All praise is due to Allaah, the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon the Noble Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah, hold fast unto your religion and follow the path of the righteous people.

Brethren in faith! Man, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this modern life, is in need of what can give him tranquility and rest of mind, and keep him as far from distress and worry as possible. This aim can however, never achieved except under the shade of Islaam by carrying out acts of worship which are regarded as matchless remedy for all spiritual ailments.

Nowadays, Muslims are being afflicted with calamities that distract them from their fundamental affairs. Passing by them also are memorable and important occasions and seasons the most importance of which is the obligatory five times daily prayers. Many people are actually oblivious of their importance, their place in Islaam and their rules. The Messenger of Allaah said, “Tell me, if there is an overflowing river in front of the house of one of you in which he baths five times a day, will there remain any dirt on him? They said: No dirt will remain on him. He then said, “That is the example of the five daily obligatory prayers by which Allaah erases sins.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

Fellow Muslims! It is the vanities of this world and peoples’ preoccupation with them that make them forget the hereafter and subsequently forget those things that lead to Paradise such as this great act of worship. This is the confirmation of the Word of Allaah,

“Then there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up the prayers and have followed lusts. So, they will be thrown to Hell.” (Maryam 19:59)

Some however, do observe prayers but you will not see the impact of the prayers on them. They do not abide by its rules nor do they care about the very essence of the prayers. When any one of them prays, his prayer is characterized with Satanic thoughts; casting his eyes and mind here and there and is never conscious of his standing before his Rabb  at all. As for his behavior after the prayer, he engages in the worst in words and deeds and persists in sins. One may ask: Has Allaah not said,

“Verily, the prayer prevents from Al-Fahshaa’ (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism and every kind of evil deed).”

How far we still are from the meaning of this verse? We do pray but the prayer has no impact our way of life.

Brethren in faith! The prayer that Islaam requires is the one that elevates the believer spiritually and takes him from world of materialism to a higher and purer world where there is his happiness, prosperity and peace of mind as it was the case with the Prophets including the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad, s.a.w.s.) who whenever he was distressed by a matter would resort to prayer.

Fellow Muslims! Prayer is the nourishment of the hearts and souls when characterized with submission to Allaah, invoking Him, humbling oneself before Him and admitting one’s absolute dependence on Him. Prayer is the resort of the Muslim. It is the cure for his ailment, the nutrition for his soul, his weapon and provision, his best shield against Satan and the greatest means to success. It creates in the minds spiritual power, firm faith, certainty and light that eliminates darkness of trials and tribulations. Many are its wisdom and aims that a lot of those who pray do not understand. Great is the reward of him who observes it perfectly. The Messenger of Allaah said, “There are five daily obligatory prayers which Allaah has prescribed for His slaves. Whoever performs his ablution perfectly, observes those prayers at their appointed time and observes their bowing perfectly with complete humility, Allaah has taken it upon Himself to forgive him.” (Abu Daawood)

Pray in Kajikstan

Brethren in faith! Every Muslim is aware of the place of prayer is the religion of Islaam and its law. It is the pillar of Islaam and the borderline between belief and disbelief. If prayer occupies such an important place in Islaam, it is then disheartening to see among Muslims those who have no regard for this great act of worship. What then is the matter with some people though they live among Muslims, treat the prayer lightly? Let these people change their attitude before the wrath of Allaah comes upon them.

As for you who observe the prayers, rejoice over the mercy of Allaah upon you for having  opened up your hearts for this great obligatory act and rejoice over the reward that Allaah will give you in this world and the next.

O you performers of prayers, the prayer that will be accepted by Allaah has pillars, conditions and manners that need to be fulfilled as there are also common mistakes that people commit and which you need to know. The Messenger of Allaah said, “The worst act of theft is one committed by the one who steals in his prayer.” (Ahmad). This has to do with defects in bowing, prostration and submissiveness.

The Messenger of Allaah also said, “A praying Muslim may finish up his prayer while nothing is written down for him of the reward of that prayer except a quarter or one fifth of that until it reaches one tenth.” (Abu Daawood and others). This tells the Muslim to be attentive as regards his prayer; to perform its ablution perfectly and fulfill its conditions and pillars duly in order not to lose its reward and get punished instead.

Fellow Muslims! Allaah extols the believers, praises them, describes their submissiveness in their prayer and promises them success for that when He says,

“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:1)

Ibn Rajab said, “Submissiveness in prayer means to soften one’s heart in it, to remain calm and show humbleness; for when the heart becomes submissive, the limbs will also become submissive.” One of the righteous predecessors saw a man playing with his beard while in prayer and said, “If the heart of this man is calm and submissive, his limbs will also be submissive.” ‘Alee bin Abee Taalib said, “Submissiveness means humbleness of the heart,  to treat other Muslims with kindness and not to look here and there in your prayer.” Ibn Abbaas while commenting on the saying of Allaah, “Those who offer their prayers with solemnity and full submissiveness,” said: “Those who fear Allaah and are calm.” Al-Hasan in his own commentary on the verse said, “There is submissiveness in their hearts and as such they lower their gaze and humble themselves.”

