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Prayer, or Salat, was made obligatory for all Muslims, whether they be rich or poor, strong or weak, black or white, male or female. Prayer allows the believer to enrich their spirituality and cultivate the soul’s right to love and worship the Creator, Allah.
“Verily, I am Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, so worship Me and offer prayer perfectly for My remembrance.” [Quran, Taha, 13-14]
The importance of prayer is conveyed constantly in the Quran and was also stressed by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “Know that among your duties, prayer is foremost”.
The performance of prayer five times a day is considered vital to attain success in this life and the hereafter. Following the testimony of faith, performance of the prayers at their correct times and complete in bowings, prostrations and humility, will guarantee forgiveness from God and everlasting paradise. Muslims believe that the first matter that they will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of their deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.
Prayer provides a constant reminder of the essence of our creation and provides a direct connection to Allah, who linked success and felicity to humility in prayer. It emphasizes the proximity between religion and daily life. Life, from an Islamic standpoint, is to be directed to Allah. Life is an opportunity for worship and the remembrance of Allah. Praying repeatedly throughout the day and interrupting the daily activities brings about the realization of this concept. The believer, through prayer, acquires a spiritual awareness that he takes with him throughout all of life’s endeavors.
Prayer purifies the heart and truly, through Prayer, a believer attains spiritual devotion and moral elevation. Prayer not only gives a deep connection with God, but in prayer one establishes patience, humility and sincerity. Prayer provides a means of repentance and is a restrainer from shameful and unjust deeds. This is portrayed through the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
“If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?” The people said, “No filth would remain on him whatsoever.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (From the Hadeeth collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Praying five times a day engages the believer in constant remembrance of God and keeps him away from any unjust deeds and leads him only to deeds that will earn the pleasure of God. It is through prayer that one really finds inner peace and fulfillment. It is also a source of patience, courage, hope, confidence, inner peace, stability, equality, unity and an expression of thankfulness to God.