The Swalaah is a type of worship consisting of specific statements and actions. It is begun by pronouncing Allah Akbar (Takbiratul- ihram), and is concluded with salutations of peace (Tasliym).
Swalaa was the first act of worship that was made obligatory by Allah. Its obligation was revealed directly to the Prophet, during his ascension to heaven (Mi’iraaj). Hadith narrated by Anas:
"The prayers were made obligatory on the Prophet, upon whom be peace, the night of his ascension to heaven. At first, they were fifty in number, but were reduced several times until they were five.
[Ahmad, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmidhy] Salah is the first act that the person will be held accountable for.
Abdullah ibn Qart related that: The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said "The first act that the slave will be accountable for on the Day of Judgement will be prayer. If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is evil, then the rest of his acts will be evil." [Related by at-Tabarani]
It is the last thing that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recommended to his nation before he died, saying,
"Prayer, prayer and what your right hand possesses."
It will be the last thing taken away from the religion. When it perishes,Islam will perish.
Allaah Ta’ala in the quraan begins the acts of piety with prayers and ends with the prayer as well. [Suurat Al-Mu’minuun 23:1, 2 & 9]
"Successful indeed are the believers who are humble in their prayers," "And those who are strictly guard their prayers”.
The importance of swalah is so great that one is ordered to observe it while travelling or not, while one is safe or in fear:
"Be guardians of your prayers, and of the mid-most prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah. And if you go in fear, then (pray) standing or on horseback. When you are safe, remember Allah, as He has taught you that which (heretofore) you knew not" [al-Baqarah 238-239].
Allah also strongly warns those who tamper with their prayers or are heedless: Says Allah in the Qur'an,
"Now there has succeeded them a later generation who have ruined their prayers and have followed lusts. But they will meet deception" [Maryam 19: 59] "Ah, woe unto those performers of swalaa (prayer) who are heedless of their prayers" [al-Ma'un 4-5].
Prayer is one of the most important acts in Islam
Prayer is one of the most important acts in Islam, and thus it requires a special guidance. Ibrahim (Alayhi Ssalaam) asked his Lord to give him children who abided by their prayers:
"My Lord! Cause me and (some) of my offspring to remain constant in prayer. And O our Lord! Accept my supplication" [Ibrahim14:40].
One Who Ignores His Prayers
Not praying and denying its obligation is seen as disbelief and places the person outside the religion of Islam. Jabir (peace be with him) reports that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:
"Between a person and disbelief is discarding prayer."
[Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi and Ibn Majah]
Who Must Pray
Prayer is incumbent upon every Muslim (male and female) who is of sound mind and has reached puberty.
The Times of the Prayers
There are five required prayers in every 24 hours and other voluntary (sunnah) prayers, by which the Muslim may gain additional reward. The obligatory payer is called Fardh. There are:
· Dhuhr (noon):
When the sun reaches its meridian until the shadow of an object is the same length as the object itself.
· Asr (afternoon):
From mid-afternoon when the length of a shadow is equal to the length of its object until sunset begin
· Maghrib (sunset):
Beginning with the disappearance of the sun and it lasts until the redness in the sky disappears.
· Ishaa (evening):
From the disappearance of the redness in the sky until midnight
· Fajr (dawn):
From the dawn until sunrise.
Performing One Rak'ah During the Time of Prayer
Whoever catches a rak'ah of prayer before its time has expired has caught the entire prayer in its time.
Sleeping Through or Forgetting the Prayer
Whoever sleeps through or has forgotten to pray a certain prayer should pray it when he wakes up or remembers the prayer. Prophet, upon whom be peace,
"There is no negligence in sleep, but negligence occurs while one is awake. If one of you forgets a prayer or sleeps through its time, then he should pray it when he remembers it."
The Times in Which the Prayers are Prohibited
It is forbidden to pray:-
After the morning prayer until the sunrise
- From the sunrise until the sun has completely risen to the length of a spear above the horizon,
- When the sun is at its meridian until it moves slightly to the west,
After the afternoon prayer until the sun sets.