UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF

SALAAT

EXTRACTS FROM A SERIES OF LECTURES BY MULLAH MUJAHEED SHERIFF

Prayer is what angels love, Prayer is the practice of The Prophets (AS), Prayer is the light of understanding, Prayer is what makes faith strong, Prayer is what makes actions accepted, Prayer increases sustenance, Prayer keeps you away from illness, Prayer is what Shaytan hates, Prayer is a weapon to confront your enemies, Prayer is what will assist you with The Angel of Death (AS), Prayer is the light in your grave, Prayer is an answer to Munkar and Nakeer (AS), and Prayer is what will help you in the grave till The Judgment Day. Prayer is a stronghold, or an asylum - a state of retreat and security which establishes our connection and communication with our Merciful Creator
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Acknowledgement and forward We wish to acknowledge the effort that Mullah Mujaheed Sheriff has put in his series of lectures on the importance of Salaat. We would also like to express our appreciation and thanks to Mullah Mujaheed for allowing us to copy extracts from his lectures for this book. May ALLAH swt bless him for his dedication and hard work to our Great religion of truth and Justice We humbly request the reader to please listen to the series of lectures available online on the website http://almahdi.org.uk/lectures/lecturesindex.shtml, for a simple and excellent explanation on the importance of salaat. Kindly pray Surah Fateha for all Momineen , Mominat, -Thank you.

IMPORTANCE OF SALAT
Salaat which means “Prayer” or “Namaaz” is one of the most important pillars of Islam. Whoever, intentionally abandons it, or neglects it, or even undermines it, commits a major sin in the sight of Allah (SWT). SALAAT IN THE QURAN: Salaat has been mentioned in the holy Quran in the below mentioned verses “In gardens, they shall ask each other About the guilty. What is it that brought you to Hell? They shall say: We were not of those who prayed”. (74: 40-43) “Recite that which has been revealed to you of the book and keep up prayer. Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and it is certainly a greatest remembrance of Allah…” (29:45) “So keep up prayer, surely prayer is a timed order for the believers”. (4:103) “But after them came an evil generation, who neglected prayers and followed their sensual desires, so they will meet complete destruction”. (19:59) “And those who keep a guard on their prayers. These are they who are heirs. Who shall inherit the Paradise, they shall live therein”. (23:9-12) SALAAT IN HADEETH: The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Prayer is the pillar of Religion (Islam). If it is accepted, all the other deeds will be accepted, and if it is rejected, then all the other deeds will also be rejected”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) A man once asked Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (a.s), “After Ma’rifah (awareness) of Allah, which deed is considered as the best?” Imam (a.s) replied, “Salaat” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

It is also reported from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) that, “The most beloved deed to Allah is Salaat and this was the last will of every prophet (to their followers)” (Wasael al-Shia’h) From the above verses and the Hadeeth from our beloved Prophet and Imam, we can clearly see that those who take care to pray their Salaat on time and in the proper manner will be greatly rewarded and they will be from those who will be successful, however those who neglect to pray or take prayers lightly, are clearly doomed in the hereafter and we know that the day of judgement will definitely come and we will be definitely questioned and judged of our deeds by ALLAH (swt). BENEFITS OF SALAAT ARE FOR US: Why has Allah (SWT) commanded us to pray and worship Him? Does He need our prayers? If so, then this is against His divinity and Godhood. Allah (SWT) is needless and everything is dependant on Him. However, there are reasons why He wants us to worship Him and in particular, keep up with prayers. We must understand that whatever Allah (SWT) has commanded us to do, whether His command is AMR (to perform an act) or it is NAHYI (to abstain from an act), there are benefits for us in them. If we understand this, and have faith and trust in Allah (SWT), we shall never question the wisdom of His commands. This can be best explained from this story: A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and an angel appeared before him. The angel told the man: “There is a huge rock outside your cabin. Your Lord has commanded that you will have to push the rock with all your might”. So the man began to push the rock day after day. For many years he toiled from sunrise to sunset bearing the heat of summer and the chill of winter but the rock never moved. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out feeling that his whole day was spent in vain. Finally, after years of toiling and hard labour, when he saw that the rock would not move, he started showing signs of discouragement. Seeing his situation, Satan came and whispered into his ears, “You have been pushing against the rock for a long time and it hasn’t moved. Why kill yourself over this?” This discouraged the man even more and he became disheartened. But, before giving up his work, the man turned to God and said, “O Lord! I have laboured long and hard in Your service putting all my strength to do that which You have asked. Yet after all this, I have not moved the rock even by half an inch. What is wrong? Why am I failing?” The Lord responded by saying: “My worshipper! When I asked you to serve me, and you accepted, your task was to push the rock with all your strength, which you did. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Now you think that you have failed? You feel that you were serving me in vain? Look at yourself, your arms have become strong and muscled, your legs have become massive and strong. You now have abilities you never had before”. We conclude that whatever Allah (SWT) has commanded us to do, we must appreciate that in His obedience, and there are advantages for us whether we know

of them or not. If we bear this in our minds, we will find ourselves doing everything He wants without questioning its wisdom. Hence Salaat has immense advantages and if we pray with love and care, to ALLAH (swt) then we will be the winners, with rewards we can only dream of- and more.

ADVANTAGES OF SALAAT: Salaat is “DHIKRULLAH” meaning ‘Remembrance of Allah’. This means that Salaat reminds us about Allah (SWT) and our submission to Him in totality. It also removes the darkness of negligence from our souls. Aqa Mahdi Puya in his tafseer states that: The literal meaning of Salaat is the middle of the backbone. When used as a verb, it means the bending and the unbending of the backbone. This term was used for a bending posture at the time of giving or taking something. From this, it was adopted for prayer to signify a submissive attitude. The act of Salaat reminds us that we have rejected worship of any other except ALLAH (swt) and submitted ourselves in totality before One God. This is why Allah (SWT) says: “Verily I, I am Allah. There is no god but I; so worship me and establish prayer for my remembrance”. (20:14) Salaat nourishes our souls. Every human being has two sides to his life: Physical & Spiritual. Both these sides have their own needs. We usually nourish our physical side with good food, with make up and cream-anything to beautify it. But we forget our spiritual side. Most of us do not realize that the spiritual side is so powerful that if neglected, it can cause bad effects on the physical side. Medical science shows how psychological disorders, like depression can harm the physical health. This is because we starve and neglect our spiritual side. One thing, which nourishes our spirits, is Salaat. It feeds and cleanses our spiritual side. It is for this reason why all our prophets, imams and even their sincere believers resorted to Salaat when their spirits were upset. As mentioned above, Salaat is Dhikr of Allah (SWT) meaning ‘Remembrance’. Allah (SWT) says, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace”. (13:28) Salaat safeguards one from indecency and evil. “Verily prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest…” (29:45)

There are two explanations for this. 1) A person who is committing sins and also prays; there is hope of change in him.

