Prayer: The First and Foremost

Prayer: The First and Foremost

By Editorial Staff

Almighty Allah has sent down revelation to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) commissioning him with the last divine message to disseminate it among people. The first article of the Islamic faith that Prophet Muhammad called people for was monotheism; the worship of Allah, the only true God Alone. Not only Prophet Muhammad but all the Prophets of God commenced their mission with the same article of faith. Allah says in the Qur’an,

prayer - praying muslims

The first worship enjoined upon the Prophet and his followers was Prayer which became the fundamental worship of Islam thereafter.

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, “There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.” (Al-Anbiya’ 21:25)

He sends down the angels, with the inspiration of His command, upon whom He wills of His servants, [telling them], “Warn that there is no deity except Me; so fear Me.” (An-Nahl 16:2)

The first worship enjoined upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers was salah or Prayer which became the fundamental worship of Islam thereafter. Prayer occupied a topping position among the whole Islamic rituals, although some of them may look heavier or harder than Prayer. The hadith of Ibn `Umar has placed prayer on the forefront of the Islamic pillars, next to monotheism.  The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Islam is based on five (principles):

  1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.
  2. To offer the prayer dutifully and perfectly.
  3. To pay Zakah (i.e. obligatory charity)
  4. To perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
  5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We can glimpse the advance of prayer upon other acts of worship in the following:

Prayer is the first enjoined worship

With the exception of all acts of worship, Prayer has been enacted in the heavens, in the seventh heaven. This obligation took place during the blessed Journey of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi`raj in which Almighty Allah has raised His Prophet Muhammad to heavens and met him. In his Sunan, Imam An-Nasa’i reported from Anas ibn Malik that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “I was taken up to the first heaven, where I saw Adam (peace be upon him). Then I was taken up to the second heaven… Then I was taken up to the seventh heaven where I saw Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Then I was taken up above seven heavens and we came to Sidrat Al-Muntaha and I was covered with fog. I fell down prostrate and it was said to me: ‘(Indeed) The day I created the heavens and the earth, I enjoined upon you and your Ummah fifty prayers, so establish them, you and your Ummah.’ I came back to Ibrahim and he did not ask me about anything, then I came to Musa and he said: ‘How much did your Lord enjoin upon you and your Ummah?’ I said: ‘Fifty prayers.’ He said: ‘You will not be able to establish them, neither you nor your Ummah. Go back to your Lord and ask Him to reduce it.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) remained going between Moses and God until the times of prayer were decreased to 5 times daily.

This incident took place years before the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Al-Madinah. However, all of Zakah, fasting, Jihad, Hajj, etc. were obligated after the Prophet’s migration to Al-Madinah and without ascension to the heavens.

Prayer is the first questioned deed after death

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Prayer. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. (At- Tirmidhi)

Prayer ranks next to monotheism

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: “When Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) sent Mu`adh to Yemen, he said (to him), “You are going to people of a (Divine) Book. First of all invite them to worship Allah (alone) and when they come to know Allah, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers in every day and night; and if they start offering these prayers, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, the Zakah. And it is to be taken from the rich amongst them and given to the poor amongst them; and if they obey you in that, take Zakat from them and avoid (don’t take) the best property of the people as Zakat.” (Al-Bukhari)

Prayer is the mainstay of Islam

Mu`adh ibn Jabal narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Prayer is an inexcusable obligation

While most of the actions are contingent on the fulfillment of specific requirements such as the possession of the required amount of properties for Zakah, the physical ability in case of fasting, the material and physical affordability for Hajj, prayer is strikingly required and is absolutely unexcused. If a person does not have the due amount of properties, he is not asked for Zakah; if he is travelling or sick, he is allowed to break his fast; and if he is poor, he is not required to go for Hajj. However, for prayer, the poor, rich, sick, traveler, etc. all are commanded with it. The Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet showed us how the traveler, the sick, or even the warriors at the battlefield can offer prayer. The Qur’an describes the way to perform prayer while in the battlefield as follows,

