Table of Contents
Introduction—Philosophy Of Prayer:
And keep up the prayer; it restrains from the indecency and evil.”
This word as used in the Holy Quran is formed from the word ‘Salat’ and ‘Tasliat’ and in the Arabic dictionary it means “To pray.” But in Islamic terminology it conveys the way of expressing worship by man to his real Creator and object of worship in the special manner taught by God to the people by His Apostles.
Prayer is the first and foremost duty of every Muslim and Quran Majeed repeatedly urges that every Muslim should perform this duty. This is obligatory for five times a day. Salat is the practical proof of our faith in Allah and Islam. It is the embodiment of submission, pure obedience in the name of Allah, the Creator and the Sustainer of mankind.
Types of Prayer:
Obligatory prayers (Farz) – Fajr, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha and consist of two parts – the congregational which is called ‘Farz’ and the individual which is called ‘Sunnah’ or Prophets practice.
- Optional Prayers (Nafal)
- Juma and Eid Prayers
- Ramzan prayers (Tarawih)
- Prayers for thankfulness
- Prayers for the dead etc.
Importance of Prayer In the Light Of Quran And Hadith.
Prayer is vital in Islam. Quran has repeatedly emphasized this point.
“And keep up the prayer, give the stated alms and bow with those who bow.”
“Keep up the prayer; give the stated alms: hold strongly to the cord of faith in Allah.”
“He all of you attentive toward Allah (Him) and reverence Him; And keep up the prayer.”
The prayer is significant to the extent that the Holy prophet (PBUH) said,
“Prayer is the pillar of the islamic religion and whoever abandons it ,demolishes the very pillars of religion.”
The stress for the significance of prayer in Islam has been made again and again throught the whole book of Holy Quran,
“Say to My worshippers who believe that they should keep up the prayer…”
Prayer is a spiritual journey in which man traverses the distance between him and Allah, It is a practical institution of worship which aims at discovering consciously the relation between the devotee and the Creator. It is intended to awake in man the spiritual awareness and lively, vivid conscience to be in close contact with the great Divine love.
Unless a man performs his prayer regularly, he cannot be a true Muslim. According to Dr. Hakim Islam considers prayer to be the dividing line between belief and unbelief. A man approached the Prophet (PBUH) and requested, ” O Messenger of Allah, advise me’. The Prophet (PBUH.) replied,
‘Never purposefully quit prayer. Whoever abandons it intentionally has in fact quit Islam”.
Islamic prayer is purified of all low and irrational elements and prescribed as a great help in building up of character by remembering God. Prayer is remembrance of God by man. It is a communion between God and man—an interaction between the Divinity within and the Divinity overhead. Prayer is a means of spiritual illumination and its aim is to know God and seek His help in man’s attempt.
The Holy Prophet says:
“He whom this prayer does not save from what is obscene and evil; will recede away from God.”
Holy Prophet (PBUH) regarded prayer as the noblest of all devotions. It has been rightly said ‘prayer is an index to ethical culture.’ The Holy Quran says:
“Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers.”
Benefits Of Salat:
i) Intention (Niyat) raises mind from outwardly affairs to spiritual sphere
ii) Genuflection (Bodily movements during prayer) fosters obedience, humility and destroys egotism, self-conceit and audacity.
iii) Recitation helps the spiritual illumination and Divine Communion.
iv) Congregational prayer time is fixed and by attending such prayer, one develops the habit of punctuality.
v) Prayers keep this observation fresh in the minds of individuals that a man is not sovereign but sub-ordinate to the creator of the universe.
vi) Prayer develops a sense of responsibility in man.
viii) It creates a complete system of though by which a virtuous character is developed.
ix) Prayers develop a practical sense enabling a person to take decision on a course of action with firm belief.
x) Prayers bring a man nearer to God. There is no better means of achieving bliss about which it has been said,
“Prayers are the zenith of believers.”
xi) Prayers are the means of purifying heart and developing the soul.
The Prophet (PBUH) described prayer’s paramount significance, and its role in chastening the soul, and straightening human behaviour by saying
“The daily prayer is like the moving river; whenever one says the prayer, his/her sins will be forgiven”
Prayer as force for Unification of Muslim Community. It unites men of different languages, ethnic groups, colours, and nationalities. When they hear the call of the Muezzin, they all gather together as brothers for prayer. It is, in fact, the most vital and effective way of uniting believers into one solid block.
When Muslims meet together in mosque for prayer, they feel and share one another’s’ problems and sufferings.
Prayers in the congregation are the training in brotherhood, equality and fraternity.
Prayer establishes discipline and Leadership. Many historians have remarked that Islam has embodied military discipline in its congregational prayers.
When all the Muslims turn their faces towards the Qiblah, this fosters the unity of purpose and discipline.
Congregational prayers tend to extinguish all feeling of rank and race-superiority in the worshippers.
True believers also become tolerant through the daily routine of prayer. They have to prepare for prayer, perform ablution and then join other believers in the mosque for prayer. It needs a lot of endurance to stick to this rigorous discipline everyday all the year round.