely once or twice; rather, it has been used 47 times, by which one can fathom its significance and greatness. The word “iqamah” is a complete and eloquent word that houses a world of meanings.
In Tafsir-e-Kabir, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, has mentioned various meanings of Iqamatus-Salah:
1. Regular observance of prayer
“The meaning of iqamatus-salat is to observe prayer regularly because the meaning of Qama ‘alal amri means to remain constant in something. Therefore, the meaning of yuqimunas-salat would be that ‘they do not desist in offering their prayers’. A prayer wherein there is a discontinuation is not considered true prayer in Islam, because prayer is not of temporary deeds, rather, it is considered a complete deed if there is no cessation from the first prayer after repentance or after reaching an age of maturity, until the last prayer before one’s demise. All the prayers of those people who tend to miss their prayers in between are rejected. Therefore, it is the obligation of every Muslim that when they reach an age of maturity, or when Allah enables them to do so, from that time until their demise, they should not miss a single prayer, because prayer is equivalent to meeting Allah, and he who refrains from meeting his beloved, passes a judgement contrary to his so-called claim of love by himself.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 104)
2. Observance along with the fulfilment of all requirements
“The second meaning of iqamah is of equilibrium and rectitude, i.e., the virtuous offer their prayers according to its apparent conditions, and do not break the rules set for it. For example, in a state of health or in the availability of water, they offer their prayers after performing ablution, and even then, they perform their ablution properly according to the conditions set by the Shariah. Similarly, they offer their prayers at the appointed time, and perform the actions of qiyam, ruku, sajdah and qa‘dah correctly. They recite the appointed passages and prayers upon their proper place properly and correctly. Therefore, they pay consideration to all the apparent conditions and fulfil them properly.
“At this place, it should be remembered that although the Shariah states that the prayer should be offered with its set conditions, this does not mean that when the fulfilment of these conditions is not possible in extreme circumstances, one should abandon the prayer altogether. The prayer itself is in any case precedent to the conditions. If someone does not have clean clothes, they may offer their prayers in dirty clothes, and especially, to abandon the prayer on the basis of suspicion is completely illogical … Until the fulfilment of the conditions is possible, to disregard them is a sin. However, when it is impossible to fulfil the conditions, to abandon prayer due to their unavailability is a sin, and such a person shall not be considered excused, rather they shall be considered those who abandon the prayer.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 104)
3. To erect a falling prayer
“The third meaning of iqamah is to keep something upright, i.e. the worshipper does not let their prayer fall. They remain forever adamant in offering their prayer correctly and as per the stipulated conditions. If in one’s prayer, someone … is assailed by thoughts of difficulty, they should not be dismayed and should not consider their prayers useless, because Allah the Exalted only expects sacrifice from His servant to the extent of their capacity. Therefore, those worshippers whose thoughts remain dispersed, if they continue to try and beautify their prayers and remain attentive, they will be striving to keep their prayer upright whenever it stumbles. Allah the Exalted shall not waste their prayers, rather He shall accept them and shall include one who endeavours to erect their prayer among the virtuous.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.1, p. 105)
4. To encourage and motivate others for prayer
“Another meaning of ‘yuqimunas-salat’ is that the virtuous encourage others to pray, because one manner in which to erect something is to make it common and to encourage others to it. Therefore, the virtuous who act upon yuqimunas-salat are those who, in addition to praying themselves, keep instructing others to pray as well, and make those who are negligent prompt and vigilant.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.1, p. 105)
5. Prayer in congregation
“Wherever the Holy Quran has enjoined prayer, it has instructed for prayer to be offered in congregation. Nowhere is it ordered that one simply offers prayers alone. It is evident therefore that prayer in congregation is a significant principle of faith, rather the Holy Quran … states that prayer is only observed correctly if offered in congregation, unless there is an uncontrollable restraint. As such, an individual who abandons prayer in congregation, except in the case that they are ill, out of town or other Muslims are not present, even if they offer their prayer at home, it shall not be accepted, and they shall be considered as one who abandons the prayer.
“In the Holy Quran … the actual instruction is that the compulsory prayers be offered in congregation, and prayer in solitude is permitted only under extreme circumstances. If one cannot offer the prayers standing, they are permitted to do so whilst sitting. However, just as if someone who possesses the ability to stand and pray but does so whilst sitting, they shall be considered a sinner, similarly, one who can offer the prayer in congregation, but does not offer their prayer in congregation, they too shall be considered a sinner.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 1, pp. 105-106)
6. To offer prayer with complete attention, togetherness and vigilance
“Another meaning of ‘yuqimunas-salat’ is also that the prayer be offered in a lively manner and with vigilance, because thoughts are dispersed as a result of laziness and negligence, and the essence of prayer is lost.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.1, p. 106)
An important matter
With regard to iqamatus-salat, it should be remembered that for a Muslim to observe prayer on their own is not sufficient, rather prayer must be established as a communal worship, and this system should continue generation after generation.