And when you are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand [in prayer] with you and let them carry their arms. And when they have prostrated, let them be [in position] behind you and have the other group come forward which has not [yet] prayed and let them pray with you, taking precaution and carrying their arms. Those who disbelieve wish that you would neglect your weapons and your baggage so they could come down upon you in one [single] attack. But there is no blame upon you, if you are troubled by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. (An-Nisaa’ 4:102)

Prayer is a common worship in all religions

Almighty Allah related to us that all the Prophets (peace be upon them) would perform prayer as well. God the Almighty says,

And We delivered him (Abraham) and Lot to the land which We had blessed for the worlds. And We gave him Isaac and Jacob in addition, and all [of them] We made righteous. And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:71-73)

Prayer is a daily worship

While most of the acts of worship have specific times for their performance, such as fasting in Ramadan, Zakah, Hajj in Dhul-Hajjah, etc. prayer is to be offered on a daily basis. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?” They replied, “No soiling would left on him.” He (peace be upon him) said, “That is the five (obligatory) Salah (prayers). Allah obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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Facts You May Not Know about Prayer

Facts You May Not Know about Prayer

By Editorial Staff

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salah (i.e. Prayer). If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser. If any shortcoming is found in the obligatory Salah, the Glorious and Exalted Lord will command to see whether His slave has offered any voluntary Prayer so that the obligatory Prayer may be made up by it. Then the rest of his actions will be treated in the same manner.” (At- Tirmidhi)

The hadith alarms us about the seriousness of prayer from among other acts of worship such as fasting, Zakah (obligatory charity), Hajj (pilgrimage), etc. which may seem more costing or harder. Salah stands as a direct link and relationship between God and His slaves in which the praying person relieves himself of the filths of sins, the defects of the soul, the vices of manners and the hardships of life.

Salah consists of special actions and deeds that involve submission, humbleness, imploration, supplication, love, and cordiality with God. During Salah, the worshipper humbles himself before Allah to be elevated in the heavens and earth because the submissiveness to Allah is undoubtedly a means of honor and superiority. Prayer washes out ones sins, cleanses ones heart and elevates one’s esteem. Those who are keen to perform it as prescribed and at its due times are among the most guided ones who have perfect faith in Allah and the Last Day. God says,

The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah , for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided. (At-Tawbah 9:18)

Regarding the importance and secrets of Salah as well as the rulings regarding the correct performance of prayer, Sheikh Abdur Raheem McCarthy gives this very interesting lecture. You are advised to watch this speech to know more about the significance, virtues, facts, rulings and merits of prayer by Sheikh Abdur Raheem McCarthy.

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Source: DigitalMimbar Youtube Channel

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The Excellence of Laylat Al-Qadr

The Excellence of Laylat Al-Qadr

excellence of laylat al qadr

Enjoy watching this video to know more about the excellence, the merits, the time and the rewards of Laylat al-Qadr by Sheikh Zakir Naik.

By Editorial Staff

It is recognized that people’s life span is going quite shorter and smaller than before. The preceding nations are reported to have very long lifetime than ours. The Qur’an informs us that Prophet Nuh (Noah, peace be upon him) remained among his people for 950 years calling them to the worship of God (Glory be to Him). Almighty Allah says,

And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years, and the flood seized them while they were wrongdoers. (Al-`Ankabut 29:14)

However, Almighty Allah has singled out the nation of Prophet Muhammad with special merits that stood up for the shortness of their lifespans. He (Glory be to Him) would multiply their reward and specialized them with specific occasions of worship in which the reward are highly doubled.

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Your example and the example of the people of the two Scriptures (i.e. Jews and Christians) is like the example of a man who employed some laborers and asked them, ‘Who will work for me from morning till midday for one qirat?’ The Jews accepted and carried out the work. He then asked, Who will work for me from midday up to the `Asr prayer for one qirat?’ The Christians accepted and fulfilled the work. He then said, ‘Who will work for me from the `Asr till sunset for two qirats?’ You, Muslims have accepted the offer. The Jews and the Christians got angry and said, ‘Why should we work more and get lesser wages?’ (Allah) said, ‘Have I withheld part of your right?’ They replied in the negative. He said, ‘It is My Blessing, I bestow upon whomever I wish.’ (Al-Bukhari)