A youth from Ansar used to pray behind the Holy Prophet (saww) and also commit indecent acts. Somebody informed the prophet (saww) about this. The Holy prophet (saww) said, “Surely his prayer will prevent him from that some day”. Few days later, the youth repented for his sins and corrected himself. (Bihar al-Anwaar) 2) One who prays must also ensure that his prayers are accepted by abstaining from indecent acts and sins. The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “His prayer is not accepted, who does not obey his prayer. And obedience of prayer is to refrain from indecency and evil”. (Majma’ al-Bayaan) This means that when we pray we must at the same time stop doing haraam acts like eating haraam food, stealing, lying, back biting, gossiping visiting haraam places, listening to music,etc..Then and only then will we get the maximum benefits of our salaat WHY DO WE PRAY IN ARABIC? This the most common question, which many people ask today. Arabic is not our language. Most of us non-Arab Muslims do not speak or even understand this language. Then why should we pray in Arabic? There are different reasons the Scholars of Islam have given for this. However, the most important are the following two: 1. Firstly, in any community, language is considered as a uniting factor among its members. It serves as an identity of common culture and promotes better understanding among people of the same community. In any society where people are from different cultures, it is natural to see people sharing a common language and a common culture, more comfortable with their own kind. God sent His prophets to guide mankind. Many of these prophets were sent to their own people. Refer to Quran and see what it says: Prophet Nuh (a.s) complained to Allah (SWT) saying: “O Lord! Verily my people have belied me”. (7:142)

When Prophet Musa (a.s) was going to Mount Tur, he said to his brother Harun: “Take my place among my people”. (26:117) Regarding the Holy Prophet (saww), Allah (SWT) says: “He it is who raised among the illiterates a messenger from amongst them” (62:2) We therefore conclude that Arabic, which is the language of Quran & Hadeeth has been imposed in Salaat to unite the Muslim Ummah under one and the same teachings of Islam so that no Muslim feels an outcast in practicing prayers anywhere in the world. 2. To protect from misinterpretation of the Arabic text. There is no language in the world, which can accurately translate the Quranic Arabic. If we refer to different translations of the Holy Quran, we shall notice that there is no uniformity between them and some translations are also incorrect. Therefore, to protect the Salaat which consists of Quranic verses from any addition or subtraction, and from any alterations and baseless translations. We have been directed to pray in Arabic. Salaat al-Jama’ah: This means “Congregational Prayers”. This act is highly emphasised and recommended in Islam. In fact its recommendation is close to obligatory for Muslims who live near the Mosque. Imam Ali (a.s) was in Kufa when once he was informed about people who were living near the Mosque and yet did not participate in congregational prayers. Imam (a.s) said, “These people should either join us in congregational prayers or they should move away from us such that neither they are our neighbours nor are we their neighbours”. (Tanbeeh al-Khawatir) Advantages of al-Jama’ah: 1. It is a form of Tableegh (Propagation of Allah’s worship). When Muslims get together at one place and at one time to pray, this activity exhibits worship of One and only God to non-Muslims. This way the Hujjah (proof) of Allah (SWT) becomes complete over them. 2. It brings humility. In al-Jama’ah, everyone is equal in the sight of Allah (SWT). The king, the subject, the master, the slave, the rich, the poor, the learned, the ignorant, the white and the black stand together to worship one GOD and no one is superior to the other. 3. Muslims unite to fight against their common enemy i.e. Satan. The place where the Imam stands to lead prayers is known as Mihrab. This literally means “war zone”. The Imam is commander-in-chief and the followers are

soldiers united to confront Satan who desires to turn them away from worship of One God. 4. The rewards are enormous. If people participate in al-Jama’ah and Allah (SWT) accepts prayer of one of them, then prayers of all are accepted. Ayatullah al-Seestani in his “Islamic Laws” states: It has been reported in authentic traditions that congregational prayers are twenty five times better than the prayers offered alone. NEGLECTION OF PRAYERS: After performing the last pilgrimage of his life, the Holy Prophet (saww) stood at the door of Ka’bah, and addressing the huge gathering of Muslims said, “Shall I not tell you of the signs that will appear before the Day of Judegement?” Salman al-Farsi, who was nearest of all said, “Sure O Messenger of Allah (Do tell us of those signs)”. The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Verily among the signs of the Hour is that people will neglect the prayer”. (Day of Judgement) Neglection of prayer here has three meanings: Muslims will NOT pray at all. They will totally abandon prayer. One who, without a genuine reason and a valid excuse (excuse acceptable by Shari’ah) abandons prayers and does not say it at all has been equalled to a Kafir (non-believer). The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “One who leaves out prayer intentionally has committed Kufr”( Disbelief). (Gunahane Kabeera) He (saww) has also said, “The distance between Imaan (Belief/faith) and Kufr (Disbelief) is that of abandoning Salaat”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal) Punishment in this World: A person who abandons Salaat should not only be considered as a disbeliever, but also treated as one. The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “If one, who without an acceptable excuse, does NOT say his prayers (intentionally) for three continuous days and then dies, it is obligatory upon Muslims not to bury such a person in their graveyard”. (Gunahane kabeera) Punishment in the Hereafter: After advising the Muslims to keep up prayer and to give it its due importance, Imam Ali (a.s) said, “Don’t you hear the reply of the dwellers of Hell-fire when asked: What is it that brought you to Hell? They shall say: We were not of those who prayed. (74:40-43)” (Bihar al-Anwaar) Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (a.s) was asked, “O Son of the Prophet! What is the reason that a person who commits adultery is not branded as Kafir, whereas a person who abandons Salaat has been called a disbeliever?”. Imam (a.s) said,

“A person who commits adultery is a captive of his lust which overcomes him, whereas a person who abandons Salaat does so because he knowingly shows disregard to it”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) People will say their Salaat but not on its prescribed time. They will either say their prayer after its Fadheelah time or after the time has passed i.e. Qadha Generally we are very particular about our timings and that of other people. When we have an appointment or need to go to work we are very punctual. But it is a shame that for Allah (SWT), Who has created us, Who has given us life and bestowed upon us many of His bounties, most of us are not even concerned and accord respect to His timings prescribed for Salaat. “So keep up prayer, surely prayer has been enjoined upon believers at stated times”. (4:103) Four occasions when we do not say prayer on time: 1. 2. 3. 4. “Fajr” i.e. Morning Prayer. When Travelling In illness When engaged in Worldly affairs

THE THIRD MEANING: Some Muslims will not abandon the Salaat and shall also say it on its prescribed time BUT they shall not say it as it ought to be said. This by itself shows that there are certain requirements of Salaat, which have to be observed. The first and foremost requirement is “Ikhlaas al-Niyyah” which means ‘Sincerity of Intention’. Regarding ‘Sincerity of Intention’, the following two points should be noted: (a) ‘Niyyah’ plays a significant role in most of our actions. If the intention is good, the outcome of our action is good, but if the intention is bad, then the outcome of our action will also be bad and not satisfactory. Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) has said, “Intention is the foundation of (every deed”. (Ghurar al-Hikam) He (a.s) has also said, “Deeds (of a person) are (actually) the fruits (results) of (his) intentions”. (Ghurar al-Hikam) (b) In Islam, ‘Sincerity of Intention’ is a primary requirement for all good actions including the obligatory acts. The Holy Prophet (saw) has said, “verily Allah does not see your bodies, nor your quantity, and nor your wealth, but He sees your hearts.

