By: EDC Staff
Mohamed Salah’s performance of sujud outside of prayer is a specific expression of gratitude for goals scored.
Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian King as known now among Liverpool’s fans in England, has become the most popular Muslim player in England, and surely the talk of the Premier League this season.
In 2017, he was named the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year. He has become a phenomenal player and one of the most talked about in the world today.
Lately, Liverpool’s fans have made new chants for him celebrating his brilliance and performance. “Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, if he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too”.
A recent report by Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) found that the success of Liverpool Muslim star Mohamed Salah has significantly decreased hate and race crimes in the English Premier League.
His action in prostrating (sujud) to Allah Almighty after scoring a goal reveals what Islam truly entails, putting Allah at the center of everything. His prostration not only called young men, women, and children everywhere to want to mimic him, bowing in humble prostration to a lord that they may or may not believe in yet, but it also elicited fascination, what is it about him, that grants him such skill and success? He answers this question on the pitch, God.
A question may arise here, what is meant by prostration or sujud as known in Islam?
This prostration is a sign of thankfulness and gratitude to Allah Almighty. It is made when receiving good, good news, or bounty. Abu Bakrah narrated, “When anything came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) which caused pleasure (or, by which he was made glad), he prostrated himself in gratitude to Allah.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Prostration (Sujud) in Prayer
Prostration normally occurs twice in every rak`ah (unit) of prayer. A Muslim who performs prayer that is required five times daily, finds himself in prostration 34 times each day.
In Islamic thought, prostration is perceived of as the physically lowest, but spiritually the highest, position a person can take as an expression of humbling oneself to God. Mohamed Salah’s performance of sujud outside of prayer, then, is a specific expression of gratitude for goals scored.
It is an act of humility and submission to God. It is an act of utter humility before the Might of the Creator of Heavens and the Earth and everything in between them, the King and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth.
Mohamed Salah and all Muslims believe in the One God who created the universe and has power over everything within it. He is unique and exalted above everything He creates, and His greatness cannot be compared to His creation.
What does Mohamed Salah say in Sujud?
The Muslim in general glorifies God during prostration, saying “Subhana Rabbiya Al-A`la” (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High) three times or at least one time.
The Excellence of Sujud
From the Quran:
So exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him]. (Al-Hijr 15:98)
In another verse we read:
Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people? (Al-Hajj 22:18)
In another verse we read:
No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah]. (Al-`Alaq 96:19)
From the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “A slave becomes nearest to his Lord when he is in prostration. So increase supplications while prostrating.” (Muslim)
Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “Make frequent prostrations, for every prostration that you make before Allah will raise your position one degree and will remit one of your sins”. (Muslim)
All believers purify their morals and attain the dignified state of humanity through prayer no matter how it is performed.
By Haluk Nurbaki
Salah (ritual prayer) is unarguably the foundation of Islam. Having been commanded during the Night of Ascension (Mi‘raj), it is a blessing granted to Muslims by Allah. Muslims approach the wisdoms of Mi‘raj through a genuinely felt and performed prayer, and thereby reach the zenith of servitude before Allah.
Our daily prayers constitute training grounds for such a glorious exaltation; all believers purify their morals and attain the dignified state of humanity through prayer no matter how it is performed. Although hundreds of millions of people perform the prayer with many mistakes, all with the exception of insincere prayers are accepted by Allah.
Hence we should have a longing for and attempt to have a moral exaltation during the performance of prayer. Performing a prayer which merits the approval of Allah naturally necessitates a difficult process of purification. Yet avoiding this beautiful training results in the loss of more exquisite blessings waiting to be granted by Allah.
The motifs of a proper prayer are the physical movements, the prayers said, the verses and dhikr (remembrance of Allah). Whether it is heartfelt or not, we still apply these basic steps in the course of a prayer. There is in fact not much need for deep knowledge to understand and describe a genuine prayer. However, if we understand the meaning of our physical movements and the things we say to Allah during the prayer, we can more profoundly fathom its true glory.
In this case, the first condition of understanding the prayer is to acknowledge that it is not a firm mould, but an activity that ascends the performer from point zero to the most elevated levels. Apart from those prayers we perform in peace and full concentration, there are many others in which our minds wander off to worldly concerns.
