The virtues and rewards of prayer in Islam

The virtues and rewards of prayer in Islam
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The obligatory five daily prayers were prescribed during the night the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) ascended to the heavens, while the commands for the remaining acts of worship were revealed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) on earth. This indicates the special status and importance of prayer as an act of worship.

Prayer: the backbone of Islam

• It is the only pillar of Islam that is repeated five times each day, and is never waived except for the woman during her menstrual period and post-partum bleeding.

• It is one of the most virtuous deeds, and most beloved to Allah as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Know that the best of your deeds are your prayers, and only a true believer maintains the state of ablution.” [Imam Ahmad]

• It is the backbone of one’s religion, and the coolness of the eyes of the righteous. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The most important of all matters is Islam, its spinal cord is prayer and the highest rank is Jihad for the sake of Allah.” [Imam Ahmad]

• It is an indication of Islam and belief, and preserves a person’s blood from being shed, Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {But if they repent, establish prayer, and give zakha, then they are your brothers in religion; and We detail the verses for a people who know} [Quran, 9: 11]

• It is a sign of honesty and frees a person from hypocrisy. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Whosoever prays forty days with the congregation, attending the initial (Allahu Akbar) of the prayer, will be free of two things: Hell Fire and hypocrisy.” [Imam Ahmad]

• It is the best issue to be occupied with, the most profitable dealing, and the most likely amongst all acts of worship to cause the person to become humble and submissive. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Prayer is the best thing to be occupied with, so perform as much of it as you can.” [Imam Ahmad]

• It is a command from Allah the Almighty, Who Says (what means): {Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient} [Quran 2: 238] 

• It elevates a person's ranks and expiates sins, as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “tell me, if there is an overflowing river in front of the house of one of you in which he baths five times a day, will there remain any dirt on him? They (Companions) said, ‘No dirt will remain on him’. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) then said: “that is the example of the five daily obligatory prayers by which Allah erases sins.” [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim]

• It rescues from Hell, protects against danger, and enables a person to win Paradise. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The one who prays before sunrise (Fajr prayer) and before sun set (Asr prayer) will not enter Hell Fire.” [Imam Muslim]

• It is a sign of success and victory, and an indication of being accepted. Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive} [Quran 23: 1-2]

{And they who carefully maintain their prayers - Those are the inheritors who will inherit Al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally} [Quran 23: 9-11]

• It is the first thing for which the slave will be held accountable. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The first thing for which the slave will be held accountable for on the day of Resurrection is his prayer; if it is good (by performing it properly and on time), then all his affairs will be good, and if it is ruined (by neglecting it), then all his affairs will be ruined.” [Imam At-Tabarani] It is important as a matter of the primary trial subject for a believer, because if a believer performed the prayer properly as Allah the Almighty and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) commanded, his remaining trial will be smooth and easy. Rather, if his performance on prayer is disappointing, then all his further affairs will be miserable.

• It is the provision on the way, relaxation for the soul, light for the heart, purification for the soul and a sign for salvation. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “O Bilal! Call the Iqamah in order for our hearts to relax.” [Imam Ahmad and Imam Abu Dawood]

• It frustrates Satan and disbelievers. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “When the son of Adam recites a verse which recommends him to prostrate and he does, Satan starts crying, and says, woe to me, the son of Adam was commanded and he did, and he will get Paradise as a reward, while I was commanded to prostrate and refused and will enter Hell.” [Imam Muslim]

• It is a form of expressing appreciation and gratitude, as well as being a treasure full of the exaltation of Allah the Almighty and glorification and praise to Him. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was asked about the reason behind his excessive prayer, he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Should I not be a thankful slave?” [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim] Accordingly, a true believer should always be grateful to his Creator.

• It protects against following desires, evil sins and cures from sicknesses, as Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing} [Quran 29: 45] The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Pray the optional night prayer, because it is the way of righteous people before you, it brings you close to your Lord, prevents you from committing sins, expiates your sins and cures you from sicknesses.” [Imam Tirmithi] Allah the Almighty Tells us in the Qruan to adhere the prayer by quoting the supplication of Prophet Ibraheem  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention. Allah Mentions that supllication in the Quran (what means): {My Lord, make me an esablisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication} [Quran 14:40] 

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