This series of posts is based on a talk given by Zimbabwe’s Mufti Ismail Menk, and it focuses on the lessons we can learn from the ritual prayer (salaah). It’s really amazing, when you think about the various aspects of salaah, and you see how much depth there is to it…these are things most of us never even thought of, yet the wisdom is all there, and by seeking this kind of knowledge, insha-Allah we can benefit even more from one of the most important pillars of our faith.
These posts only summarise what was spoken about. I’d recommend you download the whole talk to get the full impact of what is being conveyed in it – because hearing (or seeing) often makes a bigger impact than just reading.
The talk was given in Cape Town a few years ago, though I don’t know the year. You can find the talk here, in the downloads section of http://www.muftimenk.co.za/. (All downloads are free on the site. For those concerned about legality, the website is legal. The guys who run the website have Mufti Menk’s permission to put these mp3s up, so don’t be suspicious about that J).
Part 1: The importance of salaah
According to a Hadeeth: ‘Salaah is one of the founding pillars of Islam. Whoever has established it has uplifted the pillar, and whoever has disregarded it has dropped the founding pillar.’
I think for many of us today, we see things the wrong way: we see things through selfish eyes, rather than the point of view which Allah wants us to see.
If you know the story of how salaah was given to us, you’ll know that it was given to us as a gift; a special act of worship which connects us to the Creator of all things, a period of intimacy in which our minds, hearts, souls and bodies actively remember the One who brought everything into being, and to whom we are returning.
But for many of us, being in the state we are in, we see salaah as a burden on us. Something which we have to do – something which interrupts the rest of our lives; the day to day things we think are important…sometimes more important than showing obedience and gratitude to the Almighty.
This point is perfectly illustrated in the story of Barseesa, a pious man who lived amongst the children of Israel. If you haven’t heard it, you can read it here. It’s a perfect example of the step by step approach shaitaan can take in leading a person to evil.
So, while we may not understand why we’re reading salaah (and if this is the case, we should seek the knowledge) – as a Muslim, one who submits him/herself to the will of Allah, we go on reading our salaah. Because, after all, “we hear and we obey”.
Before, I end, let me leave you with a quote from Al-Hasan Al-Basree:
“If the shaytaan looks at you and sees that you are consistent in an act of obedience to Allah, he will try to come to you again and again. If he sees that you are persistent in your actions (despite his efforts) he will tire of you and leave you. But if he sees that you are one day like this and one day like that, he will have high hopes in you.”
Insha-Allah, the next topic in this series: Preparation for salaah.