Why do some not perform salat even though they know it is the command of Allah and they want to go to heaven?
What is salat?
Why do we perform salat?
To what extent do we know the nature of salat?
Why those who do not perform salat are threatened with severe wrath?
What is the mystery that makes salat this significant?
What is the cure to the abandonment of salat that heedlessness causes?
How to attain tranquillity that is the spirit of salat which we cannot achieve due to heedlessness?
WHAT IS SALAT?
The meaning of salat; saying Subhanallah to glorify Allah and declare that He is free from all imperfections, signs of creatures and death which do not befit him, saying Alhamdulillah to thank Allah for the blessings of the world and akhirah (afterlife) which He granted us, saying “AllahuAkbar” to respect Him and declare that He is superior to all with all His names and attributes. As an Islamic sign, salat which is the greatest truth in the universe after faith is commanded 70 times in the Qur’an. As well as being so valuable and significant, salat which The Prophet (PBUH) called as “The pillar of Islam” is a broad worship equivalent to index of all worships which is also easy and frugal.
Allah has created the universe to make Himself known. Salat is to know Him. Allah decorated the world with endless ornaments to make Himself loved. Salat is loving Him.
Allah shows us His affection with the wonderful favours he bestowed upon us. Salat is submission and endearment to Him.
Allah declares His compassion towards us with his visible blessings and gifts. An endless compassion surely deserves an endless respect. Salat is the respect for Him.
Allah shows us His secret beauty with the perfect crafts He makes. Salat is the aspiration for the beauty.
Allah declares everything is the creation of His power unique to Him with His inimitable crafts. Salat is the affirmation of His oneness, uniqueness and not having a partner.
Salat is the actual task of creation and the essence of servitude.
Salat is a high gratitude and praise to Allah, who creates man not as a spiritless herb, lifeless stone or an unconscious animal but as the most honourable of all creatures and the caliph of the earth and who takes man from the darkness of absence to the worlds of existence.
Salat is a sacred map indicating the worships of all creatures.
Salat is the acceptance and demonstration of the state of being a creation, servant, weak, destitute, imperfect and mortal and of course dependent on the Creator. Namely, salat is the declaration of servitude.
Salat is to know the limits of one’s capabilities.
Salat is a wondrously radiant index including all kinds of worships.
Salat is an invitation to the presence of Allah at certain times.
Salat is the Mi’raj . Each AllahuAkbar is a step towards it.
Salat is a gift from Allah to His servants.
Salat is a high closeness and loyalty and a divine connection between Allah and the servant.
Salat is a sacred conversation with the lover.
Salat is a divine and decent service that each soul and conscience is longing to perform without remaining indifferent to it.
Salat is to get rid of contempt and condescension towards mortals and to turn towards Immortal.
Salat is to put the world that ignores us and that we cannot obtain aside saying AllahuAkbar, to punish unfaithful world by ignoring it and to take shelter in Allah’s mercy by pouring our sorrows into the dargah of mercy with the cries of our hearts.
Salat is the food of heart, soul and feelings.
Salat is a ticket for the human journey going on behind grave.
Salat is a spiritual power in the world, food and light in the grave, a salvation document on the Day of Judgement, and buraq on the bridge of sirat
Salat is what brightens and develops faith.
Salat is what places the greatness of Allah into hearts.
Salat is what directs minds towards Allah and make them follow the rules of divine justice.
Salat is a declaration of order which belongs to Allah.
Salat is a harmony with the universe.
Performing not salat is to get out of divine order, to ruin the harmony and to denounce the commitment and mercy of Allah.
WHY TO PERFORM SALAT?
“Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds” (Al-An’am 162)
Actually for a man who is aware that he is a servant created by Allah, it is not too hard to understand salat. With the decree of Allah such as “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat, 56) and many more verses one comprehends that man is commanded to worship. It is clear that Allah has created no aimless creatures. Allah has given a great deal of worship task to man that he created as perfect as “a small universe”. Worship means serving and obeying. That is to say after one notices his weakness and imperfection he prostrates with affection before the omnipotence, perfection and mercy of Allah.
