What Makes Salah So Significant Part 1

Date: 24th July 2015, 7th Shawwal 1436

Ramadan has left us and the month of Shawwal is currently running. This scene is quite familiar to all of us- during Ramadan we become steadfast and perform our Salah seriously making the local masjids all packed up but as soon as the month Ramadan ends, we are once more back with the empty qatars. One thing needs to be highlighted- Salah is Fardh for all conscious Muslims at AT ALL TIMES.

There are some exceptional cases such as when a person becomes unconscious, he may get excused by Allah. However, apart from the exceptions, Salah is Farz on a person as soon as he/she has reached puberty. In Islam for girls it is the age of 9 or 10. For boys it is age of 13 or 14. But the Prophet has instructed us to teach Salah to our children at a much earlier age.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As (Radi Allahu Anhu): The Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood, Book of Prayers, Hadith 494

This week’s Khutbah is dedicated towards the importance of performing Salah because a lot of us tend to forget the Deen whenever the month of Ramadan leaves.

Allah has brought to this world so as to test in order to find out who are the best in worshiping HIm. Allah exhaustively says in the Quran:

Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent –

[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving –

Surah Al-Mulk, Ayahs 1-2 (67:1-2) Translation: Sahih International

Our present life is a test and after we die, we face two other tests. Unlike any other tests in this world Allah has already provided us through the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) with the questions which will be asked in the Hereafter.

THE FIRST TEST AFTER DYING

First test in the afterlife is in the graves when we get visited by Munkar (Alayhi As-Salām) and Nakir (Alayhi As-Salām). Hadith states:

Narrated that Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “When the deceased – or one of you – is buried, there come to him two black and blue angels, one of whom is called al-Munkar and the other al-Nakir. They say: ‘What did you say about this man?’ and he says what he used to say: ‘He is the slave of Allah and His Messenger. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ They say: ‘We knew that you would say that.’ Then his grave is made spacious for him, seventy cubits by seventy, and it is illuminated for him. Then it is said to him: ‘Sleep,’ and he says: ‘May I go back to my family and tell them?’ They say: ‘Sleep like the bridegroom who will be woken by none but the dearest of his family to him,’ until Allah raises him from that resting-place of his.” 

But if he is a hypocrite he says: ‘I heard the people saying something so I said something like what they said. I do not know.’ They say: ‘We knew that you would say that.’ Then it is said to the earth: ‘Squeeze him.’ So it squeezes him until his ribs interlock, and he will continue to be tormented therein until Allah raises him from that resting-place of his.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi. This Hadith was classed as Hasan (sound) by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

A person who has lived by the commands of Allah and by the Sunnah of His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) will diligently be able to answer all questions. The answers to these questions will either make the grave a garden of Jannah or a fire-pit of Jahannam. Another Hadith states:

It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) said: when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier  for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.'” And the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.”

References: Jami At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 2308; Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 4567. Classed as Hasan by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684.

SECOND TEST AFTER DYING

Initially five questions will be asked. This is proven by the following Hadith:

It was narrated from Ibn Mas’ood (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.”

Reference: Jami at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 2422. Classed as Hasan by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 1969.

The first part of the first question is regarding Salah. The very first thing which will be inquired on the Day of Judgement will be regarding the Salah of His slaves.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The first thing among their deeds for which the people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be prayer. Our Lord will say to His angels, although He knows best, ‘Look at My slave’s prayer, is it complete or lacking?’ If it is complete, it will be recorded as complete, but if it is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether my slave did any voluntary (naafil) prayers.’ If he had done voluntary prayers, He will say, ‘Complete the obligatory prayers of My slave from his voluntary prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be examined in a similar manner.”

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 864. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 770.

Only when the answers regarding Salah has been cleared, the other deeds will be examined. If a person fails in performing Salah all his other deeds won’t be of any use.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the 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.”

Reference: Sunan al-Tabarani. Classed as Sahih by Imam al-Albani (Rahmatullah Allaih), Sahih al-Jami, Volume 1, p. 503.

Salah has been mentioned in the Quran several times and clear instructions have been prescribed on us.

So why do Muslims still leave Salah?