Therefore, one who has a righteous heart, Allah becomes (more) compassionate towards him”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal) Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (a.s) has said, “Verily Allah will gather people according to their intentions on the Day of Judgement”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) QUESTION: Why we cannot concentrate in Salaat and why do we feel lazy in performing the same? The answer to this question is simple: We are lacking in our ‘Sincerity of Intention’. Let us ask ourselves, why do we pray? Is it because of the habit? Or is it because our parents shall tell us off if we don’t? Or is it because shunning prayer will make us BE-NAMAZI? Or is it that we want to identify ourselves with Muslims? The day we transform our ‘Niyyah’ purely for the sake of Allah (SWT), we shall be able to focus in our Salaat and also find ourselves motivated to perform it with enthusiasm. This indeed is the power of sincere intention! “Say (O Muhammad), each one acts according to his disposition…” (17:84) Which means that every individual acts according to his/her thinking and behaviour. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has said, “It is compulsory upon every servant (of Allah) to have sincere intention in every (action of) motion and stillness, because if he does not have this, he will become negligent”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) He (a.s) has also said, “A body of a person does not weaken over a thing on which his intention has strengthened”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) While performing Salaat, strive to synchronize your limbs with your heart so that just as the latter has become humble and modest, each part of the body feels lowly, meek and submissive in the presence of the Almighty Creator. Therefore, it is necessary that you gather all your attention, do not pay attention to what is going around you, and distance yourself from anything that diverts your attention. To achieve success in this, endeavour to find a lonely, simple and unattractive place. Fix such a time for your Salat when your thoughts are soothed and relaxed, and there remains no room for laziness, physically as well as psychologically. It is also necessary that you obey the instructions of the infallible Imams (peace be upon them) concerning the methods of qiy’am, bowing, prostration, tashhud and salam. For, these instructions are indeed very effective for concentration and humility. Moreover, recite the wordings slowly and try to pay utmost attention to their meanings and concepts unfailingly. Allah the Almighty says;

“Surely the believers are successful; those who are humble in their prayers.” (Quran, 23:1-2)

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Imam Sadiq (‘a) elaborates, When you are in your prayers, then it is obligatory for you to be humble and welcome your prayers. For Allah the Almighty (while describing the believers) says, ‘those who are humble in their prayers.” (Usul al Kafi, vol. 3, p. 300) The same Imam (‘a) says, “Certainly, I love the believer among you, who while standing for the obligatory prayers, turns his full attention towards Allah and cleanses his heart from all worldly inclinations. He turns his face with his entire heart towards Allah, Who in turn, turns towards him and makes his heart overflow with His love and affection (Thawwab al ‘amal: 163) Imam Sadiq (‘a) says, “One who prays two units (rak’ats) of prayers knowing fully what he is saying in it, he does not turn away from it (after completion), but there remains no sin between him and Allah, that He does not forgive.” Imam Baqir (‘a) says, “Indeed, from the prayers of the believers, half or a quarter or less than that is accepted. Thus, only that part of the prayers is admitted which is performed with complete attention. And we have ordered the recommended prayers (naafilah) only to cover the deficiencies of the obligatory (prayers).” (Usul al Kafi, vol. 3, p. 363) Imam Sadiq (‘a) exhorts,

“When you perform your obligatory prayers, pray in its time as if it is your last prayers and is never going to return to you ever again. Then look at the place of your prostration. If you knew who is on your right and left, you would have performed your prayers well. And know that you are in front of the One Who sees you although you cannot see Him.” (Thawwab al ‘amal, p. 57) Imam Baqir (‘a) says,

When a believing servant stands for prayer, ALLAH swt looks at him until he finishes. Allah’s mercy shadows over his head and the angels surround him him from all sides up to the horizon of the heaven. And ALLAH swt assigns an angel to stand at his head saying “O! worshipper if you knew who was looking at you and who you were supplicating to, you would not look anywhere nor would you leave your position”.

In his famous treatise of rights, Imam Zain al Abidin(‘a) discusses the rights of the prayers thus:

“As for the rights of the prayers, you should know that it is a means of reaching towards Allah. And you are standing before Allah when you are praying. When you are aware of this, then it is desirous that you stand during prayers like the one who is disgraced, desirous (of rewards), fearful, scared, hopeful, pauper, crying, respectful of the One Who is before Him. Maintain a dignified calm, head down, limbs humble, tender heart, praying with the best of invocations within yourself, seeking the freedom of your neck from Him, an imprisonment caused on account of your sins and a destruction caused by your misdeeds. There is no strength except Allah’s.” (Tuhaf al Uqul, p. 258) Therefore, it is necessary that one who prays, considering the position and status of Salat, should pay full attention towards it with his heart and soul, which is worthy of the praying ones. He should derive benefits of both this world as well as the hereafter, from it and the greatest reward of them all, that is, meeting with Allah, comes his way. It does not befit him to become heedless of Allah- his creator, during his prayers, and instead become engaged in his own thoughts. Although apparently this may seem difficult, rather impossible – which is why it is accompanied with such great rewards and compensation - but one should never despair of it. Perhaps, with Allah’s grace, and our efforts, belief and piety, the difficulties will become easy and problems will be solved. For, if you take one step towards Allah, He will pull you a hundred paces towards Himself. Then, turn towards Him with your entire heart and soul. Don’t allow laziness and sluggishness dominate you. Keep Shaitan away from you.

REQUIREMENTS OF SALAAT: The foremost requirement for Salaat is “Ikhlaas al-Niyyah” meaning ‘sincerity of intention’ . The second requirement is of “al-Wudhoo” which means ‘performing ablution’.

“O you who believe ! When you stand up for prayers wash your faces and your hands upto the elbows, and wipe your heads and your feet to the ankles…” (5:5) According to a Hadeeth of the Holy Prophet (saw), there are eight (8) types of people whose prayers are not accepted, one of them being “Taarik al-Wudhoo” which means ‘one who abandons al-Wudhoo’. Why has Allah (SWT) commanded us to perform al-Wudhoo in a specific manner which involves only parts of our body: Face, Hands, Heads and Feet? A group of Jews came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and asked him questions. Among their questions they asked: “Tell us, O Muhammad, why are these four organs given the wudhoo, while they are the cleanest parts of the body?” The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “When Satan whispered to Adam (a.s.) and he came near the tree and looked at it, he lost face. He stood up and walked to it – the first step taken towards sinning. He took with his hand some of what was on it and ate it. Off his body flew what were on him of jewellery and apparel. He put his hand on the top of his head and wept. Allah accepted his repentance, but made it incumbent upon him and his offspring to purify those four organs. So, Allah ordered the face to be washed, because it looked at the tree. He ordered the hands to be washed to the elbows, because he took with them (the fruit of the tree). He ordered the head to be wiped (with the hand wet with water), as he put his hand on the top of his head, and He ordered the feet to be wiped because with them he walked to sin”. (Aadaab al-Salaat-Imam Khomaini) Man in this life too, follows the same pattern when sinning. He comes face to face with forbidden pleasures, walks towards them with his feet, and commits them with his hands and then regrets over its consequences. This is indeed what Allah (SWT) wants us to realize and understand through the cycle of al-Wudhoo so that we are ever cautious. Although, Wudhoo is compulsory for Salaat, it is highly recommended that a Muslim should always be in the state of purity through Wudhoo. When someone asked the Holy Prophet (saww), “On the Day of Judgement, How will you recognize the people of your Nation between the nations of Nuh (a.s.) and yours?” He (saww) replied, “Their faces will be shinning because of Wudhoo, a distinction which no other nation will have, and I will recognize them because they shall be given their books of deeds in their right hands”. (Al-Targheeb Wal-Tarheeb) He (saww) has also said, “If you can, then do not give up Wudhoo, for one whom death occurs in state of Wudhoo is granted Martyrdom”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)

