Pillars of Islam 5 – Prayers Form And Significance – Part 2

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Jamal Badawi

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In the name of God the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings forever upon His messenger Muhammad Amin. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except for the one God and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. to all the viewers of the assignment focus program. I greet you with a greeting which has been spoken in many languages, the greetings of peace, the greetings that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham to Prophet Muhammad assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond you. Welcome to the Islam in focus program. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid. Today we have our fifth program in the

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series dealing with the Pillars of Islam. We'll continue our discussion of prayers or salaat. And joining me on the program is Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University. Brother Jamal, welcome to Islamic focus.

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I wonder if perhaps you could just very quickly take a few moments to highlight our discussion of last week before we go on with our program today. Okay, last time, we covered three major points. The first was a brief description of how the main unit in the prayer contract or the main unit is performed. And we describe briefly the various movements standing up the beginning of the prayers, the recitation that is said and the beginning of the prayer. And then they various frustration, frustrating with the hands touching or resting over the knees, then standing position. And then the frustration on the ground when you put the the face the hands, the knees and the toes on the ground,

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which is repeated again after a brief rest for a second time.

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We mentioned also that this prayers is conducted five times every day, and that the units vary between two to four depending on the time of the day. And the second major part of the discussion, we try to analyze some of those movements looking into the significance for them. The beginning of the prayers and the significance of raising the hands by way of declaration of submission to God and humility before him. The very statement of the term Allahu Akbar, or God is the most great is most befitting when you start standing before God to communicate with him to pray to Him.

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we described also what is recited in the standing position, the first chapter of the Quran, analyzing the beautiful meaning that it carries from all the way praising God, acknowledgement of His Lordship, acknowledgement of servitude to Him alone,

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and seeking His guidance and help in our lives.

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And then we went on describing again how the various prostrations are performed. The last point that was raised was the significance of these movements, we touched on the on one aspect of that, and that is in Muslim prayers.

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The entire

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human being is involved in the prayer with his heart or soul, with the mind and with the body. And that reflects the very nature of Islam as a faith, which is regarded as a way of life at the complete way of life which integrates all these aspects of human life into one with no conflict between intellect, faith, or even the physical material body. In that sense, then, when the Muslim prays, he prays with his sword with his heart and with his mind and all of them are in total harmony under

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the servitude.

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So this is the way it connects. The last time on our program, we spent some time going through the various movements in the in the slot and we explained what was said during the standing portion. I wonder

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Perhaps you could now tell us what is said in various in the other prostrations and the other other positions that one assumes during the recitation of the slot. Certainly, just to remind you, as I said before, in the first thing that's recited in the standing position, when the hands are put like this is the first chapter of the Quran, very brief one. And I said, it's also optional, actually encouraged to decide any additional either small chapter or other portion of the Quran, depending on the time and ability of the individual. After that's finished, the person raises his hand again and says Allah Akbar, or God is the most great, and then Niels, that is when the hands are resting on

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the knees, when the back state, so you look like, you know, 90 degrees. In that particular frustration, once you decide three times Subhanallah Vlr beam, which means in English, God is the most Great, that's repeated three times. And then one stands again, it gets back to the standing position with the back erect, saying, some Allahu Mohammed have been elected hand which means God hears those who are thankful or who praise Him, our Lord, Praise be to you.

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And then again, when the person gets down on the floor, put his forehead, enhance on the floor, the frustration, and they act which reflects the ultimate of humility and submission before God. And that position, one says three times Subhana, Allah, that his glory be to my Lord Most High, that's also repeated three times,

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then this are separated, the two prostrations are separated by a brief

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rest sitting on the floor, in which one could say, a lot of mouth suddenly, what honey, oh, my Lord, forgive me, and has mercy on me. And then again, the same position on the floor is repeated. Again reciting Glory be to my Lord, Most High. This is basically what is being repeated in each of this movement. So it's not just movements, void of any meaning there's certain supplication that goes with it. Right? Now, you've used the

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Arabic in and you've gone on and translated to a person, is it necessary for a person? Perhaps the person doesn't have command of Arabic? This must be the this wording would be in Arabic? Or can it be expressed in other languages as well? For example, maybe a person who Muslim whose native language is English and perhaps doesn't understand Arabic? Okay. Well, if you really look into the bare minimum that is required to be recited an Arabic in the in the prayer, it's very simple. I mean, it's only like I said, when you say so pan out or be lousy, and repeated three times, it's very simple. So pan or bl Allah, it's very easy to memorize it. It's not much difficult. Even the

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first chapter of the Quran it's only a few lines. And this

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recitations, the particular prayers or recitation of the Quran are repeated every in every unit of every prayer five times a day, so it becomes very simple, really to, to repeat.

