What are the things that prayer (salah) makes man gain?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Prayer disciplines the life of a believer

Prayer performed five times a day plays a major role in disciplining the life of a believer. Its performance at certain times regularly enables the believer to be accustomed to discipline spiritually and bodily, materially and immaterially. Following the imam in the prayers performed in congregation makes a believer have a military discipline. When the imam says, "Allahu Akbar", he becomes the one who speaks and addresses his Lord loudly. He also acts as a proxy for the believers. The imam's takbirs make the whole congregation sit and stand up in the form of instructions. From this viewpoint, there is a spiritual, immaterial, high and supreme discipline in the congregation. It is possible to find the highly disciplined forms of an ideal congregation and a believing community only in prayers performed five times a day. Undoubtedly, this discipline is, above all, a spiritual, intellectual and immaterial discipline. It does not have the coldness of some other disciplines. Every movement of worship gives man a warm feeling and discipline. This movement continues throughout life.

Prayer prevents man from shameful and unjust deeds

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “He who performs the morning prayer is under the guarantee of Allah.” (Kutub as-Sitta, vol. 17, p. 541); Allah states the following in the Quran: "... For Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds..." (al-Ankabut, 29/45) Shameful and unjust deeds drive a believer away from his prayer and closeness to Allah with their evil aspects. In fact, "there is a way leading to unbelief in every sin." As sins are committed, unbelief becomes easy for man. However, prayer is closeness to Allah; therefore, it protects man from all sins like a lightning rod if it is real prayer of course. As it is stated in the verse above, a prayer that is performed in accordance with its real meaning and spirit keeps man away from all kinds of evil, immodesty, naughtiness and transgression. A deed of worshipping that is performed without this consciousness cannot protect man so strongly.

As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in the chapter of al-Maun:

"So woe to the worshippers - Who are neglectful of their prayers." (al-Maun, 107/4-5)

Thus, there is a power that protects man from bad deeds in prayer; if it is not performed properly, a slave makes himself vulnerable to risks. Prayer represents closeness to Allah; therefore, it necessitates loyalty at a high level. The meaning of it is as follows: The more a person acts loyally, carefully and enthusiastically toward prayer, the more prayer acts loyally toward him and the more it blinds his feelings leading to shameful deeds and evil. That is, mutual loyalty is in question in prayer.

Prayer ensuring peace in the heart

When the believer performs his prayers consciously, his prayers will make his irregular life regular and his disorganized heart organized and balanced; prayers will also correct his messy feelings and shed light on his blurred aspects. Thanks to it, the believer will be able to see, think and speak correctly. Prayer performed in the presence of the Lord with consciousness can definitely make man gain those characteristics with the permission of Allah. Prayer has those meanings and guarantees them.

Yes, the prayer that the believer performs in awe and peace will be real prayer. However, there are some conditions to ensure awe in prayer: First of all, peace in the heart is necessary; after that, understanding, realizing the issue and then reliance on the Lord with hope; finally, entering in the presence of Allah timidly and shyly.

Firstly, what is peace in the heart? Peace in the heart means not to go out of those meanings in prayer. It means to have your heart with you in prayer just like you have your wallet with you when you go to the market. For, the coin of the realm in the eye of Allah is the heart. You will give your heart to Him and get His mercy and consent in return.

Prayer being a social deed of worshipping

Apart from being an individual and spiritual deed of worshipping, prayer also has a socializing aspect. The necessity of performing fard prayers in congregation is important in that it shows the dimension of it social content. Mosques have played an important role in the socialization of Muslim individuals throughout history. For, mosques were not built only for the performance of prayers by individuals. When the Prophet (pbuh) built the mosque in Madinah after the Migration, all of the plans and projects of the Muslims, their individual, familial, social and international (in terms of the relationships with other tribes and states) issues were discussed, consulted and decided in the mosque. In the following centuries, mosques became centers of academic and scientific studies. The seeds of science and civilization were sown in mosques. The Islamic civilization can also be called a civilization of temples (mosques). Temple means a place of worshipping but the places of worshipping in congregation had basic functions in the socialization of Muslim individuals and in the acquisition of a public consciousness.  From this point of view, prayer is not only a deed of worship in Islam. It has played an important role in the socialization of individuals and in the formation of the first cities and towns. As it is known, the first cities were founded around mosques in Islam.

