Dear brothers and sisters, we all know that Salat or Prayer is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. It is something that every eligible Muslim should perform 5 times every day.
But why? Have we ever asked ourselves why do we perform prayer? After all, we all live busy lives striving to achieve for ourselves, our families and so on.
What is it about this action that makes it such an important part of our lives and such a key activity on the day of Judgement?
We all know that the prayer is the first action that will be asked about on the day of Judgement. We all know therefore the importance that Allah SWT has placed upon prayer.
So to understand prayer is to understand who we are as creations of Allah SWT. The same creations of Allah SWT that are here, living and breathing and enjoying all the blessings of this life He has given us due to his mercy and his love for us.
Regardless of whether one is Muslim or not, in this world, we openly believe in the moral values of thanking someone when they do us a favour or help us in some way.
So knowing all that Allah SWT has done for us, are we grateful for it? And if we are truly thankful then is there some way in which we can demonstrate this that he has specified for us? That is prayer.
But prayer is more than just a demonstration of gratitude. Just like a doctor who completes his degree but occasionally carries out refresher courses, prayer for a Muslim is also an opportunity to refresh oneself.
Prayer gives you the opportunity to revise the faith, to feel reinvigorated after a barrage of temptations from Shaytaan, to reconnect to Allah SWT.
However, in order to do this one needs to engage with the Salat. And this leads us onto one of the biggest tragedies of our Ummah today.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a time and place where there exists a miracle that is outside of this world.
The Quran is the direct word of Allah SWT and within it lies treasures that can assist us in our everyday lives.
And remembrance of Allah SWT comes from connecting with the Quran. As Muslims, we were given this opportunity at least five times every single day through the Salat. But for those of us especially born here or from a non-arab home, the salat has become nothing more than a CV exercise.
Dear brothers and sisters, when the salat is empty it impacts us as individuals and as an Ummah. When we can’t take lessons from the recitation of the Quran in our daily salat, then there is a problem that is so severe that we ought to be talking about it every single day until it is resolved.
So what follows are 3 practical steps to implement this pillar into our everyday lives.
- Perfect your manners in Salat. For example, perform ablution or wudu correctly. Allah SWT has mentioned this in Sura Ma’ida ayat 6 which translates to:
O you who believe! when you rise up to prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles; and if you are under an obligation to perform a total ablution, then wash (yourselves) and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy, or you have touched the women, and you cannot find water, betake yourselves to pure earth and wipe your faces and your hands therewith, Allah does not desire to put on you any difficulty, but He wishes to purify you and that He may complete His favor on you, so that you may be grateful.
- Dedicate a time and place for Salat.
Take a few breaths if you need to. Go to the masjid or find a place of contemplation and solace without distraction and visualize what you are about to do. This is the time where you are standing in front of Allah SWT so give it that respect.
- Learn the meaning of the Salat.
This point is the vital key and is especially important to all the UK-born brothers and sisters here today. Most of us have been guilty at some time or other in reciting the prayer as if we are a newsreader on fast-forward. And this is down to the fact that we do not know the words that we are reciting. Let’s make it a project today to learn the meaning of the words of the salat because when we do, prayer will become something we yearn for 5 times a day as we will be communicating with Allah SWT with feeling and from the heart.
And our masjid website has a guide that explain each part of the Salat and what exactly it is that you are reciting. Download it and print it off so that you can memorize this or at the very least make it part of your daily reading until it is. Use commutes, lunch breaks etc because really, dear brothers and sisters, nothing is more important.
My dear brothers and sisters, this may appear to be a daunting task but Allah SWT has mentioned of great rewards for those who acquire knowledge for His sake.
And for those who want to feel tranquillity and peace unmatched by anything that this world can provide, this is the key to achieving that. Salat may be a requirement for us Muslims but you will find once you sincerely engage in it, that it is also Allah SWT’s biggest gift to us.
May Allah SWT give us the ability to engage through Salat. May Allah SWT develop the yearning to perform Salat. And may Allah SWT reward us for learning and performing Salat.
Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.