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It does not mean that one has to repeat it without understanding because again, being very limited supplications as a bare minimum, it's easy also for the person to recognize what does it mean, for example, I just explained now that's a panel about Allah Glory be to my Lord Most High, so when one decided even if he doesn't have command on the original Arabic, it's still simple. The point here is that, according to unanimous position of the Muslim jurist, that the Quran, when it's recited in the prayers is the word of God and the Word of God cannot be translated because the Quran is not authored or written by Prophet Mohammed, he simply received it, it was dictated to him and as such,

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it is not only the meaning communicated to him, its meaning and word. And the word of God cannot be translated has to remain in its original language, because any translation definitely cannot convey fully what the meaning are. And prayers by its very nature is an act of submission and complete servitude to God. And as such, it should be done in the same way that we are commanded to do it. But if you really look at it in terms of the practical implications, you will notice that throughout the Muslim world for 1400 years since Islam was completed with advent of profitable

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Peace be upon him.

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Hundreds of millions of Muslims throughout the world have always been praying exactly the same way. Exactly. And the same words are the same supplications as taught 1400 years ago, by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. This makes the believer feel a strong sense of identity with other believers in his time with other believers in history in the past, with other believers who will come even in the future, in different parts of the Muslim world, all of them are doing the prayers in the very same way. As a person who has done quite a bit of traveling in different parts of the Muslim world. It is beautiful that it could go anywhere in the Muslim world, despite of the hundreds of various local

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tongues or dialects. And but when you go to the giant muslims for with the prayers, it's exactly the same words, the same method whether you're praying in China and Russia, yoga Slavia South Africa,

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Arabia, Morocco, darkness Halifax, North America, wherever you go, it is always the same. And that gives a beautiful sense of unity, any Muslim would not feel strange, wherever he goes in the world, the prayer is exactly the same, the common language is the same. Indeed, it's not really a bad idea at all, that there would be one universal language, in addition to the language that people may have in a different location that would foster communication between different people in the world. And by requiring that the prayers should be done in the original Arabic, even though it's very simple, like I say, to memorize, it may provide even an inducement in the long run. That Arabic which is the

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language of the last scripture revealed by God, the Quran, could as well at one time become the universal language, with other people also having in addition to that their own local dialect. In fact, in the time, when Muslim civilization was its was at its epoch, you find that Muslims from different parts of the world, or new Arabic, whether they were from India, from Russia, or China, many parts of the world, many Westerners are pressure, they knew Arabic, in addition to their own local tongues. So it has lots of meanings really, it's not simply. But of course, like I said before, one should always try to think and understand what he or she is reciting the prayer, but has

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to be in the original.

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Let's talk a minute about the ending of the of the prayer or slot, is there any special way or any special expression that one would use in terms of ending the the prior, right you don't just walk out when you finish the prayer, because when they're in the prayer, like I said before, when you start, it's almost like beginning, I'm throwing the word behind me. And now standing in full devotion, and submission before God. So once it's finished, just when like when you visit somebody who's great.

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He has to take permission, when you leave, you don't just to finish what you want to tell him. You turn your back and go like that. That's even more appropriate when you're standing before God. After the number of units or records is finished the frustration and the recitation, there's a position where you will be sitting down. And there is a particular formula that also should be recited maybe I can give you for brevity of time, the meaning of English, it goes something like this, greetings and prayers are due to God. Peace be upon you, or messenger of God, defending the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and God's mercy and blessings. Then the response, peace be upon us and upon the

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righteous servants of God. I bear witness that there is no deity, but the one and only God, Allah. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

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Oh God, bestow Your grace on Mohammed and the descendants of Muhammad, as you bestowed Your grace on Abraham, Prophet Abraham, and the descendants are people of Abraham,

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and bless Muhammad, and the descendants of Muhammad. As you blessed Abraham, and the descendants of Abraham, yours is thanks and glory. And after this is recited, the person was praying, turn his face to the right side and saying As salam aleikum wa rahmatullah, which means peace be upon you, and the mercy of God and His blessings, and turn to the left side and say, assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah repeating the same thing. So this would be almost like somebody who's coming from travel, greeting, those who are around him. A person who has been really an asset of different nature, spiritual

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Standing, directly communicating with God. So once this has finished, he's almost like coming back to the world and greeting people around him.

