Fruits for the Week

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Jabir ibn Abdillah (ra) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Between a man and shirk and disbelief is the abandonment of salah (formal prayer).” (Muslim and Ahmad)

This ahdith establishes that the barrier between a person and polytheism/disbelief is the performance of the five daily required prayers. This demonstrates how dangerous it is to abandon the salah. Salah, indeed, represents a clear division between a Muslim and a non-Muslim; it differentiates between those who are grateful to Allah (swt) and those who are ungrateful.

A common habit among many Muslims today is to abandon salah, especially the dawn and evening prayers. The Prophet (saw) strongly discouraged this and warned us about it. Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are the evening prayers and the dawn prayers. Had they known what they contain (in term of reward), they would have come (performed them), even if they have to crawl…….” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The poisonous habit of abandoning prayers, whether due to laziness or deliberate negligence, will cause many people to enter the hellfire on the Day of Judgement, as Allah has cautioned: “Every soul will be held on pledge for its deeds, except the companions of the right hand, who will be in gardens (of delight). They will question each other and (ask) of the sinners (criminals): What led you into hellfire? They will say: We never not of those who prayed, nor were we of those who fed the indigent (the poor); but we used to talk vanities with vain talkers, and we used to deny the Day of Judgement, until there came to us (the hour) that is certain. Then will no intercession of any intercessors profit them.” (Qur’an: 38-48)

The implication of the aforementioned verses is that when a person starts neglecting the prayers, other negative effects follow, such as failing to feed the poor and committing the sins of the tongue like backbiting, rumor-mongering, and slandering. All these stem from the fact that such a person never really believe in the Day of reckoning. Such people deny the final day and continue with their sinful nature until they are overtaken by death, when it is too late to repent and be forgiven for their sins.

The performance of salah is one of the greatest tokens of faith, the most significant religious ceremony, and the surest way of thanking Allah for His boundless favors. Thus, to neglect salah is to be de-linked from Allah and deprived of His mercy, along with the abundance of his bounties and the plenitude of His generosity. It is to refuse His kindness and blessing. True prayer is a remedy for all those ills which beset the heart and corrupt the soul. It is the light which dispels the darkness of evil and sins. It will be the light and proof of deliverance on the Day of Judgement, without which one will be doomed to destruction in the hellfire.

Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “If there was a river at the door of any one of you and he took a bath in it five times a day, would you notice any dirt on him? They said: Not a trace of dirt would be left. The Prophet (saw) added: That is the example of the five daily compulsory salah with which Allah blots out of evil deeds.” (Muslim)

Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) related that one day, speaking about the prayer, the Prophet (saw) said: “For the one who observes it will become a light, a proof and a means of deliverance on the Day of Judgement. For the one who does not observe it, there is no light, no proof, and no deliverance. On the Day of Judgement, he will be with Qaroon, the Pharaoh, and Ubayy ibn Khalaf.” (Ahmad)

On the other hand, salah is not meant for the hereafter alone; rather, it closely connected to the life of Muslims from morning to evening. It prevents them from sins and evil deeds, and affects their behavior. It is actually a form of constant remembrance of Allah that acts as a mirror of their actions, reflecting either their good order or their corruption. Allah (swt) said: “And establish regular prayer, for prayer retrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life without doubt. And Allah knows the deeds that you do.” (Qur’an 29: 45)

Prayer profoundly affects people’s trustworthiness in their dealings as well as the way they protect whatever they have been entrusted with. It makes Muslims good neighbors and cultivates good manners. It also motivates them to prefer others and avoid harming them. Happiness, harmony, and affection prevail in the homes and families as well as in the streets and society, and indeed, throughout the ummah.

The foremost form of jihad for many Muslim today is to perform all the five daily congregational prayers, rather than to go and fight the enemies of Islam in the battlefield. Indeed, how can we hope to patiently fight the enemies of Islam if we can scarcely stand up for any of the five prayers or wake up for the dawn prayer? It is no wonder, then, that Muslims today lag behind in almost all areas of life and have been defeated and humiliated in many battles. The secret to any success in life lies in the establishment of all the five daily prayer.

by Yahya M. A. Ondigo