This statement can be illustrated with an allegory; if the act of prayer is likened to the unopened bud of a rose, we can say that many layers of rose layers have to be opened or passed until we reach the more worthy inner leaves of the rose, or the prayer.
In fact, the man resembles a point that oscillates between worldly desires and the heart. As we are taken by our worldly desires, the prayer remains on the surface level; as we turn to our heart, the conduct of prayer becomes deeper and more meaningful. In this respect, prayer is at the same time a measure for us in assessing our maturity.
If we are continuously performing the prayer on the outer level without getting to the gist of it, this shows that our point of departure is interwoven with desires. On the contrary, if we are increasingly becoming purified and find ourselves enjoying the prayer, this indicates that we are getting closer to feeling it in our hearts.
Prayer is a worship which must be observed by believers throughout their entire lives. For that reason, prayer is the most influential factor that shapes our characters. Some people reject the practice of prayer after observing some unethical behavior of those others also performing the prayer.
This can be likened to having an ignorant foreman construct a building after getting angry at an engineer who built a defective building. An important reason for this image is our mistake in trying to practice prayer without knowing or trying to understand its true nature. Recognizing the prayer as an integral experience of morality will thoroughly eliminate these dilemmas.
Prayer reveals the secret of the most beautiful creation in humans.
Prayer is a joyful journey along the road that leads to Allah.
Prayer is a divine feast that gives strength to the body, freshness to the breath, peace to the soul and that rejoices the heart.
Prayer is a limitless gratitude of the servant before His divinity, and an enjoyment to live his nothingness before the power of the Glorified Allah.
Prayer is the vibration of the servant in the magnetic area of the hardships impossible to endure.
Prayer is a miracle of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which the secret of Al-Fatihah is revealed and that purifies us before His divinity.
Prayer is also the Mi‘raj in which Allah watches His spectacular art in the heart of the believer. Prayer is the sultanate of Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which people are transmitted to the meaning in their entirety and the infinite universes with their bodies.
Performing this dhikr even at a surface level gains a divine content. Undoubtedly, we must be aware of the anticipation of such a dhikr which is beyond our perception before His divinity. The fact that prayer is a very important worship necessitates a thorough preparation.
An unchanging rule is that a genuine prayer is the real objective of any prayer. However, it is a fact that every prayer which is not hypocritically performed is approved by Allah. How can we be worthy of prayer by developing a system that is appropriate for the morality of our Lord in prayers that we perform five times a day throughout our entire lives?
If a servant quits performing prayer saying that he is unable to perform a genuine one, he falls into heedlessness like resigning from the servitude. If a servant only imitates the pattern of prayer until his death without tasting its pleasure thinking that every step of the prayer is approved, this means that he rejects the secret of the most beautiful creation within him. Therefore, we will not quit performing the prayer even if it is superficial. However, we will try to conceive the true nature of the prayer every passing day.
There are many stages between the prayer performed merely in form and the genuine prayer. In other words, it is impossible to say that a prayer is “either an imitation or a genuine one”. If we take the imitational prayer as the outer shell, there are thousands of prayers until we reach the genuine one. We must try to pass these stages slowly and approach the real prayer.
By Maryam Amirebrahimi
Every day, five times a day, your body, your heart and your soul, are begging you to respond to the call to prayer.
Many of us may ask this question: I do care about prayer, and I just want to pray the five daily prayers on time, but I have trouble doing them on time and regularly. How can I get into it?
The fact that you even care about your prayers is an incredible sign of God’s love for you and His desire to keep you close to Him! How many Muslims do you know personally who have not prayed in years and who have no desire to do so? God has honored you by placing in your heart the desire to fulfill this part of your relationship with Him. The question is: will you accept being chosen and show Him that you really care?
Praying the five daily prayers on time everyday is a good habit that just needs to be built. You’ve been building habits since you were a child and this is just another habit you need to develop and strengthen.
How do I know you’ve been habit building? Without knowing you, I’m going to give you a simple example.
Consider the call of hunger. When you were an infant and you were hungry, you’d likely call out for someone to quell the pain of your hunger. Someone in your life most likely came to help you take care of this need; they fed and nourished you, and your body, in turn, responded and began to grow.
As you developed and learned how to eat for yourself, you most likely recognized the call to hunger and developed a habitual response (i.e. eating). The type and proportions of food you ate began to impact your body; the healthy foods for your body helped nourish you and strengthened your physical and mental development.