This issue is so important that Allah the Exalted especially instructed his beloved Holy Messengersa:
وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا
“And enjoin prayer on thy people, and be constant therein.” (Surah Taha, Ch.20: V.133)
It should be remembered that every individual who attributes himself to the Holy Prophetsa and makes a claim of love and devotion to him, is included in this injunction. To continually instruct members of the household to offer prayer is a responsibility and a quality which is greatly liked by Allah the Exalted. Whilst alluding to Hazrat Ishmaelas, Allah the Almighty states:
وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا
“He used to enjoin Prayer and almsgiving on his people, and he was well-pleasing to his Lord.” (Surah Maryam, Ch.19: V.56)
It is necessary to keep this aspect of iqamatus-salat in consideration, for it is the means of securing a good family and good children.
A beautiful prayer
Iqamatus-salat is such an excellent quality and so very necessary for a true Muslim, that the prayer which Hazrat Abrahamas offered for this purpose was so liked by Allah the Blessed and Exalted that He made it a part of the Holy Quran, thus preserving it for all eternity. In this manner a message has been given to every individual of the Muslim Ummah (Community) that if we wish to acquire maqam-e-Ibrahim (the lofty status of Abrahamas) in our worship, if we wish to attain maqam-e-mahmud (the highly commended status), then it is incumbent that we fasten this Abrahamic prayer to our soul. Not only should a Muslim adopt iqamatus-salat in their own life, but wish and pray for the same in the lives of one’s future generations as well.
What a beautiful prayer it is, which has been taught to us:
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةِ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ
“My Lord make me observe Prayer, and my children too. Our Lord! Do accept my prayer. Our Lord, grant forgiveness to me and to my parents and the believers on the day when the reckoning will take place.” (Surah Ibrahim, Ch.14: V.41-42)
A few points of wisdom
I present two points of profound wisdom from the Promised Messiahas that shed further light on the topic under discussion. Firstly, in order for a Muslim to establish their prayer, sacrifice is necessary. The strictness and discipline inflicted upon the soul also becomes a means of reward and blessings. The Promised Messiahas states:
“Opposing the self is also a form of worship. When man is sleeping, he desires to sleep more, but he opposes the self, and goes to the mosque. This opposition is also worthy of reward.” (Malfuzat, Vol.2, p. 552 [new edition])
Secondly, in a youthful age, when one’s health is good and the body is strong, one should especially pay attention to worship. The Promised Messiahas states:
“If he spent this period [i.e., the period of his youth] in the worship of Allah, the reformation of the self and obedience to God, the fruit which he shall reap is that in his old age, when he shall be unable to perform any worship, and inactivity and tardiness shall overcome him, the angels shall continue to record the same prayer, fasting, Tahajjud [pre-dawn prayer], etc. which he used to offer in his youth. And this is the grace of Allah, that despite the fact that he is unable to perform deeds, God considers him exempt and the same deeds are recorded in his account.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 199 [new edition])
Seven stages in the spiritual journey of the observance of prayer
There are seven stages in the spiritual journey of the observance of prayer. The right of the establishment of prayer can fully be offered only after one passes through these stages. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra has elaborated upon this exquisite topic in a remarkable manner. He states:
“The first stage, below which there is no stage whatsoever, is that man offers his five daily prayers regularly. A Muslim who offers his five daily prayers and does not break in between acquires the lowest level of faith.
“The second stage in prayer is that all five prayers are offered at the stipulated time. When one offers his five daily prayers on time, he steps to the second ladder of faith.
“The third stage is that the prayer be offered in congregation. By the congregational observance of prayer, man steps to the third ladder of faith.
“The fourth stage is that man observes the prayer whilst understanding its meaning. An individual who does not know the translation of prayer should learn the translation and observe prayers. Moreover, one who does know the translation should offer the prayer slowly, until he understands that he has done justice to the prayer.
“Then, the fifth stage is that man becomes fully engrossed in the prayer. Just as one plunges into water, man should plunge into his prayer, until he acquires one of the two ranks: either that he is seeing God, or if not, he firmly believes that God the Exalted is seeing him.
“After this, the sixth stage of belief is that an individual offers the nawafil (voluntary prayers). One who offers the nawafil expresses to God the Exalted that he has offered his obligation but he has not yet become satisfied by them, and he says, ‘O God, it is my desire to remain in Your royal court beyond the times of obligation.’
“The seventh stage of belief is that man not only offers his five daily prayers and observes the nawafil, but also prays Tahajud (Late night/pre-dawn prayer) during the night. These are the seven stages by which prayer is deemed complete.
“Hence, it is necessary for an individual to attain these seven stages. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes prayer on time. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes the prayer in congregation. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes the prayer whilst understanding it, after learning its translation. It is the responsibility of every individual that in addition to the obligatory prayer timings, he offers the nawafil during the night and day … Then every individual should offer his obligatory and supererogatory [nawafil] prayers with such assiduousness that even his nights become days.
“Similarly, one should try to acquire the greatest possible advantage from the supplications of Tahajud. Until and unless one does not safeguard his prayers in this manner, for one to think that one can please God is nothing more than a fallacy.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, pp. 135-136)
Curing insipidity in prayer
When alluding to the topic of iqamatus salat, the question can arise that if one finds no pleasure in offering prayer, how can one familiarise oneself with it? The answer has been provided most beautifully by the Promised Messiahas:
“Whenever such a state persists that the love and pleasure which was once felt in prayer no longer remains, one should not tire, and should not be dismayed and lose strength but should be concerned as to how this lost wealth can be reacquired, and the cure is taubah, istighfar (repentance) and supplication. One should not abandon prayer due to insipidity, rather they should increase prayer even further. Just as when an alcoholic is not intoxicated, they do not abandon drinking, but drinks more and more, until finally, they experience pleasure and satisfaction; likewise, someone who feels insipidity in prayer, should offer prayer in further abundance, and it is not appropriate to tire. Ultimately a state of pleasure shall come about through that very insipidity.
