One of the greatest emphases in our religion is the importance of salat. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) described salat as the contentment of his eyes, he also described it as the centre pole of our faith. Most of us know that Allah in the Qu’ran enjoins salat upon us many times and even commands us to establish congregation (jam’at). We all know our accountability for salat and the rewards that have been promised.
In this article I do not intend to cover the basic aspects of fiqh regarding our salat. In the following paragraphs I instead give a more personal account of what salat is for me, through experience.
When eventually I began to obey the commandments of Allah in my late teens, I think I found salat the most challenging. Principally because I did not understand what was being said, and the fact that I always felt that it had to fit around my life style. When praying I would easily become distracted, and man did my joints hurt.
Soon enough it dawned upon me that I needed to understand what I was saying and the significance of it. Actually understanding what I was reciting in my salat did help me to concentrate better, but I was still not getting any spiritual feel to it, later I found the attainment of this is called Khushooah.
During the many books I read, finally I came across an explanation that really changed the way I perceived salat forever. The writings explained that when the human being prostrates on the ground, he is submitting his most powerful faculty – the intellect to Allah Most High. This is first time in my life I truly understood the meaning of ‘submission’ and what it’s implications are.
Furthermore, I decided that I would improve my concentration, dress nicely, smell good and most importantly I would recite my salat slowly. I believe one of the biggest mistakes we make is to rush our salat, like it’s a race. Allah commands us in the Qu’ran to recite with measured tones. The scholars have also prescribed rules of salat that if fully observed, slow down the rate at which we race through our salat.
Now I have to say my salat is a joyous time of the day. In fact I now plan my day to fit around my salat, I plan my journeys to fit around my salat. With every salat I feel clean, close to Allah, at peace and literally for a short space of time ‘out of this world’. Salat is now like food – it is spiritual food removing the thirst and hunger in my soul that builds up throughout the day. I forget my problems, my appointments, everything and literally envisage myself stepping into a different world, one that’s temporary but one in which there is ‘sukoon’ (peace).
I therefore recommend all brothers and sisters to have sabr (patience) during their salat, to forget about the world, to recite in measured tones, to concentrate and to pray to Allah that your relationship with him is close and intimate and you achieve Khushooah.
Only when we as believers are focused and concentrated on our salat, will all the benefits emanating from it affect our daily lives, and Inshallah the lives of others positively.