When to Perform Wudhu Every Muslim must be in a state of spiritual purification before performing the daily obligatory prayers. The same state of purification must also be achieved before numerous other acts of worship, such as optional prayers, touching the script of the Qur`an and the rites of the pilgrimage (hajj) can be performed. In most cases, it is sufficient to perform Wudhu in order to achieve this purification. However, at other times, a Ghusl must be performed

How to Perform Wudhu Niyya : Make your intention as, "I am performing Wudhu for the pleasure of Allah, and to seek closeness to Him”. Washing the face : First, remove anything on the face (and hands) that may prevent water from reaching the skin before beginning Wudhu (physical items such as a watch, ring, etc… or even things such as paint or anything which would act as a barrier over the skin). Take a handful of water in the right hand and pour this water over the face from the top (just above the forehead). Then using the right hand, wipe the face from the tip of where the hair-line is to the bottom of the chin such that the water reaches all parts from the hairline to chin, and the entire horizontal plane of the face within the reach of the span of the hand from the middle finger to the thumb. To ensure that all external parts have been washed, include a bit of the inner parts of your nose, lips, and eyes in the washing. You do not, however, need to wash the complete inner portion of these parts. Washing once as described above is obligatory. A second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited. Washing the arms : Using the left hand, pour water over the right arm from the elbow to the finger-tips and then, with the same hand, wipe the water over both sides of the arm to ensure that all parts are washed. Then do the same with the left arm by using the right hand. The washing must be done from the elbows down to the fingertips and not vice versa. Pour water from a little above the elbow to ensure that the whole forearm is covered. Wash in such a way that the water penetrates the hair, if any, and reaches the skin. Again, washing once as described above is obligatory. A second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited. Regarding washing of the face and hands:  Wash by pouring water from top to bottom. Washing the other way will invalidate your Wudhu. In general, wash a little beyond the required limit in order to make sure all parts are covered.

Wiping the head : Next, wipe the front most quarter of the head with the moisture that remains in your right hand. Wipe from the upper part of the head downwards (from the back of the head towards the face). It is recommended to wipe the length of at least one finger. Wiping can be done with one finger only; however it is recommended to use three fingers together (the middle finger, index finger and ring finger). The moisture must reach the scalp however if the hair is so short that it cannot be combed, it is sufficient to wipe your hair. While wiping the head, your hand should not touch your forehead. Doing otherwise will cause the water of the forehead to mix with the wetness of your hand, and this will render the act of wiping your right foot invalid, since the act of wiping must be done with the wetness of the hands only. Wiping the feet : Finally, wipe your feet with the moisture that remains in your hands. Wipe starting from the tip of any toe up till the ankle joint. Wipe your right foot with your right hand, and your left foot with your left hand. It is better to wipe at least the width of three joined fingers (the middle finger, index finger and ring finger), and better yet to wipe your entire foot with your entire hand. At the time of wiping the foot, actually pull the hand from toes to the ankle joint (as described above) along the length of the toe-tips till the ankles. Do not just place your whole hand on your foot and pull up a little. Please note that wiping of the feet performed on socks or shoes is not valid except in unusual circumstances. Regarding wiping of the head and feet:  While wiping your head and feet, move your hand over them. Keeping your hand stationary and moving your feet / head under your hand will invalidate your Wudhu. However, there is no harm if your head and feet move slightly during the wiping.  The parts you are wiping must be dry before you begin wiping, and if they are so wet that the moisture on your palm has no effect on them, the wiping will be void. Slight dampness on the part you are wiping is permissible as long as the moisture of the palm is immediately mixed with it when wiping. Wiping must be done with the moisture remaining on the palms after washing. Do not re-wet your hands with new water, or mix the moisture on the palms with water from other organs of Wudhu. In the case where the palms become dry before wiping, the palms can be re-wet with water from the beard, moustache, eyebrows, or the other organs of Wudhu.

THIRD REQUIREMENT FOR SALAAT:

The third requirement for Salaat is Quibla, which means facing towards the Holy Ka’bah during prayer. Facing Quibla does not mean that Allah (SWT) is in a particular place or direction. He (SWT) is everywhere. “And Allah’s is the East and the West. Therefore, wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah”. (2:115) HISTORY OF MASJID-E-QUIBLATAYN: Masjid-e-Quiblatayn means “the mosque with two Quiblas”. One faces the Holy Ka’bah in Makkah and the other face Baitul Muqaddis in Jerusalem. This Masjid is situated in Madina, few kilometres from Masjidun-Nabi. When Salaat was made compulsory, the Holy Prophet (saww) and the Muslims used to face Baitul Muqaddis. This was the practice in Makkah and continued in Madina until the second year of migration. The reason why Baitul Muqaddis was the Quibla is that it was the point of worship for the nations of the previous prophets. Perhaps, Allah (SWT) wanted to show to them that Islam was the same message as that of Moses and Jesus, and that Muhammad (saww) was the prophet leading mankind to the same path of Monotheism. Jews in Madina also used to worship facing Baitul Muqaddis. However, the Holy Prophet (saww), in his heart, always longed to turn towards the Holy Ka’bah for two reasons: (a) The nations of previous prophets had distorted their religions and had rejected him (saww) has the last prophet. (b) They were making fun and mockery of the Holy Prophet (saww)’s practice. The Jews in Madina, in order to discredit Islam said, “Muslims claim to have a religion whose laws superseded all other previous laws then why do they face the Quibla of the Jews?” The Holy Prophet (saww), was distressed by this statement. He) would come out of his house and look up towards the sky awaiting revelation from Allah (SWT) in this matter. Finally, the following verse was revealed, “Verily We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven; so We shall turn you to a Quibla which you like; so turn your face towards the Sacred Masjid, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it”. (2:144-145) The Holy Prophet (saww) was saying his noon prayer in a Masjid facing Baitul Muqaddis . He) had completed two raka’at of the noon prayer when Gabriel came with the communication from Allah (SWT) to turn to Ka’bah. The Holy Prophet (saww) turned his body round towards the Holy Ka’bah and so did his followers. Hence the Mosque became known as Masjid-e-Quiblatayn. REASONS FOR FACING THE KA’BAH DURING SALAAT: 1. To keep our focus on our belief in the concept of Tauheed. What better place can there be other than the Holy Ka’bah built by the champion of

