Prayer, or salah, or namaz is meeting with Allah (swt). The scholars of Islam says “ If Muslims pray, or do salah or namaz, and then say that I had a conversation with Allah (swt), I have met Allah (swt), he is not lying”. Because this is what Allah (cc)..This is a direct connection with Allah (swt).
Let me give another example. If you have..If your President or someone you adore or someone in very high level gives you your cell-phone..his cell-phone to you or her cell-phone to you, you have direct connection to Barack Obama, the President or Pope. You have direct connection..I mean how wonderful would that be. Now imagine a direct connection with Allah (swt). There is no intermediator. There is no someone that you have to get an appointment with. You directly tell your problem to Allah (swt). He is the direct listener and receiver of the things that you are about to give.
So when we talk about salah, I think that should be our perspective. It is very important. During the prayer, we are actually showing our social life, our psychological life. Allah (cc) makes us show how we should be present before Allah (swt). Let’s just go through a day of a Muslim. In our daily busy schedule, all of a sudden, because we tend to forget Allah, that’s one of the reasons why it is five times a day. We come from the same root, nisyan and insan come from the same root. We tend to forget things a lot. So therefore we need a reminder. That’s why one of the names of the Quran is a Reminder, and one of the names of Prophets (pbut) are Reminders to the people because we tend to forget things a lot. And this is another blessing us, forgetting things is another blessing. Imagine you lost your mom, or dad or someone that you love and you have the same suffering everyday. Every second that you experience the very moment that you lost your mother or your loved one. That would have been unbearable. So therefore that is a blessing. However this blessing counts, causes us to forget the very divine and very important things too like to be able to remember Allah (swt) and to be able to remember His blessings and to be able to give thanks to Him. So therefore we need a reminder.
When a Muslim in his daily schedule hears and adhan, adhan means call to prayer, that is the first reminder of Allah (swt). It says Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, meaning that God is the only Great, or the Greatest. And whatever you are busy with, whoever you are with comes to a second place. And that is direct invitation to the Palace of Allah (swt), to the presence of Allah (swt). That’s why it is important to leave everything behind when the athan has been called because you have been called by the Supreme One.
Just imagine I mean you are sitting somewhere and your boss is calling and you are not going there. Even in our business relationship, that would be very rude. And it is not your boss, it is not the President. It is Allah (swt) is calling you through athan. And saying Labbayk and accepting this and start into preparation. And taking wudu and ablution is that process. Showing the place that we are about to go is not an ordinary place. When we come to the ablution part, I will go into the details. But ablution or abdest or wudu is a spiritual and physical cleanliness before we go to the Presence of the Divine. It is very important.
That’s why Muslims cannot even touch the Quran..touch the Divine Book or even Incil. So it doesn’t matter which divine book, cannot even allow to touch because the book that they are about to touch or they are about to read is not an ordinary book. It is a letter from the Most Beloved, from Allah (swt) Therefore the presence that we are about to go is the presence of the Most Divine, Allah (swt). So it requires a special preparation. When Muslims want to pray or do namaz, after ablution, people put good scent around them so they want to smell nice within the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
They should have special wearing, clothing if possible only for that, like you have special wedding dress, like you have a special diner dress, like you have special dress for special occasion. You have to have..You should have, not have to have..You should have a special dress specifically for your prayer. Because the place that you are about to go is not an ordinary place. So we have heard athan, we did our ablution. Now we are going to the divine presence into a mosque like this.
And then the voluntary prayer is like an acceptance saloon somebody is taking you right before going into the Divine Presence. And then Iqamah. Iqamah is like the Divine Presence, the doors of the Divine Presence has been opened and you are invited.
And by saying Allahu Akbar, that means you are putting everything, accepting God’s guidance, and you’re putting everything behind you and coming before Allah (swt) like a humble servant and thinking
Allah (swt). So when you pray with jama’ah, when you pray with other people, with the congregation, there are rows and lines as you know. Whoever comes first, takes the first row. Whoever comes..I mean it could be a President next to you, it could a black, white, it could be a rich, it could be poor. It shows that anyone is equal before Allah (swt).
We are showing our social status during the prayer. So the place that I’m putting my forehead during the prostration might be the place of someone’s footprint and that someone could be a very poor people. So therefore we are showing our position before Allah (swt). We are practicing equality during the time of the prayer. So when we say salah, it is not only salah, we do represent our Muslim life, our representation of Muslim life has been secretly or openly, it is in the prayer of Islam.
Once you take takbeer, you are in the presence of Allah (swt). So recitation is very important and recitation there is a reason why believers, why Muslims recite parts from the Quran. Because it is the conversation that Allah (swt) taught us. This is the way to speak in the presence of Allah. So there cannot be ordinary words used. So therefore any worldly words that we use during the prayer is terminating our prayer. So therefore we are using God’s word because that is the way to speak to Allah (swt) in the presence of Allah, by thanking Him, by glorifying Him and realizing and that is the way we stand before Allah (swt). Realizing God’s Greatness, the Most Great One, and our littleness and after the recitation bowing down to thank Allah (swt) and glorifying Allah (swt) even more. And prostrating and prostrating and realizing our littleness and Greatness of Allah (swt) and offering Allah (swt) whatever we have spiritually and physically and that is the meeting time with Allah (swt).
In the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), our Beloved One, he says “A servant comes to closest to Allah (swt) during prostration”. So therefore that is the moment when the servant meets Allah (swt). And therefore the representation of when we sit right before we give salaam, right before we finish the prayer, we resemble or we remember our Prophet (pbuh)’s visit to Mi’raj, to Allah (cc)’s actual Mi’raj. And we use the same words that has been used over there. (Arabic). Basically it is salutation of Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Ummah on behalf of Prophet (pbuh).
So therefore it is a remembrance, therefore we call each salah, each prayer is a Mi’raj. Each prayer is an ascension. That’s why we say, when servants do say, I had a conversation right after they did their performed their prayers so that would not be a lie.
So now I think we are almost ready to go to explain how to perform. It is important to know how to perform and because it is a Divine presence. Each presence, great presence has their own rules. So therefore we need to be ready for the Divine Presence. So I will be talking to according to the Hanefi. There are a lot of madhhab, there are a lot of ways. There are Imam Shafii, Imam Hanbeli, Imam Maliki. But the form of worship that I’m talking about, the form of salah that I’m talking about is going to be according to Imam Hanefi. Please keep that in mind.