When we leave Salah we are in fact ruining ourselves and won’t be considered as a part of this Muslim Ummah even after being born as a Muslim.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The covenant between us and them (that is, believers) is prayer, so if anyone abandons it he has become an infidel.”

References: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih), Sunan Ibn Majah, Sunan Abu Dawood, Sunan An-Nisai, Jami At-Tirmidhi

In one popular Hadith, it has been mentioned:

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: A person neglecting his Salah (even though he makes it up later) shall remain in Hell for a period of one Haqb. A Haqb is equal to eighty years of 3 three hundred and sixty days each, and a day in the Hereafter shall equal one thousand years of this world.”

Another Hadith in addition states:

Abul Lais Sarqandi (Rahmatullah Allaih) has narrated the following saying of Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), “The person that misses even one compulsory prayer, his name is written on the door of hell, and he will certainly have to go there.” (Qurrat Ul Ain)

Reference: Fazail-E-Amaal, Section: Fazail-E-Namaz, p. 317 by Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (Rahmatullah Allaih). The Hadiths has been classed as weak.

The Hadith in particular is weak, despite it being found in some well-known books of Tafsir and Hadiths. Every sin can be forgiven through repentance, which for missing a prayer entails:

(a) immediately ceasing the sin,
(b) sincere remorse,
(c) firm resolve to not commit the sin again, and
(d) actually making up the missed prayer[s], for which there is scholarly consensus (ijma`).

Reference: Riyad al-Salihin & Majmu by Imam An Nawawi (Rahmatullah Allaih)

If a person does this, he has turned to Allah in sincere repentance, an act that Allah loves and will certainly accept. In Shaa Allah. As one Hadith states:

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, “Verily Allah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as he has not sounded his death rattle [i.e., so long as he is alive].”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi

Having said the above, it is important to note that the inclusion of weak Hadiths in books of virtues or motivation and admonition (al-targhib wal-tarhib) is not a problem. A weak Hadith can be used for general motivation as long as:

(a) it is not extremely weak,
(b) it returns to established principles of the Sacred Law, and
(c) one acts upon it without firm belief that it is definitely from the prophetic sunna.

References: Imam Suyuti (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Tadrib al-Rawi; Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Rahmatullah Allaih) in Al-Fath al-Mubin Sharh al-Arba`in

The Hadith in question does not contradict the established principles of the Sacred Law, as we know from authentic narrations that our Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) disliked the act of deliberately missing a prayer (without excuse) as it eventually amounts to acts of disbelief, this can be indicated through one of his statements:

Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) “Between a man and disbelief is his neglecting the prayer.” [

Reference: Sahih Muslim

Furthermore, the Quran states:

“What has caused you to enter Hell?”

They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer their Salat (prayers)

Surah Al-Muddaththir, Ayahs 42-43 (74:42-43) Translation: Muhsin Khan

According to the vast majority of scholars, neglecting the prayer out of laziness is not itself disbelief. Yet the Hadith is understood to stress the severity of the sin, to show that such neglect is the very behavior of disbelievers, or that it could very well lead to disbelief.

Reference: Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam An Nawawi (Rahmatullah Allaih)

This authentic Hadith truly portrays the severity of leaving Salah during Asr:

Ibn Umar (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: He who misses the afternoon prayer, it is as though he has been deprived of his family and his property.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Book of Prayers, Hadith 1306

Praying in congregation is obligatory for the males and this issue had been deeply stressed by the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). This can be proven by the following Hadith:

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are ‘Isha’ and Fajr.  If they knew what (reward) is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl. I was thinking of ordering that the call to prayer be given, then I would tell a man to lead the people in prayer, and I would go out with men carrying bundles of wood to people who do not come to the prayers, and I would burn their houses with fire around them.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 626 & Sahih Muslim, Hadith 651

Regarding the above Hadith, Imam Ibn al-Mundhir (Rahmatullah Allaih) said:

The fact that he was thinking of burning down the houses of people who stayed behind and did not attend the prayers is the clearest indication that it is obligatory to pray in congregation, because it would not have been permissible for the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to burn down the houses of those who stayed behind if prayer in congregation was only something good but not obligatory.

