Thursday, March 17, 2011

Description of Salah

*These Notes are based on the Meaningful Salah class taught by Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda*

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ
 And thus we have made you just a community that you will be witnessed over the people and the Messenger will be witness over you. And we did not make the Qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger and who would turn back on his heels. And indeed it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would have Allah caused you to lose your eeman. Indeed Allah is, to the people, kind and Merciful. [2:143]
    • The Qiblah (direction of prayer) was changed from Jerusalem towards Meccah (the Ka'ba).  This change made the muslims nervous.  They were wondering if this change means that their previous prayers were now nullified and not counted.  Also the people of the book made fun of them that prayers and worship were now all a waste.  They also wondered, what would happen to the prayers of the muslims who died before the change.  Allah consoled them and said their prayers will not go to waste.  Allah will not let their Salah (replaced by the word eeman) go to waste because of this change.
    • Also the change in the Qiblah sent subtle but a very powerful political message to the Quraish.  The meccah is the direction to which all muslims face to pray.  It raised the question in the minds of the Quraish, "How long before the muslims come for the city which holds the Ka'ba?"

    The most integral part of our Eemaan is salah. Eemaan has three parts:
    1. Affirmation by the tongue 
    • We praise Allah, recite the Quran and make Dua'.
    2. Affirmation by the heart
    •  We have concentration or humbleness in Salah.  A better word would be Khushu'.
    3. Affirmation by actions
    • We make qiyam (standing in prayer), ruku (bow), sujud (prostration).
    Salah is physical demonstration of our eeman. Salah is eeman in a little bottle. i.e when your engine is broken you say my car is broken although it is just a part of the car but it is such an integral part that it is considered as the whole thing.
    وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِي
    Maintain with care the (obligatory) prayers and in (particular) the middle prayer and stand before Allah devoutly obedient. [2:238]
    قنوت (Qunoot): Completely obedient and submissive. 
    • Stand for the sake of Allah in complete submission. 
    • Salah is exercise in obedience. 
      • Best position of Salah is sujood. The closest a slave is to Allah is when he/she is in sujood. But majority of the prayer we are standing which is the farthest position from sujood. The logic: Salah is a spiritual exercise not an intellectual, We Listen and We Obey.  Salah applies in all aspects of life
    Allah says in the Quran to Musa (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him):

    إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
    Indeed I am Allah.  There is no other diety (worthy of worship), so worhsip me and establish Salah for my rememberance. [20:14]

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