After the all-important testimony of faith (Shahaadah), prayer is surely the foremost obligation in Islam. The necessity of performing the five daily prayers is thus the second pillar of Islam. This act of worship comes with many benefits. It was revealed to Prophet (PBUH) when he ascended to the heavens in the miraculous night journey (Isra’ & Mi’raaj). The five obligatory prayers consist of Fajr (dawn prayer), Zuhr (midday prayer), Asr (afternoon prayer), Maghrib (sunset prayer) and Isha (night prayer).
The fast-paced, busy nature of life in the 21st century often results in people neglecting their prayers. Hence, it is imperative to stress upon the immensely positive impact of prayer on a Muslim’s life. Amongst the benefits of the five daily prayers is that we fulfil our obligation towards Allah by praying them. Therefore, we avoid the grave consequences of not performing our five daily prayers in the proper manner prescribed in Islam.
Daily Prayers’ Esteemed Status
A myriad of authentic proofs clearly state that prayer is the greatest of all deeds. For example, when the Prophet (PBUH) was asked to name the best act, his reply was the prayer which is performed on time (Hadith: At-Tirmidhi). This points towards the importance of Salat in Islam, while highlighting the importance of being punctual concerning prayer timings. In addition, the Prophet (PBUH) said the first matter Allah will question believers about on the Day of Judgement would be Salah. Their other deeds will be incomplete if their prayers were neglected (Hadith: al-Tabarani).
Virtues of prayer: How it helps to avoid sins
The Quran mentions that prayer keeps us away from sins and evil, which benefits us in this world and the hereafter. Indeed, the five daily prayers when performed appropriately, serve as constant reminders to believers to remain in a state of God-consciousness. Humans must abstain from evil acts to maintain the feeling of being in a spiritually purified state after performing prayers. Therefore, praying to our Lord five times a day is a significant deterrent as far as committing sins is concerned. Without our prayers, we would be far more vulnerable and at risk of succumbing to our evil desires along with the perpetual whispers of Satan, due to not remembering Allah (SWT) frequently enough.
Benefits of Daily Prayers: How it strengthens faith
Not only does prayer protect us from sins, but it also bolsters our faith. Being regular with our prayers helps to keep our focus on the hereafter and pleasing Allah (SWT). This helps us to avoid getting overly attached to worldly pleasures, and we are thereby protected from falling into despair when faced with challenges and hardship. Our strong focus on our prayers enables us to keep everything in perspective. We must patiently persevere while always remaining content with Allah’s (SWT) decree. As Allah (SWT) stated in the Quran, humankind is impatient when confronted with evil. Except for this, who are constant in their prayers.
Daily Prayers are a Tremendous Source of Forgiveness
The Prophet (PBUH) said that whoever does ablution correctly and performs the Fardh prayers on time and in an appropriate manner will indeed be guaranteed Allah’s forgiveness. In contrast, one who doesn’t won’t be guaranteed forgiveness, and his fate will depend on whether Allah (SWT) wishes to have mercy on him or punish him (Hadeeth: Abu Dawood). Furthermore, prayer itself is a great time to seek Allah’s forgiveness and make dua. Specifically, when one is performing the sajdah (prostration); we were told by the Prophet (PBUH) that believers are closest to Allah when prostrating (Hadith: Saheeh Muslim).
Prayers Serve as Purification
Our Salah is not only earn us good deeds, but they also purify us by nullifying sins we committed. Muhammad (PBUH) compared the five daily prayers to bathing in a stream, five times every day. He informed us that our prayers cleanse us of our sins the way water removes impurities from one’s body (Hadith: Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
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Being Thankful to Allah for the Five Daily Prayers
It is very helpful for us if we know the backstory after which this obligation of five daily prayers came to be. Hence, we will further discuss this point here.
The incident took place during the Prophet (PBUH)’s night journey that included his ascension to the heavens. There, he encountered and greeted various prophets of Allah. He ascended the various levels of the heavens until he reached the highest point. Then, Allah spoke to him directly as He spoke to Musa (AS) and announced the obligation of the daily prayers.
At this point, we must note that Allah first enjoined fifty prayers on Muslims in one day. Prophet Muhammad (S) then started descending the heavens until he met Musa (AS). Musa (AS) asked him what Allah asked the Muslims to do, so Muhammad (PBUH) told him about the fifty prayers. Musa (AS) replied that the people wouldn’t be able to do that and said he should ask for a deduction.
Hence, Muhammad (PBUH) returned and asked Allah for a concession. Allah reduced the prayers by ten. Then, he went back to Musa (AS), who once again recommended a further reduction. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once again returned and did that until Allah reduced the obligatory daily prayers to just five.
As the Prophet (PBUH) informed Musa (AS) about this, he said that he asked his own people (Bani Israel) to do even lesser than this, but they couldn’t. Hence, Muhammad (PBUH) asked Allah once again but this time, He replied that He wouldn’t change it. However, he stated that each prayer would have a tenfold reward, so 5 prayers would have the reward of 50.
As we have pointed out, the five daily prayers have innumerable benefits and virtues. On the other hand, failure to perform them in a sufficiently correct manner, or abandonment of some or all of them would have serious consequences. As Muslims, we must strive to ensure we never underestimate the critical importance of prayer to our faith. To be sure, prayer is the difference between belief and disbelief (Hadith: Ibn Majah).