Channel: Hamza Yusuf
The second pillar after the Shahada is called prayer, Salah. And again there are different types of prayer. It's interesting that in the Quran and this is brought out here is the thing that is commanded more than any other human activity in the Quran is prayer, Salah prayer, and also the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that Assad emerged to deem that the prayer is the Imad of this religion. It is the central pole or pillar that holds the tent up. And the traditional Bedouin tents had four pegs on each side, and then they had a central peg. So the idea here is that the four other pillars, the Shahada, zakaat, fasting, and Hajj are these other pillars, but the prayer is
really what's giving this tent, it's real reality. So prayer is at the essence, and the prophets will I sent him said a dua, which is another word for prayer. supplication, do our mcalary Bader prayer is the bone marrow of worship. And it's really interesting from a physiological point of view to describe it as the bone marrow because what the bone marrow is one, it's the core and that's what it means the Arab say, Mo Shea, the core of something, but the bone marrow is really what gives birth to the blood, it generates blood, it also generates the defense system or the immune system. And the prophet in another hand, he said, A do as Salah
prayer is the weapon of the believer.
So the idea that prayer is like the immune system of the body. And that's why the Quran says that God does not punish the people that pray that are calling on God. So one prayers is the salatu wa, Allah praise what are the sallyann that he preys on you? So Allah Subhana Allah to Anna and his prayer, His mercy, His mercy is called Salah. It's the same word that's used, but it has a different meaning, but it's still it's considered Salah. And then there's everything that's in the heaven and the earth is praying. So there's this prayer of creation. The Quran says Subhana, Allah Himself is semi automatic. Everything is in this state of glorification, the thing that says in verse 2441,
Have you not seen that everyone in the heavens and the earth glorifies God, the birds spreading their wings, each one knows its prayer and its glorification. So each one of the things in creation has a prayer of Salah, and it has a test via when we pray, what do we do immediately after the prayer. So hon Allah handling, and that's too severe. So we have Salah, and in the prayer, you're doing your test via as well. So behind that a banana, I mean, that's the essence of the prayers sosta. So Salah, and test via the idea of having a means to glorify God. And that's what essentially the prayer is, it's the means by which we've been given. And the third type is this the prayer that
all prophets have been given. So every prophet was given a prayer, they might not look the same. And that's why different religions have different outward forms of praying. Because just like, different animals have different forms in which they do their worship. different communities have been given different forms. And Allah says, We gave every oma its own form shutter, a woman has its own shutter, which is the law and minhang Agia the way in which it goes, so each one. Now obviously, things are similar, which is one of the reasons why in most traditions, there's some form of praying with the hands and these type things, you'll see similarities, but they don't have to be the same to
be a prayer. And then finally, there's the specific prayer, which is the ritual that Muslims do, and it's the second pillar of Islam. So those are the different types of prayer, and that prayer is divided into two. Now that prayer is done five times a day, which is interesting also, because five is an interesting number. Obviously, we're just kind of stuck with it. We have five fingers, we have five toes on each side of our hands. Five is also you can say why five and ultimately those types of things hold their irrational meaning not that they're crazy, but that they're not something that our rational minds can arrive at, and I'm sorry
somebody that does not like to go into numerology. It's not that I don't think numbers have a reality. But numerology is kind of a path to insanity. And that's traditionally, the way Muslims have looked at it. So numbers do have reality, don't think they're not significant, they're very significant. But generally, we don't like to go in there. But I'll make a few remarks about five. There are five pillars in Islam. There are five prayers in Islam, there are five rulings in every action. So every action falls under one of five categories. Five is a very interesting number, it is the first number that occurs as a sum of an even in an odd, so you have after one, which is the
divine number, and it belongs to Allah alone allows numbers one. And that's why why heads is the first number but a head is not a head is not an added. One is God's number. But if you look at two and three, it's the even and the odd was shift very witty, by the even and odd. So allow swears by the even and odd. And the even in the odd is also represented the male and the female, it's represented a lot. So the coming together these two numbers produces five. So it's an interesting number. And we do pray five times a day, the quintessence is the fifth nature, which is the spirit, the rule. And because you have the four elements that were composed of which is earth, water, fire,