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But we talked last time, you mentioned that the

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prayers are required five times a day, and each of us has a specified time range. Is there any significance to the, to the timing of the prayers in this way? Yes, the the prayer in general, the five daily prayers are distributed in such a way that it makes the believers in a state of constant remembrance of God

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throughout his day, regardless of whatever activities or job or occupation the person may be doing.

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And this is beautiful in a sense, because on one hand, a believer in Islam is not required

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to leave his work aside, and become unproductive members of society just to spend the entire time in devotion and prayers. That's not the idea that Islam really is looking for.

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Nor does it teach the believer that religion is only one aspect of his life that should not interfere in his other activities. So he can go on his regular activities for the rest of the week. But remember God only for a couple of hours or so once a week, this is not the ideal again, that Islam teaches the believer, rather, the normal course of our activities, occupations or job are beautifully intermingled with the remembrance of God. That's why you notice that each of these prayers, even though they are repeated five times a day, it really doesn't take much time, it could take as as little as three minutes even to perform. But it comes distributed throughout the day, to

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keep us always on our toes always remembrance, in a state of remembrance, and relatedness to our creators. And more specifically, if you want to just to give some comment on each of the five daily prayers, for example, the first one is the early morning prayer. That is, when the person wakes up early in the morning, preferably before sunrise. And this is the beautiful beginning of the day. At the time, when there is a transition from the tranquility of the night, to the activities of the day, you take that shift, and you remember God and start your day on the proper reading. At noon, the noon prayer comes at the time when the person is really involved, and his activities, business

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trade occupation. And he says, Well, I stopped for a few minutes, I don't forget you, oh god,

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you're in my heart, you're in my mind. And that would encourage him to conduct those activities in accordance with the guidance of God. The late afternoon prayer which comes somewhere between almost midway between noon and sunset, again comes when the person is in the midst of his work again, close to the end of the working day. And again, affirming his faith in God and seeking inspiration guidance relaxing for a while, a few minutes.

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Then the the ninth prayer that comes after sunset.

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This is performed when the person usually has already finished his working day, when he is united with his family enjoying a nice meal with the family. It's again an expression of grace to God that a whole day of work has been completed and fulfilled. So remember God again, when the night is falling, and the day is ending. The last prayer the fifth one, which take place

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beginning from about half an hour or so after sunset, but could extend to midnight, which is preferably be done before person goes to bed. It's like ending the day again with the remembrance of God thanking him for whatever provision or grace the person enjoyed throughout the day. So it's really beautifully distributed

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along the entire spectrum of activities from the beginning of the day, to the end of the day, always in a state of remembrance of God but still while being productive and doing going around your normal business. Now, what would happen or what is the position of an individual perhaps you might be involved in an officer involved in some activity and either inadvertently or due to circumstances beyond the control they might miss the prescribed period for a particular salon or for particular prayer? What

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what can be done what can be done in a case like that? Okay. The two points that perhaps relate to your question one is that a person as a principal

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should try his best his or her best to perform the prayers in its proper time, or at least within the proper range,

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which is usually extends to the usually to the beginning of the next prayer.

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It is not very desirable

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act to deliberately delay the prayer from its appointed time or range of time, especially if that's out of neglect or just feeling of apathy or lack of attention, because that again, reflect on the attitude of the person towards God. So this is not encouraged. But like you said, yes, there may be conditions, especially circumstances, for example, a person may inadvertently forget. A person, for example, may be sleeping and really tired and does not wake up or fails to wake up until the time for the prayer is expired. Or in some cases, you could have, for example, a Muslim physician and an operation room during an emergency operation, you can just leave the

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person like that and say, wait a minute, I said, I pray, you will not find him alive when you come back. So there might be circumstances like that where there is a reasonable

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justification by exception to delay the prayer. If that happens, a person should actually perform the prayer as soon as the cause for this difficulties is, is removed, but it does not. It's not left out. One can still make up for it, it's less desirable, but one can catch up and do it. Are there any exceptions from Where's anybody who is exempted from saying where or salon or are there any special concessions concessions that are made as a result of

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circumstances, okay, if you're, if you mean by exemptions that a person would not be required to pray, then a basic rule

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that this is very, very rare and in very specified cases, for example, a small child before he really learned and grows up would not be required to observe the place it's become begins with this the age of the lessons of pivot.

