After the testimony of faith (shahadah of Islam), namaz is the second pillar of Islam. It is a special form of worship that is an obligatory practice for all Muslims above mature age. Namaz is also called SALAH and its literal translation includes supplication or prayer.
Namaz includes various physical movements including bowing, standing, and sitting. Along with the movements, a Muslim is to recite specific verses from the Holy Qur’an and various dua’s in Arabic.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OFFER NAMAZ?
Namaz is such a powerful aspect of faith that it is considered as the head of all the physical worship of Islam. It is very interesting to mention that where all the other Islamic commandments were sent to the Holly Prophet (S.A.W), the commandment for namaz was given to Muhammad (S.A.W) by directly inviting Him to the heavens.
- Namaz beholds a magical effect on the soul if it is done properly. It brings out the true taste of Allah’s remembrance and fills one’s heart with the fear of His displeasure. As Qur’an narrates
“verily a man was created impatient, irritable when evil touches him and niggardly when good touches him. Except for those devoted to prayer those who remained constant in their prayers”.
- Namaz is often regarded as a direct meeting with Allah. So when a man is performing it properly he is aware of Allah. This is a strong resistance against all types of evil temptations. It also helps a man to purify his heart from the darkness of sins and remain steadfast in all trials. Allah says in Qur’an
“Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoings”
- It is also worth mentioning that namaz is the first matter that will be brought to account on the day of judgment. According to different ahadith, the first question asked in the grave would also be about namaz.
NAMAZ AND ITS TIMINGS
Namaz is actually communicating with Allah. It is not only a compilation of words and bodily movements but it is a highly spiritual experience. It also serves as a connection between Muslims.
Muslims offer namaz five times a day. The timings of prayers are not explicitly written in Qur’an but they are told by the holly prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).
- Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W said “the time for the Fajr prayer lasts from the beginning of the pre-dawn so long as the sun has not yet started to rise.” (Muslim, 612) According to this, the timing of Fajr is the dawn or the time before sunrise.
- As narrated in Hadith “The time for Zhuhr is from when the sun has passed its zenith (starting time) and a man’s shadow is equal to his height, (the end time) until the time for Asr comes.” (Muslim, 612) On the basis of this Hadith, the time for Zuhr is midday, when the sun passes its highest.
- As narrated by Muhammad S.A.W “the time for Asr lasts until the sun turns yellow.” (Muslim, 612) The timing of Asr is somewhere in the last part of the afternoon.
- The same hadith narrates “The time for Maghrib lasts until the twilight has faded.” (Muslim, 612) according to this part of the hadith, the timing of Maghrib is just after sunset.
- And finally, the Hadith narrates “The time for Isha lasts until midnight.” So Isha is to be offered between sunset and midnight.
And Allah knows best.
HISTORY OF NAMAZ
As namaz is an obligation to every Muslim, it was taught to Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W by Jibreel (A.S). The process of wudu was also included in this. After almost 11 years of prophethood, He S.A.W was invited to the heavens by Allah. This story is called Mi’raj.
At first, fifty prayers a day were made obligatory. Later they were reduced to only five.
BENEFITS OF NAMAZ
Purification from sins
Namaz develops a constant fear of Allah in a Muslim’s heart. When a person prays, he knows that he is in front of his creator. The sense of judgment from his Lord purifies one’s heart. This changes his life and makes him a better Muslim.
Remembrance of Allah
Praying five times a day in proper form makes a person remember his Lord. His heart is always filled with a constant feeling of pleasure and calmness. The best way to find peace in this world is by remembering Allah and namaz is the best way to find peace.
A person can enhance his character by praying five times a day. The fear of Allah’s displeasure makes him avoid wrongdoings. He also repents his sins if he commits any. Standing in front of Allah five times a day makes a person well aware of the fact that he is always being watched by Allah. This is the greatest factor involved in the character building of a person.
Along with the amazing spiritual experience, namaz is actually a prescription from Allah for a healthy life. A person can get all the health benefits from namaz if he performs it in the way ordered by Allah.
Researches prove that namaz provides a stature that is highly beneficial to the human body, especially the toes, back, and knee. Performing wudu five times a day ensures the personal hygiene and cleanliness of a person. It has also been studied and proven that different positions of namaz are helpful in the pain relief of different parts of the body.
CONSEQUENCES OF ABANDONING NAMAZ
Namaz being the second pillar of Islam, is highly important in Islam. It also beholds consequences of abandoning it. A person who is ignorant of its value and takes it lightly will face many punishments.
Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W said “If anyone abandons namaz deliberately then he has no claim upon Allah.” (Bukhari)
This means performing namaz is the clear-cut definition of a Muslim. Abandoning it can lead you out of the definition of a Muslim. The importance of Salah is mentioned over 100 times in Qur’an.
Allah also informs us about the inhabitants of hell. He narrates in Qur’an
“(the inhabitants of Hell will be asked) what has caused you to enter Hell?
They will say: we were not among those who used to offer their prayers”
One should know that Allah doesn’t need our prayers. It’s mankind who needs His mercy. So every Muslim who cares for Jannah must offer his prayer regularly.