“Look at how deep one must dig into the earth to acquire water; those who tire are left deprived, while those who do not ultimately acquire it. Therefore, in order to attain that pleasure, istighfar, an abundance of prayer and supplication, readiness and steadfastness is necessary.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 432 [new edition])
The Promised Messiahas has not only prescribed supplication in order to acquire pleasure and attention in prayer, but has also taught the specified words which are to be prayed:
“One should supplicate before Allah the Exalted in extreme emotion and passion, saying, ‘Just as You have endowed us with the various pleasures of fruits and other things, let me once taste the pleasure of prayer and worship as well.’” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 163 [new edition])
In other words, one should supplicate in the following words:
“O God, I receive the pleasures of this world every day; grant me the pleasurable taste of worship once as well.”
Then one should stand in every rak‘ah of the prayer and supplicate in the following words:
“O Allah the Exalted, the Omnipotent, the Possessor of Majesty, I am a sinner and the poison of sin has affected my veins to such an extent that I am devoid of emotion and attention in prayer. Forgive me my sins with Thy blessing and grace, and forgive me my lapses, and soften my heart, and place Your greatness and Your fear, and Your love in my heart, so that my hard-heartedness may be dispelled, and I am granted attention in my prayer.”(Fatwa Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas, p. 37. )
Then the Promised Messiahas states that one should pray in the following words:
“O Allah, you see how blind I am, lacking sight, and at this time I am in a complete state of death. I am aware that soon hereafter, I shall receive my calling and will return to you. At that time, there shall be none who will be able to stop me. My heart is blind and ignorant. Send down such a flame of light upon it, as Your love and attraction are developed in it. Bless me in such a way that I am not raised without sight and do not become amongst the blind.
The Promised Messiah went on to state:
“When one supplicates in such a way with continuity, they shall see that such a time will come when something of heaven will descend upon their insipid prayer, which shall produce emotions.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 616 [new edition])
Ever since the initial stages of his appointment to the exalted status of Khilafat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has repeatedly laid stress on supplication, worship and especially iqamatus-salat. I present two of these instructions as a reminder:
“Worship Allah the Exalted and worship Him as is His right. Do not associate anyone with Him. During the timings of prayer, as is His instruction, keep your full attention towards the prayers. Your engagements or other excuses should not become a hindrance in your offering prayers. Do not leave your prayers because of your work; rather, leave your work for prayers. This is also a form of hidden Shirk [associating partners with God] because if you leave your prayers for your work, this means that your worldly engagements are dearer to you than the worship of your God.” (Friday Sermon, Baitul Futuh Mosque, 21 January 2011)
Then, Huzooraa states:
“Every individual who wishes to become a worshipping servant of Allah the Exalted, wishes to acquire His nearness, wishes to purify himself and his future generations, wishes to save himself from the onslaughts of Satan, there is only one method, and that is, pay attention to worship, and the most important aspect of this is the congregational prayer.” (Al Fazl International, 28 January 2005)
Till now, a brief explanation on the details of iqamatus-salat has been provided. Now let us see the actual examples of iqamatus-salat in the real world. The personality, which the Creator of the universe, Allah, has presented as a perfect model is that of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. The Holy Prophetsa fulfilled the right of iqamatus-salat so beautifully that Allah testified that his prayers, his worship, his living and dying were all for His sake, the Lord of all the worlds, and even the enemies of the Holy Prophetsa publicly announced “Ashiqa Muhammadun Rabbahu”, that Muhammadsa has fallen in love with his Lord. The Holy Prophetsa stated, “O People! I like three things from this world, but I tell you that qurratu aini fis-salat [the delight and pleasure of my eyes is in the observance of prayer].” (Sunan al-Nasai, Kitab Ishrat al-Nisa)
In iqamatus-salat, the perfect example of the Holy Prophetsa is spread throughout his life. The system of congregational prayer began since the inception of Islam, after which, throughout the whole of his life, the Holy Prophetsa did not let any lapse interfere in this obligation, whether in a state of travel or residence, health or illness, or in a state of war or peace. In a state of travel, the Prophetsa would stop the travelling caravan and shorten or combine the prayers. In the case of rain, he would also offer his prayers upon his ride, and would not let any excuse interfere with observing prayer.
On one occasion the Holy Prophetsa was severely wounded after falling off a horse. It was impossible for him to offer his prayers while standing, but the Holy Prophetsa did not like that he should miss the congregational prayer and led the prayer while sitting (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-Salat). At the Battle of Badr, the supplications which the Holy Prophetsa made in a small pavilion, to this day, warm the hearts. The state of his engrossment was such that his mantle would fall off his back again and again, but this worshipper of the One God was above all that and remained engaged in his invocations. In the Battle of Uhud, the Holy Prophetsa was weakened by severe wounds. He was also grieved by the martyrdom of seventy of his Companions, yet the Holy Prophetsa offered his prayers in congregation even on that day, as per his custom. Due to the engagements of war during the Battle of Ahzab, when the Zuhr and Asr prayers could not be offered on time and the sun declined, due to his exceeding love for iqamatus-salat, the expression which spontaneously came to the blessed lips of the Holy Prophetsa was that Allah destroy this enemy, due to whom a delay had occurred in their prayers.
