What are the hadiths about prayer (salah)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“Between man and polytheism and unbelief is the abandonment of salah (prayer).” (Muslim, Iman 134) This hadith is very important in that it informs us about the importance of prayer.

According to Ahl as-Sunnah scholars a person does not become an unbeliever unless he denies that prayer is fard.

However, abandoning prayer is one of the major sins. It should not be forgotten that there is a way leading to unbelief in every sin. A person who abandons performing prayers, which is the pillar of the religion, will act lazily related to other deeds of worshipping too. It can be easy for such a person to deny Allah, Paradise and Hell due to the fear originating from not fulfilling his duty.

Thus, the Prophet (pbuh) attracts attention in this hadith to the fact that a person who abandons prayers may fall into unbelief in the course of time.

What is meant by that hadith may also be resembling unbelief and unbelievers in appearance. For, a believer who performs prayers is distinguished from an unbeliever through prayers. There is no difference in appearance between a believer who does not perform prayers and an unbeliever.  

We hope it will be enough to quote some narrations regarding the issue:

"The religion of a person who does not perform prayers is not sound. The place of prayers in the religion is like the place of the head in the body." (Tabarani, al-Mu’jamus-Saghir, hadith no: 107)

"Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is salah (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer." (Ibn Majah, Taharah: 4; Muvatta, Taharah: 36; Musnad, 5/363)

"When a slave starts a prayer, his sins fall off. They are put on his head and shoulders. As he bows down and prostrates, they leave him." (Tabarani, al-Mu’jamus-Saghir, hadith no: 794)

"A person who performs the night (isha) prayer in congregation is regarded to have spent half of the night worshipping; he who also performs the morning (fajr) prayer in congregation is regarded to have spent the whole night worshipping." (Abu Dawud, Salah, 45)

"The prayers that munafiqs (hypocrites) find the most difficult are the night and morning prayers performed in congregation. He who knows the thawabs of those prayers will go to the mosque even if he crawls." (Bukhari)

"The light and whiteness of a believer reach the place where his wudu water reaches." (Muslim, Taharah 40; Nasai, Taharah 109)

“If a person makes wudu properly, his sins will leave his body from every part of his body including under his nails.” (Muslim, Taharah 33; see Nasai, Taharah 84; Ibn Majah, Taharah 6)

" When a bondsman -a Muslim or a believer- washes his face in wudu, every sin he contemplated with his eyes, will be washed away from his face along with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin they wrought will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin towards which his feet have walked will be washed away with the water or with the last drop of water with the result that he comes out pure from all sins.” (Muslim, Taharah 32; see Tirmidhi, Taharah 2)

“My ummah will definitely be called with luminous faces, and bright hands and feet due to the traces of wudu. He who can increase the light of his face should do so.” (Bukhari, Wudu 3; Muslim, Taharah 35)

“If one of you makes wudu properly and says Ashadu an la ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lah.  Wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh (I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, Who is without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger), after that, the eight doors of paradise are opened for him. He will enter Paradise through whichever door he wishes.” (Muslim, Taharah 17; see Abu Dawud, Taharah 65; Tirmidhi, Taharah 55)

“If the people knew the reward for pronouncing the adhan and for standing in the first row in congregational prayers and found no other way to get that except by drawing lots they would draw lots; and if they knew the reward of joining the congregation early, they would race for it and if they knew the reward of the night (isha) and morning (fajr) prayers in congregation, they would come to offer them even if they had to crawl.” (Bukhari, Adhan 9, 32, Shahadat 30; Muslim, Salah 129)

"If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him? That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out sins." (Bukhari, Mawaqit 6; Muslim, Masajid 283)

"The key to Paradise is prayer; the key to prayer is wudu." (Tabarani, al-Mu’jamul-Awsat, 5/186, hadith no: 4361)

“Five daily prayers and two Friday prayers are regarded as atonement for minor sins committed between them if major sins are avoided.” (Muslim, Taharah 14)

“When the time for a prescribed prayer comes, if any Muslim performs wudu well and offers his prayer with awe and bowing, it will be an expiation for his past sins so long as he has not committed a major sin; and this applies for all times.” (Muslim, Taharah 7)

“He who prays the morning prayer is in fact under the protection of Allah. O son of Adam! Be careful lest Allah should question you about something that is verily under His protection.” (Muslim, Masajid 261-262)

“No man purifies himself, doing it well, then makes for one of those mosques without Allah recording a blessing for him for every step he takes raising him a degree for it, and effacing a sin from him for it.” (Muslim, Masajid 282)

“My ummah will come to me with blazing forehead and bright hands and feet on account of the traces of ablution. I will arrive the Pond before them.” (Muslim, Taharah 39; see Ibn Majah, Zuhd 36)

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