بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
“In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”
يٰٓاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَعِيۡنُوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ وَالصَّلٰوةِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَ
“0 you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient”.
[Al-Baqara – Ayah 153]
Often we think of salaah as just something we have been commanded to do, something we need to get done & if we don’t pray it, then we will be sinful. In reality Allahﷻ does not need our salaah. If He has commanded us to perform it, surely it is because we are in need of it.
Let us take a look back at how the command of salaah came down. The Prophet ﷺ, along with rejection of his prophethood, had faced many trials & difficulties. He ﷺ was ridiculed, humiliated, boycotted & oppressed by his very own tribe, amongst whom some of them were from his very own family. He ﷺ did not only suffer from verbal abuse & torture, but physical & emotional too.
Amid of all of these sufferings, he ﷺ lost the two people who were the biggest support to him. First, his uncle Abu Talib, his source of physical protection & a few days later the love of his life, the mother of his children, the source of his comfort, Hadhrat Khadija (r.a). He ﷺ was plunged into sorrow. This year was forever known as the year of sorrow.
After the death of his two biggest supporters, the prophet ﷺ went to the city of Ta’if, in hope that the people there would accept his invitation & support his beliefs. Unfortunately, not only did the people of Ta’if reject him, they incited some youngesters to stand on both sides of the road & pelt our beloved ﷺ with stones. They wounded him so much so that when he was overwhelmed by injuries and sat down, they would force him to stand up and start another spell of stone throwing. He ﷺ suffered injuries to his body and legs to such an extent that blood streamed down from his legs to his shoes.
Upon return from the city of Ta’if, the Prophet ﷺ helplessly took a breather under a tree. He turned in prayer to Allah ﷻ, seeking refuge from Allah ﷻ and asking for his mercy. On the basis of him being a messenger, being afflicted with trouble and in the state of travel, his dua was readily accepted.
After all these sufferings & the deaths of his closest, Allah ﷻ reserved for his beloved ﷺ, the greatest honour of the journey to the extremity of the universe. This journey is well known as the journey of Miraj. The Prophet ﷺ made a journey in the state of consciousness from masjid-e-haraam in Makkah to masjid-e-aqsa in Palestine & from there, up to the seven heavens all in one night. On this night, he ﷺ had the honour of being in the sacred presence of Allah ﷻ. He ﷺ caught the sight of the magnificent radiance of Allah Ta’ala from beyond the divine screen and without any intermediary he was honoured to communicate directly with Allah Ta’ala. Here, Allah ﷻ blessed him & the entire ummah with the greatest gift, salaah.
Initially the Prophet ﷺ was given 50 salaahs a day. On his way back, he ﷺ met Musa (a.s), who told him that your people will not be able to handle this. Go back to Allah & ask Him to reduce them. The Prophet ﷺ went back & fourth between Allah ﷻ& Musa (a.s) until the salaahs were reduced to 5. However it was said to the Prophet ﷺ that the ummah would still receive the reward of 50. SubhanAllah! How merciful & generous is our Allahﷻ.
If we ponder upon the fact that salaah was reduced from 50 to 5 & that if we would have be performing 50 salaahs a day, we can understand our real purpose in this world, which is solely to worship Allah ﷻ alone.
Allah ﷻallowed the Prophet ﷺ to experience all the bitterness of this world, so that he ﷺ could fully appreciate the sweetness of Salaah. In one hadith the Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said, “The coolness of my eyes is in Salaah”. SubhanAllah! Every time he ﷺ was troubled with something, he would turn to Salaah. Allahﷻ breaks us away from this deceitful dunya (world) five times a day so that we too can put things into perspective & understand that true happiness & contentment lies in conversing with our Allah the most high.
Salaah was the only command which was given in the heavens & not on the earth. The great scholar Imam Hasan Al Basari has said: “Salaah is the Miraj of a believer”. In other words, if we want to ascend through the heavens like the Prophet ﷺ did, we ascend through our Salaah.
When someone of a great personality or dear to us gives us a gift, we value it & take good care of it. Salaah is a gift given to us from the greatest being to exist, our creator, the all wise, who surely has blessed us with it from His complete knowledge of our needs. The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we value this gift? Do we take care of it? Do we show our gratitude by using it?
Often we find ourselves neglecting salaah because we ‘don’t have time’ or we are too busy working, earning or engrossed in household chores. We forget that salaah is not something we should be trying to fit in to our schedule, but it is a tool which aids us throughout our schedule. How can we expect to be successful by neglecting the command of Allah ﷻ. How can we disobey the one who is in control of the money we are trying to earn, the cooking & chores we are trying to complete & the children we are running behind. Rather, if we make salaah a priority, Allah ﷻ will make everything else fall into place through it’s barakah (blessings).
Let us make a special effort to value this gift. A gift that allows us to present ourselves before Allahﷻ, connect with Him directly & talk to Him five times a day. A gift to relieve us of our burdens, calamities & sorrows. The opportunity, five times a day to hand over our worries to Allah ﷻ in exchange for His blessings. The key to success & inner peace. The cure for the confused minds & broken hearts. A medicine, a solution, a salvation. A weapon that provides protection. A journey through which we attain nearness to our creator. A mercy upon us from the most merciful & generous.
May Allah ﷻ make us from amongst his chosen slaves who stand up in salaah five times a day. May He make our Salaah filled with khushoo (concentration), worthy of great reward & a purifier for our sins.