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Relieve us with it, O Bilal!

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It is the relief we seek in our daily prayers, as indicated by the Messenger of Allah (small SAW) when he addressed Bilal to establish prayer.

But what kind of relief did the Messenger of Allah (small SAW) mean?

If we look at the various synonyms that accompany the word ‘relief’, we will come at words like, rest, comfort, cure, satisfaction, sustenance. Such words and further more are reflections that exemplify the status of prayer when established by the Messenger of Allah (small SAW), and needless to say, it should be the way we establish our own daily prayers.

But one of the sizable mistakes many of us perform when establishing prayer is rushing to finish its pillars, detracting many of the rewards we seek to gain from establishing it at the first place, despite the fact that we have many authentic statements from our beloved prophet (small SAW) warning us about this specific matter, we still find it burdensome to offer our prayers in the way the Messenger of Allah (small SAW) had offered it. However, It should to be enough for us to take heed from the narration of Abu Sulaiman and Malik bin Huwairith,  when the prophet said to them, “return to your families and teach them (religious knowledge) and order them (to do good deeds) and offer your prayers in the way you saw me offering my prayers”.

It was narrated by Abu Huraira that a man entered the mosque and started praying while Allah’s Messenger (small SAW) was sitting somewhere in the mosque. Then (after finishing the prayer) the man came to the Prophet (small SAW) and greeted him. The Prophet (small SAW) said to him, “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed. The man went back, and having prayed, he came and greeted the Prophet. The Prophet (small SAW) after returning his greetings said, “Go back and pray, for you did not pray.” On the third time the man said, “(O Allah’s Messenger (small SAW)!) teach me (how to pray).” The Prophet said, “When you get up for the prayer, perform the ablution properly and then face the Qibla (direction of prayer) and say Takbir (Allahu Akbar), and then recite of what you know of the Qur’an, and then bow, and remain in this state till you feel at rest in bowing, and then raise your head and stand straight; and then prostrate till you feel at rest in prostration, and then sit up till you feel at rest while sitting; and then prostrate again till you feel at rest in prostration; and then get up and stand straight, and do all this in all your prayers.” (Sahih, At-termidhi)

Abu Mas’ud said, “The Messenger of Allah (small SAW) said: ‘No prayer is valid in which a man does not maintain his back (at ease) when bowing and prostrating.'” (Sahih, An-nisa’i)

It was also narrated by Hudhaifah that he saw a man praying (And his bowing and prostration) were lacking. Hudhaifah said to him: ‘For how long have you been praying like this?’ The man replied: “For forty years.’ Hudhaifah then said: ‘you have not been praying for forty years and if you die praying like this, you will have died following a path other than the path of Muhammad (small SAW). (Sahih, An-nisa’i)

Scholars of Islam explained stillness and calmness of movement in prayer as an obligatory pillar of prayer, stating that prayer would be incomplete without it; this is why we should be keen to accomplish such an important pillar, which will helps us accomplishing further submission and humility in our daily prayers, as they are the core purpose of our worship to Allah, and which will eventually grant us the relief and tranquility we seek to gain in this life and the hereafter.

Regrettably, many of today’s Imams and leaders of prayer skim through congregational prayers, disregarding many of the prophetic ways of establishing prayer, forcing their followers to rush through or skip many of the obligations and Sunnah acts included in prayer and missing many of the rewards folded in for us in our worship.

Abu Hurairah also narrated that Allah’s Messenger (small SAW) said, “The Imam is answerable and the Mu’adh-dhin (caller of prayer) is entrusted. O Allah! Guide the Imams and pardon the Mu’adh-dhins” (At-tirmidhi).

This goes to show the great duty upon Imams and leaders of prayers, and where scholars of Islam have guided them throughout the details of accomplishing moderation and stillness of movement in prayers. For instance, Alhasan Al-Basri said, “Complete ‘Tasbih’ (repetitive utterance in glorifying Allah during bowing and prostration) is seven times, a fair amount is five, and the lowest is three times.”

Uttering words of glorification is a great act of worship by itself; such act should be coming from the heart while our tongues are firmly establishing the words out. One must reflect on each act done in prayer, wither it was a position the movement to the next position or the uttered words once settled in the position of worship in prayer, for this specific reason, moderation in pace and stillness of movement in prayer comes as a pillar that help us achieve what we seek in our prayers, which is summed up in the verse mentioned in chapter Ar-Ra’d:

“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Ae-Ra’d, 13:28)

Certainly, this would be the ultimate relief in life; the mention of Allah! And what else is prayer but a constant mention of Allah. This verse even goes further to prove to us that our anxiety and tension in this life can only be removed with the mention of Allah, and replaced by calmness, contentment and harmony. Surely there is nothing more tasteful and intimate to the heart than the love and acknowledgment of its creator, and the more we acknowledge and show our love to Allah, the more we are in mention of Him.

If we are to calculate the period where Muslims stand between the hands of the Lord of worlds in prayer, it would not exceed the 10 or 20 minutes limit, but we spend long hours having fun or standing in line in front of bank tellers or to paying bills or even standing in a restaurant to get served, all those times and many more examples would far exceed the time of prayer which was made for our own relief, this is the painful reality Muslims of this day and age face. May Allah grant His mercy to all Muslims, and may He grant us reverence, tranquility and submission that is fit for the greatest and most glorified act of worship, and may He guide all Muslims to the comfort provided in prayer, for it is the most honored meeting in the presence of the king of all kings.

 

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