Salah: The Second Pillar of Islam and one of the most important acts of worship for Muslims. Salat is a way of communicating with Allah, the Creator of the universe, and expressing gratitude, praise, and submission to Him. Salah also helps Muslims to remember Allah throughout the day and to follow His guidance in their daily lives.
Importance of Salat
Muslims actively perform the five obligatory prayers that constitute Salah at specific times during the day and night: Fajr (dawn), Dhuhr (noon), Asr (afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (night). Each prayer has a fixed number of units (Rakat) that include recitation of verses from the Quran, standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting postures. Muslims face the direction of the Kaaba, the sacred house of Allah in Makkah, when they pray.
Salah is not only a physical act, but also a spiritual and mental one. Muslims prepare for salah by performing ablution (wudu), which is a ritual washing of the face, hands, arms, head, and feet. This symbolizes the purification of the body and soul before standing before Allah. Muslims also try to focus their attention and intention (Niyyah) on Allah and avoid any distractions or worldly thoughts during salah. Salah is a time to reflect on one’s relationship with Allah, to seek His forgiveness and mercy, and to ask for His guidance and help.
And I did not create the jinn and human except to worship Me. ( Qur’an: 51:56 )
Allah (SWT) guaranteed victory and immortality in Paradise (Al-Jannah) to those who kept their prayers up.
Qualities of Believers discuss in Quran
Certainly, will the believers have succeeded. Those who are submissively humble when praying. And those who refrain from using foul language. who are observant of zakah. And they who guard their private parts. [Al-Quran 23: 1-5]
The fact that it would be the first question asked of a person on the Day of Judgment proves that the Salah: The Second Pillar of Islam which is also essential, holds great significance.
The prophet said:
”The beginning of the Salah period is pleasing to Allah, and Allah forgives its completion”. (Jami at-Tirmidhi-172)
Five daily prayers
There are five daily prayers which must be performed:
Fajr –The first of the five mandatory salah (Islamic prayer), to be performed anytime starting from the moment of dawn, but not after sunrise.
Zuhr – This is performed at midday
Asr – When the sun is halfway between noon and sunset.
Maghrib – Just after sunset, following Asr prayer, and ends at the beginning of night
Isha – The ‘Isha prayer must be performed before midnight, and it is not permissible to delay it until midnight.
Types of Salah (Prayers in Islam)
There are four different types of prayers in Islam. These are categories as follows:
- Obligatory Prayers (Fard prayers )
- Compulsory Prayers (Wajib prayers)
- Sunni Prayers (Sunnat prayers)
- Voluntary Prayers (Nafl prayers)
Fard Prayers (Obligatory Prayers)
Not performing a Fard (obligatory) prayer in Islam is regarded as a sin, and Muslims strongly encourage regular and punctual performance of these prayers. The consequences of consistently and willfully neglecting Fard prayers can vary depending on a person’s individual circumstances and their level of faith and repentance.
Compulsory Prayers (Wajib prayers)
Wajib prayers, also known as obligatory prayers, are an important part of Islamic worship. While Fard prayers are indeed the most crucial and are obligatory for every adult Muslim, Wajib prayers also hold a significant level of obligation but come with some distinct differences. Wajib prayers can include certain specific Sunnah or Nafl prayers that become obligatory due to particular circumstances, such as making up missed Fard prayers or fulfilling vows made to Allah. These prayers are still mandatory, but the consequences for missing them are not as severe as missing Fard prayers. It’s important for Muslims to perform both Fard and Wajib prayers as acts of devotion and obedience to God. Salah: The Second Pillar of Islam holds the significance importance.
Sunni Prayers (Sunnat prayers)
Sunnat prayers, also known as Sunnah prayers, are non-obligatory or voluntary prayers in Sunni Islam. These prayers are not mandatory like the Fard (obligatory) prayers, but Muslims highly recommend and consider them a way to earn extra blessings and rewards from Allah. Sunnat prayers can be further divided into two categories:
Sunnat Mu’akkadah (Emphasized Sunnah)
These are highly recommended and are considered almost as important as the obligatory prayers. The Prophet Muhammad consistently practiced them, and Muslims are strongly encouraged to perform them regularly. An example is the Sunnah prayers associated with the five daily prayers, like the Sunnah Mu’akkadah before or after Dhuhr, and the Sunnah Mu’akkadah before Fajr.