Monotheism, Prophet Abraham (a.s.). In praise of this house, Allah (SWT) says, “And surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bakkah (Makkah), blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it are clear signs, the standing place for Abraham, and whoever enters it shall be secured”. (3:96-97) 2. It gives the message of the universal teachings of Islam to the world in form of the unity of belief and views. If a person looks from outside the earth the arrangement of the rows of Muslims in prayer he would see that all their rows are in form of circles whose centre is the same, and in the heart of those circles is the Ka’bah, and it is an indication of the unity of Muslims. The fourth requirement for Salaat is what has been termed as Al-Khushoo’ which means ‘to be submissive’ or ‘to be humble’ or ‘to display humility’. “Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers”. (23: 1-2) The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Humbleness is the ornament of Salaat”. (Meezan al-Hikmah) WAYS OF ACHIEVING AL-KHUSHOO’ IN SALAAT: Firstly, one must be mentally alert about going into the presence of the Almighty God. Which means one should not feel lazy or sluggish nor should one be sleepy. Feeling lazy or sluggish during Salaat is considered as one of the signs of a Munafiq meaning ‘a hypocrite’. “Verily the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah and He is over-reaching them. And when they stand up for prayer, they stand up sluggishly”. (4:142) Nor should one be sleepy. “O you who believe! Do not approach prayers whilst you are intoxicated, until you know (well) what you are saying…” (4:43) In explaining the above verse, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said, “This is not the same intoxicant which people believe in – thinking that the believers consume alcohol. A believer never drinks alcohol and can never be intoxicated (in this manner). The intoxicant in this verse refers to slumber or sleepiness which stops one from knowing what he is saying in takbeer, rukoo’, sujood”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) Imam Baqir (‘a) explains further;

“Do not stand for prayers lazily, yawning or feeling heavy (i.e. considering it to be a burden). For all these are from the qualities of hypocrisy. Allah has prohibited the believers from standing for prayers while they are intoxicated i.e intoxicated from sleep.” Therefore intoxication is not only confined to alcohol, it may mean intoxication of sleep, drugs, sheeshah, music etc (Tafsir, Ayyashi, vol. 1, p. 242)

Secondly, to do what has been termed as “GHADH-DHUL BASAR” which means- ‘to cast down’ OR ‘to lower one’s eyes out of Modesty’ during Salaat. On the Day of Judgement, the presence of Allah (SWT), with all His Might, shall be felt by all the living creatures. On that day, when the caller calls out to the people to rise from their graves, Quran says: “They shall come out of their graves with down cast eyes…” (54:7) This is because:  All shall feel the presence of the Almighty God.  People will become aware of their own shortcomings/sins and will therefore be longing for Allah (SWT)’s Mercy.  The task ahead (of accounting for deeds) shall be hard and difficult. In Salaat the situation should be somewhat similar because we are presenting ourselves before Allah (SWT). We should therefore, feel His presence, remind ourselves about our shortcomings and realize that the worldly life is just an opportunity to seek the better of the Hereafter. If this opportunity slips by then the task of accounting will be hard and difficult. The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Al-Khushoo’ (humbleness) is to cast down the eyes in Salaat”. (Meezan al-Hikmah) ‘Allama Tabrasi says: People should be Submissive, Modest and put themselves in state of total degradation (considering themselves insignificant) not raising their eyes from the place where they prostrate nor turn towards right or left. Ayatollah Seyyid al-Seestani has stated: It is Mustahab for the person offering prayers to stand erect, slacken down his shoulders, place his hands on his thighs, join his fingers together, look at the place of Sajdah, place the weight of his body equally on two feet, stand in humility, keep both his feet in line. Men offering prayers should keep a distance of three open fingers, or a span between his feet, and women should keep the feet together. (Islamic Laws: Ruling No.986, Page 186) One must consider his/her every prayer to be the last of his/her life.

One of the most important things, which we forget in his life, is ‘Death’. We see many people dying yet we think that death will not occur to us. People remember death and turn repentant towards Allah (SWT) either in old age when they begin to witness physical weaknesses in themselves or when they are suffering from lifethreatening illnesses. Death can come to any one at any time and that is the reason why Islam teaches us to remind ourselves about it constantly.

The best place to remember death is in Salaat because it helps us to:  Detach ourselves from worldly affairs  Seek forgiveness for sins  Display humility before Allah (SWT) The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Pray a farewell prayer for verily it is through it that one acquires attachment and closeness (to Allah)”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) He (saww) also said, “Remember death in your prayer, for the man who remembers death during his prayer is bound to pray properly, and pray the prayer of a man who does not think that he will pray any other prayer”. (AlBaani: 1421)

Movements during Salaat should be at a measured pace and one must not fidget during Salaat. One should not pray so hurriedly that he interferes in its sequence and one should be still – not fidgeting. It is narrated that:  [One day the Holy Prophet (saww) was sitting with his companions in the Mosque when a man entered and began offering his prayer. He prayed so hurriedly that he did not perform its bowing and prostrations correctly. Thereupon the Holy Prophet (saww) said, “This person has pecked liked the pecking of a crow. If this man dies whilst praying in this manner, he will not die as a Muslim”] (Gunahaane Kabeera)  He (saww) also said, “The worst thief is one who steals from his prayer”. Somebody asked, “O Messenger of Allah! How can a person steal from his prayer?” He (saww) said, “By not completing the Ruku’ and the Sajdah properly (correctly)”. (Gunahaane Kabeera)

One should also avoid fidgeting in Salaat. Some people will either scratch themselves, or shake their bodies, or even play with their fingers or beard. All this is against Al-Khushoo’. One day, the Holy Prophet (saww) saw a man playing with his beard in prayer. He (saww) said, “If this man’s heart had humbleness in it, all his other organs would have also displayed humbleness (to Allah)”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) has also said, “A person must display humbleness in prayer. One whose heart becomes humble for Allah (SWT) then all his other organs also becomes humble, and then such a person does not play with any thing in Salaat”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) The fifth way of acquiring Al-Khushoo’ is to set one’s mind and heart towards Allah (SWT). This means that in Salaat, we must detach ourselves from all the worldly things and think about the Greatness of Allah (SWT) and His bounties that surround us. Abu Hamza Thumali has reported that: [Once I saw Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (a.s.) offering his prayer during which his robe dropped from one of his shoulders. Imam (a.s.) did not pay any attention to it and continued with his prayer. After Salaat, I asked, “I saw you offering your prayer. Your robe fell from your shoulder, why didn’t you put it up?” Imam (a.s.) responded by saying, “Woe unto you! In whose presence was I standing? A servant’s prayer is not accepted unless he offers it with his heart towards Allah”] (Bihar al-Anwaar) The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “Allah does not accept the prayer of a servant whose heart is not present with his body”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) ADVANTAGES:  Sense of Spiritual fulfilment. After engaging themselves in materialistic tendencies for very long, people today feel an urgent need to examine the Spiritual dimensions of their lives. They have realized that their deepest needs cannot be satisfied with consumer products. So now, they are turning to any thing that can offer them the true sense of Spiritual fulfilment. Mind & Body Healing Centres, Meditation Centres and Yoga sessions are the modern day places to which people resort to. However, if one is not healed by God, he/she can not be healed by anything else. Salaat offers this sense of Spiritual satisfaction. The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “When a servant stands up for prayer with all his thoughts and heart focused towards Allah (SWT), he comes out of his prayer just like the day he was born from the womb of his mother” (Bihar al-Anwaar) In other words, he is not only free from his sins but also at ease which is surrounded by tranquillity and peace which a small child experiences in infancy.