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A person for example, who is

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who has some difficult problem with like mental disease or something like that, where a person cannot understand, he could not be punished for not keeping the prayer. But other than that any adult Muslim, more male or female, is required to keep this prayer from the age of puberty up to the death, and it's required five times a day. There's no exceptions from that. There's only some concessions if you will. And these are specified, the most important of which are concessions giving to women during their monthly cycle, and also during the postnatal period of rest, in which case, it would be too hard to require them to perform the prayers and in the state in which they might be

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suffering

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would not make it appropriate really to perform the prayer and that form. Of course, they could make other types of supplication, but not this prayer in this form, really standing in this particular movement.

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So they're exempt and they are not required actually to make up for it after the period is finished or after the postnatal rest period is over, which is a maximum 40 days in the case of

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childbirth.

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But this is the only one that could be given to anyone who's really normal adult Muslim.

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There may be, however, some concessions, which does not exempt the person from the prayer but rather make it easy for him to adapt under special circumstances. Because prayer is such a central and important aspect in the life of the believer that it is required to be maintained under all circumstances, not like fasting, for example, where some people may exhibit may be exempt because of health reasons are not like pilgrimage, where the person may not be required to have pilgrimage if you can't afford to. It's not like a poor use where a person is not rich, would not be acquired, for example, to pay the amount of portio that Salah is the most important thing, and like we mentioned

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before, is the second most important pillar of Islam that keeps the believer always in relatedness and can contact with his creator. So it must be done under all circumstances. But like I said, there are concessions example. If the person for example is sick.

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Then unable to pray while standing. He could pray while sitting. If he's not able to pray while he's sitting he can pray while he's even sleeping on his back and there are special formats or

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So that meets the particular needs or requirements of the person.

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A person may be traveling and really facing difficulty and regardless whether you travel on a horse back or train or plane, traveling is always hectic and tiring. There is an additional concession the prayers that are required to be for units like noon, afternoon and night prayer could be shortened to become to

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not only this person also could combine by praying the noon and afternoon prayers together, either early at noon time or the afternoon time. He can also combine the sunset prayer and night prayers together, either at the time of sunset or later at night, to make it easier for him and facilitate his process. But in principle, even if the person is in the battlefields, or under fears, still, the prayer should not be left out, a person should still do the prayer in whatever form is possible to do. So that keeps the remembrance of God always in the mind and hearts of the believer, irrespective of health, disease, travel or residence. But it's adaptable, like I said, depending on the

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difficult, specific circumstances. Let's take a look at the other side of the point now from concessions Is it

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possible or recommended that a person might want to say prayers more than the five times that are required? Oh, certainly there's no difficulty with that the sky's the limit. See the Muslim jurists divided divided the prayer into three types. There are prayers which are absolutely mandatory, which include the five daily prayers

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and it includes also by way of collective duty on the community, the funeral prayers.

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And then there is a second category called center. That is something that is highly recommended by the prophet. And in this there are degrees there are certain prayers which are highly recommended. Some even call it whadjuk. Almost just next to the absolute requirement, like praying to units before morning prayers,

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two or four before noon, and two and four or four after two units after sunset prayer three

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after night prayer, there are others watching which are less emphasized also that goes regularly, either before or after those five required prayers. But the third category is called NASA, NASA, which means anything that anytime that you feel you wish to pray, you're free to do so. Especially the night prayers later at night or when you sleep and wake up in the middle of the night to have prayers that's also permissible. The only thing to avoid is to avoid prayers exactly at the time when the sun is rising or setting or in the few minutes shortly before noon. Time. But other than that, you can pray at any time and it's

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it's acceptable.

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elgamal our time for today is is gone.

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We'll close out today's program. We want to invite you the viewers of the Islamophobic program back next week when we'll continue our discussion of salaat or prayers. Thank you for watching Islam in focus Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you. See you next time.