What are the benefits of the five daily prayers (salah)? How does it benefit us in the afterlife as well as in this world?
Fourth Word (Part 1)
NOTE: The quoted passages are from Ustadh Bediuzzaman’s book and the commentaries below them are my own.
If you would like to completely understand – in the level of two times two equals four – how precious and crucial is prayer and how cheap [it is] and obtained with a low cost; and how feeble-minded and harmful is the prayerless man, look and see this short allegory:
Regarding the significance of the five daily prayers, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) described it as the “pillar of religion”. It is a gift which God bestowed upon believers during the miraculous journey, isra’ and mi’raj. So what benefit does one obtain from prayer and how is this a gift form our Merciful Creator?
- First and foremost, Prayer brings us closer to God and becomes a path to paradise in the hereafter. This benefit is obvious and self explanatory. Muslims who neglect their prayers by setting a bad example to others and encouraging them to miss their prayers; they become harmful to their society and eventually to themselves in the afterlife.
- Furthermore, the author also mentions some of the worldy benefits of prayer in some of his other books. So how does prayer benefit us in this world?
- Firstly, prayer brings a peace of mind. We’ve discussed this in depth in our previous post, explaining how worship in general leads to a peace of mind. Since prayer is a form of worship (in fact at the center of it, since it is the “pillar of religion”), we will not repeat the argument with all its details but simply provide a brief summary: Being in the presence of God and humbling ourselves before Him, we begin to feel our impotence and poverty and that of everything else besides God. This allows us to understand God and His attributes which in turn leads to a true peace of mind.
- In addition to providing a peace of mind, prayer plays a role in keeping the society well ordered and safe. Indeed, prayers are an invitation to God’s presence multiple times throughout the day. One who wholeheartedly performs these prayers constantly remembers their Lord and stays motivated to fulfill His commands. Since God commands that we must obey figures of authority, help the needy, avoid harming others, and so on; society greatly benefits form it. Furthermore, prayer requires and develops one’s discipline and other crucial practices. Muslims who neglect these prayers out of laziness, on the other hand, are more likely to cause harm to their society due to a lack of discipline and a lack of taqwa [avoiding sin].
Below is a short story regarding the significance of prayer in a Muslim’s life. The next post will be an analysis of this story Insha’Allah.
One time, a great ruler sends two servants of his– giving each of them twenty four gold coins – to a two month away private and beautiful farm for [the purpose of] settlement. And orders them “pay your travel and ticket expenses with this money. Also, buy some necessary things for your house there. In a distance of a day, there is a station. A car, a ship, a train, and an airplane are found [there]. They are boarded depending on [one’s] capital.”
The two servants leave after taking their lesson. One of them was pleasant so that he spent a portion of money until [he reached] the station. However, within that spending he obtains such a beautiful business that will please his master, so that his capital rises from one to a thousand. Since the other servant is unfortunate and purposeless, he spends twenty three of his gold coins until [he arrives at] the station. He loses them, giving them to such things as gambling. [Only] a single gold coin of his is left. His friend tells him “Look here, give this Lira for a ticket. So that, in this long path, you will not be left on foot and hungrey. Also, our master is generous; maybe he will show mercy, [and] forgive the mistake you made. They will let you in the airplane as well. We will go to our place of residence in one day. Otherwise you will be forced to travel hungry, on foot, [and] alone in a two month desert.
If this man were to get stubborn and not give that single gold coin of his to a ticket which is equivalent to a treasure key and instead spends it for sinful entertainment for a temporary delight; wouldn’t even the most mindless man understand how very mindless, harmful, and unfortunate he is?
 Rays; Eleventh Ray; The First One – Signs of Miraculousness; Surah Al-Baqara; Fourth Topic