One whose focus is Allah (SWT) becomes the focus of Allah (SWT). Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “I would love to see a believer among you who stands up for his obligatory prayer with his heart focused towards Allah (SWT) and nothing of the world distracts him. For there is no believer who focuses on Allah in his prayer except that Allah (SWT) also turns towards him...” (Bihar al-Anwaar)

Such a Salaat is accepted by Allah (SWT). Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “One who offers Salaat with concentration (on Allah) and neither does he think of any thing else nor is he negligent in it, Allah (SWT) will look at him as much as he has maintained his concentration. So at times ½, at time 1/3, at times ¼ and at times only 1/5 of ones prayers does Allah accepts. This is the reason why Nafila prayers have been emphasised upon because they supplement of what has been lost from the obligatory prayers”. (Bihar alAnwaar)

The sixth way of acquiring Al-Khushoo’ is by applying in life the instructions which Salaat gives to us. One who prays must also apply the instructions of Salaat in his life, and the instruction of Salaat is to abstain from Obscene and detestable (evil acts). The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “His prayer is not accepted who does not obey (the instructions of) his prayer, and obedience to prayers means to abstain from indecency and evil acts”. (Majma’ al-Bayaan) The seventh way of acquiring Al-Khushoo’ is to understand what we are reciting in Salaat and respond (interact) with all its wordings (verses & dhikr). We do not have to necessarily know Arabic language to understand what we recite in Salaat. We can either learn its meanings or have the general idea of what we are usually reciting in Qiyam, Rukoo’, Sujood, Tashahhud and Salaams, and then respond to its wordings. One of the ethics of reciting Quran is to respond to its verses. Imam Ja’ffar asSadiq (a.s.) has said, “If you pass by a verse in which Paradise has been mentioned, then pray to Allah for Paradise. And if you pass by a verse in which Hell has been mentioned, then seek refuge in Allah from its fire”. (Meezan al-Hikmah) This should be the same in Salaat. We must do our best to respond (in our hearts) to the verses of the Holy Quran and other Dhikr in Salaat, and this will enable us to build Al-Khushoo’ in our hearts.

It is reported that Imam Ja’ffar as-Sadiq (a.s.) used to recite the Holy Quran during Salaat and fall down unconscious. When he (a.s.) regained his consciousness and was asked, “What was the cause of (your) such condition?” He (a.s.) replied, “What do you mean? I continue repeating the verses of the Holy Quran until I reach a stage wherein I can actually feel that I am hearing the verses directly from the One who has revealed them”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) MEANINGS OF SOME ACTIONS & DHIKR OF SALAAT: There is a lengthy tradition from Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) in which he (a.s.) has given meanings of some actions and dhikr of Salaat. If we understand them, it will help us to respond to whatever we do and recite during prayer. Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansaari has reported that: [I was with Ameer al-Mu’mineen (a.s.) when he saw a man standing and offering his prayer. Addressing him, he (a.s.) said, “O you! Do you know the in-depth meaning of Salaat?” The man replied, “And is there any in-depth meaning to it except that it is a form of worship?” Imam (a.s.) said, “By Allah, Who sent Muhammad (saww) with Prophethood...” and then he continued to describe the meanings of every action in Salaat.] The following is what the Imam (a.s.) said. Please note that the following is NOT the exact text of the Hadeeth but explanation derived from it.

FOR TAKBEER: He (as) said: When you say ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ which means that ‘Allah is the Greatest’, know for certain that He (SWT) is above all kind of needs. In other words, our offering of Salaat is not because Allah (SWT) needs; rather, it is because we need Salaat to get closer to Him. Therefore,

He is neither in NEED of our praises nor by our standing and sitting nor is He in NEED of our praises by our act of movements and stillness. He is above from being praised through physical means, or through comparison with something else, or through associating Him with something. He is NOT HINDERED by anything and He cannot be affected by any harm.

He is above from being praised through a gem or any substance. Neither does He physically reveal Himself through anything nor can any thing take His form. He does NOT perish reform or change His one condition to another. And He cannot be perceived through our five senses.

 

FOR RUKOO’ (BOWING): He (as) said: When a person bows (performs Rukoo’) it denotes that the person has submitted oneself fully to Allah (SWT). It is like saying: “I have believed in You, and my faith in You is firm even if my neck were to be broken”. And then whilst standing up from Rukoo’ when a person says: SAMI’ALLAHU LIMAN HAMIDAH, the act denotes our acknowledgement that it is Allah (SWT) who brought us into existence from nothing. FOR THE TWO SAJDAHS: He (as) said:

When you perform your first Sajdah, say to Allah (SWT) in your heart: MINHA KHALAQTANEE (it is from it i.e. Dust from which You created me). Then you raise your head and say in your heart: MIN-HA AKHRAJTANEE (it is from it i.e. Dust that You brought me into life) When you perform your second Sajdah, say to Allah (SWT) in your heart: WA FEE-HA TU’EEDUNEE (and it is in it that You shall return me –after death). And finally, when you raise your head again (for Tashahhud), say in your heart: WA MIN-HA TUKHRIJUNEE TAARATAN UKHRAA (and from it You shall remove me for the second time- on the Day of Judgement)

FOR TASHAHHUD: He (as) said: When you sit for your Tashahhud on your left side, with your right foot over your left foot, declare in your heart: ALLAHUMMA INNEE AQAMTUL-HAQ WA AMATTUL-BATIL (O Lord! I have hold on to the Truth and discarded the False). And then your recitation of the Shahadatayn denotes that: You are renewing your faith, reforming your belief in Islam and acknowledging the life after death.