One of the blessings of God for the nation of Islam is the blessed month of Ramadan in which the rewards are duplicated and increased more than in other times. Moreover, during the month of Ramadan, there is one night in which worship is better in reward and magnificence than 100 normal months. It is the Night of Decree (Laylat al-Qadr) about which Allah has revealed a full Surah with the same name. It reads,

Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. * And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? * The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. * The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. * Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (Al-Qadr 97:1-5)

With regard to the virtues and merits of Laylat al-Qadr, Sheikh Zakir Naik gives this very interesting talk. Enjoy watching this video to know more about the excellence, the merits, the time and the rewards of Laylat al-Qadr by Sheikh Zakir Naik.

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Source: DigitalMimbar (khalifahklothing) Youtube Channel

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`Eid Al-Fitr: Etiquettes and Prayer

`Eid Al-Fitr: Etiquettes and Prayer

The first day of the month following Ramadan is `Eid Al-Fitr (`Eid of Breaking the Fast). This is the celebration of fast-breaking. Muslims watch the western horizon immediately after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan for the crescent. If the crescent is sighted, it is the first day of the new month and beginning of `Eid day. If the crescent is not sighted within ½ an hour after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan the Muslims complete 30 days of fasting. Either way, the 1st of Shawwal (the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is ‘Eid Al-Fitr.

On `Eid day, Muslims gather in a larger facility than the neighborhood masjid and join in Salat Al-’Eid which is composed of salah followed by an address by the Imam.

On `Eid day, Muslims gather in a larger facility than the neighborhood masjid and join in Salat Al-’Eid which is composed of salah followed by an address by the Imam.

On `Eid day, Muslims gather in a larger facility than the neighborhood masjid and join in Salat Al-’Eid which is composed of salah followed by an address by the imam (leader of the prayer).

This is a major holiday for the Muslims. On this day, they visit many relatives and friends and give gifts to the children.

`Eid is, first, a day of thanks to Allah, and next, a gathering of families and friends. All financially able Muslims are required to give Sadaqat Al-Fitr, a form of charity, on behalf of each and every person of the family, including newborns, to the poor and needy during the Ramadan but before the `Eid Prayers.

Recommendable actions during `Eid Al-Fitr

There are a number of etiquettes and acts of Sunnah that the Muslim should observe on that day, including:

1. Ghusl (taking a bath)

One of the good manners of `Eid is to take bath before going out to the Prayer. It was reported that Sa`id ibn Jubayr said: “Three things are Sunnah on `Eid: to walk (to the prayer-place), to take a bath, and to eat before coming out (if it’s Eid Al-Fitr).”

2. Eating before coming out

One should not come out to the prayer-place on `Eid Al-Fitr before eating some dates, because of the hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari from Anas ibn Malik who said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) would not go out in the morning of `Eid Al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… and he would eat an odd number.” On `Eid-ul-Adha, on the other hand, it is Mustahab (recommended) not to eat until after the Prayer, when one should eat from the meat of one’s sacrifice.

3. Takbir on the day of `Eid Al-Fitr

This is one of the greatest Sunnahs of this day. Al-Daraqutni and others reported that when Ibn `Umar came out on `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid-ul-Adha, he would strive hard in making Takbir until he reached the prayer-place, then he would continue making Takbir until the Imam came.

4. Congratulating one another

People may exchange congratulations and good greetings on `Eid, no matter what form the words take. For example they may say to one another, “Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minkum (may Allah accept from us and from you our good deeds!)”. Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: “At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when people met one another on the day of `Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allahu minnaa wa minka.’” (Reported by Ibn Hajar)

5. Wearing one’s best clothes for `Eid

Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had a Jubbah (cloak) that he would wear on `Eid and on Fridays.” Al-Bayhaqi reported that Ibn `Umar used to wear his best clothes on `Eid, so men should wear the best clothes they have when they go out for `Eid.