The overindulgence of food or consistent consumption of unhealthy and junky foods likely began to deteriorate your body. Eventually, your time will pass and your soul will depart. Your body will no longer feel the need for, nor be able to respond to, the call of hunger.
The habit of eating when feeling hungry is one you developed; even if it was time consuming, you realized it was something you had to do to survive.
Let’s now consider salah (prayer). Every day, five times a day, your body, your heart and your soul, are begging you to respond to the call to prayer. For those who choose to respond to the call to prayer, you satiate your body, heart, and soul. However, just as with food, this satiation comes in different ways. Those who come to prayer with presence of heart and mind, with focus and desire to nourish and cleanse themselves spiritually, often begin to see the positive impact of their prayers on the rest of their lives.
Some others may answer the call to prayer more neglectfully, perhaps offering them on time or late, all of them or just some of them, but rushing through them mindlessly or negligently. These individuals are still nobly choosing to answer the call, yet like the junk food that can cause a body to be sick and stunt its healthy development and maintenance, this type of prayer could stunt a person’s spiritual growth, perhaps making them weak against succumbing to desires or fighting diseases of the heart and soul.
Finally, just as a dead body does not experience hunger, a spiritually dead person does not feel the need or have interest in responding to the call of prayer. The difference, however, is that while the dead body no longer has a chance to experience revitalization through food, the spiritually dead heart can be revived through prayer.
Prayer alone is not the key to a completely sound spiritual state or understanding, just as food alone is not the only component to maintain a healthy body. However, through developing a focused, centered, and meaningful habit of maintaining the five daily prayers, a person will, God willing, experience incredible benefits in this life and undoubtedly the next.
So, once we’ve recognized that salah is a healthy survival habit which one has the capability to work on maintaining throughout one’s life, the question then becomes: How?
Here are a few suggestions to perhaps get you started. Two are geared to convince and encourage your mind and heart to pray while three are specific tasks to help you begin and maintain the action of prayer.
Recognize the benefits.
Simply consider the following as a start: ”The five obligatory daily prayers, the Friday prayer followed by another Friday prayer, Ramadan followed by another Ramadan, expiate sins committed in between them as long as major sins are avoided”. (Muslim)
”The first thing the people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer. Allah will say to His angels (even though He already knows): “Look at my servant’s prayers. Were they complete or not?” If they were complete, it will be written as complete. If they were not fully complete Allah will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers”. If he has them, Allah will say: “Complete his obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.” (Ahmad)
Understand Prayer as an Investment and a Refuge
Make a list of everything God has given you for which you should be grateful. Also make a list of all the hardships you or loved ones are currently facing. Then, for each of the five daily prayers, take one item off one of those lists and take it to prayer.
For an item of gratitude, allow yourself to understand that each and every prayer is an investment in what and whom you love in life being maintained and increased. As He tells us: “…If you are grateful, I will surely increase you…” (Ibrahim 14:7)
For an item of difficulty from your list, allow the heaviness of your heart and soul to pour out in every word you utter in prayer. Permit your tears of anger and anguish to release in prostration. Be certain that through this action God will undoubtedly respond to your distress. As He confirms, “Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil…” (An-Naml 27:62)
Make a Chart to keep track of prayers and set daily and weekly goals
Compensate yourself based on your performance. The below is an example:
Week 1: Daily Goal—Pray two prayers on time. If mess up, make up the prayer as soon as I can. Reward if meet my goal by end of the day, i.e. favorite chocolate bar. Punishment if do not reach goal, i.e. clean roommate’s bathroom. Reward if met goal everyday of the week: Movie night with best friend. Punishment if not met by end of the week: no Facebook all weekend.
Week 2: Daily Goal—Pray three prayers on time.
Continue until you’re habitually praying your five a day, on time.
Tag-Team and use technology
Building a habit often needs support. Find someone who you can text or who will text you to check in for prayers. Consider also using current technology via an app on your phone to remind you of your prayers (if you’ve used an app successfully, please share recommendations!).
There may be times where you feel spiritual exhilaration through prayer; your heart may feel like it’s flying, your eyes may tear up because of a closeness you experience with your Creator. Then there may be times where you feel absolutely nothing; this can make you feel like you’re doing something horribly wrong or that it’s not worth continuing because it doesn’t make you feel any different.
