The second Pillar of Islam is the mandatory round of ritual prayers that must be performed five times daily. The Islamic method of prayer is a ritualized form of worship, which involves the recitation of Verses from the Holy Quran and supplications to God, all while standing, bowing, and prostrating. This mandatory act of worship is called Salah in Arabic and differs from merely praying or supplicating to God in an impulsive act, i.e., just speaking one’s mind. Instead, the Salah prayers demand a formalized structure in which one prays a certain way at specific times, as demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, drawing direct inspiration from Angel Gabriel, who learned from God Himself.
The Arabic word Salah, generally translated to mean prayer in English, is linguistically derived from the Arabic word meaning “connection.” This mode of prayer connects the servant with his Creator. Salah is your way of establishing direct contact with God the Almighty. Salah represents the affirmation of servanthood and submission to your Creator’s Will. In Salah, you acknowledge your weakness and neediness by seeking and begging for God’s guidance, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Salah, the Islamic ritualized prayer, is one form of worship amongst many in this beautiful faith. However, Salah holds a special status in Islam because the act of prayer builds a relationship between you as a servant and your Creator. Salah is considered the center pole of the Religion of Islam; whoever demolishes or denies this practice in their life also demolishes their religion. According to Islamic Scholars, this is the only form of worship that — if neglected — would exclude the disobedient from the folds of Islam.
When prayer time arrives, you are expected to discontinue your current activity and pray to connect with God, the Most Merciful, thereby refreshing your faith for your benefit. Prayer helps remind you as to why you are here and for what purpose. Prayers help direct your thoughts and actions away from sin, from that which is not beneficial. Prayers redirect your thoughts to the remembrance of God.
God commands you to establish and perfect your prayer by praying properly with concentration and the utmost humility. You must work and practice to improve your prayer technique, which takes a lifetime commitment. You must engage in a lifelong effort to master this art of communication with your Creator. The ones who fall into a habitual routine of reciting their words without concentration and humility will miss the objective of prayer, thus not benefitting from their prayer as deeply as those who pray earnestly and with full concentration and mindfulness.
Neglecting mandatory prayer is a grave sin in the Islamic faith. Allah, the glorious, shares a dialogue in the Holy Quran in which the residents of Paradise ask the people condemned to hellfire the reason for their condemnation, and the condemned respond:
“They will say, ‘We were not of those who prayed, nor did we used to feed the poor, and we used to indulge in vain talk with the vain talkers, and we used to deny the Day of Recompense, Until there came to us the certainty’” (Quran 74:43–47)
The state of your Prayer record will be the first thing asked of each of us on the Great Day of Judgement. If your prayers are in order, then everything else will fall into place. If your Prayers are not in order, then you will be doomed. The Messenger of Allah stated: The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salat. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser…. (At-Tirmidhi).
Prayer should be directed only to God the Almighty, as he is the Only One in complete control of everything — including man’s destiny. He is All-Powerful, All-Wise, All-Knowing, and All-Hearing, can fill anyone’s needs, and remove all of man’s pain and miseries.
The Islamic prayer ritual expresses submission to God, showing humility, as well as the ultimate devotion toward and love of God. Praying to the Creator daily is the best way to build a personal connection with Him while seeking His guidance, Blessings, and Forgiveness. You must pray to God to gain spiritual strength and peace of mind and to strengthen your faith’s foundation. You must take a break from your daily activities five times a day to connect to God — to stay mindful of Him in this world of stress, struggle, and distractions. The ritual of prayer reminds Muslims that Allah controls all things, a realization that allows you to put your worldly concerns into perspective.
The Islamic prayer method and mode act as a spiritual diet. Just as the body requires food and water throughout the day, your spirit needs to partake in the remembrance and worship of God to stay spiritually healthy. Is not the soul more valuable than the body?
When someone does you a favor or helps you, it’s human nature to want to thank that individual for their aid. Since God has blessed you with countless favors, including your wealth, health, family, and gifts of all kinds, you must pray numerous times to thank Him throughout your day and night. The best way to demonstrate gratitude is through the five daily prayers.
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