FOR THE TASBEEHAAT AL-ARBA’: He (as) said: In it one declares that: All Glories and All Praises belong to Allah (SWT) who is the One and Only God, and He (SWT) is the Greatest. In other words, one is acknowledging the Greatness of Allah (SWT) and denouncing all that is said against Him by His opponents from among the transgressors and those who reject Him. FOR THE SALAAM: Imam (as) said that: When one says AS-SALAAMU ‘ALAYKUM WARAHMATULLAHI WA BARAKAATUHU it means that a person has wished from Allah (SWT) for His Mercy and his/her Salaat will be the source of his/her peace from the punishment of Allah (SWT) on the Day of Quiyamah. In the end, the Imam (as) said, “One who does not understand the in-depth meaning of his Salaat, his Salaat is incomplete”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) The eighth way of acquiring Al-Khushoo’ is ‘Al-Bukaa min Khashyatillah’. ‘Al-Bukaa min Khashyatillah’ means ‘to cry’, or ‘to shed tears’ in fear of Allah (SWT) during Salaat. There is no doubt that this adds to one’s humility in the presence of Allah (SWT). “They fall down on their faces weeping, and it increases their humility”. (17:109) Once, somebody asked Imam Ja’ffar al-Sadiq (a.s.), “Can a person keep a sad face (as though he is crying) during Salaat?” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “Excellent! Excellent! Even if one is able to shed a drop of tear which is equal (in measure) to the head of a housefly”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) Crying and shedding of tears during Salaat is to acknowledge the greatness of Allah (SWT) and to beseech His forgiveness for our shortcomings. The Prophets (a.s.) and the Imams (a.s.) were infallibles, yet they humbled themselves before Allah (SWT) and used their tears as weapon to beseech His forgiveness and acquire close proximity to Him. [It is narrated about Prophet Shu’ayb (a.s.) that he (a.s.) cried so much that he (a.s.) lost his eye sight. Allah (SWT) restored his sight for him. Again, he (a.s.) cried so much that he (a.s.) lost his eyesight. Once again Allah (SWT) restored his sight for him. When for the third time Shu’ayb (a.s.) cried and lost his sight, Allah (SWT) said to him, “O Shu’ayb! Why do you cry so much? If you are crying in hope to gain Paradise, then know that I have given it to you. And if you are crying in fear of Hellfire, then know that I have given you protection from it”.

Prophet Shu’ayb (a.s.) responded by saying: “I am neither crying in hope of Your paradise, nor in fear of Your hell. It is Your love that has tied its knot around my heart such that I can not help but cry”] (Qisas al-Ambiya) This is acknowledging the greatness of Allah (SWT) and showing love towards Him. One should also take advantage of prayers to admit one’s shortcomings and beseech the forgiveness from Allah (SWT) by way of shedding tears and crying to Him for His Mercy. In Dua’-e-Kumayl, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) says: “O He, Whose name is the remedy; and Whose remembrance is the cure; and Whose obedience is the true wealth; Have mercy on one whose only reliance is on hope, and whose only weapon is crying (shedding tears)”. AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE: Although Imam Ali (a.s.) was extremely knowledgeable and courageous, he (a.s.) displayed utmost submission to Allah (SWT) in Salaat. It is said that he (a.s.) used to tremble, the colour of his face became pale and he (a.s.) sought the Mercy of Allah (SWT) through crying. Abud-Darda’ has reported that: [One day I saw Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) in al-Najjar’s plantation, taking himself aside, away from his friends, behind some leafy palm trees. I thought he may have returned home but then I heard a sad voice in touching tone reciting: “O my God! So many offences, you were patient enough not to counter with your anger; and so many a crime you were too kind to uncover”. I was enchanted by the voice and tracing to its source, I saw that it was Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). I saw him in prayer weeping and crying. I hid myself and heard him continuing: “O my God! Though my long years were spent in disobeying you, and my sins were recorded as grave in your records, yet I hope for nothing but your forgiveness, nor do I look for anything but for your satisfaction. O my God! When I think of your forgiveness, I be light my sin; Then when I remember the severity of your punishment, I find my calamity too grave. Oh! If I read in my record an offence forgotten by me, but registered by you, (and then) you would say (to the angels): ‘Take him!’ Oh! What a taken one, whose folk cannot save him, nor his tribe benefit him, nor can the people have mercy upon him when he is summoned away. Woe to me from a fire that cooks the livers and the kidneys!

Woe to me from the fire eager to roast! Woe from the flames of Hell”. Then Ali (a.s.) wept vigorously. Suddenly he (a.s.) became quiet. There was silence – no movement and no sound. I thought Ali (a.s.) has fallen asleep and that I would come and wake him up in the morning. When I returned, Ali (a.s.) would not move. I said, “Surely we belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return, Ali is dead”. When I informed Fatima (a.s.) as to what had transpired, she said, “O Abud-Darda’! By Allah, this is his usual fainting in fear of Allah (SWT)”. Finally, when Ali (a.s.) regained his consciousness and saw me crying, he (a.s.) asked for the reason for crying. I said, “For what you do to yourself”. Ali (a.s.) said, “O Abud-Darda’! How would it be if you saw me when I am summoned to Judgement, when all the wrong doers are certain of torture, when rough angels and severe tormentors surround me and take me to the presence of the Almighty sovereign, and when friends forsake me, and the people of the world reject me! Then you would have more sympathy upon me in the presence of one from whom nothing is concealed”. ] (Meezan al-Hikmah) CONTINUATION ON AL-BUKAA The eighth way of acquiring Al-Khushoo’ in Salaat is ‘Al-Bukaa Khashyatillah’ which means ‘to cry or to shed tears in fear of Allah (SWT)’. min

We have been highly encouraged to shed tears in the presence of Allah (SWT) so as to acknowledge His Greatness, acquire Qurbah (closeness) to Him and to seek His Forgiveness for our sins. The Holy Prophet (saww) said to Imam ‘Ali (as): “O ‘Ali! I am advising you about the characteristics which you must adopt. O Allah! Help him to do so”. And one of the characteristics that he (saww) mentioned was, “Crying for (the pleasure of) Allah. For every drop of tear He (SWT) will build for you a house in Paradise”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) has said, “There are no drops which are most beloved in the sight of Allah, the Exalted, other than two types of drops: A drop of blood that is shed in His cause, and a drop of tear that is shed in the darkness of the night, which a servant sheds to earn the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) It is reported from Imam al-Baqir (as) that, “All eyes will shed tears on the Day of Judgement except for three kinds: One which remained awake (in the nights) in the cause of Allah, One which shed tears in fear of Allah, and One that refrained from looking at what has been forbidden by Allah.” (Meezan al-Hikmah) Why have we been encouraged to cry?

