Salaah - Introduction

Salaah is an Arabic word to mean a spiritual relationship and communication between the creature and his Creator. Salaah is the second pillar of Islam. 

In the sight of Allah Ta'ala, salaah has a very great distinction. No other act of ibaadah (worship) is dearer to Allah than salaah. Allah Ta'ala has made five times salaah compulsory on His servants. There is a great reward in offering salaah and a great sin in omitting it.

It is mentioned in a Hadith that the one who performs his wudu (ablution) properly and offers his salaah with full concentration; then on the day of resurrection Allah Ta'ala will forgive all his minor sins and grant him paradise. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said: "Salaah is a pillar of Islam - the one who has offered his salaah in a proper manner has upheld Islam, and the one who has demolished this pillar (i.e. did not offer his salaah), has in fact destroyed it." Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has also said: "The first thing to be reckoned on the day of resurrection will be salaah. The hands, feet, and face of those who used to offer their salaah regularly will shine like the sun on the day of resurrection. As for those who did not offer their salaah, they will be deprived of this blessing." Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has further stated: "On the day of resurrection, those who used to offer their salaah will rise with the prophets, martyrs, and saints. Those who used to omit their salaah will rise with these notorious disbelievers: Pharaoh, Haamaan, and Qaarun."

It is therefore essential to offer salaah. By not offering salaah, great damage is caused in both this world and in the hereafter. What can be more worse than the person who does not offer his salaah to be raised with the disbelievers. The one who does not offer his salaah has been regarded as equal to a disbeliever. How serious it is not to offer salaah!

However, salaah is not wajib on the following persons: a lunatic, a young boy and a young girl who have not reached the age of puberty as yet. As for the rest of the Muslims, it is fard (compulsory) on them. However, the parents have been commanded that when their children reach the age of seven, they should be made to offer their salaah. And when they reach the age of ten, they should be punished and compelled to offer their salaah.

Under no condition is it permissible to discard salaah. As far as possible, salaah should most certainly be offered. However, if a person completely forgot to offer his salaah and only remembered after the time of that salaah had passed or slept away in such a way that his eyes did not open and he missed his salaah; then in such instances there will not be any sin. However, when the person remembers or wakes up from his sleep, it will be fard on him to immediately make his wudu (ablution) and offer his missed salaah. But if it is a makruh time of salaah, he should wait for a little while so that the makruh time passes. Similarly, there is no sin on those salaahs that were missed on account of unconsciousness. However, after regaining consciousness, one should immediately offer those salaahs that one missed.

(Salaah) is  to take place five times a day for a Muslim as follows: 

Fajr (Dawn):    This is Performed in the last part of the night, at the approach of dawn. The time of fajr salaah commences and remains until the rising of the sun. The moment a small portion of the sun appears, the time of Fajr salaah ends. However, it is preferable to read it in its early time when it is still dark.

Zuhr (Noon):    This Salaah commences On the declining or descending of the zenith. An indication that the zenith is declining is that the shadow of long objects begins to decrease from the west towards the north. When it comes exactly to the north and begins to turn towards the east, then one should know that noon has declined. By standing towards the east, the direction on ones left hand is the north. Another easier method of deduction is that as the sun rises, the shadow of everything begins to decrease. Once this decreasing stops, exactly at this time is mid-day or noon. Thereafter, once the shadow begins to increase, it should be understood that noon has declined and from this time, the time of zuhr salaah has commenced. Excluding the extent to which the shadow was at exactly mid-day, till the shadow of everything remains twice its size, the time of zuhr will remain. For example, the shadow of a stick which is one arm in length, was equal to four fingers at mid-day. So as long as its shadow does not spread to two arm-lengths and four fingers, zuhr time will remain. Once it reaches two arm-lengths and four fingers, 'asr time will commence.
    
'Asr (Afternoon):    Based on the previous example, once the shadow reaches two arm-lengths and four fingers, asr time will commence. Asr time will remain until sunset. However, it is makruh to offer asr salaah when the colour of the sun changes and the sun's rays change to yellow. If due to some reason one gets delayed, salaah in this makruh time should be offered and not allowed to be missed out. In future it should not be delayed. Apart from this asr salaah, it is not permissible to offer any other salaah in this time. No missed salaahs nor any nafl salaah can be offered.
    
Magrib (Sunset):    Once the sun sets, maghrib time commences. Maghrib time remains as long as the redness on the western horizon remains. However, maghrib salaah should not be delayed to the extent that many stars begin to appear in the sky. To delay it till such a time is makruh.

'Isha' (Late Night):    Once the redness on the western horizon disappears, esha time commences and remains until dawn. However, after mid-night, esha salaah becomes makruh and the reward is reduced. Therefore, esha salaah should not be delayed till such a time. It is preferable that esha salaah be offered before one third of the night passes.

Salaah is to be performed with mental concentration, verbal communication, vocal recitation, and physical movement to attain the spiritual uplift, peace, harmony, and concord. 

A special congregational prayer is held on Friday noon called Jumu'ah: 

JUMU'AH

This is performed with a sermon ( Khutbah ) by the Imam before the prayer commences. 

To perform Salaah, a Muslim has to have wudu (ablution) . He/she should make sure that cleanliness of body, clothing, and place are attained before performing Salaah. Salaah is not to be confused with prayer; the latter could be interpreted as supplication (Du'a).

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