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Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur’an:”Those who hold fast to the Book and establish Shalah…” (7: 170). He further said:” Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their shalah.” (23: 1-2).

The importance of the shalah is further highlighted thus:” O my son, establish regular prayers, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong, and bear with constancy whatever may befall you; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs.” (31: 13-19). Its prime objective is to create consciousness and awareness of Allah who has the capacity to effect every outcome in our lives.

Islam established the institution of the shalah because it holds that human worship reaches Allah without the need for intermediaries. His mercy and care for humankind, along with His Omnipotence, demand that every person addresses himself directly to Him. Allah is fully responsive to every person’s du’a. But Allah knows best in what way He shall respond to the du’a.

The shalah helps individual to discipline himself. During the shalah, Muslims stand in straight rows, shoulder to shoulder, and perform the shalah in strict unison taking cues from the imam. Then, at its conclusion, he gives the salam by wishing ‘peace’ to all those on the right and left.

The shalah, as it is performed in strict obedience to Allah’s command in the midst of the regular daily routine, also helps to regularize his other activities, including punctuality, manner, efforts and endeavours.

It is through the shalah that a Muslim gets the attention of Allah formally five times a day. He gets himself transported to the upper dimension into the spiritual world. He gets absorbed mentally, physically, and spiritually in his communication with Allah and in turn receives peace, relaxation and rejuvenation from the stressful environment of his study or work. The shalah is the best natural prescription to anyone, for any malady, remedy or improvement.

As the shalah is performed at fixed times of the day, it also reduces one’s stress as it has many physical benefits, like control, exercise, relaxation and meditation. The wudhu or ablution itself has hygienic and therapeutic values. When the Muslim washes those required parts of the body with water five times a day, those parts become clean. It also soothes his skin and he feels refreshed.

After our shalah, it is indeed a practice to say a du’a to seek Allah’s blessings for the goodwill of ourselves, our family members, our Prophet and his family members and companions, the Muslim ummah, our country and any general matter. It is also good to say a private du’a to seek Allah’s help for whatever special endeavour one is embarking upon.

There is no shame in making any personal du’a provided it is made under Allah’s permission with the word “Insha Allah” for Allah knows best of what is good for an individual. In this regard, a Muslim with a strong Islamic personality would not actually ask Allah to help him reduce the responsibility he has to shoulder but would ask Him to give him the courage and means to carry out the responsibility to a successful end. He would not ask for wealth but health, and the motivation and strength to face the challenges of daily living.

The shalah is an action-oriented characteristic of a Muslim as all his daily undertakings revolve around the five shalah periods of each day. This makes him more sensitive and alert to his actions.

The shalah is also a source of strength for him because he gains countless benefits from it. It is through the shalah that he inculcates humility, modesty and piety.

It is through the shalah that he disciplines himself, develops his conduct and character and enhances his personality. The shalah is a communication platform, which enables the Muslim to ask for help and protection from Allah. The Prophet (saw) said:” The different between the Muslim and a non-believer is the shalah.” Therefore, you should not neglect it, nor perform it regularly.

In the most popular and often-read Qur’anic prayer, the Fatihah (Chapter 1), Allah urges the Muslim to pray for His guidance and grace in showing him the straight path (siratal mustaqim), not the way of those who have gone astray. It is the straight way that will lead him towards attaining an Islamic personality.

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by Shaik A. Kadir