When we look at the universe we see that Allay has created everything in accordance with its task. For instance a bee which is charged with producing honey has been created rather convenient to its task with all its organs and feelings. Consequently the creation of man whose task is to worship is convenient to his task and demands worship. Soul of man that is distressed with anguish and pleased with tastes experiences a constant tide between fear and hope hence feels the need of taking shelter in the Omnipotence of its creator.
Seeing that the purpose of our creation is worship and seeing that salat is the base of our worships man who is aware of his servitude will need and desire to obey His Creator with his mind, soul and heart and his reply to the question “Why do I perform salat?” will be “Because Allah who has created me commands it.”
The benefits and rationale of salat is much more than we know. We perform salat not because of its benefits and rationale but because Allah commands it and for the sake of Allah. Even if one supposes that salat has no benefits, the fact that Allah has commanded it is enough to make a Muslim perform salat. As Hadhrat Bediuzzaman expressed “The spirit of worship is sincerity. Sincerity is performing the worship only for the fact that it was commanded”.
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR NOT PERFORMING SALAT?
Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit, Who bear in mind the certainty that they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him. (Al-Baqarah 45-46)
The reason for not performing salat is unwariness, denial and weak faith. Denial is the state of man’s not being aware of his weakness. Not being aware of weakness leads to pride. Pride prevents man from prostrating that is the confession of man’s weakness to Allah. To be busy with materialistic values to an extent that will make world superior to the life of akhirah leads to unwariness. Unwariness means the conscience’s not suffering from the sins committed. As unwariness becomes more, affection and fear of Allah becomes less. Subsequently the feeling of laziness emerges mainly towards salat and other types of obligatory worships which are signs of faith; hence they are abandoned completely. So faith will be in danger. As a matter of fact our Prophet (PBUH) said “Between a person and polytheism (shirk) is the abandonment of Salat.” (Muslim)
That is to say the fundamental principle which preserves one’s religion is salat. Because of the laziness about such a significant and sacred fact salat has been the last request of our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) from His ummah and while saying his last words as “Pay attention to the salats! Pay attention to the salats.” The compassionate Prophet proved how concerned he was about His ummah pertaining to salat. (Kenz)
DOES ALLAH NEED OUR SALAT?
“Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that you may be grateful.” (Al-Maida, 6)
Hadhrat Bediuzzaman says “Glorified Allah does not need your worship. He is also not in need of anything. However you are in need of worship because you are spiritually diseased. Worship is like an antidote for your spiritual wounds. If a diseased person says “Why are you in need of persisting me?” in response to a compassionate doctor’s insistence about making him take the necessary medicine, you understand how senseless this phrase is.”
The person who is called five times a day by endlessly Merciful Allah through adhan for the treatment of his spiritual wounds is in need of salat. Even if not by means of his conscience and mind, man feels he is inherently and sentimentally weak; hence everything bothers and saddens him. He is weak and his enemies are endless; hence they tire him. He is destitute but his needs and demands are boundless; hence he cannot reach them. He is both lazy and powerless but his burden of life is heavy; hence he cannot carry it. He almost loves and relates to the entire universe however it abandons it and he always suffers from separation. His mind shows high objectives and great ideals to him. However his arm is short, his life is short, his power is insufficient and his patience is insufficient; hence he cannot attain his high objectives in mortal world. The soul in this situation demands to converse with someone Everlasting in order to endure the burden of life, get rid of the stress of worldly affairs and be consoled about the lovers that abandoned it.
Salat which scatters a piece of light on man’s mortal life and which is an immortal conversation that will remove the darkness of the future is necessary and indispensable for soul.
WHY IS THERE A SEVERE THREAT IN THE QUR’AN FOR ONE WHO ABANDONS SALAT?