However, be careful not to get addicted to the ‘feeling’ by choosing only to continue praying as long as it ‘feels’ good and despairing in Allah and leaving prayer once you no longer ‘feel’ it. Praying is an obligation. Remember that you are doing this action to the best of your ability for the sake of God, not just because it makes you feel good.
While going through this journey, remember that even overindulging in healthy foods can hurt your body. In the same way, taking prayer, or any aspect of religion, to an extreme can hurt your spiritual state. Praying is not always easy.
God Almighty Himself tells us:
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive. (The humbly submissive are those) Who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him. (Al-Baqarah 2:45-46)
When the going gets tough with your prayers, always remember that God has been, is, and always will be there for you.
“I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” (Hadith Qudsi)
Take that step through maintaining your five daily prayers with sincerity, focus and presence of heart. God willing, as you take a few steps, you’ll find Allah already waiting for you.
It is an instinct of man to be inclined to adore the greatest being, and to aspire to the loftiest goal of all; God.
Dr. Hammudah Abdalati
Prayer constitutes one pillar of Islam and is considered the foundation of religion.
Any Muslim who fails to observe his prayers and has no reasonable excuse is committing a grave offense and a heinous sin. This offense is so grave because it is not only against God, which is bad enough, but is also against the very nature of man.
It is an instinct of man to be inclined to adore the great beings, and to aspire to lofty goals. The greatest being and the loftiest goal of all is God. The best way to cultivate in man a sound personality and actualize his aspirations in a mature course of development is the Islamic prayer. To neglect prayer is to oppress the good qualities in human nature and unjustifiably deny it the right to adore and love, the right to aspire and ascend, and the right to excel in goodness and achieve noble aims. Such oppression and denial constitute a very serious and destructive offense. Here lies the significance and vitality of prayer in the life of man.
It should always be borne in mind that God does not need man’s prayer, because He is free of all needs. He is only interested in our prosperity and well-being in every sense.
When He emphasizes the necessity of prayer and charges us with any duty, He means to help us; because whatever good we do is for our own benefit, and whatever offence we commit is against our own souls. Here, too, man is the center of gravity, and his common interest is the main concern.
The benefit which man can derive from the Islamic prayer is immeasurable and the blessing of prayer is beyond imagination. This is not just a ‘theory’ or conventional assumption; it is a fascinating fact and a spiritual experience. Here is an explanation of the effectiveness of the Islamic prayer:
1. It strengthens the belief in the existence and goodness of God and transmits this belief into the innermost recesses of man’ s heart.
2. It enlivens this belief and makes it constructive in the practical course of life.
3. It helps man to realize his natural and instinctive aspirations to greatness and high morality, to excellence and virtuous growth.
4. It purifies the heart and develops the mind, cultivates the conscience and comforts the soul.
5. It fosters the good and decent elements in man and suppresses the evil and indecent inclinations.
When we analyze the Islamic prayer and study its unique nature, it will reveal to us that it is not merely a physical motion or a void recital of the Holy Book; the Qur’an. It is a matchless and unprecedented formula of intellectual meditation and spiritual devotion, of moral elevation and physical exercise, all combined.
It is an exclusively Islamic experience where every muscle of the body joins the soul and the mind in the worship and glory of God. It is difficult for anyone to impart in words the full meaning of the Islamic prayer yet it can be said that it is:
1. A lesson in discipline and willpower;
2. A practice in devotion to God and all worthy objectives;
3. A vigilant reminder of God and constant revelation of His Goodness;
4. A seed of spiritual cultivation and moral soundness;
5. A guide to the most upright way of life;
6. A safeguard against indecency and evil, against wrong deviation and stray;
7. A demonstration of true equality, solid unity, and brotherhood;
8. An expression of thankfulness to God and appreciation of Him;
9. A course of inner peace and stability;
10. An abundant source of patience and courage, of hope and confidence
This is the Islamic prayer, and that is what it can do for man. The best testimony to this statement is to experience the prayer and avail oneself of its spiritual joys. Then one will know what it really means.
The article is an excerpt from a book by the author titled ‘Islam in Focus’.
Prayer is a fundamental pillar in the daily life of Muslims.
