Posted by: Dawud Israel | February 10, 2009

Virtues of the 5 Daily Prayers


Read this post TWICE so it sinks in!

We take our 5 prayers for granted. The 5 prayers are made obligatory for a reason, so that ALL may experience their power.

Here is how the Sufis of the past stressed the Obligatory 5 Prayers. I am SPECIFICALLY using the words of the Sufis simply because people think Sufis disregard the Shariah, and people who enter into Tasawwuf think that the 5 prayers are mundane. This is NOT the case. The Shariah must be preserved at all costs or all is lost! It doesn’t matter if a person has witnessed the Throne of Allah, or what station they occupy with Allah- they MUST observe the Shariah. And no obligation in the Shariah is more important than Salah.

In prayer one finds the meaning of fasting, and something more. Fasting is a kind of abstention done for a purpose. In prayer also, restraint is practiced for a purpose. Moreover, it is fitting that you rest there and then go and do other things. In prayer there is purity of intention, and in prayer there is the meaning of the religious tax, because five silver pieces must be given to the poor before one can recite the final prayer. At last let him recite: “O God, pardon me and other believers, that all may be at peace!”

In prayer, too, one also finds the meaning of the pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, one enter the sacred precincts of Mecca and alights and sojourns there, while in prayer one sanctifies oneself and praises God. In prayer a person can also discover the meaning of the holy war. Ablutions can be compared to donning armor. The prayer leader is like the general, while the people resemble the army. The leader stands in the front line in the sanctuary, where the battle will be joined. The people are drawn up in ranks behind him. United, they come to his aid. When they are victorious in their holy war, they share the booty among themselves. When the leader gives the final blessings of peace, he distributes the grace of the Lord of Glory.

-p. 124 Sharafuddin Maneri’s “The 100 Letters”

Prayer is a term in which novices find the whole way to God from beginning to end, and in which their stations (maqamat) are revealed. Thus, for novices, purification takes the place of repentance, and dependence on a spiritual director takes the place of ascertaining the qibla, and standing in prayer takes the place of self-mortification, and reciting the Koran takes the place of inward meditation (dhikr), and bowing the head takes the place of humility, and prostration takes the place of self-knowledge, and profession of faith takes the place of intimacy (uns), and saluation takes the place of detachment from the world and escape from the bondate of “stations.” Hence, whent he Apostle became divested of all feelings of delight in complete bewilderment, he used to say: “O Bilal, comfort us by the call to prayer.”

– Hujwiri’s “Kashaful Mahjub,” p. 301

Thus to him every time of prayer was an Ascension and a new nearness to God. Sahl bin Abdullah says: “It is a sign of a man’s sincerity that he has an attendant angel who urges him to pray when the hour of prayer is come and wakes him if he be asleep.” This mark (of sincerity) was apparent in Sahl himself, for although he had becomed palsied in his old age he used to recover the use of his limbs whenever the hour of prayer arrived: and after having performed his prayers he was unable to move from his place. *

It is related that Husayn bin Mansur (al-Hallaj) used to lay upon himself the obligation of performing four hundred bowings of prayer in a day and a night. On being asked why he took so much troube in a high degree which he enjoyed, he answered: “Pain and pleasure indicate your feelings, but those whose attributes are annihilated feel no effect either of pleasure or of pain. Beware lest you call remissness maturity and desire of the world search for God.”

It is well known that the angels are ceaselessly engaged in worship, because they are spiritual and have no lower souls (nafs). The lower soul deters men from obedience, and the nature it is subdued the more easy does the performance of worship become; and when it is entirely annihilated, worship becomes the food and drink of Man, even as it is the food and drink of the angels. Abdullah bin Mubarak says: In my boyhood I remember seeing a female ascetic who was bitten by a scorpion in forty places while she was praying, but no change of expression was visible in her countenance. When she had finished, I said: “O mother, why didst not thou fling the scorpion away from thee?” She answered: “Ignorant boy! dost thou deem it right that while I am engaged in God’s business I should attend to my own?”

It is related that Shibli every night used to place in front of him a bowl of slat water and a needle for applying collyrium, and whenever he was about to fall asleep he would dip the needle in the salt water and draw it along his eyelids.

And the Apostle said: Verily, God takes pride in the servant who sleeps while he prostrates himself in prayer; and He says to His angels, “Behold My servant, whose spirit is in the abode of secret conversation (najwa) while his body is on the carpet of worship.”

-Ibid, p. 352

*I know that some shaykhs even today are physically unable to walk, despite medical diagnosis but when time for prayer comes, their legs recover and they stand in prayer.

Read this post TWICE so it sinks in!

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.

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