By: Zohreh Walji
After the Shahaadah (declaration of faith) the most important duty upon the Muslim is performing the Salaat (obligatory Prayers). Indeed, Salaat is the thing that distinguishes between the Muslim and the Kafir (disbeliever) according to the majority of scholars.
The Prophet (SAW), said; “Between a man and disbelief is (only) the abandonment of Salaat.” (Muslim) He (SAW), also said; “The first thing for which the servant (of Allah) shall be called to account for (on the Day of Reckoning), is the Salaat. If it were good, then the rest of his deeds are good and if it were bad, then the rest of his deeds are bad.” (At-Tabaraanee)
Allah, and then His Prophet Muhammad (SWA) emphasized the importance of Salaat (Prayer). Allah declares that: “Then there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up prayers and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell.” (Maryam: 59)
Also: “Every person is a pledge for what he has earned. Except those on the Right; (i.e. the pious true believers). In gardens, they will ask one another concerning the guilty, ‘What has caused you to enter Hell?’ They will say, ‘We were not of those who used to pray...” (Al-Muddathir: 38-43)
So of all those who abandon the prescribed prayers, we ask: what will be your position on that terrible day when Allah resurrects you? On the Day of Judgment the Prophet (SAW) will indeed turn you away from his Hawdh,, the Pond, where the true believers will be gathered with him, all because you have abandoned the Salaat! Is this the condition you wish to be in?
He (SAW) will certainly know his true followers, who will be recognized from the brightness of their skins, this being the traces of their wudoo (ablutions). So a person who abandons Salaat will also be recognized since there will be no signs of the wudoo on him!
You should know that Allah has cursed Satan and on the Day of Judgment he will be thrown into Hell because he was too proud to prostrate to Aadam (AS), when ordered to. Such is the condition of the one who failed to prostrate to Allah, and disobeyed His orders. So, how will it be for the person who failed to prostrate in Salaat?
From the aforementioned ahadith and verses, of the Holy Qur’an we can see clear warnings regarding those who abandon Salaat. Do not fool yourself into believing that you are still young or that you are too busy trying to earn a living for your family. These excuses will not be valid in front of your Lord and this is a dangerous game we are playing with the Master of the Universe. Every soul will taste death. It could even be you in the next hour, if Allah, Taala, wishes. Spare a moment to think about yourself and how you will fare tomorrow in the presence of Allah, the Almighty, the Supreme. Do we want to depart in such a wretched state without performing such a momentous obligation? Allah, says: “And Hell will be brought near that Day. On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance then avail him?” (Al-Fajr: 23)
On the Day of Judgment, man will remember that he abandoned Salaat, yet he will cry to return to the world so that he could pray. But there will be no return. Now he must stand before Allah. Now he will realize that: “None punishes as He will punish on that Day.” (Al-Fajr: 25)
Have you not heard the reply of the people of Hell when they were asked:
..What has brought you into the hell? They shall say: “We were not of those who offered the regular prayers (to Allah)!” (Qur’an, al-Muddathir:42-43)
It is a tragedy that one recognizes the truth of his condition and still continues in the old ways and turns away. If we really believe in Allah and the Last Day, if we believe in the Judgment and punishment, we should take Allah’s orders very seriously and eagerly hasten to fulfill them. We should rush to pray and prostrate to Allah, expelling the whisperings of the deceiving Satan.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has said:
“Prayer is like a hot spring situated at the door of a person. If he takes bath in it five times a day, will then any dirt remain on him?” (Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 197 )
You should know that Satan is good at making the Salaat seem like a chore or a waste of energy. But the true believer will know that Salaat is the greatest opportunity for every Muslim to have their sins forgiven, to earn Allah’s huge rewards and to get to the Jannah, that He has promised for all those who bow down and prostrate to their Lord. These are the ones who love to obey the commands of their Lord, and who are constant in praying their Salaat.
Finally, let us heed Allah’s warning: “And who does greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelation of His Lord, then he turns aside therefrom? Verily, We shall exact retribution from the guilty” (As-Sajdah:22)
And remember Allah’s glad tidings: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Prayers with humility and attentiveness (khushoo).” (Al-Muminoon: 1-2) (interpretation of the meaning)
“(They are those) Who are certain that they are going to meet their Lord and that unto Him they are going to return.” (Al-Baqarah: 46)
And in the words of Imam Ali (AS):
Pledge yourself to prayer and remain steady on it; offer prayer as much as possible and seek nearness (of Allah) through it, because it is:
… surely prayer is a timed ordinance for the believers. (Qur’an An-nisa:103)