Another aspect of iqamatus-salat is fear and humility. This magnificence was at its peak in the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa. With eyes of perception, just observe the young man who would abandon the attractions, beauty and pleasure of this world, and retire to the cave of Hira in complete solitude to find pleasure of heart in worship. In the darkness of the night, he would enlighten the rays of spirituality with his worship and would strain his soul.
Someone asked Hazrat Aishara, the blessed wife of the Holy Prophetsa, to narrate the state of the Holy Prophet’ssa prayer. She responded, “Where shall I find the words to describe the beauty and length of those prayers?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-Saum). The Holy Prophetsa would stand in prayer for so long that his blessed feet would become swollen. When someone suggested that he should take rest, he responded by saying, “Shall I not be a thankful servant to my Lord?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tahajjud)
The state of his prostrations to Allah were also something to behold. The narrator relates that the state of the Holy Prophetsa in prostration was like a pot fervently boiling upon the stove, or like two millstones in a grinder hitting each other. To think of this causes the body to tremble and the following supplication comes from the heart, “The emotion that existed in the supplications of Muhammadsa, if only a glitter of it were granted to my prostrations as well.”
Hazrat Aishara was the dearest and most beloved wife of the Holy Prophetsa. She narrates:
“One night, when I woke up, I noticed the Holy Prophetsa was not in bed. I thought, perhaps he had gone to the house of another wife. As I looked here and there, I found the Holy Prophetsa had left his comfort and bed, and was on the ground, prostrating at some distance and was engaged in supplications. When I saw this, I was very disappointed at myself and I said to myself, ‘O Aisha, what thoughts are you preoccupied with, whereas look at the state in which the Messenger of Allah is in.’” (Al- Nisai)
In another narration it is mentioned that she found the Prophetsa prostrating in a nearby graveyard in the darkness of the night.
Hazrat Aishara mentions another incident:
“One night the Holy Prophetsa came to my house. That night, the Holy Prophetsa was to spend the night with me. When the Holy Prophetsa entered the quilt in the cold winter night, he said, ‘O Aisha. Do you permit me to spend this night in the worship of Allah?’ I responded, ‘I desire your happiness; I happily grant you permission.’ Therefore, the Holy Prophetsa immediately stood up, performed his wuzu and began to offer prayer, and he spent the whole night in worship and invocations, until his place of prostration became damp with tears.” (Suyuti)
With regard to prayer, the attachment and interest of the Holy Prophetsa was such as even in his final illness, he was suffering from a severe temperature, and was drifting in and out of a state consciousness. In anxiety, he would ask again and again, “Is it time for prayer?” He was told that the companions were waiting for him in the mosque. To decrease the severity of his temperature, he asked that cold water be poured on his body, and as he got up to go to the mosque, he fell into a state of unconsciousness again. Upon regaining consciousness, he once again asked about the prayer. He was told that the companions were waiting in the mosque. He had cold water put on his body again. The temperature fell to some extent, but he became unconscious again. Afterwards, when his physical state improved, he placed both hands on two Companions and went to the mosque in such a state that his feet were being dragged behind him. The Holy Prophetsa led the prayers sitting beside Hazrat Abu Bakrra [later to become the first Khalifa of Islam] and thus set such an example of iqamatus-salat that it shall remain unparalleled till the end of time.
Let us study the state of iqamatus-salat (observance of Salat) in the blessed life of the Promised Messiahas in light of only a few examples.
The most luminous aspect of the life of the Promised Messiahas was his love for Allah. His whole life was absorbed in this very love and observance of worship, and prayer was his spiritual food. His observance of prayer (5 times a day) in congregation was unparalleled. In the days of his youth, he was referred to by some family members as a masitar, i.e. the one whose time is primarily spent in the mosque engaged in worship. Hazrat Pir Siraj-ul-Haq Numanira writes:
“I presented myself before the Promised Messiahas in 1882 and remained in his presence until a few months prior to his demise. I always found the Promised Messiahas compliant to the observance of congregational prayer. (Tadhkiratul Mahdi, p. 70)
It is narrated by Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqrathat two or three years prior to the demise of the Promised Messiahas, whenever the Promised Messiahas could not come out for the salat al-Maghrib and salat al-Isha prayer, he would gather the women and children in the home and offer the prayers in congregation. (Speech at Jalsa Salana, 1930)
In his early days, the Promised Messiahas would keep Hafiz Muinuddin with him for the sole purpose that in this way, he would receive the opportunity to offer prayer in congregation. During the lawsuits that he faced, the Promised Messiahas never missed a prayer. He would seek permission from the court and offer his prayers on time.
The Companionsra of the Promised Messiahas have painted a wonderful image of the prayers of the Promised Messiahas. There is a narration of Hazrat Hafiz Hamid Alira that the Promised Messiahas would offer his prayers with great preoccupation and interest. He would repeat the words “Ihdinas-siratal-mustaqim” (Guide us in the straight path) very often and would repeat the words “Ya Hayyu ya Qayyumu birahmatika astagheeth” (O Living and Self Sustaining Allah, I beseech Thy Mercy). He would repeat these words again and again with great emotion and passion as someone asks for something of his superior, whilst weeping, asking for his desired item again and again. Generally, his prostrations before Allah in prayer were very lengthy and at times it seemed that he would melt and flow away in his emotions.
