Amazing Facts About Salah and Why Salah is Important
05 Nov 2021
Every Muslim should know the importance of salah and is obligated to perform salah five times a day, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, or social status. People from all over the world perform salah according to different madhabs, but all with the same goal, the same objective - to worship Allah Almighty and fulfil their obligations as a Muslim.
However, there are also some Muslims out there who are not wary of the importance of salah, and it is our duty to remind them of its importance. Once you know the importance of prayer and its impact in your daily life, your holistic wellbeing, then you will be able to live your life to its fullest potential as a Muslim!
Meaning of Salah:
Salah is the second pillar of Islam, after the recitation of the oath known as Shahadah. It is defined as the act of offering prayers to Allah the Almighty. Literally translated, salah can mean prayer or supplication and is generally considered the act of worshipping Allah Almighty; an act which is specifically mentioned in many parts of the Holy Qur’an.
According to the Islamic Shari’ah, Salah means a combination of specific sayings and actions that begin with the takbir and conclude with the taslim. It was named so because it includes prayer, which means supplication. The specific obligation of Salah is assigned five times for each day and night. It is considered to be a fundamental and well known act of worship in the Islamic ordinance which means one who denies it will become a Kafir. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the only Messenger to have received the five daily prayers as a gift from the Allah Almighty. This highlights the importance of Salah we should acknowledge.
Brief history of Salah:
The importance of Salah can be seen since the times of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when it was the first obligatory act of worship in Islam and no other form of worship existed when it was obligatory. It was made compulsory in Makkah three years before the Hijra. If all worship was obligatory on earth, then Allah had invited the Prophet ﷺ to the heavens to offer Salah. It is also known as Mi’raj. During this night, the Prophet ﷺ traveled with Jibril (May Allah be pleased with him) to the heavens and witnessed many wonders there, and reached a height that even his traveler could not reach.
It was during that conversation the Prophet ﷺ received Salah as a special gift to himself and his community. The Prophet ﷺ was invited there because Allah did not want prayer to be obligatory on earth, which is the source of filth and desire. The two great characteristics of prayer are that it is the first act of worship and that it is obligatory to place it in the heavens. Mi'raj Day is the expression of its happiness.
The Prophet ﷺ began to perform the obligatory prayer on the day that followed the Night Journey. The first obligatory Salah that the Prophet ﷺ performed was the Zuhr prayer, in the leadership of angel Jibreel (May Allah be pleased with him). Therefore, the Zuhr prayer is called the first prayer.
It should be noted that the dawn or Fajr prayer was not the first prayer performed by the Prophet ﷺ. This is because the assumption of prayer and the assignment to perform it requires a statement regarding how to practice it. This was not achieved in the dawn prayer, and the person charged with worship is not required to perform it before its statement. After the statement, it is required to perform it, and this is what happened in the noon prayer where Jibreel (May Allah be pleased with him) taught the Prophet about that.
Ruling for Salah:
The ruling on the five daily prayers in Islam is obligatory for every Muslim who has reached an age of mumayyiz (The age at which a child can discern between right and wrong, and (the age at which) he or she knows of the differences between a man and a woman). The five daily prayers are namely: Fajr also known as Subh, Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha’ prayers. There are a total of seventeen rak'ahs in the five prayers. There are two for Subh, four for Zuhr, four for Asr, three for Maghrib and four for Isha’.
Salah in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
Now that you are familiar with what salah means, let us take a look at some of the Qur’anic verses and hadiths to highlight the importance of salah:
إِنَّنِىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنَا۠ فَٱعْبُدْنِى وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِذِكْرِىٓ
“I am God; there is no god but Me. So worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me.” [Qu’ran 20:14]
ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
“who believe in the unseen,keep up the prayer, and give out of what We have provided for them;” [Qur’an 2:3]
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱرْكَعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱلرَّٰكِعِينَ
“Keep up the prayer, pay the prescribed alms, and bow your heads [in worship] with those who bow theirs.” [Qur’an 2:43]
“A man’s prayer in his house is equivalent to a single observance of prayer, his prayer in a tribal mosque is equivalent to twenty-five, his prayer in a mosque in which the Friday prayer is observed is equivalent to five hundred, his prayer in the Aqsa mosque is equivalent to fifty thousand, his prayer in my mosque is equivalent to fifty thousand, and his prayer in the sacred mosque (the Ka’ba) is equivalent to a hundred thousand.”
“Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salah”
“The head of the entire matter is Islam, its pillar is Salah, and the peak of its hump is jihad” [Sunan Tirmidhi].
“The first thing one will have to be held accountable on the day of Resurrection is his Salah, 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” [Sunan Tirmidhi].
Amazing Facts and The Importance of Salah:
There are many articles explaining the importance of Salah from the spiritual perspective, but many overlook the overall benefit or significance that can change a Muslim’s life for the better. Here are some of the amazing facts you probably didn’t know as well as the importance of Salah:
1. It is one of the primary ways to invoke Allah the Almighty
There are no limitations or constraints as to how you want to reach out to Allah the Almighty, but the most essential way to do it is through salah as it is an obligation from Allah Almighty to all His servants. When you invoke Allah through prayer, Whatever invocation you recite within or after salah is bound to be accepted by Allah more than when it is done independently.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
“You who believe, seek help through steadfastness and prayer, for God is with the steadfast.” [Qur’an 2:153]
2. It enhances your Taqwa towards Allah the Merciful
A Muslim of Taqwa is cautious and mindful of what they do, not out of fear of facing consequences, but out of fear of stepping into what Allah Almighty has prohibited. They are aware of Allah with every action and step they take. In this regard, one of the importance of Salah is enhancing one’s Taqwa, as mentioned in the Qur’anic verse below:
ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
“This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God, who believe in the unseen, keep up the prayer, and give out of what We have provided for them;” [Qur’an 2:2-3]
3. Gain Rewards in Akhirah
Every Muslim will be accounted for their deeds in the afterlife, one day. Whether your deeds are good or bad, you are answerable for all your doings after your death, or during yaumul Qiyamah. However, the actual reward of Salah will truly be realized in the afterlife when Allah Almighty showers blessings on that person. In Quran, Allah says:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَأَقَامُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَوُا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.”
4. It’s a Medium for Communication between you and Allah Almighty
One of the importance of prayer is that it is a means for you to stay connected with Allah Almighty. Just like how you need a phone to call up a friend, salah is your ‘phone’ to connect with Allah and communicate up close and personal with Him. It is prescribed to all of us, because we need that connection to feel content, at peace and happy, InshaAllah.
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ قِيَـٰمًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا ٱطْمَأْنَنتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَـٰبًا مَّوْقُوتًا
“After performing the ritual prayer, continue to remember God- standing, sitting, and lying on your sides- and once you are safe, keep up regular prayer, for prayer is obligatory for the believers at prescribed times.” [Qur’an 4:103]
5. Protection from Shaytaan
The main goal of Shaytaan is to lure all into the pits of darkness and commit as many sins as we can to stray from the path of righteousness. It can all happen from the first temptation, and when we get tricked into it, Shaytaan will continuously lure us deeper into the abyss of oblivion and ignorance. It can be difficult to distinguish between right and wrong at the time, unless we repent and try our best to improve ourselves. Hence, to ensure that we stay on the right path and avoid ourselves from being deluded, that is when prayer comes into play. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty says:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ ٱلْعَدَٰوَةَ وَٱلْبَغْضَآءَ فِى ٱلْخَمْرِ وَٱلْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ وَعَنِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّنتَهُونَ
“With intoxicants and gambling, Satan seeks only to incite enmity and hatred among you, and to stop you remembering God and prayer. Will you not give them up?”
