The pledges, commitments & recognitions we make in Salah

Below is a paraphrased translation of a scholar’s letter on salah

For the one who prays, salah is a sacred stand for him with his Lord and his true God. In his salah, he repeats his pledges, commitments, and recognitions which fall under his testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and which by fulfilling it, a person become a true Muslim.

Examples of these pledges, commitments, and recognitions are:

  • The takbeer: It is a recognition in which you believe that Allah is bigger than everything in terms of His essence, attributes, rights, etc. From His rights are obeying His commands and staying away from His prohibitions in matters of belief, worship, manners, and every other instance. This recognition which is carried out by the one who prays in all his actions, whether they be standing, bowing, prostrating, or sitting, is a verbal recognition which is followed by acting on a command, therefore no chance of heedlessness can be found, and nothing stays in his heart which can compete with the rights of Allah out of glorification, respect, love, fear, hope, and obedience. No soul, nor wealth, nor boss, nor family, nor children. So you should recognise this and you give the salah your full concentration as Allah is deserving of that
  • Rukoo’: physical commitment in which you bow your head and back out of obedience, submission, and humility for your Lord. By this you are giving a pledge that you will be in constant obedience and fulfilment of the orders of your Lord and staying away from His prohibitions, to live by His sharee’ah in easy and difficult times, and in every instance.  We repeat this every time we make rukoo’, whether in an obligatory prayer or sunnah prayer, so whoever does this and then goes and disobeys by not fulfilling a command, or acting on a prohibition due to following his desire, then he has broken this commitment/pledge according to his level of disobedience
  • Tasbeeh: Saying Subhana rabbi Al-A’la/’Atheem is a verbal recognition in which you free Allah from any deficiencies in His actions, attributes, and rights. From his rights are to glorify Him in all instances, and putting His obedience before one’s soul, parents, leaders and everyone else, so whoever does this and then obeys someone while disobeying Allah has contradicted his tasbeeh according to his level of disobedience
  • Sujood: physical pledge in which you put your most noble body parts on the floor out of humility and obedience to Allah and it is the ultimate level of submission. You pledge that you will obey whoever you have prostrated to in every instance of your life without any exceptions due to desire or weakness, so whoever puts his face on the floor for someone, and submits to Him in sujood, then after he leaves his salah he returns to following his desires by sinning against Allah, and obeying the creation in the disobedience of Allah, then they have belied and contradicted themselves according to their level of disobedience. Ff they do that then they must quickly repent, for the prophet (peace be upon him) said. “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are the ones who repent” (Reported in Tirmidhi)
  • Holding the hands while standing: physical recognition in that you are humbling yourself and standing in a broken state in front of your Lord so you recognise His favours and rights over you. Also, it implies that you are submitting to your Lord and not moving unless ordered and not staying still unless ordered, so whoever stands in this position and then goes ahead afterwards and acts without being ordered i.e. committing haram or not fulfilling an obligation, then this person is a cheat and a deceitful person.
  • Khushoo’/concentration: Being overcome with the sense of standing before the true being that is worshipped (Allah), with stillness of the heart and limbs, while not moving except when ordered to, and not being still except when ordered to, so it is a physical commitment for constant obedience so whoever does this during his prayer and contradicts it outside his prayer then he has contradicted himself

What you do in every rak’a in terms of movement and speech are also commitments, pledges, and recognitions of absolute obedience and humility to your Lord, which you repeat whether it is an obligatory salah or a sunnah, so you must ensure to never contradict yourself after you finish praying, nor to be like a hypocrite. For the one who establishes it, no partnership or competition with Allah remains in his heart, tongue, nor limbs. He becomes a Muslim submissive to Allah, he gives for His sake, and takes for His sake. He does for His sake, and leaves for His sake. He loves for His sake and hates for His sake.

The proof for this is the saying of Allah, glorified may He be, {And establish Salah, for Salah restrains from shameful and evil deeds} [Al-‘Ankabut: 45], and the saying of the prophet (peace be upon him) when he said, “An example of the five prayers is that of a large flowing river on the door of someone, he bathes in it five times a day” (Reported in Muslim)

So know my brother the true magnitude of your salah, and establish it as it should be established so that you can be happy with it as Allah wanted for you. I ask Allah to guide us all, and have mercy on us, He is the All-hearing, and accepts our du’aa.

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