Another description of the prayer and supplication of the Promised Messiahas is found in a narration of Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira. He narrates that it was the days when the plague was rampant in Punjab and people were falling prey to this disease. This was the plague which had been manifested as a sign of the Promised Messiah’s truthfulness, but due to his love for mankind, he was engaged in prayer for them. The way the Promised Messiahas was praying astounded Maulvi Sahibra and he said:
“There was such grief and emotion in this prayer of the Promised Messiahas that the heart of the listener melted, and the Promised Messiahas was weeping at the Divine threshold in such pain just as a woman in childbirth. Upon listening more attentively, I noticed that the Promised Messiahas was praying for the salvation of mankind from the punishment of the plague. The Promised Messiahas was saying, ‘If these people are destroyed in this chastisement, who shall worship you?’” (Sirat Masih-e-Maud, Vol. 3, p. 395)
In addition to Tahajud, the Promised Messiahas would sit in complete seclusion for the worship of Allah during a part of the day. In his last years, when he had Baitul-Dua built, he would shut the door and sit inside for about two hours and engage himself in the worship of Allah. Many a time, in search of seclusion, he would go out and would sit and worship his Lord in seclusion.
Another aspect of salat is that when the time for prayer arrives, it should be given precedence over all other engagements. I present a beautiful example of this from the life of the Promised Messiahas. Hazrat Syeda Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahibara, the blessed wife of the Promised Messiahas, states that the Promised Messiahas said to her:
“Once, I travelled for a lawsuit. Other cases were being dealt with while I waited under a tree outside. Since it was time for prayer, I began to offer my prayer right there. However, during my prayer, I began to hear my name being summoned by the court, but I continued praying. When I completed my prayer, I noticed an attendant of the court standing next to me. As soon as I completed it, he said, ‘Mirza Sahib! Congratulations, you have won the case.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, p. 14)
Despite being in severe pain and illness, the Promised Messiahas always paid due regard to salat. I present one example of this.
The Promised Messiahas was authoring a book called Nurul-Haqin response to a book written by a Christian. Only four or five pages had been written when the Promised Messiahas was struck with a severe headache. The pain increased so much that the Promised Messiahas could not come to the mosque for three days. On the fourth day, after feeling slightly better, he came for the salat al-Fajr prayer and offered the congregational prayer with great difficulty whilst sitting. The state of his illness was such that the Promised Messiahas was heavily perspiring, and he was so weak that after the prayer, he could not even sit any longer and lay down in the mosque. (Tadhkiratul Mahdi, pp.48-49)
Hazrat Sardar Begumra, wife of Hazrat Sardar Imam Bakhsh Qaisaranira, narrated an inspiring anecdote. She stated:
“One day, Huzooras [the Promised Messiahas] developed renal colic. Among other treatments, he himself or his wife, Hazrat Amma Janra, fomented the painful spot with pieces of clay, heated on fire. He was very restless because of the pain; he would lie down on the bed and then sit up. Just at that moment, the Azan for salat al-Asr prayer was called. Huzooras, the chosen one by God, tied up a heated piece of clay on to the painful spot and offered Salat. Thus, he demonstrated that although disease is inevitable, Salat is obligatory.” (Al Hakam, 21 September 1934)
The great care of the Promised Messiahas regarding the issue of iqamatus-salat reminds us of the perfect example of the Holy Prophetsa at every step. The soul is entranced to see how this true servant followed his Master, the Holy Prophetsa at every step. Furthermore, his state is such that after fulfilling his responsibility of worship to the maximum limits of his capacity, he still felt embarrassment and shame.
There is an incident in the era of the Promised Messiahas when a dancer, who was invited to a non-Muslim’s home for a wedding, sang and danced all night long. When the Promised Messiahas was informed of this, he enquired, “Why don’t you find out how much this poor lady earned for the night?” It was discovered that she earned five rupees. When the Promised Messiahas came to his companions the next morning, he said:
“I was embarrassed all night long that this lady worked so hard for a mere five rupees. We receive thousands and thousands, nay, countless gifts and rewards from our benefactor and protector, Allah the Exalted and we still do not work as hard. Similarly, when I hear the security guard at night, I become embarrassed that he watches guard all night long for a mere four or five rupees a month. He does not even rest during the shorter nights; he does not care about the cold or rain. On the other hand, some of us sleep so negligently in comparison to him. Man should do justice to himself in his own heart.”(Al Fazl, 16 August 1998)
The final action of this blessed individual was prayer. In his last moments the Promised Messiahas became very weak. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, his son, describes these last few moments:
“When the time for morning prayer arrived [the Promised Messiahas] asked in a faint voice, ‘Is it time for prayer?’ A servant responded, ‘Yes Huzooras, it is time.’ Upon hearing this, the Promised Messiahas touched the sides of his bed, to perform tayamum [an alternative for ablution when water is unavailable] and intended for prayer whilst laying on the bed, but fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, Huzooras enquired again, ‘Is it time for prayer?’ It was said that, ‘Yes Huzooras, it is time.’ Then he intended for prayer again and offered his prayer whilst lying there.”(Silsila-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 1, p. 177)
This point is especially worthy of remembrance, that there is a very close relationship between iqamatus-salat and the institution of Khilafat. In Ayat-ul-Istikhlaf, by stating “ya‘budunani la yushrikuna bi shay‘a” (They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. [Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.56]), Allah has promised the believers that through the blessings of Khilafat, they shall observe their worship merely for the pleasure of Allah the Exalted. The community of believers, under the shade of Khilafat shall become a community of worshippers, and every individual of this community shall be an exemplary model of the divine injunction of iqamatus salat. Therefore they shall receive a reward for standing firm upon the wholehearted unity of Allah the Exalted.