“Every person is a pledge for what he has earned, except those on the Right, (i.e. the pious true believers of Islamic monotheism). In Gardens (Paradise) they will ask one another, about mujrimun (polytheists, criminals, disbelievers), (And they will say to them): “What has caused you to enter Hell?” They will say “We were not of those who used to offer the Salat. (Al-Muddaththir 74:38-43)
One who abandons salat initially oppresses his soul (nafs) . The owner of soul is Allah.
One who abandons salat cannot see the worships of creatures and may be he denies them. Therefore he drops the existence, which has gained value through remembering (dhikr) Glorified Allah from high positions. And salat is the presentation of the dhikrs (remembrance) and tasbeeh of the existences to The Sultan of the universe by man just like an army officer’s report about the task of his company to the commander. One who abandons salat spiritually violates the rights of the existences by not fulfilling his responsibility.
One who abandons salat violates divine reason of Allah by giving up the worship that is the purpose of creation.
Namely one who does not perform salat deserves a severe threat by torturing his soul that is the servant of Allah and by violating spiritual rights of divine reason of Allah.
“When the time of salat comes the angels calls out “Oh! Adam’s children, rise and by means of salat put out the fire set for your souls.” (Hadith Sharif)
THE VIRTUES OF SALAT
“Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah, 277)
“Apart from the word of testimony, Almighty Allah has not obliged His slaves to do a more beloved worship other than salat”. (Hadith Sharif)
1. Salat is the most superior of all deeds and a major worship: Just as al-Fatihah is the index of the Qur’an, salat is the index of worships. For instance salat represents a sample of fasting as eating is not allowed during it, represents the zakat of body and time as one 24th of the day is allocated for it, and represents a sample of pilgrimage (hajj) as it is necessary to turn towards the Kaaba at the time of salat. Besides salat which represents the worships of angels, animals and plants with sajdah (prostration), ruku’ (bending) and qiyam (to stand) it resembles worships of angels remembering (dhikr) Allah and positions of stones, trees and animals which look like these types of worships.
The person who performs salat considers the world as a huge masjid. Saying “you alone do we worship and you alone do we seek for help” during salat he prays and worships Allah on behalf of all believers and creatures in the world and all cells and particles in his body.
This case turns a person into human and makes him the most honourable creature in the world. Together with his worship man becomes aware of worships of other creatures; hence he presents all worships to Almighty Allah by means of this perceptiveness. He fulfils this great task through salat. Just like man becomes a lover to the Lord of the earth and heavens, he becomes a sultan and caliph of the earth; a commander and chief of animals, thus he becomes superior to all creatures.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said “Know that your most beneficial deed is salat” (Ibn Maja)
2. Salat turns daily acts into worships: Salat turns other worldly mubah deeds into the worship with good intention. For a person who performs salat the worldly and ordinary activities such as sitting, going to bed, cooking and working change from simple deeds into worships. Allocating one hour for salat the other 23 hours come to the life. So he makes a good and profitable investment for akhirah. The following two hadith sharifs indicate that favours done in life come to life only with salat.
Allah does not value the favours of one who comes before Him after wasting salat.
Salat is the first deed to be examined on the day of judgement. (Sunan) (If his salats are complete his other deeds are welcomed as well. If his salats are incomplete he is reproached both for his salats and deeds.)
