What is Salat?
September 9, 2009 1:16 AMI
Islamic ExaminerYusuf Khan
Image: Hamed MasoumiYou notice your Muslim friend at college or work who has to pray at what may seem like the most inconvenient times: in between class breaks or or right before an important meeting.
Why can't he just wait and pray when he gets home, you think.
Here's what the Qur'an says:
"Indeed Prayer has been ordained upon believers at fixed times."Qur'an 4:103
In fact if one were to read the Qur'an from cover to cover the first order from God upon man is that of worship.
"O mankind, worship your Lord! He Who created you and those before you, so that you become God-fearing."Qur'an 2:21
"What is the purpose of life?" is a question asked by many philosophers and thinkers, and just about everyone has attempted to answer it based on their own reasoning.
But Islam's holy book is the only unadulterated scripture that answers this question in a direct and lucid manner.
"I have only created the Jinn and mankind so that they worship Me."Qur'an 51:56
After the testimony of faith, it is Prayer (Arabic: Salat, Urdu/Persian: Namaz), offered five times each day, that is the most important of the five pillars of Islam.
Though it may seem cumbersome, offering one's daily Salat is actually rather easily manageable: the essentials of each prayer usually take no longer than ten minutes to complete, and a Muslim can pray almost anywhere.
Not praying is rather serious, the gravity of which many Muslims themselves do not understand: in simple logic neglecting one's prayer is tantamount to neglecting Allah - one's Creator and Provider.
Therefore the act of not praying isn't simply a sin, it is an action of Kufr, disbelief.
This is because after one has uttered the Shahadah (testimony of faith) and become Muslim, it is Salat that serves as the link that ties a Muslim to Islam.
When Salat is abandoned, that connection is severed.
The following statements are attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him:
"The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is Prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad." at-Tabaraani
"The obligation that differs us from them is Prayer, so whoever abandons it has committed (an act of) disbelief." at-Tirmidhi
“Between a man - and polytheism and disbelief - is the abandoning of prayer.”
The above narrations from Hadeeth, in addition to the status of Prayer in the Qur'an, are sufficient to established the outright importance of Salat in the life of every Muslim, and why it is considered a pillar of Islam.
Next: What is Fasting? Previous: What is the Shahadah?
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