6. Changing route on returning from Prayer-place

Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to change his routes on the day of `Eid. (Al-Bukhari) 

`Eid Prayers

The `Eid prayer is to be held outdoors in a large open ground.In inclement weather, or due to a lack of adequate arrangements, `Eid prayer is sometimes performed in the mosques.Muslims can be seen walking and driving to the praying area, carrying prayer rugs and glorifying God.His or her words ringing out: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illa Allah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi El-Hamd” (God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, there is none worthy of worship but God; God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, Praise be to Him.)

As Muslim families begin to congregate at the prayer place, the praising of God is joined with words of congratulations.Children dart about in anticipation of gifts and feasts, older people reflect on the success of Ramadan and the Magnificence of God.

A quiet hush then spreads across the crowd as the `Eid prayer begins. It differs slightly from the normal prayers, and although it is not obligatory, it is highly recommended that Muslims attend.

Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder and give thanks to God not only for the joy of Ramadan, but also for the countless blessings He bestows upon us every day. 

Performance of `Eid Prayers

1- As on Friday, every worshipper should go to the `Eid Congregation in his best, neat, tidy and high-spirited. In the mosque or the place of assembly a certain verbal prayer is said before the actual prayer begins. This is known as Takbir.

2- The time of the `Eid prayers is any time after sunrise and before noon. No adhan or iqamah is required. The prayer consists of two units with the Imam reciting in each the Al-Fatihah (the 1st chapter of the Qur’an) and another passage from the Qur’an audibly.

3- The Imam declares his intention to lead the prayer saying Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest of all), then he repeats the same utterance seven times, raising his hands up to the ears and dropping them by his sides at the end of each utterance.

On completion of the seventh Takbir (utterance) he places the right hand over the left one under the navel as in other prayers. The worshippers follow the Imam in these movements step by step, doing and saying exactly the same

4- At the end of the first unit, the Imam rises up for the second, saying Allahu Akbar. Then he adds five such utterances doing the same thing as he did in the first unit, and followed by the congregation in a like manner

5- After the prayer is completed in two units, the Imam delivers a sermon of two parts with a short recess in between. The first part is begun by saying Allahu Akbar, nine times and the second by making same utterance seven times. The rest of the sermon goes along the lines of exhortation and advice like those of the Friday sermon

6- We must draw the attention to the matter of sadaqat Al-Fitr (the charity of breaking the fast). This is an obligatory tax, whereby every individual Muslim who can afford it must give at least one full meal, or its value, to the poor.

If he has any dependents, he must do the same thing for each one of his dependents. For example, if he provides for himself and three dependents, he has to distribute as a minimum four full meals or their value to the needy.

This charity should be distributed early enough before the Eid-l-Fitr prayer so that the poor may be able to receive the Day in a festive and cheerful spirit

7. In the sermon of the Second ‘Eid, the Imam should draw the attention to the duty of Sacrifice. On the day of `Eid Al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) every Muslim with means is to offer an oblation. A goat or sheep suffices for one household. A cow or steer suffices for seven different households. It is preferable to slaughter the animal of Sacrifice on the `Eid day after prayers. But if it is slaughtered on the second or the third day, it will be accepted. With regard to the meats of the slaughtered animals the Qur’an stipulates these instructions:

“Eat of them and feed the poor man who is contented and the beggar…” (Al-Hajj 22:63)

In the same reference, the Holy Qur’an declares that God is neither interested in nor does He get the meats of the oblations or their blood; but it is the piety of His worshippers that He gets and is interested in

It should be repeated that the `Eid prayers do not substitute for the Fajr (obligatory early morning) Prayers, and cannot themselves be substituted for by any other prayers

The Takbir, which is said before the prayers of both `Eid and after the ordinary congregations prayers offered during the three days following the second `Eid, is called Takbir At-Tashriq. It goes as follow:

Allahu Akbar, (thrice)

La illaha illa Allah

Allahu Akbaru (twice) wa lil-Lahi-l-hamd.

This Takbir means:

God is the Greatest, (three times)

There is no god but the One God.

God is the Greatest, (twice), and praise be to Him

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Sources:

Islam in Focus by Hammudah Abd Al-Ati

islamreligion.com

Islamqa.com

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