6. Prevent Yourself from Lewdness
One of the importance of Salah is to prevent yourself from lewdness which is much too normal in this world we live in today. As a Muslim who’s upbringing is exposed to all sorts of environments and people, especially those who live in the West, will affect our wellbeing, perception and understanding of the world. Not only that, but coupled with peer pressure from teens or young adults who live a hedonistic life, surely it will influence us to go down that path if we do not have a strong faith to withstand ourselves from the temptations of the world. Thus, in order to prevent one’s self from all the lewdness that is common in the world of today, a Muslim must find refuge in Salah as it will help in combating lewdness, as Allah says in Qur’an:
ٱتْلُ مَآ أُوحِىَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلْفَحْشَآءِ وَٱلْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ ٱللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
“[Prophet], recite what has been revealed to you of the Scripture; keep up the prayer: prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behaviour. Remembering God is greater: God knows everything you are doing.” [Qur’an 29:45]
7. A Means to Expiate Your Sins
Everyone commits sins, whether in the past or present. There are some wrongdoings we might have regretted in the past, and one of the ways to cleanse or purify ourselves from the dirt we covered ourselves with, is through prayer. With the ablution that we take prior to performing salah, the ablution alone expiates the sins of every body part the water touches. SubhanAllah, the Mercy of Allah is indeed bountiful and we should ask Allah to shower us all with His Blessings and Mercy. As mentioned in the hadith below, one of the importance of prayer is the expiation of sins:
"Do you think that if there was a river by the door of any one of you, and he bathed in it five times each day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?" They said: "No trace of dirt would be left on him." He said: "That is the likeness of the five daily prayers. In that way, Allah erases all kinds of sins." [Sunan Nasa’i]
8. Salah Helps in Soothing Cares and our Worries
A scientific study was conducted in seven Muslim countries, to investigate the impact of salah on Muslims, and whether salah does help alleviate their anxiety or worry. In each of the countries in which this question was asked, a majority of Muslims said they feel that prayer helps a great deal in soothing their personal worries. In six of these countries, more than two-thirds gave this kind of response.
In the same study, the researcher also asked what motivates them to pray, in five of these same countries -- Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Lebanon and Morocco.
In each case, roughly three-fifths or more refer to either duty or ritual as their personal reason for praying. However, there are also some Muslims who responded that prayer makes them feel better and closer to God, or because of an anticipated sense of peace, serenity or relief of pressure. A significant number of Muslims also said that they are motivated to pray by the immediate effects that they experience when doing so.
9. Salah Helps in Soothing Cares and our Worries
Besides the spiritual and emotional benefits we gain when performing salah, we should not forget about the importance of salah from the aspect of physical health. According to a study conducted by Ghazal Kamran, a Senior Physiotherapist, Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Institute at Al Ain Hospital, he concluded that performing five daily prayers helps you burn about 80 calories a day.
Not only does it help with calorie burning, but Salah also “involves a continuous gentle muscle contraction and relaxation with perfect harmony and balance. It involves different types of stretching and isometric contraction exercises. These gentle & simple exercises are suitable for all ages & conditions.”
According to Prof Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad, a Cardiology Consultant Specialist from University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) stated that “12 ‘Rakʿah’ (unit for a set of actions in a prayer) is equivalent to 30 minutes of light exercises daily as recommended by health experts.”
In retrospect, Salah is an obligation for all Muslims and we should always remind ourselves and others about the importance of salah, not only from the spiritual perspective, but how it benefits our overall well being, especially emotional and physical aspects. If you think Salah has impacted you in any other way besides the points mentioned above, do not hesitate to share with us in the comments section below! May Allah guide us all on the right path and may He enlighten us about how truly important Salah is in our daily lives, InshaAllah.
About The Author:
Lily Syahirah Ramlan
Lily Syahirah is a Content Writer of SimplyIslam Academy based in Selangor, Malaysia. She recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree of Education (Teaching English as a Second Language) from International Islamic University Malaysia in 2020. She is actively invovled in public speaking, English language debates, poetry and theatre and loves to express her work through writing. Her love for language arts and imagination has led her to produce, direct and write experimental plays she's passionate about during her degree years. She was also actively invovled as a Master of Ceremony (Emcee) where she hosts minor and major events in IIUM.
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