THE IMPORTANCE OF SALAAT
Salaat (Prayer) is one of the main obligations which Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has ordained on His servants. It is the first act of worship decreed on the Muslim Nation (Ummah) by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) and was ordained on the night of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) ascension to the seven heavens. It is the second of the five pillars of Islam after the proclamation of the "Shahada" (the words of witness).
It is enjoined on the Muslims as an obligatory act by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) as can be noted from the following verses of the Holy Qur'an:" Establish regular prayers at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer" (Qur'an 17:78).
In another verse Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says:" And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night" (Qur'an 11:1 14).
The importance of the Salaat has also been explicitly expressed by Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), as can be noted from the following sayings:" What lies between a perfect man and disbelief is the leaving of prayer" (Related by Imams Ahmed and Muslim).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said:" The obligation which separates us from them (the non-believers) is the prayer and he who renounces it becomes a disbeliever" (Related by Imams Ahmed and Muslim).
The above quoted Qur'anic commands by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) and the honored sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) clearly indicate the importance of Salaat such that it is unanimously agreed by all Muslim scholars that renouncing it is regarded an act of disbelief (Kufr).
THE VIRTUES OF PRAYER
Salaat (Prayer) performed genuinely with humility and submission to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has unlimited virtues and benefits. It is the noblest expression of faith and the surest way of thanking Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for His unlimited favors.
It is the way to obtaining Allah's mercy, generosity, kindness, blessings and a sure way to paradise. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says in the Holy Qur'an: " Prosperous indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers" (Qur'an 23:1-2).
It is a deliverance on the Day of Judgement for those who used to observe it well.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:" The first thing that the servant of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) will be called to account for on the Day of Judgement will be
the prayer; and if it was good the person's deeds will have been good, but if it was bad, the person's deeds will have been bad" (Reported by Imam Bukhari).
Prayer purifies the soul, refines the character and inculcates in man the excellent virtues of truthfulness, honesty and modesty. It keeps one who performs it from falsehood and from all forbidden actions as is categorically confirmed by the following verse of the Holy Qur'an:" Verily, prayer refrains from indecency and evil" (Qur'an 29:45).
About Author / Additional Info:
A teacher by profession