Hadith 3. Pillars of Islam Part B

On the authority of Abee `Abd ir-Rahmaan `Abdullaah, the son of `Umar ibn al-Khattab (radiAllaahu ‘anhumaa), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) say:

Islaam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, establishing the salaah (prayer), paying the zakaah (obligatory charity), making the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadaan.

Related by Bukhari and Muslim

Brief Commentary:

  • The hadith says “establishing the prayer”, which is different to just “praying”
  • In the Qur’an Allah refers to the believers as those who establish the prayer, but when He speaks about the ones who don’t pray properly, or don’t pray on time, He just refers to them as “the ones who pray” e.g. {Woe unto the ones who pray} [Al-Maa’oon, 107:4]
  • Definitions of “establishing the prayer”:
    • Praying with the heart, soul, with awe and with khushoo’
    • Bowing and prostrating, reciting of a complete manner, with full concentration and fear of Allah
  • Prayer is the best of deeds
  • The effects of prayer on a person keeps him away from evil
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said prayer is of five degrees:
    • The one who is careless and is therefore punished
    • The one who prays on time but at the same time he is distracted and is therefore admonished
    • The one who fulfils his prayer by fighting the devil and is therefore redeemed
    • The one who is entirely concerned with his prayer and is therefore rewarded
    • The one who performs his prayer while only being preoccupied with Allah and is therefore rewarded and brought closer to Allah
  • Abandoning the prayer takes someone out of the fold of this religion
  • The Messenger of Allah (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was talking about obligatory prayers and he said, “whoever abandons it purposely, then bari’at minhu al dhimma (Islam is free from him)” (ibn Majah)
  • The Messenger of Allah (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:  “The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved (become a kaafir).” (Ahmad)
  • However, The Messenger of Allah (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “Whoever says la ilaaha illa Allah will enter jannah” (ibn hibban)
  • The above hadith seems to contradict the two hadiths mentioned before it, as the implied meaning of the hadith is that saying “la ilaaha illa Allah” is sufficient to admit someone into Jannah
  • To understand the topic better, and remove the conflict, Scholars say:
    • Shahada is the key to jannah, and every key has its teeth. The teeth for it were mentioned in the commentary of the first part of the hadith, and they included “Submission to what it entails”, therefore praying falls under this condition
    • We give preference for the explicit evidences over the implicit ones. The above hadith implies that prayer is not required to admit someone into Jannah, but the two hadiths before it explicitly say that it is required, so we understand it in light of the two hadiths before it, which is that prayer is actually required
  • The majority opinion is that if someone generally stops praying then he becomes a kaafir, but if he prays on and off then he is not a kaafir, but has committed a grave sin
  • Prayer is composed of pledges, commitments, and recognitions which we make in every prayer. A great short piece of work was written on this topic. A summary in English can be found by going to https://hadithcommentary.wordpress.com/articles/letteronsalah

Benefits and action points:

  • Ensure you establish the prayer by adhering to the descriptions mentioned in the definition of “establishing the prayer”
  • Ensure you pray on time and are not from the ones whom Allah has threatened in Surah Al-Maa’oon by saying {Woe unto those who pray}
  • Ensure you pray in the Masjid as you cannot consider yourself to be a practicing Muslim if you are not making an effort to pray in the Masjid
  • Aim to achieve the highest level from the five degrees of prayer mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim
  • How to increase in khusoo’
    • Right preparation before you pray
    • Tranquillity of the body
    • Remind yourself of death in the prayer
    • Understand and reflect on the meaning of the verses
    • Maintain the etiquettes of reciting the Qur’an
    • Recite beautifully
    • Realise that Allah loves this act
    • Look at the place of prostration
    • Vary what you say in the prayer
    • Remember who you are standing before
    • Read the stories of the pious predecessors

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