Today, God has placed the crown of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya upon this community; we have been granted this great reward. Therefore, O lovers and devotees of Khilafat! Come, let us express our gratitude for this divine blessing and let us express our attachment, loyalty and obedience to Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya by making a resolute intention that we shall apply the divine order of iqamatus salat upon ourselves in such a manner that every aspect of this topic holds true to our personalities. May prayer become our soul food. May prayer become the delight of our eyes and may our hearts find pleasure in prayer. May Allah make it so that we stand firm on this oath with a true heart, firm determination and true loyalty such as every one of our prayers falls true to every level of iqamatus-salat. May we remain alive with lively and life-giving prayers, and may we hand over our lives to our Lord whilst offering such acceptable prayers.
A brief selection of the blessed quotations of the Promised Messiah, Imam Mahdias and his Khulafa
Sayings of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias
Regularity in prayers
“Offer prayers with commitment to regularity. Some people offer only one of the daily prayers. They should remember that there is no exemption from prayers.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 172)
Essence of Salat
“Salat definitely and surely dispels evils. Salat is not just going through certain postures. The essence of Salat is the supplication that has pleasure and bliss in it.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 103)
Fervency in prayer
“Fervency is essential in Salat. Unless the heart is lit with intense fervour, one does not get pleasure and bliss in Salat.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 287)
Aﬃrmation of unity of God
“Being inclined to someone other than Allah is to break away from Him … Salat is indeed the name of practical affirmation of the unity of God.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 107)
Salat – The best educator
“Salat is the best educator and the most excellent means of teaching perfect servitude … Be dutiful to Salat in such a way that, not only your body or tongue, but also all the intentions and passions of your soul entirely become Salat.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 108)
“Salat is man’s talisman. It provides opportunity to supplicate five times a day; one of those supplications may well be heard. Therefore, Salat should be offered in a very decent way, and that is what I like so much.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 396)
Salat and peace
“The greatest criterion of man’s pious life is Salat. He, who keeps crying out to God in Salat, lives in peace.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 402)
Oﬀering Salat on time
“By nature, I like that Salat be offered at its prescribed time and this question of Salat on time is very dear to me. Even when it is raining heavily, I wish to off er Salat on time.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 45)
Make your Salat decent
“Man can never achieve nearness to Allah without practicing iqamusslat (observance of salat). He ordered aqeemussalat (observe prayer) because salat tends to falter and those who comply with iqamusslat they benefit from its spiritual form.… I have admonished my Jama’at to offer salat decently and that too is supplication.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 346)
A believer’s treasure trove
“Salat is a treasure trove of supplications granted to a believer … People do not value Salat these days and have thus distanced themselves from Allah. Salat is a pinnacle [mir‘aj] of the believer and from that does he get satisfaction of heart.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 348)
Salat and life
“Salat, in fact, is a supplication to the Lord of Glory, without which one cannot survive nor get security and happiness.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 615)
Salat dispels weakness
“Salat is the good deed which dispels satanic weakness and that is what we call prayer.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 679)
Salat and love of God
“Perpetuate love for, and the grandeur of, God in your hearts; and there is nothing
more effective for that than Salat.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 681)
Salat and inheritance of heavenly blessings
“Salat is an instrument for security against sins. It is a characteristic feature of Salat that it drives one away from sin and evil deeds. Therefore, seek that sort of Salat and try to mould your Salats accordingly. Salat is the essence of blessings. Favours of Allah are attained through Salat. Therefore, perform it decently that you may inherit Allah’s blessings.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 103)
Salat is a vehicle
“For the one who wants to meet Allah and desires to reach His court, Salat is the vehicle by which he can get there quicker. He who abandons Salat cannot reach there.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 189)
Key to supplication
“Salat is the key to acceptance of supplication. When you offer Salat, supplicate during that and do not be unmindful.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 222)
“There is no incantation better than Salat … It dispels all sorts of sorrows and worries and resolves difficulties … In my view, Salat is the best of all incantations; it should be performed properly and decently.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, pp. 310-311)
Blessings of Salat
“The Salat taught by the Holy Prophetsa is that when performing, one joins the abdal [saints], sins part with him, his prayers get accepted and he attains nearness to God.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 43)
Congregational prayer and unity
“Congregational prayer … is for unity so that all those offering Salat be counted as one unit. The philosophy, underlying the instruction that all should stand together, is that those who are more enlightened may strengthen the lesser ones by infusing their light in them … Those from one ward should offer congregational prayers in the mosque of their locality five times a day. That will lead to mutual exchange of morals and intermixing of spiritual light, thereby removing all weaknesses. It will also create fellowship and mutual love … that being the basis for unity.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 101)
