Salah is the second pillar of Islam. It is most important pillar after Shahadah as Islam focuses on it too much.
Meaning of Salah
Salah is an Arabic word which means to connect so it is considered as a way to connect with Allah, probably the best one.
Commandment of Salah in Revealed Books
Allah had commanded to offer prayer in every book revealed before Quran. The reference from these books for salah is as follows
As in Bible, Allah mentioned about offering prayer by Prophet Ibrahim.
In Torat, Allah mentioned about Prophet Dawood and Prophet Suleman who used to bow in front of Allah(S.W.T).
And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” Surah Al Bakarah verse 125
History of Salah
Salah an infrangible part of Islam
On the night of Miraj, Allah az wajal bestow our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h) with the gift of prayers. This does not mean that the Salah were not a part of Islam before night of Miraj. In fact, Salah was the part of Islam since the beginning of Islam as it was revealed in the Quran. But the number of obligatory Salah was different. As in Surah Al Muzamil verse 20 ALLAH states that
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
This verse was one of the first revealed verses of Quran. At this time, five prayers were not obligatory but this verse shows that before the night of Miraj, Salah was offered by our beloved Prophet(p.b.u.h)
Gift of Five Prayers
For some nations, it was 1 Salah and for some, it was two Salah per day which was obligatory before the night of Miraj. The gift of five Salah was bestowed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) on the night of Miraj.
Reduction of Prayers from 50 to 5
Allah firstly commanded 50 prayers per day. When our beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H) reached near Prophet Moosa, he was waiting for him and asked what he got from Allah. Prophet Muhammad told about 50 Salah and Prophet Mosa, with the will of Allah, asked him to return and demand a decrease in Salah. The whole incident is revealed in a Hadith 348 Sahi Bukhari book number 8
Date of Night of Miraj
There is a difference of opinion amongst the Islamic scholars about the day, month and year of Miraj. The night of Miraj was in the tenth year after his messenger hood.
Purpose of salah
The main and foremost purpose of Salah is the remembrance of Allah. Besides it there are some more purposes.
1. Connection of Creator with creation.
2. Praising Allah
3. Thanking Allah
4. Invocation from Allah
5. Seeking help from Allah
6. Seeking guidance from Allah
7. Protection from satan and sins
Salah Obligatory for Whom?
Salah is obligatory for every
-Adult aged more than 12 years.
Salah is Exempted for
Following are exemptions of Salah
-Mad or mentally disabled
-Woman during her menstruation.
-Woman during her Nifas( after child birth).
Conditions of Salah
There are some conditions of Salah that every Muslim must follow
- Clean clothes
- Time of Salah
- Heading towards Qibla
- Intention of Salah
Mandatory Duties of Salah
There are seven obligatory acts of Salah
- Takbeer e tehreema
- Qirat of Surahs
- Qadah e Akhira (last sitting posture)
Importance of Salah
Salah is very important for a Muslim. It is a way to
- Invoke the Lord,
- Connect with the Almighty
- Leads one towards taqwa
- Strengthens believe in Allah
- Problem solver
- Rewarding in this world and here after.
- Names and Times of Salah
There are five mandatory prayers. Their names and times are as under.
Fajar From dawn until sun rise
Duhr After midday till early afternoon
Asar Since Late afternoon till before sunset
Magrib After sunset till twilight ends
Isha Evening until dawn
There is a difference of opinion in different sects for the proper time of Salah.
Rakat of Salah
For the five obligatory Salah, following Rakat are obligatory.
Fajar 2 Fard
Zuhr 4 Fard
Asr 4 Fard
Magrib 3 Fard
Isha 4 fard
If a person offers these fard only then the obligation is completed. The offering of sunnah e moakida and gair moakida is the matter of ones preference. Because when one is asked about offering prayers, he is only answerable for fard and not sunnah and nafl. Even witr are not a part of mandatory Salah but its Wajib.
Sunnah Moakida and Sunnah Gair Moakida
The word moakida is derived from moakid which is an urdu word. It means to emphasize. This is not an Arabic term hence it is not proven by any Hadith. This concept is prevailed in subcontinent Asia only( like of the six kalimas). There is no concept of sunnah Moakida or gair moakida in other Islamic countries.
