Soldier of Allah 

1. Salat (Prayer): The Second Pillar of Islam

Meaning and Concept

Prayer (salat) is a devotion which consists of verbal supplication coupled with certain body movements to augment the spiritual effect of devotion in the presence of the Almighty Allah, which leads to communion with the Lord of all the universe. It is started by the Takbir (saying Allahu-Akbar, i.e., "Allah is the Greatest") and ended by Taslim (saying Assalam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah, i.e., "Peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.")

Salat (Prayer): The Second Pillar of Islam

Performance of prayer is the second fundamental principle in Islam after belief in Allah and Prophet Muhammad, (pbuh - peace be upon him.) It symbolizes the spiritual relation between the person who has faith and Allah. The Muslim is enjoined to perform five obligatory prayers every day to keep himself in touch with his Lord, to invoke and implore Him, and to refrain himself from committing lewdness or indecency. The prayers do not only ensure psychological ease to the Muslim in this present life, but they also pave the way to him to gain eternal happiness in the Hereafter.

Prayer should be performed promptly, perfectly, sincerely, and regularly at the appointed hour by a Muslim, who must keep it up under all conditions; even in times of travelling and sickness it must be observed with full humility. In this sense, the Holy Qur'an says:

{Verily As-Salat (The Prayers) is enjoined on the believers at (fixed) hours} (4:103)

Further evidence from the Qur'an states:

" And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, And worship none but Him Alone (Abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), And perform As-Salat (Iqamat As-Salat) and give Zakat, And that is the right religion." (V. 98:5)

In the first of these two verses, Allah tells people that prayer is a prescribed duty on all believers and that they should fulfil this duty at its fixed time. In the second verse, Allah makes it well-known to mankind that He has created them in order to worship Him alone, to be sincere in their devotion to Him, to perform prayer and to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity) to those who deserve it. The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The obligation which distinguishes between us and the unbelievers is prayer". Therefore, whoever desists from prayer becomes an unbeliever." Thus, prayer is a duty on the Muslim in all circumstances. Even if he is sick or frightened he should perform his daily prayers, sitting, standing or lying. If he is unable to perform them in any of these ways, he is permitted to perform them with his eye movements, or even in his heart.

Those Upon Whom Prayer is Mandatory

Prayer is mandatory on every adult and sane Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) said:

"The pen is lifted from three [persons who will not be taken to account]: the insane whose rationality has been overcome until he recovers, the sleeper until he wakes, and the children until they attain puberty". (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

The father and mother should teach their children how to perform prayer. They should order them gently to perform it when they reach seven years and punish them for neglecting it when they reach ten years. In this way they get used to it, and it becomes a natural practice that they will uphold after puberty.

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

"Teach your children prayer when they reach seven, and punish them (for neglecting it) when they reach ten, and also separate them from sleeping together. " (Ahmad)

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