2nd Pillar: The Salah
by A. Asim
What is Salah?
Salah in Arabic means ‘prayers’. Salah is not a tradition, cultural, ritual or custom rather it is an act of worship. There are no excuses not even if you are ill, on journey or even in war. However if one were to be in such circumstances than they can do Salah sitting down, lying down or even just moving their eyes in relation to the actions. It is a sign of obedience to the commands of Allah, it is proof of our faith in Allah and Islam.
Importance of Salah
Salah is the second most important pillar of Islam. The five daily prayers are fard (obligatory) on all of mankind. It is one of the most important fard in Islam. The prophets were asked by Allah (SWT) to order the Salah upon their people. The parents must enjoin Salah on their children and Muslims must enjoin Salah on their fellow brother/sisters in the Ummah (community), by reminding each other to offer Salah. We should try to offer Salah with the Jamah (in gathering), it is a prayer in a group behind the imam (leader of the prayer). Making Adhan at the time of Salah is a call to offer Salah in Jamah, those who make Adhan and Iqamah get a special reward from Allah (SWT). A Muslim should try to offer the Salah in the masjid with the Jamah. If there is no masjid nearby than we must offer Salah at home with the Jamah, as even 2 people can make Jamah. However one is alone than they should offer Salah alone. Salah is for remembrance of Allah (SWT), to help spiritually purify one’s self and physically cleansing one’s body through Wudoo which is an act all Muslims perform before Salah by washing the body before prayer.
Islamic history states that Salah goes back from the time of mankind Adam (AS). Every prophet came with the message of Salah. For example, Prophet Musa (Moses- AS) wanted to give glad tidings to the believers who establish regular prayers also, Prophet Esa (Jesus- AS) stating to enjoin on prayer and give charity. However Salah became more detailed and specific when the final messenger Prophet Muhammad (SAW) announced the 5 daily prayers. In the beginning the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received revelation and was ordered to make 2 daily prayers, one in the morning and one in the evening. The prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the sahaba’s (companions) prayed every single night with obligation for an entire year. When the prophet Muhammad (SAW) went to Al-Miraaj (Ascension) to the seven heavens, it was revealed to him directly at the 7th heaven by Allah (STW) of the 5 daily prayers and its obligation. There is a history behind the call of prayer called the ‘Adhan; some Sahaba’s suggested Muslims just like the Jews should blow a horn to announce time of Salah, suggested ringing bells like the Christians in churches, others suggested to light fire just as the fire-worshippers, however the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) waiting until a better notion was to come to him in regards to the call of prayer. One day a Sahabi (companion) came to the Prophet informing him of a dream whereby he was wearing a green garment and was taught the words of the Adhan and was advised to call people to prayer with these words, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) loved the wordings and found it to be so beautiful making it the compulsory call of prayer before Salah (Hadith). The purpose of gradually introducing the 5 daily prayers rather than giving it straight away was to establish strength and discipline.