3. Salat is a reason for abundance: Salat causes working man to have an abundant earning. The abandonment of salat owing to the struggle to make living and the phrase “working is worship as well” is nothing other than an attempt to silence conscience, because working becomes worship only with the performance of salat. “Enjoin prayer on your people, and be constant therein. We ask thee not to provide sustenance: We provide it for you. But the (fruit of) the Hereafter is for righteousness. (Ta-ha 132) in the Qur’an our Lord reminds man his main task. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has explained to Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllahu Anh) that salat is the reason for abundance of rizq (sustenance) as follows:
“Abu Hurairah! Command your family to perform salat. Allah provides you with the rizq in the way that you don’t expect.” (Ihya)
4. Salat keeps body healthy and gives comfort to soul, heart and mind: One who performs salat feels the pleasure of fulfilling his task as it is the purpose of creation. He feels the pleasure of submission to Allah. As well as doing no harm to body salat keeps body healthy and gives a huge comfort to soul, heart and mind. Huzaifah (RadhiAllahu Anh) said “The Prophet (PBUH) used to take refuge with salat whenever something saddened him.” One, who does not perform salat surely suffers from a huge spiritual wrath because of the laziness about salat which is commanded again and again by Allah, the creator of the earth and heaven. This wrath is absolutely much heavier than a warning received from a minor supervisor because of a small mistake. The negligent in performing salat who suffer from both spiritual and heartfelt troubles as a punishment of quitting salat devotes him to entertainment in order to get rid of his troubles and discomfort. Debauched entertainments ruin his character. As a result leading a desperate life in connection with his akhirah he experiences a bitter loss.
5. Salat increases faith and prevents shirk (polytheism) and kufr (profanity): Performing salat correctly increases faith and make it constant and sound, and makes man close to Allah. Coming before Allah five times a day by means of salat, mind and heart become aware of the greatness of Allah; thus tend to submit to divine law. While salat arises hate and aversion towards sins and bad deeds, abandonment of salat encourages the sins. Saying the following hadith sharif, our Prophet (PBUH) warns his ummah to preserve their faith by means of salat.
“Between a person and polytheism (shirk) is the abandonment of salat.” (Muslim)
“For a person who does a thorough purification and performs five stated salats on time his salats become light and evidence on the day of judgement.” (Imam Ahmad, Ibn Hibban)
“One who abandons salat deliberately gets away from the ummah of Muhammad (SAW)” (Imam Ahmad, Beyhaki)
6. Salat prevents one from evil acts: It is understood from the verse that reads “Speak to my servants who have believed, that they may establish regular prayers” (Abraham, 31). Salat results from faith. What is understood from the verse that reads “(Oh my Messenger!) Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do” (Ankabut, 45) is that the fact that salat prevents one from evil acts is an indication for its thorough performance. That is to say there emerges a correct salat from a perfect faith and the good moral from correct salat.
As long as one goes on performing salat correctly good deed will increase. It is related from Messenger of Allah (PBUH) “If a person performs salat and that does not prevent him from public and secret evil acts by means of salat he does nothing else than getting away from Allah” Therefore Ibn Mas’ud said “One who does not perform salat correctly does nothing else than getting away from Almighty Allah.” Submission to salat means performing it correctly and taking its boundaries into account. In its boundary remains prohibition and prevention from all public and secret evil acts.” (Elmali)
7. Salat is expiation of sins: “And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day (at noon and afternoon) and at the approaches of the night (at sunset, night and in the morning): For those things, that are good remove those that are evil: Be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord).” (Hud, 114)
“In brief, perform five stated salats. It is certain that good deeds eradicate evil acts. Namely each salat is a good deed and five stated salats are good deeds. As long as good deeds are done, sins in other words bad deeds are eradicated, this case is certain. Therefore so long as one carries on performing salat, bad deeds which are done occasionally by nature of mankind are erased. Five stated salats become expiation of small sins which emerge occasionally.” (Elmali)
Our Master (PBUH) said “Prayer is an expiation of what is committed between them, as long as major sins are avoided.” about the case. (Muslim)
Salat is like a clean and fresh river running at one’s door. Do you think there remains dirt on someone who takes a bath five times a day in it? (Imam Ahmad, Imam Malik, Nesai, Huzaimah)
Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said:
“We are increasing our burden of sins gradually. Obligatory salats that we have performed become expiation of our previous sins. Afterwards we increase our burden of sins again though. Salats that we perform after that will be expiation of them.”