Salat and advancements
“Some people achieve such degree of perfection that Salat becomes a kind of food for them … without which they feel severe anguish and restlessness. However, Salat gives them a special joy and comfort. A righteous believer gets pleasure in Salat. Therefore, Salat should be performed in a decent and orderly manner. Salat is the basis and ladder for all spiritual advancements. That is why it is said that Salat is a believer’s pinnacle [mi‘raj].” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 605)
Salat and truth
“Salat dispels evils; it has a spirit of truth in it and has an effect of beneficence.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 45)
Recipe for overcoming diﬃculties
“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)
Salat, faith and worldly matters
“Salat is such that it puts everything in good shape – the worldly matters as well as faith … By performing Salat, one is saved from all kinds of wrongdoings and immodesty. Therefore, your day and your night, in fact any moment, should not be bereft of prayers.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 403)
Each and every word of Salat is supplication
“Salat, in fact, is supplication. Each and every word that one utters during Salat aims at supplication. One who is not attached to Salat should prepare to face torment. One who does not supplicate brings himself to ruination. A sovereign is announcing repeatedly, ‘I relieve the distressed of their troubles; I resolve their problems; I am very merciful; I help the destitute.’ However, if a person who is in trouble passes by him, does not pay attention to his announcement, nor does he mention his problem to him to seek his help will ruin himself. That is how God is. He is prepared to provide comfort to man all the time only if one pleads for it. For the acceptance of prayer, it is essential that one avoids disobedience and supplicates enthusiastically, because fire is produced only when a flint strikes against another one forcefully.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 54)
“The pleasure of Salat is superior to every worldly pleasure.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 592)
“Salat dispels thousands of faults and is the means of nearness to God.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 292)
“Salat is the basis and ladder for all [spiritual] advancements. That is why it is said that Salat is a believer’s pinnacle [mi‘raj].” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 605)
“Salat is the thing that relieves one of all hardships and dispels all misfortunes.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 402)
“So, offer the five daily prayers in such fear and with such complete attention as though you were actually beholding God Almighty.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 25)
“Whosoever does not observe the five daily prayers is not of my community.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 31)
“For comfort and peace of mind, there is nothing better than Salat.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 402)
“In my view, Salat is the best of all incantations.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 311)
“The real purpose and essence of Salat is supplication.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 234)
Sayings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira
Eﬀect of Salat on practical life
“Offer Salat decently and let the effect of the pledge that you make during Salat be apparent on your practical life. Verbally, you say, ‘Iyyaka na‘budu’, (We are obedient to you), but are you steadfast in obedience? Supplicate and off er Salat; the two are not burdensome for the humble ones.” (Khutabat-e-Nur, pp. 365-366)
Etiquette of Salat
“Some people are lax in Salat in different ways:
1. They do not arrive on time
2. They do not pray in congregation
3. They are not mindful of Sunnah and Hadith
“Listen attentively! Nothing works well in this world for the one who is wasteful of Salat.” (Khutabat-e-Nur, pp. 365-366)
Salat – A remedy for sin
“Salat restrains from sin and is the remedy to abstain from sin only when offered decently. Wake up from your slumber, seeking salvation, and hasten when you hear the Azan.” (Khutabat-e-Nur, p. 166)
Salat – A magnificent thing
“After verbal affirmation, Salat is the most magnificent thing; if one wastes that, he has wasted his faith. Truly speaking, therein lies the difference between disbelief [kufr] and Islam.” (Khutabat-e-Nur, p. 281)
Sayings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra
Regularity in Salat
“Salat is the fountainhead of spirituality and a means of achieving nearness to God. Abstention from Salat is a poison that condemns man to an everlasting hell, thereby subjecting him to death after death. One should save oneself from that and be regular with Salat.” (Mashal-e-Rah, Vol. 1, p. 403)
Commitment to Salat
“It is our duty to make every member of our Jamaat committed to Salat and try so hard that not even a single member remains deprived of Salat.” (Mashal-e-Rah, Vol. 1, p. 220)
Iqamat (observance) of Salat
“Iqamat means offering salat in congregation, that is to say, merely offering Salat is not enough, rather it is essential to pray in congregation … Islam ordains observing Salat, not merely performing it [individually].” (Mashal-e-Rah, Vol. 1, p. 278)
Sayings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh
“If one offering long Salat does not abstain from indecency and manifest evil, his Salat would not be true Salat because true Salat restrains one from indecency and manifest evil.” (Khutabat-e-Nasir, Vol. 1, p. 314)
Salat and real virtue
“Performing Salat, according to the conditions laid down by Allah, is real virtue.” (Khutabat-e-Nasir, Vol. 1, p. 273)
Sayings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh
Salat and security of life
“Make it your habit to offer five daily prayers. That is essential for the security of a believer’s life … Try to offer such Salat that pleases Allah, and thereby endears you to Him.” (Khutabat-e-Tahir, Vol. 1, p. 115)
Salat and households
“I admonish all households that they try, with utmost courage and effort, to create members who offer Salat regularly … The grace of those households wherein prayers are offered regularly will reach the corners of the world. Visitors from far away who stay with them will see a good model to follow … Decorate your houses in this way that they are filled with the worship and remembrance of Allah.” (Khutabat-e-Tahir, Vol. 1, pp. 285-287)
