What are the benefits of prayer for us?

The Details of the Question

What are the benefits of prayer for us? Do you know the 8 things that prayer makes man gain?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Prayer makes us gain many worldly-otherworldly, material-spiritual benefits. Some of those benefits are as follows:

1 – A person who performs prayers five times a day always remembers Allah and feels that he is always in His presence. This does not allow bad thoughts to stay in his mind. The source of all evil in the world is to forget Allah and not to have the fear of Allah in the heart. There are many things that will make man forget Allah and lead him to heedlessness. Man is busy with worldly affairs day and night. There must be something that will remind man, who is so busy, of Allah all the time. If there is nothing like that, man will forget Allah and will not have the fear of Allah in his heart. When he forgets Allah, he becomes a selfish person who thinks of his only his own soul, pleasure and interest. He does not care about rights, law and justice. When people become like that, neither laws nor the police can affect them. When they find an occasion, they will do anything without caring whether it is legitimate or not. Therefore, Allah has placed in man’s heart a guard that will always remind him of Allah and that will frighten him. This guard is prayer. Prayer reminds man of his Lord. As he remembers his Lord, his tendency toward bad deeds will decrease. He keeps his mind, thought, hands, feet, eyes, ears, etc. away from bad deeds. He does not have an eye on others’ wealth, lives and honor. This quality of prayer is indicated in the Quran as follows:    

اِقِمِ الصَّلوَةَ اِنَّ الصّلوةَ تَنْهى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ    

"…Establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds..."

This issue is expressed concisely in a hadith: "Prayer is the pillar of the religion; he who establishes it maintains his religion; he who abandons it demolishes his religion."

Let us explain some more how prayer reminds man of Allah and prevents him from bad deeds: A person who performs prayers regularly gets up early in the morning; he makes wudu in order to perform the morning prayer (fajr) and to pay his debt to Allah. He cleans the inside and outside of his body. If there is any evil in his heart, he removes it. He stands in the presence of Allah with a clean heart and body; he performs the morning prayer. After that, he goes to work. He meets people of different nature and deeds at work. He hears good and bad words from them; bad thoughts sometimes come to his heart since he is a human being. His heart is filled with feelings of ambition, jealousy, hatred and revenge. When he decides to do something by being influenced by them and makes preparations, he hears the muezzin calling adhan for the noon prayer. At that time, the person whose heart is filled with feelings of ambition, jealousy, hatred and revenge puts all of those bad feelings in his heart aside and goes to prayer. He stands in the presence of Allah with a clean heart and body again. Thus, prayer comes to his aid and takes him to the presence of Allah without allowing him to do a bad deed. This aid comes at times of the afternoon, evening and night prayers too. That person will not have time to think about and to do bad deeds. Five daily prayers do not allow him. Before the effect of a prayer on the heart disappears, the time for the next prayer comes. Therefore, the love and fear of Allah never disappear in the heart of a person who performs prayers regularly. A bad deed is not expected from such a heart.  

2 – Prayer also arranges the daily life of a Muslim. The obligation of being in the presence of Allah five times a day at certain times of the day makes a person live in a certain order and discipline. He has to arrange his works based on the prayer times. Thus, the regular and disciplined works make man successful and peaceful.

3 – Every prayer makes a person gain the ability to check, manage and control his soul. An official who is often called to the presence of the manager or inspector acts very carefully in his work and does his works regularly; similarly, a person who enters into the presence of his Creator at least five times a day fulfills his duties without any mistakes. 

4 – A believer who performs prayers is peaceful in heart; he is strong spiritually and materially. He lives with the peace of fulfilling his duty truly throughout his life. 

5 - Allah has promised that He will send a person who performs five daily prayers to Paradise if he performs prayers only for Allah’s sake and perform them fully and carefully. The hadith "Prayer is the key to Paradise" confirms this divine promise.  This statement does not mean that a person who does not perform prayers cannot enter Paradise. If Allah wishes, He can forgive all of the sins and debts of worship of a slave due to a good deed or Islamic service of him and send him to Paradise. This is completely up to His grace and mercy. However, Allah promises Paradise to a person who performs prayers regularly and fully in a way that fits the meaning and spirit of prayers. It does not fit Allah’s majesty to break His promise.

6 – To perform five daily prayers is also atonement for minor sins. The Messenger of Allah likens a person who performs five daily prayers on time to a person who has a bath in a river. He says, "If there is a river in front of the door of your house and if you have a bath five times in that river, will there be any dirt on your body? A person who performs five daily prayers and takes refuge in the mercy of his Lord five times a day is like that. Allah forgives his sins even if they are as many as the foams of the sea." The following is stated in another hadith: "Allah forgives the sins of a person between two prayers if he performs prayers on time." It is also stated in narrations that as a person who makes wudu washes his wudu organs, his sins will be washed away by that water. 

7 – It is also understood from the hadiths that five daily prayers that are performed properly will be a light and evidence for the person on the Day of Judgment and that they will save him from darkness and penalty in the grave and from the hardships of reckoning in the court in the Gathering Place. Can there be greater grace and grant than that?

8 – One of the most important worldly and otherworldly benefits of prayer is that all of the worldly works of a person with a good intention who performs prayers are regarded as worshipping. If a person performs prayers and fulfills his duties toward Allah, all of his efforts and deeds with the intention of earning his livelihood legitimately are no longer useless worldly efforts in terms of the hereafter; they are regarded as worshipping. All of the life of that person is in a state of worshipping in that case. No effort and work of his is in vain in the eye of Allah. If the work that this person does to earn his livelihood is something that is related to the interest of the public, he also earns as many thawabs as the number of the people that benefit from his work. There is only one condition for such a gain: to perform fard prayers and not to miss them unless there is a serious excuse. The fact that all of the worldly works of a person who performs prayers are regarded as worshipping gives that person an enthusiasm and excitement to work and to do things that will be useful for people. Therefore, even if a person gets old, he does not stop working and making efforts for the livelihood of his family. He does not act slackly and lazily. He does not think as follows: "I have become old. I will retire into seclusion and work for the hereafter." He will work more in order to be useful to humanity and his family members. For, he knows that all of his worldly works are regarded as worshipping since he performs prayers.

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