Prayer ensures equality among people

One of the aims of the Islamic worship system is to form a social model that makes people equal through modesty and humbleness by refusing groups of different social status and class structures, and to enable the poor and the rich, the master and the slave, the scholar and the ignorant person, the aristocrat and the middle-class, the official and the civilian, the president and an ordinary citizen to have equal status as if they are beads in the same string. How did the conflicts of class struggles cause bloody incidents in the history of humanity and allow the formation of political, cultural and ethnic ghettos? We know this from the history of the West. A conflict and differentiation like that cannot be seen in the history of Islam. One of the reasons for this and perhaps the most important one is the spirit of brotherhood and equality earned by individuals in prayers made in congregation. For, every believer, no matter what his cultural and social position is, acquires unity, solidarity, common thought and pleasure through these prayers.

Prayer is the Ascension (Miraj) of the believer.

Prayer is a luminous spiral leading man to real humanity. Prayer is the Ascension (Miraj) of the believer. We ask from Allah to realize the following explanations in order to understand the place and importance of the prayer in the life of a Muslim, the concentration before a prayer and what kind of an ascension it is.

What a person who performs prayers does is regarded as worship

If you perform prayers, you can spend all your life worshiping. Can there be a greater glad tiding than this one? 

The boons our Lord grants us are too many to count. On the other hand, it is clear that the limited deeds of worship we perform in the short life is not enough to thank for them. Besides, we will attain Paradise, which is eternal, with our worship here. 

Our Lord knows that our worship is not enough to thank for those unlimited boons and to attain Paradise, which is eternal; therefore, He offers us a great opportunity. If you perform prayers properly, your other worldly permissible deeds can be regarded as worship with a good intention.

Yes, we cannot spend all of our lives worshipping. However, our Lord offers us golden opportunities for it. There are three conditions for it:

1. To perform prayers properly without neglecting.

2. To do permissible deeds that have not been forbidden by the religion.

3. To do those worldly deeds with a good intention.

Suppose that you are a person who performs five daily prayers. Your eating, cleaning, working for your livelihood, legitimate talks, smiling and sleeping are regarded as a kind of worship. For, we have to do them to live. It is possible to base every deed we do on verses and hadiths.

For instance, if you sleep long enough for your need without exaggerating sleep by thinking that sleep is a boon of your Lord, by saying bismillah and saying the prayers that are sunnah before sleeping and by getting up by saying bismillah, you will be regarded to have worshipped if you perform five daily prayers.   

From this viewpoint, prayer is a unique treasure of worship.

Prayer is the greatest guard

Prayer protects believers from dangers. Here is an example experienced about it:

A university student was travelling by bus and was thinking about how to perform the evening prayer whose time period was about to end. Just then, the bus stopped at a petrol station to get diesel. He asked permission from the assistant of the bus driver, asked somebody about the direction of the qiblah and started to perform the prayer on the grass. 

He felt extremely happy. He had overcome the difficulty and started to enjoy the pleasure of fulfilling his duty in the presence of his Lord.

While performing the third rak'ah, something he would never forget happened. He had read al-Fatiha and was about to bow down for ruku’, when the dog of the petrol station started to run toward him by barking.

He hesitated for a second and thought about what to do: to run away by abandoning the prayer or to continue. He did not want to abandon the prayer and bowed down by saying “Allahu akbar”.

Just then, the dog that was running toward him to attack him by barking stopped suddenly as if somebody had pulled it from behind like a bus whose driver put on the brakes. It stopped barking, looked at the young man performing the prayer by growling slightly; when he prostrated, the dog returned to its kennel. (Cengiz Tan, Yürekten Hikâyeler, p. 53,  Nesil Publications)

Yes, Lord, the owner of everything, protected a young man who prostrated before Him from an evident danger.

If a person wants to perform a prayer and makes an effort to perform it, Allah will make it easy for him and protect him from dangers. There are thousands of examples of it.

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