Muslim Prayer: The Importance of Salah in Islam

In Islam, Muslims are obligated to perform five fundamental pillars throughout their lives. One of these essential tasks is performing salah. Muslim prayer or salah has been made mandatory for all Muslims, and performing five daily prayers is considered important in the Islamic faith. In Islam, salah is not seen as a daily practice to worship and fear God alone, but in Islam, regular prayer is also seen as a practice to increase one's awareness of Allah and to purify themselves.

Muslim Prayer and How Muslims See It

As we have previously stated, salah is one of Islam's five pillars, and it's thought that all Muslims should pray five times a day as a core belief and duty. Salah, or daily prayer, is significant for Muslims as a means of connecting with God and following in the footsteps of the prophets.

A graphic picture represents a Muslim man praying in the mosque

There are many things that happen in this world that somehow make us drown in forgetfulness of the hereafter. The five daily prayers serve as a means of self-control and as a reminder of the afterlife for Muslims.

Muslims believe that we must complete our daily prayers with care so that we are continuously reminded of God. Muslims believe that salah gives major benefits to our body and soul. The following are some of the benefits that Muslims believe praying can bring us:

Daily Muslim Prayer Teaches Control and Discipline

In Islamic belief, Muslims must pray five times a day in order to connect with the creator, Almighty Allah SWT. Salah itself is also seen as a tool of training for Muslims in matters of cleanliness, purity, and self-discipline. It helps the believer to be accustomed to disciplining themselves spiritually and bodily. Since salah has to be performed at specific times during the day, salah itself can help as a tool of training in punctuality for the believers.

Bring You Closer to Allah SWT

 A muslim man performing prostration in salah

Muslim prayer (salah) is not just a mandatory daily practice, but Muslims also believe that salah is a form of worship that can save the believer from the hereafter. The majority of people believe that a person cannot undertake any religious practice when they are preoccupied with worldly things, however, Muslims disagree with this idea. There are no acceptable reasons for a devotee of Islam to skip daily prayer. In addition, Muslims believe that daily prayer helps people remember Allah and the afterlife and prevents them from drifting into a state of needlessness.

In Islam, prostration to Allah is the highest form of worship (SWT). Muslims believe Allah is the only Creator deserving of worship and prostrated to. This is also the reason why Muslims must perform many prostrations during each Rakat of prayer.

The significance of prostrating to Allah is further emphasized in a number of hadith, as follows:

"The servant is closest to his Lord during prostration, so increase your supplications therein" (Sahih Muslim 482).

Muslims believe that if they consistently remember Allah, He will always remember them. Salah can be a way to always be grateful for his generosity, and he will multiply his blessings on you.

Muslim Prayer (salah) as a Way to Seek Forgiveness

A graphic picture representing a muslim praying hand gesture with tasbih

It's part of human nature to make mistakes, and Islam recognizes that no human being who walks on this earth is pure without having committed any mistakes. As humans, we cannot avoid making mistakes, and Muslims believe that Allah emphasizes His mercy and kindness and forgives anybody who repents Him for any wrongdoing. In Islam, salah is a way to ask for repentance from God. Islam views salah as a concept of repentance to God for all crimes and wrongdoings, and there is no intercession between the two.

No matter how many sins we have committed, it's necessary for Muslims to return to Allah apologetically to repent. Muslim prayer, or Salah, has been closely related to Tawbah, which is an Arabic word for "to return". The importance of Tawbah has been repeated several times in both the Qur'an and Hadith. In the Islamic context, tawbah means to turn or retreat from previous sinful and evil activities and resolve to abstain from them in the future. Sincere and faith-filled repentance is always accepted, as Allah has said in the Quran;

"Indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance." (Ta-ha, 20:82).

Bring Calmness and Purify The Heart

The Muslim prayer (salah) is often mistakenly seen as a monologue and a mandatory prayer with certain postures just to complete the ritual. Salah is designed to be a communication between a human and Allah SWT. Unfortunately, some Muslims often get lost in the rush to complete the prayer, which results in losing the essence of the prayer.

In the following hadith, the Prophet Muhammad also emphasizes the need of providing calm and tranquility via prayer.

"When you go to pray, say Takbir, then recite whatever you can of the Quran. Then bow until you are at ease with bowing, then rise until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you feel comfortable, and then sit up until you feel comfortable. Then do that throughout the entire prayer." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 793).

Whenever Muslims take time out of their day for prayer, we are focusing on the relationship between us and the Creator, Allah SWT. By doing this regularly, we are able to change our perspective from this world to the hereafter. The daily Muslim prayers we do every day help us to shift from worldly chaos and focus our attention on our Creator, and they also help us regain a sense of perspective and peace.

Hadith and Quran Insights on the Importance of Salah

A muslim man reading The Holy Al-Qur'an

Muslim prayer, or Salah, was made obligatory for all Muslims without any exceptional circumstances, whether they are rich, poor, strong, weak, male, or female. Daily prayers are a must in Islamic belief.

The importance of Muslim prayers (salah) is also stressed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

"Know that among your duties, prayer is foremost."

Following the testimony of faith as the first pillar of faith in Islam, performing salah five times a day is also considered vital to attaining success in this world and the hereafter. Muslims believe prayer can purify the heart and, through prayer, a believer will attain spiritual devotion and moral elevation, as stated in the Quran.

Allah SWT said, "He has succeeded who purifies himself, who remembers the name of his Lord and prays." (Al-A'la, 87:14).

In this way, by praying five times throughout the whole day, Muslims would purify their hearts every morning and evening. Other than purifying the heart, daily Muslim prayers are also meant to prevent us from committing sins and immoral deeds. Daily prayers make Muslims more focused on the hereafter and less attracted to the world, and more inclined to help others.

Allah SWT said, "Verily, the prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater." (Al-Ankabut, 29:45).

Salah is Not The Only Way to Purify the Heart

Not only must Muslims pray daily, but they must also complete other practices to purify their hearts, such as charity and doing good deeds for others. "Charity is due upon every joint of the people for every day upon which the sun rises. Being just between two people is charity, and helping a man with his animal and lifting his luggage is charity, and a kind word is a charity, and every step that you take toward the mosque is charity, and removing harmful things from the road is charity." (Sahih Muslim 1009).

Therefore, when a Muslim commits a sin, his or her heart is covered by a stain, but it is removed by repentance and good deeds. So, it's important for Muslims to stay conscious of their actions every minute and second throughout the day.