Pray in Indonesia

It is reported that Muslim bin Yasaar was praying in the mosque of Basra one day when the wall of that mosque fell and the market people were frightened but Muslim did not even move in his prayer. When he was congratulated for his safety he was astonished and said, ‘I was not aware of anything.’ Allaahu Akbar! Such is the way of the righteous predecessors. Their hearts used to have a feeling of fear whenever they stood before their Rabb  in prayer and the humbleness in their hearts would reflect on their limbs. Their souls would be filled with the magnificence of their Rabb  and they would become oblivious of all that was around them. The thought of this world and its vanities would disappear from their minds and spiritual tranquility and peace would overwhelm them. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)  confirmed this state when he said, “And the comfort of my eye is put in the prayer.” He would also tell Bilaal: “O Bilaal, refresh us with Salaah (prayer).” Yes, the prayer is indeed a refreshment for the mind, for, it makes it have a feeling that it is meditating in front of the Creator of all that exists. When the Muslim raises up his hand and says the first takbeer (Allaahu Akbar), he magnifies Allaah by that and when he puts his right hand on the left over his chest, he humbles himself before Allaah and admits his helplessness. When he bows and prostrates, he admits the greatness of Allaah and his own humility. That is how a Muslim should be in his prayer. He should strengthen the relationship between him and his Rabb  in order to win the promise of Allaah, for Allaah never fails in His promise. The Messenger of Allaah said, “Any Muslim whom a time of an obligatory prayer meets and then performs ablution perfectly, makes his bowing in the best form and performs the prayer with submissiveness, that prayer will be a remedy for all his sins as long as he does not commit the major sins.” (Muslim)

Dear prayer observing brethren! The real performer of prayers is the one who carries out all the pillars, obligations and rules of prayer completely and observes it regularly and punctually. He is the one who performs the prayer with all his heart and in complete submissiveness. Submissiveness  and solemnity to prayer is like head to body. Whoever makes his prayer an occasion for thinking over worldly affairs, Satan will steal of his prayer according to the degree of his lack of concentration. He may even not fulfilled the required calmness in the prayer, in which case his prayer will be outright rejected. It has been narrated in a hadeeth reported by At-Tabaraanee the prayer of such a person will be folded as a worn out cloth and cast upon its owner.

Pray in India

Dear Muslims! It is when the time was prolonged  for people and their hearts become hardened and people misunderstood the rites of Islaam that you see those who violate the rules of prayer, hence preventing it from having any impact on their hearts and lives. It does not prevent them from immoral acts and all kinds of evil deeds. If those who commit evil deeds do observe their prayers and fulfill all its obligations, they would have abstained from sins and all that negate the essence of the prayer.

What is our condition today as regards this great obligatory act? Hearts of many of us have become heedless and our minds are engaged in the vanities of this world. Let us go back to the path of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)  in this great obligation and other obligations of Islaam in order that the Muslim nation may recover her lost glory  and power. Let the Muslim nation take the proper means that will let them overcome their weakness, and the greatest of these means is prayer for, it refines the individual and reform the society and eliminate the causes of defeat.  

Let us then fear Allaah in all our affairs especially in the prayer, for man’s Islaam depends on it. Let us think about our situation and the evils we have brought upon ourselves because of  our negligence of Islaamic rites especially the prayer. Any nation that that does not stand in front of it’s Rabb  in prayer does not deserve victory or power for, all this is from Allaah alone, and any nation which it’s people do not prostrate for their Rabb  as a sign of glorifying Him and showing their absolute servitude to Him will never be able to stand firm in the face of challenges and afflictions, and tribulations and trials will be their lot. Allaah the Exalted says,

“Guard strictly (five obligatory) prayers especially the middle prayer (i.e. the best prayer – ‘Asr). And stand before Allaah with obedience.” (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

Pray in Kajikstan

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah and honour the rites of your religion. Remember the greatness of your Rabb, free your minds from the vanities of this world and observe your prayer with  concentrating and humble minds. Among the things that help to achieve that is looking into the place of prostration while in prayer, putting right hand on the left over the chest and reflecting over the recited verses and the said supplications, lack of looking here and there, calmness and lack of haste or going ahead of Imaam. All this, in addition to the success from Allaah help a Muslim to observe the prayer as prescribed by Allaah and His Messenger.

Dear brethren! A phenomenon that plays a major role in diverting people from solemnity and submissiveness in their prayers is the modern day communication gadgets like mobile phones which people carry along with them to the mosques and keep it with them while praying. This gadget causes inconvenience and harm disturbance to many worshippers. Will this man, who carries with him an instrument that prevents him from enjoying the sweetness of his meditation with his Rabb  have any concentration and submissiveness in his prayer? Let these people fear Allaah in their prayers and let them beware from harming their fellow worshippers. Let them know that, whenever Allaah knows of their desire for good, He will makes it easy for them. Further, if Muslims observe this prayer as prescribed by the Messenger of Allaah, their situation will be put right by the will of Allaah, their societies will be safe and that will be a gateway to victory.

Fear Allaah, dear Muslims and observe your prayers regularly and punctually for, it is a light for you in this world and a treasure in the heaven. When one think carefully about the verses of the Qur’aan, one will note that the order to perform prayer is always made in the form, ‘establish the prayer’ which means to observe it perfectly.

The prayer observing Muslim therefore, has a great responsibility towards himself by observing it regularly and perfectly as he also has a responsibility towards his acquaintances, relatives and neighbors by enjoining them to observe it. Allaah says,

“And enjoin the prayer on your family and be patient in offering the prayers.”   (Taahaa 20:132)

The Imams of mosques also have a major role to play in this matter. They should let people know the importance and rules of prayer and explain to them how to perform it according to the injunction of the Messenger of Allaah which says, “Observe your prayers as you see me doing.” (Al-Bukhaaree)

There should also be a cooperation between the Imaams and their congregations and every one should carry out his responsibility in order that the prayer may bring the desired results insha Allaah.

By Sheikh Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sudais
Khutbah (Friday Sermon) in Makkah Al Mukkaramah
Shawwaal 13, 1422 (December 28, 2001)