Salat and delivering rights
“If Salat is observed, the rights of Allah as well as the rights of people will be delivered; otherwise nothing will remain.” (Khutabat-e-Tahir, Vol. 2, p. 191)
Salat and fortitude
“Those who perform real Salat have unparalleled qualities of fortitude. When they suffer, the suffering does not prevail on them. They do not lament or bewail.” (Khutabat-e-Tahir, Vol. 2, pp. 377-388)
Sayings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa
“Only guarding and supervising prayers will guarantee to keep us and our future generations free of sins and wrongdoings … If you want to save your children from falling into [these] filthy and obscene practices, then the best way is try to make them regular with prayers.” (Khutabat-e-Masroor, Vol. 3, pp. 372-373)
Salat and introspection
“Each one of us should try to assess continuously that we are not falling short in any way concerning the Salat.” (Mashal-e-Rah, Vol. 5, Part III, p. 134)
Salat and reward
“Forcing oneself to get up from the bed and go to the mosque for congregational prayer, attending prayers at the cost of one’s business is what makes one deserving of reward.” (Khutabat-e-Masroor, Vol. 3, p.23)
Salat and work
“When it is time for Salat, focus your attention fully on prayer as commanded by Allah. Your engagements or other excuses should not stop you from offering prayers. Do not neglect salat for the sake of your work rather stop your work for the sake of salat. Otherwise that is also a kind of hidden shirk.” (Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 3, p. 272)
The middle Salat (Salat-ul-Wusta)
“Be watchful over your prayers and ‘the middle one’ as well … Salat, the hour of which approaches when you are preoccupied with worldly engagements, requires special attention. Salat restrains one from indecency … By achieving excellence in Salat, one attains nearness to God and His love, without which he is like a tree that had its root cut off.” (Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol.6, pp. 281-294)
The excellence of worship during youth
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa states that the Promised Messiahas says:
“‘If he spent this period [of his youth] in the worship of Allah, the reformation of the self and obedience to God, he will be so rewarded in his old age, that when he will be unable to perform any worship and indisposition and lethargy will overtake him, the angels will continue to record in his name the same Salat, fasting, Tahajud, etc. which he used to perform in his youth. This is the grace of Allah that considering his disability, despite his failure to do anything, such deeds are recorded in his account’ [Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 199]. Thus, every Ahmadi, in a state of health, should try to be regular with their prayers; not only be regular, but they should also pay attention to congregational prayers.” (Khutabat-e-Masroor, Vol. 3, p. 24)
Pray in congregation
“Every Ahmadi, who has accepted the Promised Messiahas, and thereby counts himself to be one of the believers, should pay special attention to these matters. Firstly, strive to offer prayers regularly. As far as possible, try to offer the prayer in congregation. Then, adorn these [obligatory] prayers with voluntary prayers. In the context of Salat, I would like to make another point. Always remember that worship has a great connection with the institution of Khilafat. And what is worship? It is Salat. The verse that follows the divine promise of comfort and Khilafat for the believers, enjoins ‘Aqeemus-Salat’ [observe Salat] as well. Therefore, the first condition to acquire an established position and benefit from the institution of Khilafat is observance of Salat, because it is worship and Salat that will absorb Allah’s grace.” (Khutabat-e-Masroor, Vol. 5, pp. 148-151)
Interest and zeal for Salat
“These high standards of morality and taqwa [righteousness] cannot be achieved without divine help and guidance. Therefore, we should always seek Allah’s help with prayers. For that, fill up the Salat centres and mosques [with worshippers] in your area. With congregational prayers, not only will you achieve spiritual advancement but will also set an example for others to follow. Convey his guideline to all the office-bearers who are not present so that they also act upon it.
“As for planning to gather the people nearby for prayers, keep this in mind that the plan should be easily practicable. Some office-bearers become so enthusiastic about carrying out their responsibilities that they ignore the ground realities … They should try to maintain interest and zeal for prayers amongst the people and should not be overbearing. The people should be made to realise the need for the virtuous changes to take place in them as Ahmadis that would distinguish them from others. To bring about such positive changes, always pray that they are granted steadfastness.” (Al Fazl International, 6 July 2007, p. 2)
Parents’ own example
“Another important matter, rather the most important matter, is to inculcate the habit of five daily prayers in the children because faith without worship is no faith. The parents’ own example is most important in this regard. If they are regular with Salat, their children will be regular as well. Otherwise, their hollow words of advice will have no effect on the children.” (Khutabat-e-Masroor, Vol. 1, p. 144)
Joy and comfort in prayers
“If we submit our tearful lamentations to our Lord, He will surely listen to our supplications as promised by Him. First of all, bowing down to Allah the Almighty, we will have to direct our Salat and supplications exclusively to Him; that is the basic thing. If you get joy and comfort in Salat, then you have achieved everything. During the Salat, particularly supplicate in the words that we have been taught by the Holy Prophetsa. According to the Hadith, he used to pray:
‘O Allah, grant my soul its taqwa, and cleanse it thoroughly, and Thou are the best of all who can cleanse it.’ (The heart can only get cleansed by the grace of Allah.) [Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Dhikr].
May Allah grant us the ability to cleanse our hearts!” (Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 2, p. 220)