The writer, Zishaan E Fatima Karim is a writer and a poet, passionate about making a difference and believes in beginning at the roots. She has a Montessori Diploma in Early Childhood Education and 4 decades’ experience in teaching as a Madrasah teacher. She also writes children’s stories and creates comic strips & video stories for little children. She facilitates Teaching Skills Practice programs under the MCE of WF and Leadership and Mentorship Development Programs under CBG of AFed. “Small changes by many people equals a Big Change,” is her motto. With that, she anticipates the reappearance of Al Hujjah (atfs) and wishes to be a part of his system of governance.
hese are the days when the Holy Prophet (saww) was invited by Allah (swt) to have a tour of the heavens and see some of the signs of Allah (swt) there.
Surah Al-Isra, Verse 1:
Glory be to Him Who made His servant go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.
One may wonder about this special visit, on a special night, on a special travel mode by a special person to a special destination. No earthly visit can be compared to this tour; no one has ever used a similar mode of travel, and no one has ever been to the destination that our beloved Prophet reached.
Just like a parent who travels and decides to get some souvenirs for his family through which he talks about and explains his beautiful journey, I believe Prophet also must have thought about his Ummah.
When the host is one’s best friend, he knows the visiting person so well that he decides to fill up the bag with souvenirs so when the guest goes home, he has plenty to ‘show and tell’. If we were to give the Heavenly Ascension of The Holy prophet (saww) the similitude of a lover meeting his Beloved and the Beloved, in turn, gifting him with the best of gifts for the people at home, then Salah is one of those heavenly gifts of Mi’raj.
A ‘souvenir’ is a reminder of a person, place or event and The Holy Prophet (saww)’s tour to the heavens was so special that Salah as a Souvenir for us becomes a special reminder of a meeting with Allah (swt) reaching the loftiest of stations giving the traveller an ascension to be in one on one communication with the Lord Himself! Can there be a bigger gift than that?
It is quoted that Salah is Me’raj (ascension/heavenly journey) for a believer. How is this possible? Since amongst humans, there has been no one picked for a heavenly tour, we can strive to have a one-on-one conversation with Allah (swt) through Salah. It also allows our spirituality to have an ascension and those who pray their salah in a befitting manner are truly engrossed in its beauty and actually feel the ascension of their souls.
Its beauty lies in its intention. If a believer is merely performing it to have an obligatory act off his shoulder so that he can move on with other chores in life, it becomes a tick-box activity and other than checking it off, and saving him from the consequences of forsaking a mandatory act, it offers little value.
However, if it is done with the right intent and in the correct manner, valuing its performance and identifying its objective, then it leads to greater benefits, depending on the value given to it.
How would one value Salah? Or if I flip the question into, How important is it to value salah?
I envision our 6th Holy Imam, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) on his deathbed. In the painful and tormenting state of having been poisoned, he asks for family members to gather so that he can do his final wasiyah and leave them his final words of advice.
His family gathered around him to listen to this important message attentively. The Imam (as) said,
Our intercession shall not be attained by those who depreciate the value of Salah.Furoo’ kafi, Vol 3 Page 270
How is the value of Salah depreciated? Some common ways may be:
- Not pray on time or pray after time
- No concentration in Salah
- Pray without proper pronunciation
- Not comprehend what one says
- Pray in places of distraction
- Pray with messy clothes
- Pray anywhere without actually preparing the environment
- Pray without the prerequisites done in a spiritual manner
- Salah void of spirituality
- Prayed just for the sake of praying
Salah is an act that needs purification prior to entering it. This is what prepares the heart and mind for elevation and the effect of this preparation are visible on the body. When we hear of our Aimmah (as) trembling while performing wudhoo for salah, it is this conscious preparation for meeting The Lord that produces the awe within the Infallible beings too!
If we reflect upon the dua for wudhoo shown by Ameerul Mu’mineen (as), we shall see how every part of wudhoo has a special dua for it, and this reminds one of his meeting Allah (swt) very soon. It also gives a strong reminder of the meeting on the Day of Judgement. The difference between these two meetings is huge. Salah is a meeting where one confesses and attains forgiveness; it is a meeting like that of a University student taking his thesis to the professor and the professor sees his work and guides on edits. Salah is a one-on-one conversation that allows us to make edits in our day-to-day life. Through Salaah, Allah (swt) inspires you and me to make necessary changes in our lives in order to perfect ourselves.
Can there be a better gift than Salah?
We enter the Salah with the intent of attaining proximity to Allah (swt) and instantly seal it with Magnifying Him with Takbiratul Ihram. Let me think about my Fajr Salah when I don’t have school, Uni or work. It is a day to chill under the blanket and so I skip only one prayer a week to pray it with the Dhuhrayn Salah. Just like any other salah that I do a couple of minutes or hours after the Muaddhin has called out, I say this one too, hardly feeling any difference between the two. As soon as I say my intention, I seal it with Takbiratul Ihram. How truthful am – we when I proclaim this “Allah is the Greatest”? I wonder if at this Takbir Allah would be asking me where I was when the Muaddhin called out if I truly considered Him the Greatest?
The Niche of prayer is called MIHRAB coming from the root word HARB which means a war or a battle. That may be indicating that Salah is equipping me with skills to fight a continuous battle with all those elements that prevent me from soaring and chains around me that tie me down.
As you and I complete the Salah we proclaim 3 takbirs. That was a norm at every encounter of victory during the early battles of Islam. Hopefully, I too am saying these Takbirs loud and clear to exhibit my victory over my carnal self, my triumph against Shaitan and my mastery over the chains that hold me down. With Salah, I succeed and achieve the highest of stations possible for believers.
Thank You, Allah, for the best of gifts. Allow me tawfeeq to know its worth and value its observance in a befitting manner. Amen
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