The religion Islam has five pillars. Each pillar has its own value and significance. After Tawheed, the first pillar, is the Salat . It is the second pillar. The Salat is offered by men in the mosque and females, although they can pray in the mosque, usually prefer to offer prayer at home. It is offered five times a day. The call to prayer, Adhan, is called out in the mosque by a specific person , the Muezzin, when it is time to pray. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Salah is the key to paradise”.
The five prayers
The five prayers are the following
- Salat al-Fajr: prayed before the sunrise.
- Salat al-Zuhr: prayed during midday when the sun is at its peak.
- Salat al-‘Asr: prayed in the late afternoon.
- Salat al-Maghrib: prayed after the sun has set.
- Salat al-‘Isha: prayed in between sunset and the midnight.
The Salat comprise of a few basic steps that are repeated again and again. The performance of Salat comprises of following parts:
Qayam : the person stands with their arms folded.
Ruku : the person bows while reciting a prayer.
Sajda : the person bows down in prostration.
Salat, an obligation
The Salat is an obligation. Although, other obligatory acts are a bit flexible as a compensation could be offered if a person fails to keep a fast or can not perform pilgrimage. The Salat, on the other hand is an obligatory prayer from which no one is exempted except for menstruating women. Even the sick and the travelers are obligated to say their prayers on time.
When does Salat become an obligation?
When a Muslim reaches the age of puberty, Salat becomes Fard. Though, it is commanded to encourage the practice of Salat from a young age of seven.
Isra and Miraj
When Prophet Muhammad was sent on a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem to heaven, that night is known as the “might of Miraj”. At this special night, he was commanded to practice Salat five times a day.
Salat and punctuality
The Salat is the perfect example to highlight the importance of time and punctuality. The fixed pattern of Salat everyday makes the person very punctual and a specific rhythm is generated with which he or she plans their whole day activities.
Before Salat, Wudu, or ablution is performed. During ablution, a person purifies himself/herself by washing hands,face, arms and feet. This activity promotes the hygiene habit. Every mosque has an area to perform ablution.
The union of soul, mind and the body
Why is Salat given so much importance? The Salat is not only bodily exercise of few steps, it is a complete package of mind training along with physical activity. When a person offers prayers, he lets his mind, soul and body to become one. As the person bows down in front of the creator, he/she puts all their worries aside and focus on the act of worship only. Thus, it is an act of meditation and that is why Muslims consider it to be a peaceful activity that clears their minds off of anxiety and depression.
The importance of praying in a mosque
The prayers are offered in a mosque before a leader. The people meet five times a day.this meet and greet generates kinship and a special bond between them. Thus a sense of brotherhood developed among the individuals of a community.
Salat and equity
Islam is a religion that promotes equity in its each and every aspect. The salat does so as well. When in a mosque, no one is given the respect due to their designation or social statue, rather each person is honored as a Muslim who has come to offer the prayers. Thus, the slave and the master become one while offering prayer in the same mosque and are equal in the eyes of their Creator.
The purpose of Salat
As Salat is an act of worship, its basic purpose is to keep a Muslim connected with Allah. It is performed to show that a Muslim believes in the oneness of Allah. Thus Salah is a standard to distinguish between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.
Salat and hygiene
The Salat emphasizes on the cleanliness of a the believer. As Salat purifies a soul, it needs a demand for its offered to be clean. The Salat can not be offered in an unclean area. The prayer area must be neat and clean. Similarly, person with unclean clothes and body is not permitted to ay prayers. The person and the place, both must be properly cleaned prior saying the prayer. Thus, Salah ensures that a person has a pure body and soul free from any dirt.
How Friday congregational slat is different from the rest?
The Friday zuhr prayer, also called “Jummah” or “ Salat e Jummah” is a bit special. The number of people offering prayers is enormous in the mosques during Jummah prayer. Prior to Salat, a sermon is given by the leader. Each Friday, the topic of the sermon is different. The people listen to the sermon with a great deal of concentration . After the sermon, the Salah is performed as usual. A shower before Salat e Jummah is considered highly rewarding.
Salah Health benefits
The Salah offers health benefits that are physical as well as psychological. The physical bending and bowing stretches and relaxes the muscles of the body. While, the psychological benefits are evident from the fact that most people get stress relief after saying prayers.
End of Salat
The Aalat ends by saying Duaa, in which a person raises his/her hands before the Almighty and asks for their wishes and needs.
The human beings are fragile beings. We get scared and stressed and thus, we need a way to get some relief. This relief is provided via Salat. The fact that you are bowing an asking for help from a Deity that is the supreme of all, gives you a sense of protection and contentment.