By Fatma Bayram
Who establish worship and spend of that We have bestowed on them. (Al-Anfal 8:3)
Concerning the guilty: What has brought you to this burning? ) They will answer: We were not of those who prayed. (Al-Muddaththir 74:41-43)
The Qur’an defines the first attribute of sincere believers as those who
“establish worship properly” (Al-A`raf 7:170)
. Verses such as
“Tell My bondmen who believe to establish worship…”(Ibrahim 14:31)
are indicative of the precedence of Prayer in the faith of a believer.
Prayer had been ordained during the first days of prophecy, albeit not in its final form. The fact that Muslims, beginning with Prophet Muhammad, performed Prayer from the first day Islam shows that Islam is not a religion that deals with the essentials of belief alone.
Prayer is important; it is a fundamental act of worship because it represents the turning into action of belief in the Oneness of Allah and confession of servitude towards Him. Scientists who study human behavior note that a feeling and awareness that is not exhibited through behavior will weaken with time and then eventually fade. Thus we need to place Prayer in the center of our lives in order to demonstrate our loyalty to Allah and maintain consistency in our Prayer.
The proper placement of Prayer is only possible through the maintenance and uninterrupted regular performance of it. The Qur’an refers to believers as
“Those who are constant in their Prayer.” (Al-Ma`arij 70:23)
It is fundamental that we maintain an uninterrupted consistent performance of Prayer so that we may experience the benefits which our Creator desires for us and they adorn the lives of servants until they die.
“Men whom neither merchandise nor sale distracts from remembrance of Allah and performance of Prayer and paying to the poor their due; who fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned.” (An-Nur 24:37)
Due to its performance, Prayer has been called the “column of Islam,” by the Messenger of Allah. Our Beloved Prophet has stated that Prayer is a form of worship that separates belief from associating partners with Allah and denial of Allah’s existence. He even drew attention to the fact that abandoning Prayer leads to distancing one’s self from belief and even likens one to the Pharaoh.
Prayer is very beloved to us as it gives us the opportunity to consciously remove ourselves from the daily occupations of life and give ourselves a break. In one particular hadith, it is stated that,
“If there were a river passing by the front of your house and you were to wash in this river five times a day, would there be any remnants of dirt and filth on you? This is precisely how Prayer is, it washes away sins.”(Muslim)
Prayer cleanses the human soul, making one’s heart pure, impeccable and clean. A person who prays five times a day will have washed their soul many times and purified their heart of any kind of evil.
At this point we may recall people who, despite their five daily Prayers, do not have pleasing manners or personalities. If Prayer elevates the manners of man so much, then we think, how is it that these individuals are not affected for the better?
I think this seeming contradiction bothers us because we don’t pose the question accurately. The proper question should be, “What would these people have done if they didn’t pray?” Because we know that maintaining worship, in the end, plays a role in the spiritual development of a person. Because most of the time we may not able to monitor each others’ spiritual development in terms of where it began, how far it has progressed and what sort of potential it possesses. But we are sure that every Prayer we perform increases our care and awareness towards the Almighty.
Cleanliness is a mandatory requirement of Prayers, which is the greatest form of worship of all. In Islam, cleanliness comes in two forms: the first is physical cleanliness and the other is spiritual cleanliness. Because physical cleanliness is mandatory our body and the area in which we’ll be performing worship must be cleansed of things that are considered impure, and all acts of worship that are performed without this cleansing are not acceptable.
In addition to the physical and true cleanliness in Islam, there is also a symbolic cleansing. Performing ablution before Prayer and the complete cleansing of the body (ghusl) following the state of being junub (unclean) are part of this symbolic cleansing.
A person without ablution may be physically clean, however, they are not considered physically clean. And for this reason they cannot face Allah in this state; they cannot pray. In order to be accepted in the divine presence, they must perform a symbolic cleansing. This is why ablution is not just a simple washing of the face and hands. It contains both a physical and spiritual cleansing. The requirement of those who are not able to find water to cleanse through tayammum (dry ablution) (An-Nisa’ 4:53) is proof that the purpose of this cleansing is not just physical, but also spiritual
Prayer is a fundamental pillar in the daily life of a believer. A day is programmed around Prayer. During five different times throughout the day, our day is spent in a state of awareness towards Allah as we declare his Almightiness in the Prayer saying,
“You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help.” (Al-Fatihah 1:4)
Man, who faces Allah the Almighty through the words “Allahu Akbar,” leaving all of his worldly concerns and material matters behind, is never as close to Allah as he is during Prayer. For this reason, the Prayer is a believer’s ascension to heavens. It is meaningful that the tahiyyat that is read at the end of Prayer is a memoir of Prophet Muhammad saluting his Creator and the inclusion of excited angels in this salutation.
