Lesson 6: Importance of Prayers

Luqman’s Advice

{يَابُنَىَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ وَ أْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ انْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

وَ اصْبِرْ عَلىَ‏ مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَالِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُور}

O my son, perform the prayer, and Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil. And bear patiently whatever may befall you; surely that (patience) is true constancy (Of importance and what is obligatory). (Luqman 31:17).

A brief summary with regards to the advice that Prophet Luqman (pbuh) gave to his son concerning prayers and enjoining is as follows:

• Prayers is the simplest, deepest, and most beautiful method of communication and connection with Allahﷻ which was part and parcel of all heavenly religions.

• Prayers is the only worship for which it has been advised to, before performing it, to have those with the best voices to rise and with a loud voice, invite to prayer through the slogans “Hasten to prayer, Hasten to success, Hasten to the best deed”. With it silence is broken and another cycle of the pure thoughts if Islam is declared and those who are neglectful are awakened.

• Prayers is so important that aim of settling Prophet Abrahams× wife and son in the dry, arid and waterless lands of Mecca was to uphold the prayer, not the pilgrimage rites.

• Imam Hussein (pbuh), for the sake of performing prayers during midday on the day of Ashura, was struck in the shield of his chest by the arrows of the enemy.

• The Holy Qur’an conveys the order to Prophets Abraham and Ismael to build and purify the Masjid Al Harram (The Mosque in Mecca) in preparation for those who perform prayers. Yes, prayers are so important that Zakaria, Maryam, Abraham, Ismael^ where all servants of places of worship and where prayers were performed.

• Prayer of an individual is in effect from the time of birth, in which a newborn has the Adhan and Iqqamah recited in to their ears, through to after death, where the prayer of the deceased is performed upon the body in the cemetery.

• Prayer is the key to the acceptance to all deeds and Imam Ali (pbuh) advices his governor to ensure his best time is reserved for prayers and to be aware that all of their actions will be accepted in light of their prayers.

• Prayer is the remembrance of Allahﷻ. And remembrance of Allahﷻ is the only calmer of the heart.

• Prayer, is proposed in most Surah’s of the Holy Qur’an form the longest Surah (Al Baqarah) though to the shortest (Kawthar).

• There are prayers for earthly events such as earthquakes and strong winds that instill fear, as well as heavenly events such as eclipses where prayers become obligatory. There are even prayers prescribed for requesting rain.

• Prayers keeps one from committing many vices and obscenities.

In prayers, our attention and desires are directed towards perfection, consider the following:

    • Cleanliness and hygiene, in everything such as brushing teeth, ablution, ghusl1, cleanliness of the body and cloths.

    • Valor, audacity and calling loudly is learnt from the Call to Prayer.

    • Presence in an arena is taught through Mosques.

    • Attention to justice is considered through the selection of a just person to be leader of the congregation.

    • Attention is drawn to the perfection and value of those who stand in the first line of the congregational prayer.

    • Independent orientation is felt through the Qibla. Jews perform their worship in one direction and Christians in another, while Muslims must also have their own independent direction to face, therefore as the Holy Qur’an states, The Ka’baa is the independent Qibla of Muslims so that they find their independence.

    • Attention to the rights of others – by way of prayers having to be performed with clothing worn that has not been usurped, not even a single thread of it.

    • Attention towards political movements is felt here where we read in the narrations: Prayers are not accepted where they are not combined with the acceptance of the Guardian and Divinely Guided Leader.

    • Attention is brought to order through straight lines in which we pray congregational prayers in, and attention towards martyrs through the use of the soil of Karbala to prostrate on, and attention to surrounding hygiene and cleanliness which are as per recommendations given for the cleanliness and purity of Mosques and Mosque goers.

    • Attention is brought towards Allahﷻ during the entire prayer, attention to resurrection while reciting “Master of the Day of Judgment” (Al Fatiha 1:4), attention to the path we choose to take through “Show us the straightway” (Al Fatiha 1:6), attention to choosing the right people to associate with through “the path of those whom Thou hast blessed” (Al Fatiha 1:7), and avoiding association with those who have strayed and who have wrath upon them through “not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray” (Al Fatiha 1:7), attention towards the Prophet and his pure progeny through the Tashahud and towards the pure and righteous ones through the greetings “Peace be upon us and upon the Allah’s Righteous worshippers.”

    • We see attention to healthy nutrition here through advice such as anyone who consumes alcoholic drinks, will not have their prayers accepted for 40 days.

    • Apparent adornments are seen here through advice that the best clothes, perfume and ornaments should be utilised in prayer and even women are advised to wear adornments during prayers.

    • Attention is brought towards our spouses where we read in the narrations that should we have quarrelled with or annoyed our spouse or spoken badly to them, the prayers of neither of them will be accepted.

In the Ayahs of the Qur’an, “prayers” and the “Enjoining good and forbidding evil” appear together and affect each other, such as in the following Ayahs:

{إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَر}

Lo! worship preserves from lewdness and iniquity (Al Ankaboot 29:45).

{إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ}

Lo! good deeds (such as prayers) annul ill-deeds (Hud 11:114).

{أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ}

Perform the prayer, and enjoin the good and forbid the evil (Luqman 31:17).

{الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ}

Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin good and forbid evil (Al Hajj 22:41).
  • 1. A methodological and systematic approach, with intention, to cleansing the body necessary after certain events such as a women cycle, intercourse, or touching the deceased.