Friday, February 6, 2009

Salat---The Importance and Benefit of Prayer


بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

Salat is the Islamic word for prayer. It is the second pillar of Islam, and of the most importance next to Tauhid. It is the first thing a new Muslim learn and do after making their shahada, as it is the acknowledgment and practice of worshipping none but Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. From the Qu'ran:

I am Allah. There is no god but Me, so worship Me and establish salat to remember Me. (Surah Ta Ha:14)

Scholars and Muslims know it is the first thing new Muslims must learn because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala Himself instructed the Prophet Mohammed salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam to help people first accept Islam (the belief in, and worship of One God), and then to inform them that they must pray five times a day.

"You [Mohammed] are going to a people from the People of the Book. Let the first thing that you call them to be the worship of Allah. If they acknowledge Allah, then inform them that Allah has obligated upon them five prayers during their days and nights." [Al-Bukhari, Muslim]

The Qu'ran says that if one does not pray, one risks not being recognized as a Muslim by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala:

"... Say: 'What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?'" (Surat al-Furqan: 77)

You have just learnt that the worst of all haraam (forbidden) acts in Islam is shirk (associating partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala) and kufr (disbelief). The Prophet Mohammed salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam likened purposely disregarding the five wajib/fard (obligatory) prayers with shirk:

"Between a man a Shirk is abandonment of salat." (Sahih Muslim [Eng. Trans. vol.1 #147])

As a brand new baby muslimah your intention to learn how to pray and to perfect your prayer inshaAllah will be accepted by Allah. The benefit of salat is to protect one's self from evil, as Allah subhanahu wa ta'alawa informs us in the Qu'ran:

...establish salat. Salat precludes indecency and wrongdoing. And remembrance of Allah is greater still. Allah knows what you do. (Surat al-'Ankabut:45)

and his Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam explains in this hadith:

"'If there was a river at the door of any one of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him? They said. 'not a trace of dirt would be left'. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said, 'This is the example of the five prayers which Allah blots out [annuls] evil deeds.'"

So enough said. Time to learn how to pray!!!!!!

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