and air, and then you have the quintessence or the Quinta snco, which was the fifth essence, which is the spiritual essence that permeates the world. So we pray five times a day three of those prayers are in when the sun is not visible, and two of them are when the sun is visible, so they're divided by night, and by day, and worship, it would wintery, they're divided in that way, they're also done according to the movements of the sun, which again, is harmonizing with the world. So the idea of watching the sun, see we, if you get up before dawn, Muslims should do that. I mean, you should have been up this morning, if you pray, you should have been up before the sun went up, just
to see that every morning is something spectacular, just to go out and look at that phenomenon of the breaking of dawn. And what that means, then watching that sun move across and becoming aware of this movement that's occurring every day, because one of the things about modern human beings is they're so out of sync with reality, just with nature. I mean, people are completely isolated food comes in packages. People don't just experience the earth anymore. And people live in cities that are just all cement and skyscrapers block out the sky. There's a lot of people don't even know that the sun traverses the sky every day, they're not even aware of that fact. And these astronomical
centers get calls all the time, where people are horrified that they saw the moon during the daytime, and they want to know why the moons out in the daytime, really, I read that in an astronomy book, where people just see the moon for the first time in the daytime. And what's it doing up there in the sky. That's only supposed to come out at night. And so this is a type detachment that people have. And I remember being in New Mexico with a group of inner city youth who'd never been outside of New York or New Jersey. And that night, when the stars came out, they were in shock. They were literally in shock. And one of the things Emerson said is how if the stars only came out once every
1000 years, how would we even know how to adore God?
And that's part of what the stars are about. And that's why Ibrahim, who's the father of the NBN, what was the first thing that he does, because he was kept according to one tradition, in a sort of dab for 12 years, he never saw the light of day. And when he was 12, he came out. And it was his first experience of the world. And he saw the stars. And he said this is my Lord.
And then he saw the moon. He said, No, this is and they kept setting and then he saw the sun, this must be it. And then he said and he said I don't know. But if you mean I don't love things that set. In other words, he knew that God was the one that didn't set. And so the ultimate say that it's using the stars to prove the existence of God. That the order of the heavens is one of the ways of understanding that God is real. And that's something I guarantee you that studying the stars will increase your email, just going out and watching them looking and thinking about them. So during those prayers, and obviously, we have
Have a car. Now I'm going to show you something and this is not my this is one of the Egyptian scholars in Moscow, he points this out in one of his books, the scholars, they call this minute, you know, so one of the things that he said is that a word
is the form of the prayer that you have a standing position, and then a bowing position, and then a prostrating position, and then the sitting position. So, and he said, also, it's in Adams name, which is the standing, the bending, and the sitting, and then the size. So the letters, you know, the human being has been designed to pray. And one of the things that you can notice when you do wufu, is that you're designed the wufu works perfectly, I mean, just if you watch, just when you do, whoo, you'll realize that your whole all your limbs are made to do this thing, each one of these positions of prayer. And that's why you don't go way down, you stop right where it's natural to
stop, because as you go further, it begins to hurt, the body is designed to do ruku. Because when you get to that most people can get to that point, it doesn't hurt. If you try to go any further, you'll feel the pain of that. And then the such that the going down on all seven limb, I mean, this is very interesting as well, of putting, everything goes down, and then sitting as well, the sitting position. So each one of these positions, the prayer is conforms with the body perfectly. And these are natural positions to do. And part of the reason why in Islam, you pray is because your body should be sharing in the worship of God. So the body itself is participating. It's not you don't
just sit and meditate, it's not in your head, that your body is actually worshiping with you. And this removes this kind of dualistic Mind Body separation, it's a very profound. And really, if you're on a strong path, you will spend your life perfecting it and mastering it, you will never reach the ultimate prayer. And that's why the prayer is something that must be done every day, five times a day until you die because you know, one of the things about carders when you do a kata, the reason that they have to do them every day is not just to keep remembering them but to perfect them.
mastery in a martial art is a lifetime experience and every martial art, I don't care if he has, if he's reached that he will admit to you. I'm not as good as my teacher. I still haven't perfected this. They're always working on that perfection. And that's the thing about the prayer is that it is a lifetime commitment. So that's why if you're doing it the same way every day, you're missing the point that you've fallen into a perfunctory routine. You've gone to sleep,
that the prayer should be a commitment. It is a lifelong commitment to the mastery of the art of communicating with God.