The Importance of Prayer
Despite prayer being so important, it is a sad fact that many Muslims do not pray or fulfil the conditions of the prayer. Its purpose is to put ourselves in touch with God; to strengthen our relationship with Him; to be grateful for all His blessings; and to remind ourselves of His Greatness. Just as the body requires physical needs such as food and water, the soul has spiritual needs. The needs of the soul are provided by acts of worship, the most important of which is prayer. It could be that the body of a person is healthy but the person is spiritually dead.
“O you who believe! Respond to (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.”Qur’an 8:24
Direct communication with Allah
“The closest a person is to His Lord is when he is in prostration.”
Through prayer, you are able to connect with your Lord. The Arabic word for prayer (As-Salah) is actually derived from the Arabic word meaning “connection.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “When any one of you stands to pray, he is communicating with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.” Don’t cut this relationship between you and your Creator.
A pillar of Islam
Prayer is the second most important pillar of Islam, and is the most regular compulsory action in a Muslim’s life. We fast just one month a year; we must give Zakah once a year; and Hajj is only once a life time. However, prayer is the one act that must be fulfilled at least five times a day, regardless of the circumstance . In fact, Allah did not even exempt the Muslims from praying during the battle! He says:
“Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers… If you fear (an enemy), pray on foot, or riding.”Qur’an 2:238-9
If this is the case in the time of war, then what about in peace?
Success lies in the Prayer
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The first of his deeds for which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful. But if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser.”
Shields against evil
Man was created weak and without seeking help from Allah, it will be impossible to refrain from evil.
“Verily, prayer restrains (oneself) from shameful and unjust deeds…”Qur’an 29:45
There is no doubt that the one who stands in front of Allah willingly will be different from the one who doesn’t. How can you continue to commit the same sins if you’re standing before Allah 5 times a day?
Enriches the soul
Man is forgetful, especially with the our busy lifestyles. Prayer satisfies our spiritual need to be in contact with our Creator. This gives the soul peace and contentment.
“Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.”Qur’an 13:28
Makes us humble
By realising Allah’s greatness and dependence on our Lord, man is humbled and rids us from pride and arrogance. In the prayer, the Muslim puts the highest part of his body and source of intellect, his head, on to the ground and says, “How perfect is my Lord, The Most High.”
Humbleness is one of the qualities which Allah has associated with success.
“Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers.”Qur’an 23:1-2
Of course this can only be achieved when one understands what one is reciting and concentrates with humility.
Washes away sins
Everyone commits sins, however, Allah has provided, in prayer, a way to wipe out those sins.
“And perform prayer… surely the good deeds remove the evils deeds.”Qur’an 11:114
The Messenger gave a beautiful example when he said to his companions: “Consider if one of you had a river by his door in which he bathed five times a day. Would any filth remain on him?” They said, “No.” Then the Prophet replied: “Likewise, Allah wipes away sins with the five daily prayers.”
Cures our Problems
Man is surrounded by numerous trials and problems. Once we focus on strengthening our relationship with our Lord, He, who is All-Powerful, will fix our worldly problems. Like our scholars say, whoever strengthens their relationship between themselves and Allah, Allah will strengthen their relationship between themselves and the creation.
“Seek help in patience and prayer.”Qur’an 2:153
Unites the Muslims
When the prayer is performed in congregation, it cultivates brotherhood, equality and humility between Muslims. The worshippers stand in rows, shoulder to shoulder, without any distinction of race, nationality, colour, wealth, family or status, and all pray together as one body. This act of unity helps demolish all barriers which stand between men.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Prayer in congregation is better than praying alone by twenty-seven degrees.”
“O Mankind, What has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?”Qur’an 82:06
You are disobeying your Creator
This is the most serious and obvious consequence. The whole purpose of your existence is to worship Allah, yet you are disobeying your Creator every day.
“Then, there has succeeded them a generation who have given up prayer and have followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell. Except those who repent and believe, and work righteousness.”Qur’an 19:59-60
“(The people in Hell will be asked:) What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: We were not of those who used to pray…”Qur’an 74:42-43
You are being ungrateful
Refusing the invitation of your Creator to establish this close relationship with Him is the ultimate ingratitude. Allah created you and gave you everything,
“It is He who has created you and endowed you with hearing and seeing and hearts, little are you grateful.”Qur’an 67:23
The Prophet’s feet would sometimes get swollen because he would stand in prayer for lengthy periods, and when asked about this, he would reply: “Should I not be a grateful servant of my Lord?”
You are being lazy
What excuse will you give to your Creator, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, on the Day of Judgement? The One who blessed you with 24 hours, yet only asked that you spend about 30 minutes a day for prayer.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “On the Day of Resurrection the feet of the son of Adam will not move away till he is questioned about five matters: on what he spent his life; in doing what he made his youth pass away; where he acquired his property, and on what he spent it; and what he did regarding what he knew.”
You will be miserable
The human that has no connection with Allah helplessly seeks an alternative and leaves no stone unturned looking for calmness and bliss. It, however, searches in vain, wandering aimlessly.
“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed for him is a life of hardship. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection, blind. He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was (once) seeing?” (Allah) will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot (disregarded) them; and thus will you, this Day, be forgotten.”Qur’an 20:124-6
You are only harming yourself
Allah doesn’t need your prayer. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone-Glory be to Him. It is you that stands in need of His mercy.
“Give thanks to Allah, and whoever gives thanks, it is only for his own soul’s good, and whoever is ungrateful, surely Allah is Free of all needs, Worthy of all praise.”Qur’an 31:12
You are flirting with disbelief
Many Scholars of Islam hold the opinion that the one who does not pray is a disbeliever. They quote the following hadeeth:
“The covenant which distinguishes between us and them (i.e., between believers and disbelievers) is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.”
Additionally, the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not consider the abandonment of any act as disbelief, except for prayer.
No time / Work / Study / Busy: Pure and simple deception. You haven’t given prayers priority. Allah will bless your time and make you more effective, efficient and successful.
My heart is clean: Allah judges who has clean hearts, and He wants us to pray! Actions will reflect what is in your heart. No one has a cleaner heart than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who used to pray regularly.
My alarm: It’s hard for your alarm to go off, if you don’t SET it !!! Purify your intention and sleep according to the Sunnah.
My family / spouse / parents / friends prevent me: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.” You will be judged alone.
Praying after its time / joining prayers:
“Surely, the prayers are made obligatory for the believers at their prescribed times.”Qur’an 4:103
I’m sinning too much: In time, your prayers will prevent you from committing these sins – just pray! You are sinning because you are not praying.
Contemplate over this hadeeth: “If they knew the merits of the ‘Isha and Fajr prayers, they would come to them (in the mosque) even if they had to crawl.”
What excuse do we honestly have when we face our Lord on that difficult Day?