Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mission Ramadhan 28 - The Importance of Solat

"What Good is Salat?" By Khalid Baig

In one of his circulars Sayyidna Umar ibn Khattab, Radi-Allahu anhu, sent instructions to all his administrators saying, "In my opinion, salat (Islam's prescribed act of worship or prayer. The word prayer, though, is also used for supplication or dua and is therefore avoided in this article.) is the most important of your obligations. Whoever takes good care of it and safeguards it safeguards his religion and whoever neglects it will neglect other things even more." He then added instructions about the times for the five salats and admonition against dozing off before Isha. [Muwatta Imam Malik. Hadith No. 5]

This letter from the ruler of a vast empire to the officials of his government --- shall we call it Executive Order? --- gives us a lot to reflect upon. For salat is among the most emphasized commands in Shariah. Unfortunately it is also a grossly neglected obligation in our life today.

Even a Muslim school child knows that salat is a pillar of Islam. What Sayyidna Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, expressed was that it is true at all levels and in all settings, from the private to the public. One cannot build an Islamic life, an Islamic community, an Islamic institution, or an Islamic government while neglecting or weakening this pillar. It is a measure of its extraordinary status that unlike all other obligations the command for salat was given by Allah Most High to Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam during his miraculous Ascent to Heaven or Meraj. Very fittingly so, for salat is the meraj of the believer. One begins the salat by standing while facing the Ka'ba or the House of Allah, isolating himself from the worldly affairs, and then addressing Allah directly: "Oh Allah, You are sanctified and (I begin) with Your praise. Your name is Blessed and Your Greatness is Supreme. And no one else is worthy of worship except You." During salat a believer repeatedly stands, bows, and prostates to Allah. Each of these acts brings him closer and closer to his Master and Creator filling him with the feelings of love, devotion, and obedience. The sitting position even includes the re-creation of the conversation that took place between the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and Allah during the Heavenly Ascent.

As people run out of excuses they sometimes try rationalizations. What good is salat if one's mind wanders all over the place? Well our job is to try to concentrate not to achieve concentration. We are doing our job if we are simply making the effort. What good is salat if one is still involved in other sins, like the proverbial person who steals and prays? The simple answer is that our lives are combinations of good and evil. Our goal is to increase the good and reduce or eliminate the evil. And that won't happen by putting the good on hold until we can get rid of the evil. It may also be helpful to remember that the greatest theft is that of salat itself.

p.s. When I wrote "Unit Amal PAS - My Heroes", I wanted to elaborate further son why there is such vast differences between my heroes and those of PEKIDA, PERKASA, UMNO and everything yang sewaktu dengannya. One of many stark contrasts, that makes Unit Amal PAS appealing to everyone - regardless of race, religion and creed - is that their Solat Jemaah, based on the abovementioned book I came across last year.


Uncle Lee said...

Hello Fi-Sha, Salam Aidilfitri, just dropped by to wish you selamat berpuasa, and selamat hari raya. Have fun, eat and enjoy...
Best wishes, Lee.

Fi-sha said...

Dear Uncle Lee

Thank you for the well wishes. I had fund eating :D.

p.s. Ive eaten your portion of ketupat rendang and nasi beriani :)