What is the philosophy of performing daily prayers (salat)?

Topics
Вход русский
Question ?
618 0 поделиться 0

What is the philosophy of performing daily prayers (salat)?

[ Related Quesiton ]
Concise Answer

A careful study of the text of the Qur'an and the traditions guide us towards some subtle points about the philosophies behind prayers (salat):

The spirit, foundation, objective, result and ultimately the philosophy of prayers is remembrance of Allah, it should be a remembrance that brings about 'reflection', and a 'reflection' that leads to 'deeds' and prevents from wrongdoings.

1) The spirit, foundation, objective, result and ultimately the philosophy of prayers is remembrance of Allah, it should be a remembrance that brings about 'reflection', and a 'reflection' that leads to 'deeds' and prevents from wrongdoings.

2) Prayer is a means for washing away the sins and achieving divine forgiveness since they invite man towards repentance and rectification of the past.
Hence we read in a tradition that once the Noble Prophet (s.a.w) questioned his companions:

If there flowed, at the doorstep of one of your houses, a river with pure and clean water and if the owner happened to wash himself in it five times a day, would there be any dirt or uncleanness on his body? The companions replied: No. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w) then said: The prayer is similar to this flowing water. Whenever one offers a prayer, the sins committed between two prayers get washed away. [1]

3) The prayer is a barrier against future sins. It strengthens the spirit of faith within man and fosters the seedling of Taqwa (piety) within his heart. We know that faith and piety are the strongest barriers against sins and this is exactly what has been referred to in the Quran:

“Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil.” [2]

Since prayers remind man of two of the most powerful deterrents - the Origin and the Resurrection - it thus possesses a deterring influence with regards to indecency and evil. This effect of the prayers is so significant that some of the traditions refer to it as a gauge for distinguishing the accepted prayers from those that are not.

Since prayers remind man of two of the most powerful deterrents - the Origin and the Resurrection - it thus possesses a deterring influence with regards to indecency and evil. This effect of the prayers is so significant that some of the traditions refer to it as a gauge for distinguishing the accepted prayers from those that are not. As Imam as-sadiq (a.s) said:

“One, who desires to know if his prayer has been accepted or not, should observe if it has kept him away from indecency and evil, or not; the measure in which it has kept him away (is the measure of his prayer that) has been accepted.” [3]

4) The greatest tragedy for those journeying the path of truth is that they tend to forget the purpose of their creation and get drowned in the whirlpool of this material world and its ephemeral pleasures. But the prayer- since it is offered at regular intervals and five times a day - repeatedly warns man and causes him to bring to mind the purpose of his creation and reminds him of his place and position in this world.

5) The prayer serves to shatter pride and egotism. In the course of a day, man offers seventeen rak'at and in each of them he places his forehead on the ground twice before Allah, considering himself to be a tiny entity before His greatness. He tears apart the curtains of arrogance and egotism, and shatters his pride and superiority complex. Imam Ali says,

“Allah made faith obligatory in order to purify (the people) of polytheism, and the prayer, in order to clean (them) of pride.” [4]

6) The prayer imparts value and significance to the other deeds of man, and without it, our deeds will not be accepted. In a tradition, Imam as-sadiq (a.s) said:

“The first thing that a servant shall be reckoned for (on the Day of Judgment) shall be his prayers. If they are accepted, all his other deeds shall be accepted too and if they are rejected, the other deeds shall be rejected too!” [5]

Perhaps, the reason for the above could be that the prayer is the key towards establishing a connection between the Creator and the creation, and if offered correctly, would generate within him sincerity and the intention of attaining nearness to Allah - the two factors that are the means for the acceptance of deeds. But if not, then all his other deeds become tainted, and thus drop from reckoning.

Perhaps, the reason for the above could be that the prayer is the key towards establishing a connection between the Creator and the creation, and if offered correctly, would generate within him sincerity and the intention of attaining nearness to Allah - the two factors that are the means for the acceptance of deeds. But if not, then all his other deeds become tainted, and thus drop from reckoning.

7) The prayer, (not taking into account its contents, for the present) in the light of the conditions necessary for its correctness, invites towards purifying one's life. It is evident from the requirement that the place where the prayers are offered, the clothes of the person offering the prayers, the carpet upon which the prayers are offered and the water and the place utilized for performing Wudu or ghusl should not be usurped or obtained as a result of trampling the rights of others.

How can one, who is polluted of transgression, injustice, usury, usurpation, selling short of weight, taking bribes and earning wrongful income, manage to fulfil the preliminary conditions of the prayers? Thus, repetition of prayers, five times a day, is itself an exhortation towards exhibiting consideration with respect to the rights of others.

8) In addition to the 'conditions for correctness', the prayers also have 'conditions for acceptance' which, in other words, are referred to as 'conditions for perfection'; these, if taken into consideration, also act as an effective factor in abandoning many sins.
Books of jurisprudence and traditions mention numerous things that act as impediments towards the acceptance of prayers. For example, one of them is consumption of intoxicants. It has been reported in the traditions that:

“The prayers of one who consumes intoxicants, shall not be accepted for forty days, except if he repents.” [6]

9) Prayers strengthen the spirit of discipline within man since they have to be offered at specific times. Similarly, there also exist rulings with respect to intention, qiyam[7], qu'ud[8], ruku', sujud and the like, which, if taken into consideration, instill within man a sense of discipline, thereby enabling him to include this factor in the other affairs of his life, with absolute and total ease.

All the above are the merits that exist in individual prayers without taking into account the issue of congregation, for if we are to consider the merits of praying in congregation - which is, in reality, the soul of the prayers - there would be innumerable additional benefits.[9]

---------------------------------------------------------------
1. Wasa'il ash-Shia, vol. 3, pg. 7 (Chapter 2 from
2. إِنَّ الصَّلاةَ تَنْهى‏ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَ الْمُنْكَرِ
[29:45]
3. Majma' al-Bayan, under the discussion regarding verse 45 of Suratul 'Ankabut.
مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَعْلَمَ أَ قُبِلَتْ صَلاَتُهُ أَمْ لَمْ تُقْبَلْ فَلْيَنْظُرْ هَلْ مَنَعَتْهُ صَلاَتُهُ عَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِ وَ الْمُنْكَرِ فَبِقَدْرِ مَا مَنَعَتْهُ قُبِلَتْ مِنْه
4. . Nahj al-Balagha, saying 252
فَرَضَ اللٌّهُ الإِيْمَانَ تَطْهِيراً مِنَ الشِّرْكِ وَ الصَّلاَةَ تَنْزِيهاً عَنِ الْكِبْر
5. Falah al-sa'il. P.127.
اَوَّلُ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعُبدُ الصَّلوٌةَ فَإِنْ قُبِلَتْ قُبِلَ سَائِرُ عَمَلِهِ وَ إِنْ رُدَّتْ رُدَّ ساَئِرُ عَمَلِهِ
6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 84, pg. 317 & 320
لاَ تُقْبَلُ صَلاَةُ شَارِبِ الْخَمْرِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْماً إِلاَّ أَنْ يَتُوبَ‏.
7. Standing in Salat. (Tr.)
8. Sitting in Salat. (Tr.)
9. Tafsir-e-Namunah, vol. 16, pg. 284
Source: welayatnet.com

Detailed Answer
COMMENTS
Leave a Reply

Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.