Sunnat Ghair Mu’akkadah (Non-Emphasized Sunnah)
While they are recommended, they are not emphasized as strongly as the Sunnat Mu’akkadah. They include additional voluntary prayers that the Prophet Muhammad sometimes performed, but not consistently. Examples include the Sunnah prayers before or after the Maghrib and Isha prayers.
Voluntary Prayers (Nafl prayers)
Voluntary prayers, known as Nafl prayers in Islam, are non-obligatory prayers that Muslims can perform to earn extra rewards and draw closer to Allah. These prayers are entirely optional and can be offered at any time of the day or night, except during the prohibited times (e.g., when the sun is rising, at its zenith, or setting). Nafl prayers are a way for individuals to enhance their spiritual connection and devotion to God.
How to Perform Salah (Prayer) Step-By-Step
Perform Wudu (Ablution) We must intellectually, physically, and spiritually prepare ourselves before performing salah. This recipe includes a significant amount of wudu. Every Muslim must go through this cleansing ritual before offering their prayer. Because it is such a crucial component of the salah, Allah will not accept anyone’s prayer if they choose to omit it out of ignorance, forgetfulness, or negligence.
Face the Qibla and Pray Each Prayer on Time.
we have done our wudu properly, we can proceed and begin the salah prayer.
- Fatihah – Recitation
- Ruku – Bowing
- Sujud – Prostration
- Tashahud – Sitting
Salah (Prayer) Step-By-Step
1 – Make your intention to pray
2 – Raise your hands to your ears and say Allahu Akbar
3 – Place your hands over your chest
4 – Keep your eyes focused on the ground
5 – Recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an
6 – Perform the ruku (bowing down)
7 – Return to standing up again
8 – Perform the sujud (prostration)
9 – Say this phrase in sujud
10 – Rise up from sujud and sit for a moment
11 & 12 – Perform sujud again and then return to a standing position
13 – Perform the tashahud
What is the Benefit of Salah?
Salah: The Second Pillar of Islam or the Islamic practice of prayer, offers numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to Muslims. Here are some of the key benefits of Salah:
Salah is a direct way for Muslims to connect with Allah (God). It is a time when Muslims express their submission, gratitude, and devotion to the Creator. It strengthens their relationship with God and reinforces their faith.
Salah requires a regular and disciplined schedule of prayer throughout the day. This routine helps Muslims maintain self-discipline and structure in their daily lives.
Peace of Mind
Salah provides moments of peace and tranquility in the midst of a busy day. It allows Muslims to pause and reflect, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
Congregational prayers, such as Friday prayers, foster a sense of community and unity among Muslims. They come together to worship, which strengthens their social bonds.
The physical movements involved in Salah, such as standing, bowing, and prostrating, can provide health benefits. They promote flexibility, improve posture, and stimulate blood circulation.
Moral and Ethical Guidance
During Salah, Muslims recite verses from the Quran that contain moral and ethical teachings. It serves as a reminder of ethical principles and encourages good behavior.
Salah often includes expressions of gratitude to Allah for His blessings. This practice helps Muslims maintain a positive outlook on life and fosters gratitude.
Salah encourages self-reflection and self-improvement. In Islam, there is a strong encouragement for Muslims to actively seek forgiveness for their sins and actively offer supplications for guidance and strength in their faith and daily life.
In Islam, it is believed that performing Salah regularly is a means of earning salvation and forgiveness. It is seen as a way to purify the soul and achieve paradise in the Hereafter.
Fulfillment of Religious Duty
Salah is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the core acts of worship and devotion. Fulfilling this duty is a fundamental aspect of a Muslim’s faith.
Salah: The Second Pillar of Islam (Islamic prayer) holds immense significance in the lives of Muslims. It is a practice that offers a wide range of benefits, from strengthening one’s spiritual connection with Allah and fostering self-discipline to promoting physical well-being and building a sense of community. Salah is not just a religious duty but also a source of peace, guidance, and moral upliftment for Muslims. Through regular prayer, Muslims seek to attain salvation and live a life that aligns with their faith, all while striving to maintain a deep and meaningful relationship with their Creator.