What is Islam? Salaat – The 5 Daily Prayers

Assalaamu-Alaykum – Peace be Upon you

The importance of Salaat (prayer) in the way of life of Islam is emphasised by the saying:

He who establishes his Salaat, establishes his Islam

The 5 daily prayers are compulsory for every Muslim after he or she has attained the age of puberty.  Even in the Holy Qur’an, you will find numerous references to ‘establish prayer’ and by that it is meant the 5 daily prayers.

We as Muslims believe that the 5 daily prayers were ordained by Allah (God) to the great Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he travelled up to the Heavens on the famous night of Me’eraj (Ascension).

Apart from being a means of forgiveness for sins, acceptance of Duas (supplications) and elevation of a person’s status in the eyes of Allah, Salaat is the most complete form of Ibaadah (act of worship) for a human being.

Let’s take it from the top:

The Muslim raises his or her hands  and says ‘Allahu Akbar‘ which means ‘God is Greatest’.  At that point the Muslim is cutting out all forms of connection or distraction from the physical world around and enters into a private ‘communion’ with the Almighty.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) encouraged us to believe in the fact that when a Muslim stands up in Salaat,  he or she is standing before Allah and that Allah is watching him/her.  We are taught to learn the specific prayers which the Prophet (PBUH) himself used to pray and also the Holy Qur’an so that we may praise and glorify Allah during the Salaat.

Next we bow – we keep our knees straight and bow before Allah, once again believing that Allah is watching over us as we bow out of humility to Him and glorify Him.

So now we have some sort of momentum going – we started standing up and praising Allah (Qyam) and praying selected Ayaat verses from the Qur’an.  We then moved into Rukuh (bowing position) and continued praising God with full Yaqeen (conviction, belief) in His Omnipresence and now finally, we reach the zenith of our actions, the logical next step of the act of Ibaadah, we kneel before our Creator, put our hands down on the floor and place our heads into the ‘lap’ of our Creator and prostrate in front of Allah, the Creator of the universe.

This is called Sujood (prostration) and it is the very climax of this perfectly self contained piece of worship called Salaat.  It is in Sujood that a person is the closest to Allah, indeed our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) likened it to placing one’s head in the ‘lap’ of God.

We then finish off by sitting down in Qaidah (sitting position), sending salutations to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and asking Allah to forgive our shortcomings in the prayer and accept it through His Mercy.

So there we have it, a brief exposition into the journey which is encountered (or should be encountered!) by every Muslim when we lift our hands up and say Allahu Akbar!!

And Allah knows best.


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3 Responses to “What is Islam? Salaat – The 5 Daily Prayers”

  1. Assalamualykum,

    Firstly before I ask my question, I would like to apologise if this has been covered before on this website am just too lazy to look around (not a good thing), however….

    The 5 times salaah is farz and I have read the punishments in many ahadhith if we do not pray them, iirc in 1 hadith it states to the effect of, a person who misses a salaah on purpose his/her name will be written on the gate of hell where he/she must spend x amount of time. (May allah save us from the punishment in the hereafter)

    More to the point I wanted to clarify is it farz to pray your salaat with jammat, myself when I am at work I pray my namaaz in the prayer room but cannot form any jamaat. What happens in this circumstances?

    A friend of mine once told me “you don’t have to pray namaaz with jamaat my dad (who is an alim) prays many times at home and prays jummah salaah only with jamaat, he doesn’t have any excuse that would prevent him physically from going to the mosque, when I asked it was more to do with the “people” which is another issue again.


  2. Namaaz is the most important pillar of the Deen, and establishing it as Allah and his Prophet (saw) want us to is the best way to get close to the Lord of the Heavens n the Earth. This includes establishing prayer in Jamaa’ah (congregation).

    Both the Qur’aan and Sunnah have laid great importance on the congregational prayer stressing that the Fardh (obligatory) prayer must be observed collectively unless one has to do so on the account of a geniune reason. Allah states in Surah Baqarah (2) verse 43,

    “…and bend down in ruku with those who bend down in ruku.” [Al-Baqarah 2:43]

    Using this verse, the Mufassireen (Commentators of the Qur’aan) and Fuqahaa (Jurists) are generally of the view that prayer has to be offered collectively. So much so that this obligation even has to be enjoined during the time of warfare (Surah Nisaa’ (4) verse 102).

    We also find evidence for the merits and rewards of congregational prayer in the Ahaadeeth (sayings) of our Prophet (saw). Imam Tirmidhi narrates that Rasulullah (saw) said, “Give glad tidings to those who go to the masjid in the darkness of the night to offer the prayer in congregation that on the Day of Judgement, they will be provided with a perfect light.”. Not only is the reward for Jamaa’ah multiplied many-fold (27 according to the Hadeeth of Ibn Umar in al-Bukhari and Muslim) but it has been reported that those who attend the Masjid for congregational prayer, Rasulullah said, ‘Bear witness that he is a Believer!’ (Tirmidhi from Ibn Sa’eed).

    Just as the Prophet (saw) encouraged and stressed the importance of prayer in Jama’ah, he also warned against those who left it without a geniune excuse (fear, ilness, etc). Not only has Jamaa’ah been prescribed even on the battlefield, but we find that even the blind person was not given dispensation of praying alone at home if he could hear the call to prayer (Hadeeth of Ibn Umm Maktoom (ra)). Abu Dawood narrates from ibn Abbas that the Prophet (saw) is reported to have said, “Whoever hears the call to the salah and does not respond to it [i.e.,by coming to the salah], there will be no prayer for him unless he has an excuse.” The people inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, what is a [valid] excuse?” He answered: “Fear or illness”.

    Remember that Shaitaan has many ways of keeping us away from praying and supplicating to our Lord. This begins with neglecting prayer in congregation, becoming lazy with the prescribed Sunnahs before and after prayer, and finally leaving prayer all together. How can we allow ourselves to lose the reward of 27 prayers and suffice with just 1 praying alone? Have we reached a state where we have no need for the currency of the Aakhirah?

    For further reading, please refer to Ma’aariful Qur’aan by Mufti Shafee (rh) [http://classicalislamgroup.com/index.php?view=tafseer/s2-v43to46-2]

    Insha-Allah I hope this has answered your questions regarding congergational prayer – it really is one of the most important acts in Islam.

    Just think about when we envisage the Kaaba, what picture pops up in our mind? Yes, the picture of all the people together, praying their Salaat.

    And Allah knows best.

  3. why loose out when u get the reward for 27 and not just 1 when praying in congregation!
    I find that by praying at mosque you tend to do more good deeds after because at home you pray and carry on with what ever u were doing.
    When you go to the mosque you preper for it first doing wudhu making your clothes are proper all of this in prepartion to stand before your lord but at home it’s just quickly do wudhu pray and finish.
    So may Allah give all of us the opportunity to pray in congregation all the time

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