Concept of Sunnah Moakida and Ghair Moakida
The concept of sunnah is very simple. Anything done by our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is a sunnah, so the nafl which were offered by our Holy Prophet with every fard is now called a sunnah and the additional nafl in the Salah are those which are added by different Islamic scholars.
Sunnah e Moakida are those nafls which were offered by our Holy Prophet(P.B.U.H) regularly and gair moakida are those which were not offered regularly. Moakida or gair moakida but these are only sunnahs and these are not obligatory.
The Salah which is obligatory for a Muslim is fard only as mentioned above. If one wants to offer these sunnahs, then it will beneficial in gaining blessings from Allah in the afterlife. but if one does not offer these sunnah, there is no detrition in it. This does not make ones Salah void. According to many Islamic scholars, it is bidah to call these Sunnah a compulsory part of Salah. For those who offer these sunnahs (12 rakat= 2 before Fajar fard, 4 before Duhr fard, 2 After Duhr fard, 2 after magrib fard and 2 after Isha’s fard,) there are definite rewards for Jannah as narrated in the Hadith but these are not an obligatory part of Salah.
Salah is the obligation for the benefit of man and not a hardship, so Allah made it easy to follow.
Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam). Sahih Bukhari book of Ilm Hadith 69
Salah of Man and Woman
According to most scholars there is no difference in Salah of man and woman but a difference of opinion is also present in some sects.
When Salah goes Void
There are some acts by which a Salah goes void.
1. Any act by which the Wudu goes void like farting, napping, running of blood from body, release of drops of urine or discharged during Salah.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, The angels keep on asking Allah’s forgiveness for anyone of you, as long as he is at his Musalla (praying place) and he does not pass wind (Hadath). They say, ‘O Allah! Forgive him, O Allah! be Merciful to him until turning the direction from Qibla to anyother side. Sahih bukhari book of Salah Hadith 445
2. Talking during prayer.
3. Laughing during prayer. Smiling does not make Salah void.
Whenever a person is on a journey. He should shorten the prayer to 2 rakats. The rakat for fajar and magrib will remain same.
Type of Journey
Scholars say that there is no specific type of journey but if a person travels 100 kilometres daily for his work then its not journey but a routine. So when one plans to go on new route its a journey.
There is a contradiction between scholars about the distance. Some says its one mile and others say when one leaves for a journey other than daily routine then one should shorten the Salah.
Duration of Stay
There is a contradiction between scholars about duration as well. Some says its infinite duration but one should keep in mind that he should go back. For some its 10 days, 20 days or 30 days.
Salah for Sick
Islam is a religion which is easy and practical. If a person is sick and unable to sit or stand then he can offer Salah in the prescribed manner in these Hadith
Narrated `Imran bin Husain: (who had piles) I asked Allah’s Apostle about the praying of a man while sitting. He said, If he prays while standing it is better and he who prays while sitting gets half the reward of that who prays standing; and whoever prays while Lying gets half the reward of that who prays while sitting. Shahi Bukhari book of Shortened Salah Hadith 1115
Reference from Hadith
Narrated `Abdullah bin Buraida: `Imran bin Husain had piles. Once Abu Ma mar narrated from `Imran bin Husain had said, I asked the Prophet (p.b.u.h) about the prayer of a person while sitting. He said, ‘It is better for one to pray standing; and whoever prays sitting gets half the reward of that who prays while standing; and whoever prays while Lying gets half the reward of that who prays while sitting.’ Shahi Bukhari book of Shortened Salah Hadith 1116.
Salah can also b performed by signs as well.
Punishment of Leaving Salah
It is narrated in Surah Al Mudathir verse 40 to 43 that one who leaves a prayer will end up in hell.
It is narrated in Hadith no. 2620 of Tirmazi sharif book of Islam and Iman that
Narrated Jabir: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Between a slave of Allah and disbelief is abandoning the Salat.
Ignorance of Salah
If a person leaves Salah without any appropriate reason then it is considered to commit a great offence in accordance to Islamic rules.
Proof from Quran
Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient. Surah al Bakarah verse 238
And if you fear [an enemy, then pray] on foot or riding. But when you are secure, then remember Allah [in prayer], as He has taught you that which you did not [previously] know. Surah al Bakarah verse 239
And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times... Surah Al Nissa verse 103.
