بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ العَالَمِينَ. وَصَلَّى اللَّهُ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ
All praises and thanks are due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May his Peace and Blessings be upon our Beloved, Habibi Muhammad; his family members, his companions and those who follow their footsteps.
Solat symbolizes one of the key pillars of Islam. Muslim nations are known with the number and types of mosques built, as mosques are built basically for solat performance. Similarly, Muslim neighbourhoods in non-Muslim countries are easily identified by their mosques and minarets.
A good Muslim is expected to be punctual and faithful in his solat. Muslims worldwide schedule their events and activities with the times of solat in mind.
In Islam, solat is given such importance that it must be performed at all costs. Allah says in Surah Al-Nisaa: 103:
إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى المُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَاباً مَّوْقُوتاً
It means “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times”.
Even in war (jihad), Muslims are not excused from performing solat on time.
The importance of solat is further exemplified by the fact that solat must still be regardless of the physical/wealth condition of a person.
A Muslim is required to stand on his feet to perform his solat. If he is not able to stand, then he may sit. If he cannot sit, he may lie on his back or on either of his sides. If he cannot move his body, he may use eyes signal. If he cannot signal with his eyes, he still has to use his heart and mind.
The Prophet (Our Role Model) and Solat
No one has ever found tranquility in solat as much as Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, had. No one has ever appreciated Allah’s blessings by showing more humility through performing solat, especially the ‘nawafil’ (optional) part of it, as much as Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, had.
Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, performed (optional) night prayers until his feet became swollen. When our mother ‘Aishah said to him, “why do you have to trouble yourself to this extent when Allah has already forgiven you your sins of the past and those of the future?”, he humbly replied, “Shouldn’t I be a grateful servant [then]?”. Subhana Allah!
It was reported by Ibn Hibban that anytime he feels sad or something bothers him, he hastens to solat:
كَانَ إذَا حَزَبَهُ أَمْرٌ، فَزَعَ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ
As he also, used to say to his ‘muazhin’, Bilal [may Allah be pleased with him]:
يَا بِلال أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ، أَرِحْنَا بِهَا
It means, “O Bilal, say the iqamah, relief us with it (iqamah; so we can go for solat),”. [Abu Daud].
Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, once said:
وَجُعلَتْ قُرَّةُ عَيْنِي فِي الصَّلاةِ
It means, “And my delight is put in solat” [Ahmad; Al-Nasai].
Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, kept emphasizing, in his last few days before his demise to his ‘ummah’ on the importance of solat. As our mother Ummu Salamah [may Allah be pleased with her] narrated that he said:
الصَّلاَةَ.. الصَّلاَةَ.. وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ
It means, “take your solat seriously; be punctual in it and take good care of anything you are held responsibility to”. [Ibnu Majah]
The Importance of Solat
All ‘ibadahs’ were rule to the Prophet through a mediator (Jibril A.S.) except for solat.
The fact that solat is the only obligatory ‘ibadah’ that was instructed by Allah directly to the Prophet, without a mediator, is enough evidence to point to the importance of solat. That was when Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, was sent on night journey from Makkah to the Al-Aqsa mosque, and was ascended to the heaven (Al-Israa wal-Mi’raaj).
The best way one can show his humility to Allah is when he prostrates (sujud), an important part of solat. The more one prostrates to Allah, the closer he gets to Allah, High and Exalted is He. Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, once said:
أَقْرَبُ مَا يَكُونُ العَبْدُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ
It means, “The closest one can be to his Lord is when he prostrates (in sujud).” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud].
Allah, High and Exalted is He, has said in Surah Al-‘Ankabout: 45:
إِنَّ الصَّلاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنْكَرِ
It means, “Indeed, prayer (solat) prohibits immorality and wrongdoing.”
We are advised to seek Allah’s help through patience and solat, as Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah:
وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الخَاشِعِينَ
It means, “And seek help through patience and prayer (solat), and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].”
Solat Includes all the Other Four Pillars of Islam
Although solat is one of the five pillars of Islam, when we study its components, we find that all the other four pillars of Islam are included or can be found in solat itself.
Let us take a look at the five pillars of Islam. [Please note that Solat is in the second order, but I purposely put it in the end.]
‘Shahadah’ is to testify that there is no god worth to be worshiped but Allah; and Muhammad is His Messenger. A Muslim is required to testify his shahadah once in his life time. So long as he does not denounce it, he remains a Muslim.