The answer to this question has also been provided in the traditions. Basically, it is to soften our hearts thereby making it a recipient of the Divine message. THE HEART IS THE KING The heart plays a significant role in man’s life. It is because of the heart that man is alive. If the heart stops, man dies! However, the control of the heart is not only on the physical aspect of a man’s life, it also manages his behaviour to certain extent. A person is gentle or rough, loving or uncaring, calm or irritated because of the feelings that the heart experiences. In short, the heart is the leader of all the other organs. Imam al-Sadiq (as) has said, “Verily the relation of the heart with the body is that of a leader over his people”. (Bihar al-Anwaar) The Holy Prophet (saww) has said, “The heart is the king and it has an army. If the king is righteous, his army will also become righteous; and if the king is vicious then his army will also become vicious”. (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)

PERSISTENCE IN SINS RUSTS THE HEART One thing that restrains the heart from being receptive to divine call and message is persistence in sins. “When Our signs are recited before him, he says: (these are) fables of the ancients. Nay! In fact what they used to do has rusted their hearts”. (83:1314) In explanation of the above verse, the Holy Prophet (saww) said, “When a person commits a sin (for the first time), a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents from that sin and does not repeat it, the spot disappears. But if he repeats it, the spot spreads and worsens the heart (such that he rejects whatever Allah says). This is the meaning of: ‘nay! In fact what they used to do has rusted their hearts’”. (Tafseer Noor al-Thaqalayn) CRYING OR SHEDDING TEARS IS THE SOLUTION Whenever a person stands up for prayer, he should think about the Greatness of Allah, against whom he has sinned and he trains himself to shed tears so that his mind absorbs the Greatness of Allah and his heart softens to become receptive to divine message. The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “Train your hearts to become delicate; and increase in your reflection (about the Greatness of Allah); and cry in His fear”. (Meezan al-Hikmah)

Imam ‘Ali (as) has said, “Tears have not dried except due to hardening of the hearts; and the hearts have not hardened except due to extensive sins”. (Meezan al-Hikmah).

Following is a list of 14 recommended points, which could help attain the spirituality in our Salaat. There are 7 points to consider before the beginning of Salaat and 7 points during the Salaat. For a full explanation please refer to lectures by Br.Mustafa Mawjee: Before Salaat: 1. Relieve oneself of Natural necessities, like toilet etc. 2. Perform Wudhu while facing the direction of Qibla 3. Use perfume on the body 4. Begin prayers on time (on the dot) 5. Attain calmness and proper posture, once on the Musalla 6. Say Adhan and Iqamah 7. Bring to our attention that Allah swt is looking at us and this could possibly be our final Namaz – so perform in the best possible way. During Salaat: 1. Say Takbiratul Ahram in the proper and perfect way with attention and calmness 2. Subh and Maghribayn Namaz – say 1st &2nd Suras loudly Zohr & Asr Namaz – say 1st &2nd Suras quietly 3. Do not recite the dhikr(the words of salaat) when moving and vice versa .Be very still when reciting the words of salat without any movement except while getting up say: ‘Be Hawlillah……….’. 4. Qunut – fold your hands in a begging and in a humble position 5. Ruku – Put your weight on your hands – don’t bend leaving your hands loose 6. Sujud – Make sure all your seven parts are properly on the floor before reciting the zikr- the palms of your 2 hands, the big toes of your feet, your knees and of course your forehead 7. While praying, if you feel like itching, coughing, sneeze, etc. – stop where you have reached, fulfil your needs and then continue praying. Do not, for example, itch while reciting the words or action of Salaat. 8. Perform all the actions of Salaat in a calm and slow manner. Do not be in a hurry to finish the Salaat.

Story of Prayer: IMPORTANCE OF SALAT TIME IN ISLAM He always remembered his grandmother's warning about praying on time: "My son, you shouldn't leave prayer to this late time". His grandmother's age was 70 but whenever she heard the Adhan, she got up like an arrow and performed Salaat. He however could never win over his ego to get up and pray. Whatever he did, his Salaat was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it in on time. Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15 minutes left before Salaat-ul Isha. He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salaatul Maghrib. While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed. His grandmother prayed with such tranquility and peace. He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a while. He had been at school all day and was tired, so tired. He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting. He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every direction he looked in was filled with people. Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting. Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was. His heart was about to burst. It was the Day of Judgment. When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgment, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up? No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this. The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer him. All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him. Two people grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd. The angels brought him to the center and left him there. His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world. The people were all helping others. He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared. He pleaded his case; "I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of Allah. I performed my Salaat. I fasted in the month of Ramadan. Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did. Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not." He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah. He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah. He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over. His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision. At last, the decision was made. The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands turned to the crowd. His legs felt like they were going to collapse. He closed his eyes as they

began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam/Hell. His name was read first. He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn't be, "How could I go to Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to others". His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat. The two angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam. He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Qur'an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him. The Jahannam angels continued to drag him. They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas. Had not Rasulullah [saw] said, "How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salaat performed five times cleanse someone of their sins"? He began yelling, "My prayers? My prayers? My prayers?" The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam. The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him. One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard. He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, "Who are you?" The old man replied, "I am your prayers". "Why are you so late! I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in". The old man smiled and shook his head, "You always performed me at the last minute, and did you forget?" At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah. He was in a sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the adhan for Salat-ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu. "Say Your Prayers Before Prayers For You Are Said".".

Story of Determination: NEVER GIVE UP! A man woke up early in order to pray the Fajr (Morning) prayer in the Masjid (Mosque). He got dressed, made his Wudhu (ablution) and was on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, the man fell and his clothes got dirty. He got up, brushed himself off, and headed home. At home, he changed his clothes, made his ablution, and was, again, on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, he fell again and at the same spot! He, again, got up, brushed himself off and headed home. At home he, once again, changed his clothes, made his ablution and was on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, he met a man holding a lamp. He asked the man of his

identity and the man replied "I saw you fall twice on your way to the Masjid, so I brought a lamp so I can light your way." The first man thanked him profoundly and the two were on their way to the Masjid. Once at the Masjid, the first man asked the man with the lamp to come in and pray Fajr with him. The second man refused. The first man asked him a couple more times and, again, the answer was the same. The first man asked him why he did not wish to come in and pray. The man replied "I am Shaitan (Satan)." The man was shocked at this reply. Shaitan (Satan) went on to explain, "I saw you on your way to the Masjid and it was I who made you fall. When you went home, cleaned yourself and went back on your way to the Masjid, Allah forgave all of your sins. I made you fall a second time, and even that did not encourage you to stay home, but rather, you went back on your way to the Masjid. Because of that, Allah forgave all the sins of the people of your household. I was afraid if I made you fall one more time, then Allah will forgive the sins of the people of your village, so I made sure that you reached the Masjid safely." So do not let Shaitan (Satan) benefit from his actions. Do not put off a good that you intended to do as you never know how much reward you might receive from the hardships you encounter while trying to achieve that good. AN EXAMPLE BY IMAMS HASSAN (AS) AND HUSSEIN (AS) An old man sat to do his Wudhu / Wuzu (Ablution). But his Wudhu was not correct. Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.) The grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad (saw), then two young boys, watched him. They immediately realized that the old man was not doing his Wudhu correctly, but hesitated to tell him directly. Perhaps the old man would feel humiliated by two young boys, or he might even lose interest in the act of worship. Sitting next to him, they started to do the Wudhu and during the Wudhu, Imam Hasan (a.s.) said: "Oh Hussain my Wudhu is correct and more perfect than yours." In reply, Imam Hussain (a.s.) insisted that his own Wudhu was better than Imam Hasan's. Finally they said: "Let us refer to this gentleman. He is older than us and should be able to decide." The old man was listening patiently. The boys performed their Wudhu under his supervision, one after the other. And when they had finished, he realized the Wudhu done by the boys was methodical and correct. It was his own Wudhu, which was incorrect. Turning to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.), he gently said: "The Wudhu done by you is correct. I am grateful that you chose to guide me in such a beautiful manner."