DISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic on Friday, 22 January 2016. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translator and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from God.
All praise is due to Allah, we thank and praise Him, we rely upon Him and we seek forgiveness from Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our own selves and from the bad of our deeds. He whom Allah guides, nobody can misguide; and he whom Allah leaves to go astray, nobody can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah alone having no partners and I bear witness that Mohammad PBUH is His slave and messenger.
In the Qur’an Allah describes those of sound intellect who recognise the truth when He SWT says:
and those who join that which Allah has commanded to be joined, those who fear Allah, and those who are fearful of the harshness of retribution. Quran - Al-Raad (13:22)
And from what Allah has commanded us to enjoin and keep connected to is the prayer. The prayer is the second most important pillar of Islam after the shahadah. Unlike all other forms of worship, the prayer was not ordained through revelation - the prayer is set apart from all other forms of worship in that it is the only form of worship which was ordained directly from Allah to Mohammad PBUH– Allah spoke to our beloved prophet Mohammad PBUH directly. The prayer was ordained at the highest and most lofty place ever reached by human or angel, on the most noble night – the night of Mi’raj, or ascent. It was ordained as fifty daily prayers, because of its lofty status with Allah and it’s great reward; but Allah, in His Mercy and Generosity, lightened the responsibility to five prayers in a day, which bear the same reward as fifty. All praise is due to Allah.
AlhamdulilLlah, more Muslims keep their daily prayers than not. But there is a question that we need to ask ourselves: is the prayer that we currently perform – is this the prayer that Allah accepts? Is this the prayer that will touch our hearts and enrich our souls? Is this the prayer that will have a positive impact on our lives – a positive impact on what we say and do, on our manners and dealings with other people? Because when Allah SWT describes the prayer He says:
‘’indeed the prayer prevents you from committing obscenity and wrongdoing’’. Quran - Al-Ankabut (29:45)
So we need to ask ourselves these questions every time we turn towards the Qiblah to pray…
The prayer is a direct connection between the human and his Creator. It is a conversation between ourselves and Allah the Almighty: we glorify Allah and He replies; we ask and He responds. In a hadith of our beloved prophet PBUH it is stated that:
when we read The Fatihah, and we say ‘’All praise, thanks and gratitude are to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds’’ Allah responds, saying ‘’My slave has venerated me and expressed gratitude’’; when we say ‘’the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful’’, Allah replies: ‘’My slave has praised Me’’; when we say ‘’Sovereign of the day of judgement’’ Allah replies ‘’My slave has glorified me’’; when we say ‘’it is You we worship and it is You on whom we rely upon’’ Allah replies ‘’this is between Me and My slave, and I will give him what he asks for’’ and when we say ‘’guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have bestowed favour upon, not those whom you are angry of or those who are astray‘’, Allah says ‘’This is for My slave and I shall give My slave what he has asked for’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
So our prayer is a conversation – it is an interaction.
The prayer, with its standing, its bowing and its prostration is a unique way of disciplining the soul. If performed in the true spirit, it will break any arrogance and belittling of others. We humble ourselves to The Almighty Who is The Only One who has the right to be proud; we admit our weakness, we Glorify our Creator, we beg for His forgiveness and beseech Him for His mercy and blessings. When performed as it should be, the prayer humbles us before Our Lord and reminds us of His power and omniscience, making us more mindful of Allah and therefore obedient of His commands.
For the prayer to be performed properly, we must purify ourselves both externally and internally beforehand. External purification includes a clean body, a clean space, and clean clothes; internal purification entails ridding ones mind of all distracting thoughts, and taking the time to get in the frame of mind of meeting Allah and standing before Him. As part of getting into the right frame of mind, we should pay attention to what we wear when we pray; Allah commands:
‘’O children of Adam, take your adornments (by wearing clean modest and beautiful clothes) at every time and place for prayer’’. Quran - Al-Araf (7:31)
‘’indeed the believers are successful, those who are humble and submissive in their prayer and engage with it’’. Allah also says in suratul Hajj verses 34 and 35: ‘’and give glad tidings to those who obey and worship Allah with humility, those whose hearts tremble when they hear Allah’s words, those who are patient with what has befallen them, those who establish the prayer and those who spend [in the sake of Allah] from what We have given them from sustenance’’. Quran - Al-Mu’minoon(23:1-2)
Being humble, focussed and engaged with the prayer and ridding ourselves of any worldly ruminations, whilst we are praying, will result in true tranquillity and a prayer that will have a lasting impact on our manners and the dealings of our daily lives. It is also necessary so that the prayer performed is accepted by Allah. Our believed prophet PBUH said:
that a man will perform a prayer, half of it will not accepted, neither will the third, nor a quarter nor a fifth nor sixth or a even tenth’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
He PBUH said:
‘’The only part of the prayer that is accepted is that which was performed whilst fully focussed and engaged with it’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
Omar bin Al Khattab once said:
‘’a Muslim may grow old in Islam and he hasn’t completed the prayers he was due’’; when asked how this could be, Omar replied ‘’ he doesn’t perfect the humility, focus and engagement with the prayer’’. Omar Ibn Al Khattab (SAAW)
And finally, our beloved prophet PBUH said:
’’there is not a single Muslim who, whenever a mandatory prayer comes upon him, he perfects his wudu and perfects his humility and engagement with the prayer, and perfects his prostration, except that his sins which preceded this prayer will be wiped away, provided that those sins do not include any major sins’’. Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
With that I conclude, and I ask Allah The Almighty to forgive us all.