Salah is the second out of five pillars of Islam. Salah is the Arabic word and pronounced Sa-lat if comes in the beginning or in the middle of the sentence but if it ends the sentence, it is pronounced Sa-lah. Salah is the first pillar after Shahadah (witnessing Allah is One).
Salah is an amazing act in Islam in which the Muslims ‘communicate’ with Allah and experience His presence and this is the reason a Hadees says: “Salah is the Meraj of a Momin”. Its importance for Muslims can be judged by the fact that it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Five times prayers were made compulsory after Miraj of Prophet which was a year before Hijri on 27th of Rajab and first Azaan was called in the first year of Hijri. Salah is obligatory worship and must be performed five times a day at prescribed times. These five times are dawn (Fajr), immediately after noon (Dhuhr), mid-afternoon (‘Asr), sunset (Maghrib), and early night (Isha). Salah is the soul of all our Ibadah (prayers). The Pious predecessors have stated that if a person does not perform his Salaah, then no other Ibadah performed by him or her is accepted and if a person loves Salah (Namaaz) and is punctual in his Namaaz then Allah Willing, his or her wrongs will all be forgiven. We should thus try our best to perform our Salah (Namaaz) and also show strictness in our homes so that our families may also perform their Salah.
Allah has said in the Noble Qur’aan: “I have not created the jinn and humankind for any other purpose except that they should worship Me.” (Qur’aan 51:56)
It is clear from the above verse of Noble Qur’aan that the purpose of our birth and of our life is no other than that of the worship of Allah. There are many acts of worship (Ibadah) in Islam and Salah is the most important obligatory act.
Salah emphasis has been made in Qur’aan approximately 700 times. It also shows the importance of Salah. Here are some more Qur’aanic Verses that strongly emphasis of Salah.
“Pray to me and I will hear your prayer.” ( Qur’aan 40:60).
“Truly, those who believe and do righteous deeds, and perform Salah, and give Zakat, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Qur’aan 2:277)
“When have finished performing the Salah, remember Allah standing, sitting, and reclining, but when you are free from danger, perform the Salah. Surely, Salah is enjoined on the believers at fixed times.” (Qur’aan 4:103)
“Guard strictly the Salah, especially the middle Salah. And stand before Allah with obedience.” (Qur’aan 2:238)
“Indeed, your protecting friend (Wali) is none other than Allah, His Messenger, and the Believers who establish Salah, and give Zakat, and bow down (in prayer).” (Qur’aan 5: 55)
There are so many Ahadees e Mubarakah which also emphasis the importance of Salah. Some of them are…
Hazrat Nawfil bin Muawigah narrates that he heard the Prophet saying:
“A person who has missed one Salaat is like the one who has lost all his family and wealth”.
Hazrat Ibn e Masood (RA) [a companion of Prophet Muhammed ] once asked the prophet, “which act does Allah like the most” He replied, “To offer Salah in time.” Then he asked “Next to this which (act)” The Prophet replied, “To be good to parents.” “He again asked, “Next to this?” Then Prophet replied, “To fight in the way of Allah.” (Reported by Bukhari and Mulsim).
Prophet Muhammed is reported to have said:
“The only wall that differentiates a Muslim from an unbeliever is Namaz and not offering Namaz wipes off this difference (that is, a Muslim not offering Namaz goes closer to disbelief)” (Narrated by Hazarath Jabir (RA) and reported by Muslim).
Prophet Muhammed once asked his companions, “If a stream is flowing in front of one’s door and if he bathes in it five times daily, will any dirt remain on him?” His companions replied ” No dirt will remain on him.” The Prophet Muhammed explained “Similar is the case of offering Namaz five times a day, due to it Allah (SWT) wipes off the sins.” ( Narrated by Hazarath Abu Hurrairah (RA) and reported by Bukhari and Muslim).
The last thing that Holy Prophet Muhammad emphasized at his deathbed was Salah. He also said the first thing we will have to answer about on the Day of Judgement is Salah.
In view of the above lines quoted from Holy Qur’aan and Hadees, offering Namaz is an order of Allah (SWT) and His messenger and in view of the fact that we are Muslims that is those who are required to obey Allah and Prophet Muhammed , offering Namaz is our duty that should not be avoided.