According to Prophet Muhammad, the only thing that separates Muslims from non-believers is the prayers. It is the second pillar of Islam after the declaration of faith. Islam is based on five pillars and if one is missing then the whole building collapses. There is no other religion which instructs its followers to pray five times a day therefore Salah is the identity of Muslims.
Muslims are ordered to pray five times a day at specific times; before sunrise, midafternoon, late afternoon, sunset and at night. Both the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet strongly emphasizes the vitality of the five daily prayers in Islam. Salah is a way of totally submitting to the wills of Allah and showing gratitude to him because as Muslims, we don’t bow before anyone but Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty said the closest my slave gets to me is during prostration. The essence of the five daily prayers in Islam cannot be underestimated.
How can someone who takes bath five times a day become dirty? The same applies to the five daily prayers; it cleanses and purifies the soul of a Muslim. Salah softens the heart of a Muslim and it naturally prevents you from committing sins because it teaches and disciplines you to be humble and also reminds you of the existence of a supreme being. There is nothing tedious about Salah because it can be done in five minutes or less. What is difficult about taking thirty minutes out of twenty four hours a day to talk to the supreme creator?
Salah should be consistent and unconditional. As Muslims we don’t pray sometimes, and anytime, we pray every single day at the right time. When we are happy we pray; when we are sad and inflicted with tragedy we pray. This is the only way to connect with the maker of the universe and everything in it.
One of the companions of the Messenger said “My friend Prophet Muhammad gave me the following advice. Even if you are chopped up and burnt, do not associate partners with Allah and do not miss your obligatory prayers deliberately. Allah will move His protection away from a person who misses his obligatory prayers deliberately.” Prophet Muhammad said, if you cannot pray while standing, then pray sitting down. If you cannot pray while sitting down then pray while lying down; if you cannot then pray with your eyes for it is better than not praying at all.
If the messenger of Allah, a man who was guaranteed paradise could pray an entire night until his feet got swollen then why should we not pray? Why are we too busy chasing the worldly benefits by neglecting our prayers, forgetting we have a grave to go to? What success are we looking for when the success and peace we are seeking in this world is in the five daily prayers? When a Muslim dies without going to hajj, your family can do that on your behalf; similarly they can give zakat on your behalf as well as complete the fasting for you if you die in the Ramadan. But for Salah, no one can do that for you.
There is beauty in Salah and it will take a beautiful Muslim to experience that beauty.