Prayer is the intensified and systematized version of supplication.
Prayer is a form of worship which contains and gathers all other forms of worship such as declaring the Oneness of Allah, remembering and honoring Him, expressing gratitude to Him, praising Him, asking for help from Him, asking for forgiveness and repenting from sins, supplication, invoking Him, showing humility, reverence and remembrance of Him and contemplation of His creation.
Movements within Prayers, such as standing, bowing, and prostration, encompass the forms of worship employed by all of creation in addition to containing and symbolically convening all of the forms of worship that exist within Islam.
All creations, from the minutest to the largest, all remember Allah in a way that is conducive to their form of creation. When we think of this as a choir that sees participation from the smallest particle of matter to the largest galaxy and all of creation, we may feel as though we are taking part in this universal activity when we allow for our worldly actions to be set aside and face Allah in Prayer. It is at every instance when we catch this feeling that Prayer will cease to be a mandatory responsibility for us and become a source of joy.
The universality of Prayer can also be felt through the scheduling of Prayer times according to the worlds rotation around the sun, which in turn causes for every moment to become a time for the commencement of Prayer and there always being people prostrating to Allah at every second. And again, the fact that there is no need for a special venue or religious leader and that Prayer can be performed in every clean area on an individual basis also speaks to its universality.
Prayer is not just a form of worship that effects the internal phases of an individual. Contrarily, it is the most important determinant that shapes all of his relations, beginning with his immediate environment and his outlook on life.
Prayer takes on the role of a measure in determining the direction and form in relations with humans.
“Your ally is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who establish Prayer and give zakah, and they bow (in worship).”(Al-Ma’idah 5:55)
In its essence, Prayer comprises sincere tranquility in the presence of Allah (a complete respect and reverence), the remembrance of Allah on the tongue and utmost respect of the body towards Allah. Prayer that is performed without peace in the heart and honoring in the body, although appearing to be Prayer in shape and form, is not truly and completely Prayer.
The Qur’an refers to Prayer as “dhikr,” in other words, remembrance. The more a person remembers Allah during their Prayer, the more authentic their Prayer is. If a person is able to gain hold of the fact that they are in the presence of Allah even for one second in their prayer, then that is a great accomplishment for that person. It is most appropriate for this second to take place at the initial takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) leading into Prayer. This moment can serve to ferment the whole of Prayer, spreading throughout it, transforming the remainder of Prayer to its own attributes. The reference to the spot of worship as the “mihrab” alludes to the fact that Prayer is a battle against the one’s self and the Satan. In this case, “giving the mihrab its due right,” means making the self triumphant.
Despite the fact that Prayer has been made mandatory during certain times (An-Nisa’ 4:103), the Qur’an has not clearly stated the number and rak`ahs (units) of Prayers explicitly, only touching on the times for Prayer briefly. As is the case with many other religious applications, the details of these have been left the instructions of the Messenger of Allah, which are based on the divine education he received.
The religion of Islam places a great deal of significance on the unity and convening of a religious community. To facilitate this, praying with a congregation and the places in which congregations convene, mosques, have special importance.
Muslims are encouraged to perform their five daily Prayers in congregation at mosques, while the Friday Prayer performed once a week at a mosque has been made mandatory, the two annual `Eid Prayers have been made supererogatory and similarly the annual convening of Muslims in Mecca has been made mandatory.
The facing of the direction of Mecca, regardless of where you are on the planet, is an attestation to the universal unity of Islam. The selection of an imam to lead the Prayer, the following of the imam by the congregation, the precision of straight lines formed by the congregation, the performance of all physical activities and recitation within the Prayer in synchrony and unity carries both spiritual and physical significance. The rows of the Muslim, whether rich or poor; worker or administrator; young or old, that is based on whomsoever arrives first, side by side in order of arrival, mentally prepares Muslims right before Prayer for espousing the notion that they are equals in the sight of Allah.
Taken with kind permission from: www.lastprophet.info.