Salah (The Obligatory Daily Prayers)
In this video, we will be concentrating on the concepts of ubudiyyah or the concept of worship in Islam and the concept of salah or namaz in different traditions or prayer as we translate it into English.
Prayer or ibadah is a very important part of Islam. It has been prescribed onto believers in Quran to do prayer in different areas. Allah (jj) says in the Qur’an why believers should perform their prayers or do ibadah…
When Allah (jj) talks about the purpose of creation in the Qur’an, He tells us (Arabic), “I have not created the jinn and humankind but to know and worship Me.” (51:56)
Worship is one of the purposes of creation according to Islam. Of course when we talk about worship, there are different types of worship (physical worship, spiritual worship, financial worship, etc). Today we will mostly be talking about salah, which can be translated as prayer into English, a physical and spiritual form of worship.
There are a lot of questions that may come into our mind. Why God does need our worship? And the answer is God does not need our worship or our prayer, but we need worship in order to survive or fulfill our needs spiritually and physically.
First and most of all, prayer, any kind of prayer or any kind of worship is thankfulness towards God, towards Allah (swt). It is a reminder. Every prayer and worship is a reminder for ourselves that we are not alone in this world and we are held responsible by someone, the Most High, to Allah (jj). It is a reminder to ourselves that we are the weak one. God is the Ultimate Provider for everything. Therefore we have to have a relationship with Allah (swt).
This is one form of worship as I indicated earlier, salah or namaz or prayer in different languages. When we talk about namaz, I think it might be useful to remind ourselves when it was given onto Muslims as a mandatory prayer. This means that a believer, a Muslim must perform prayer five times a day. It has been prescribed onto Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on the Night of Ascension or Lailatu’l-Mi’raj. It was given as a gift. The Hadith tradition teaches us it was first prescribed as fifty times of fifty waqt per day. But, it was reduced to five times a day.
Another question that may arise is, why five times a day? Psychologically, if it was seven times a day, or two times a day, we would ask the same question. When we talk about five times, it is morning time, right before the sunrise (Fajr), noon time (Dhuhr), afternoon time (Asr), right after the sunset (Maghrib), and night time where everywhere is really dark (Isha).
Insha’Allah, we will be talk about each prayer and we will be show you how each prayer is performed. But more importantly, I would like to indicate and underline here what it is we are actually doing when we perform salah or prayer, five times a day.
Please keep in mind; prayer (salah) is one of the five pillars of Islam.. Of course it comes after the foundations of faith, the articles of faith. That means that in order to perform prayer (salah) you have to have faith. It is very important to believe, because salah is a great connection between our belief and showing our thankfulness to the One in which we believe.
Remember Allah (jj) created us out of nothing. He provided everything and all the sustenance we need in this world. Basically in the word of Quran, if we are to count the blessings that Allah (jj) bestowed upon us, we would not be able to count them all, for they are too many. For example, we owe our life to Allah (jj) two times in just one breath. If we are able to take inhale, but not exhale, we are gone. Similarly, if we are able to exhale, but not able to inhale, we are gone; so, we owe our life two times to Allah (swt) two times in just one or two seconds.
We owe Him a lot. Our ability to sit is a blessing. Our ability to see, our vision is a blessing. Being able to be here is a blessing. Being able to know Allah (swt) is a blessing. There are countless blessings. As someone who believes, the next question may be, what does He want from me? Allah (jj) answers this question in the Qur’an when He says: I have not created the jinn and humankind but to know and worship Me.” (51:56).
This is an obligation for us, one that we obey. When someone prays, first and most of all it is an obligation for us, it something that we must do. But, I want to give you another picture. Imagine that one day, you receive a letter from the White House, or whiehever country you are from, you receive a letter from your President, or someone you adore. Imagine he or she is telling you, “please join me in my palace at such and such a time.” What would your response be? How would you prepare yourself? What kinds of things would you wear?
So now, imagine we are receiving an invitation not from the President, not from someone that you love the most, from the Sultan of the Universe, from Allah (swt) five times a day. This requires some preparation and I think one of the wisdoms behind wudu or ablution is that we clean ourselves before we go to the prayer.. The place that we are about to go is not an ordinary place.