Prayer & Purity
Both prayer and purity are the opening chapters to any fiqh book, describing the Sharia of Allah. Fiqh is the ability to understand what Allah has commanded us with. The mujtahid returns to the primary sources the Qur’an and the Sunnah and using these tools extracts guidance for the believers. Fiqh is a part of the bigger structure known as Sharia, which is in effect Islam.
In Islam, the prayer (Salah) is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the direct way to communicate with one’s Lord. Muslims are obligated to pray five times a day, at fixed times, in the direction of the Qiblah. The prayer, supplications, purification and most ritual acts are considered acts of worship (ibadat). No prayer (Salah) is accepted except that it is preceded by a set form of purity. A Muslim must be physically clean prior to standing on a prayer mat ready to begin his prayer.
As a prerequisite to prayer, purity becomes a condition to the acceptance of one’s prayer. And Islam gives so much importance to cleanliness as it is part of faith. The attention given to hygiene is the condition which was unfamiliar with any other region before Islam. While people considered cleanliness a desirable aspect, Islam made it a mandatory aspect of a Muslim’s faith.
Cleanliness is of two types:-
1. Inner Purification: Is all about purification of the soul. Having clean and pure thinking, avoiding sins, remembering Allah often, removing ill traits from ones heart, importing good gentle traits, fearing and loving Allah.
2. Outer Purification: Is summarized in two parts, raising oneself from the state of hadth, which allows one to pray, and secondly removal of any physical impurity from one’s body, clothes and place of prayer.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad said about purity in one Hadith: “Cleanliness is half of faith (Eman)”. (Sahih Muslim).
The minor form of purification which is mandatory prior to prayer is called Wu’du, this is a condition for the prayer to be accepted. It consists of using water to wash the body, it has six pillars they are:
1. Washing the whole face.
2. Washing the hands including the elbows.
3. Wiping the head including the ears.
4. Washing the feet including the ankles.
5. Performing all these acts in sequence.
6. Performing these acts consecutively, without a break.
The second type of purification is the major purification and is called the Ghusl, this is effectively a full shower that is performed in a particular manner with the intention for purification. In the
chapter of Purification in the books of fiqh there are a number of interesting topics that are also discussed, water and its types. Then looking at utensils in which this water is stored, then the proper way to visit the bathroom, then the importance of brushing ones teeth, the acts of the fitrah and then wiping over one’s socks and turban.
The following chapter is naturally the prayer. The most beloved act to Allah. When the Prophet was asked by Abdullah “Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” He replied, “To offer the prayer at their early stated fixed times.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 527). The human being has been created to worship their Lord, and the pinnacle of worship is Salah, so it is imperative we learn, perfect and remain constant with our prayers. In the books of fiqh, there is a chapter titled salah and in this chapter a student will be taught a number of subjects:
1. The adhan and Iqamah.
2. The prayer times.
3. It’s conditions, pillars and nullifiers.
Then there is a discussion on the different types of prayers, from the obligatory down to the voluntary. This is followed by an elaborate explanation on how to compensate errors made in ones prayers, this is known the prostration out of forgetfulness.
The different prayers:
1. The Friday Prayer.
2. The Congregational Prayer.
3. The prayer performed in fear.
4. The Eid prayers.
5. The prayer for rain.
6. The Eclipse prayer.
7. The funeral prayer.
All the prayers mentioned above are led by an Imam, and the selection of Imam has its own jurisprudence. Those who are most learned in Islam, in particularly the Holy Qur’an are most deserved of leading the congregation. At this point it becomes obligatory for the worshippers to follow the Imam in the prayer.
Every Muslim Must learn to Pray and Purify
It is an obligation upon every Muslim to pray five times a day, this obligation cannot be fulfilled unless a Muslim knows how to pray, and if he doesn’t know then he must learn. The Islamic principle “that without which an obligation cannot be fulfilled is itself an obligation” applies here directly, it is an obligation upon every Muslim to learn how to pray.
Dangers of leaving of the prayers
The Qur’an as well as the Sunnah very clearly lays out the threat for the one that does not pray. The very first question ever Muslim will be asked is the about the prayer. One of the main reasons why people will be thrown in the fire is due to neglect of the prayer, “What has landed you in Hell?”
“They will reply, “We were not of those who prayed.” (Quran 74:43). The Prophet Muhammad said: “The difference between the believer and the disbeliever is the prayer, the one who leaves off the prayer has committed kufr.” (Ahmed, Tirmidhi, Hakim). Many of the companions held the view that the one who abandoned the prayer becomes a disbeliever.
Companions who consider the abandoner of the prayer a disbeliever
1. Umar bin Al-Khattab
2. Abdullah bin Masood
3. Abduallah bin Abbass
4. Muaad Ibn Jabal
5. Jaabir bin Abduallah
6. Aboo ad-Dardaa
Islamic Courses Online offers an amazing course titled ‘Prayer and Purity’ in this a student will learn all that which they need to worship Allah and fulfil their obligation to Allah.
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