‘Zakat’ or is a once-a-year obligatory ‘ibadah’ for any Muslims who has in his possession a minimum amount of wealth which he has to give out as zakat. One may live his whole life poor and hence, will never be required to give out as zakat.
Fasting in the Month of Ramadhan
Fasting in the month of Ramadhan is an annual obligation. Fasting in the month of Ramadan also requires that one is healthy, preferably not on voyage. An person or elderly who may endanger his life by fasting, is not required to fast.
A Muslim is required to perform Hajj once in his lifetime. Hajj is also compulsory only on Muslims who are financially and physically able to travel to Makkah to perform it. One may be financially able but physically not. One may be physically able but not financially.
As for solat, a Muslim is required to perform solat five times a day on daily basis. This is regardless of his financial condition, physical ability or social status, from the day he/she reaches puberty till the day he/she leaves this world.
When one stands for solat, the first thing he does is to say his ‘iqamah’ which consists of ‘shahadah’ (the first pillar of Islam), and says ‘shahadah’ as well, just before he ends it. So one will testify his ‘shahadah’ at least 2 times (for subh prayers) or 3 times (for the other prayers). This will total up to 12 times a day.
The moment one enters in his solat, it becomes forbidden for him to eat, drink and obviously, have sexual intercourse. This is the essence of fasting in the month of Ramadhan, in which one is forbidden from taking food, drink and having sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset.
The time one invests to perform his solat may be invested by someone else to make money. Eligible zakat payers make money from the time they invest at work. So when a Muslim devotes his time to perform solat for the sake of Allah, He is like the one who spends the time to make money and pay zakat from that money for the sake of Allah.
When one stands for solat, he must face toward the holy “house” of Allah, the Ka’bah. This is the same place one has to make a journey to, in order to perform his hajj. During solat, one may not be physically in Makkah, but his heart definitely should be there.
The above are some of the ‘hikmah’ behind various sayings of Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, when he said for instance:
أَوَّلُ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ العَبْدُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ الصَّلاةُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ صَلُحَ لَهُ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ، وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ
It means, “the first thing one would be judged (asked), on the day of judgement is solat. If it’s correct, then all his deeds will be correct. If it is rejected, then all his other deeds will be rejected.”
Solat is the Only Obligatory on a Muslim for Life
That’s why Rasulullah, may Peace and Blessings be upon him, said :
العَهْدُ الَّذِي بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمُ الصَّلاةُ، فَمَنْ تَرَكَهَا فَقَدْ كَفَرَ
It means, “The difference between us and them (non-Muslims) is solat, so whoever denies it has become infidel.” [Imam Ahmad].
Allah uses solat to show us how to differentiate between hypocrates (munafiqoun) and good Muslims when He [High and Exalted is He] said, in Surah Al-Nisaa: 142:
إِنَّ المُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ، وَإِذَا قَامُوا إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ قَامُوا كُسَالَى، يُرَاؤُونَ النَّاسَ وَلاَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً
It means, “Indeed, the hypocrites [think that they] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little.”
Blessed are those who are solat-conscious and are abled to physically fulfil the other three pillars of Islam (Zakat, fast and Hajj) completely, for Shahadah has to be fulfilled before solat itself.
A rich Muslim, who is faithful and punctual in his solat is unlikely to fail to pay his physical zakat. A rich Muslim who is punctual in his solat is unlikely to fail/delay to perform his Hajj when his health allows him.
Likewise, any rich Muslim who takes his zakat and Hajj lightly, is likely to delay his solat.
Praying punctually on time (at their specified times) is definitely better than delaying the prayers.. Praying in jama’ah (in group) is better than praying alone. Praying in the mosque (for men) is perfectly better than praying at home.
When you stand for solat, you are doing it in the Presence of Allah the Almighty, communicating with Him without any mediator, leaving all worldly matters behind you.
Imagine your father called upon you to attend to him, and you refused to answer his call, you won’t forgive yourself even if your father forgives you for doing so. Why then do you refuse to answer Allah’s call when the ‘muazhin’ calls with:
حَيَّ عَلَى الصَّلاَةِ.. حَيَّ عَلَى الفَلاحِ
It means “Come to Prayer… Come to prosperity?”
If you find difficulty in overcoming your desire or to be committed to your solat, one may recite this du’a (of Sayyidina Ibraheem A.S.) in his prostrations and supplications:
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةِ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي، رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ
It means, ” My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.” [Surah Ibraheem: 40].
Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