And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. Surah hood verse 114.
Proof from Hadith:
Narrated Zaid bin Arqam: In the lifetime of the Prophet we used to speak while praying, and one of us would tell his needs to his companions, till the verse, ‘Guard strictly your prayers (2.238) was revealed. After that we were ordered to remain silent while praying. Sahih bukhari book of salah Hadith 1200.
Benefits of Salah
One should always keep in mind that Salah is not a hardship for a person but it is obligation for the well-being of humans. Allah does not need our prayers or praises but these things are beneficial for their own selves. This religion is actually designed for the well-being of humans because Allah wants His creation to be prosper and happy. Salah is not only beneficial in a spiritual way but also in day to day life. Some of the benefits of Salah are as under.
- Salah is beneficial in establishing a close connection between the Creator and creation.
- In helps in establishing the faith in the actuality and integrity of Allah.
- It refines the heart, soul, and mind.
- A balance between the world and everlasting world is established due to Salah.
- Salah is a way to invocate, supplicate and repentance.
- Salah not only irradiates the heart but nurtures the soul as well.
- Offering Salah in a mosque is beneficial in strengthening the brotherhood between the Muslims.
- Salah helps in comforting the soul.
- It enriches the goodness in oneself.
- Salah is a way to defeat the evil and immorality.
- The physical exercise involved in Salah is beneficial for one’s body as well.
- Salah works as meditation as it helps in relieving stress.
- Salah actually diminishes the depression.
- It helps to spread positivity in ones thoughts.
- The focus of eyes on place of sujood is beneficial for the eyesight.
- According to studies of yoga, the bending posture of Rukku is beneficial for the lower vertebral column as it lowers the back pain.
- Position of Rukku is beneficial as it enhances flexibility of muscles.
- Position of Rukku is also beneficial for kidney because it provides some type of massage to the kidneys and it helps the kidneys to work properly.
- The Sujood position is like a very important yoga position which helps to strengthen the leg muscles.
- Sujood position is beneficial for digestion as well.
- Position of sujood is good for spinal cord and back bone muscles.
- The blood flows towards the brain during sujood which is helpful for brain and head.
- Position of sujood also helps to reduce chances of headaches and brain haemorrhage.
- Sujood position helps in invigorating different glands in body like pineal and pituitary gland.
- During sujood, the pressure on the toes and foot works like acupressure which helps relieving body pains.
- During tasleema, the neck movements help the neck and shoulder muscles to relax and strengthen.
- Salah also saves a person from indulging in sins.
- Salah increases the urge of obeying Allah.
Hidden Message in Salah
Every step of Salah has a hidden message in it for ones day to day life. 50 salah were ordered by Allah firstly. He knew that His creation will not be able to obey this order and it was not actually a hardship for man but only done to show the importance of Salah. Allah wanted everyone to practice the rules and regulations of Salah during every second of his life.
1. Lower your gaze like one does during Salah so one can be saved from many sins.
2. Hold ones hand tightly so no sin or misdeed can be done with them. No injustice can be done with the hands.
3. Only recitation of good things takes place during Salah, likewise one is ordered to speak good during his whole life. If someone says anything else then Salah will break but no one cares about the breaking of hearts by their uttered words.
4. Sajda taught to always be humble and down to earth.
5. From takbeer e tehrema till tasleema, the connection of man with the outer world is actually cut off. Likewise, Allah wanted the man to focus on his akhira( death) and shows that this world is only a place to visit but not the final destination.
6. One should always be afraid of Allah before doing sins.
7. One should obey the rules of Quran in his day to day life as he obeys the rules of Salah.
8. One should be respectful to others in his life.
9. One should remain clean and tidy always.
10. One should always remember to praise and thank Allah.
11. One should always ask from Allah.
12. One should have full faith in Allah for all his needs.
13. One should refrain from sinful and bad thoughts always.
14. One should not let satan misguide him.
15. One should always know that Allah is near then his jugular vein so he should always remember Him and demands from Him.
(If you find any mistake in this article please feel free to contact us and point it out. We will try to correct it in the light of Quran and Sunnah. May Allah bless us all with the authentic knowledge of Islam? May this effort of ours ease the way of jannah for our family).