Reference: Al-Awsat, 4/134

Additionally Imam Al-San’aani Rahmatullah Allaih said:

This Hadith indicates that prayer in congregation is an individual obligation, not a communal one, because if it was a communal obligation and some had done it, why would others have deserved the punishment? There is no punishment except for one who neglects an obligatory duty or does something that is haram. 

Reference: Subul al-Salaam, 2/18, 19

Allah has expressed the qualities of a true Muslim in the Surah Al-Muminun. He says:

Successful indeed are the believers.

Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.

And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).

And those who pay the Zakat.

And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)

Surah Al-Mu’minun, Ayahs 1-5 (23:1-5) Translation: Muhsin Khan

When speaking about Salah we need to take into account two important terms- “Khushu” & “Khudhu”.

Without these two the performance of Salah will become useless.

Khushu (humility) means veneration and involves submission and bowing down through expressing one’s reverence. Khushu is observed through the Imaan and Taqwa of a believer.

Khudhu (veneration) refers to showing humbleness with your body, namely with your limbs, while khushu particularly means showing one’s humility and submission through voice and eyes. Khudhu is also used to express tranquillity and abasement. Khudhu is observed by following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) by following his way of praying.

Details regarding these two terms will be discussed later but few important things need to be explained. Before we start the Salah, the person needs to be properly attired. Furthermore, he/she must stand in a straight row with the feet facing straight towards the Qibla.

One disgraceful act of the Muslim, during praying is his habit of scratching. When we are in prayer, we need to take into account that we are facing our Lord, the Ruler of rulers and unnecessary movements in front of Him can never be expected from us.

The Salaat will break if,

a) You one uses 2 hands at once for scratching. Or

b) Use only one hand but more than 3 times in one posture, e.g. in the standing posture you
stretched more than 3 times using one hand only.

Imam Abdullah ibn Mubarak (Rahmatullah Allaih), the famous student of Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Allaih), used to pray with such humility, submission tranquility that his student used to comment that it was as if a “tree” was praying in front of them.

Such level of Khushu and Khudhu we need to acquire for us to make ourselves into successful Mumins.

Shaitan knows about the superiority of Salah. That is why he has a special devil appointed to distract us during Salah. It is that devil’s whispers which ruins our attentiveness during Salah. Hadith states:

One of the Sahabah complained to the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) about waswaas during prayer, and he said: “The Shaitan comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein.” The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “That is a devil called Khanzab. If he affects you seek refuge in Allah from him and spit drily to your left three times.” He [the Sahabi] said, I did that and Allah took him away from me.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Hadith 2203

Whenever the whispers of Shaitan distracts us from doing a good deed, we must seek refuge from Allah. As it is mentioned in the Quran:

And if an evil whisper from Shaitan tries to turn you away (from doing good, etc.), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.

Surah Fussilat, Ayah 36 (41:36) Translation: Muhsin Khan

We must maintain purity before and while attending Salah. Hadith state

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said,”The key to paradise is the Salah and the key to the Salah is ablution.”

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahamad (Rahmatullah Allaih)

It is recommended to relieve oneself before performing the Salah. Otherwise that person won’t acquire Khushu while praying. Hadith states:

Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu): The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: It is not permissible for a man who believes in Allah and in the Last Day that he should say the prayer while he is feeling the call of nature until he becomes light (by relieving himself).

Reference: Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith 52

Cleaning oneself properly is also a part of the ablution process. Unclean clothes, unclean body parts- all induce Shaitan to affect our Salah. One Hadith mentions:

Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu ‘Anhu) reported: The Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said. When any one of you awakes up from sleep and performs ablution, he must clean his nose three times, for the devil spends the night in the interior of his nose.

Reference: Sahih Muslim, Book 002, Hadith Number 462

More issues about the Khushu and Khudhu during Salah will be discussed in the next Khutbah. May Allah guide us to the Straight Path and make us acquire the knowledge which are beneficial for His sake, Ameen.

Please support us by purchasing our Weekly Khutbah series. (Links are given below)
May Allah reward us for our dedication towards Islam, Ameen. Let’s all be a part of a well-refined Muslim Ummah!

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