Pillars of Islam 6 – Group Prayers Conclusion

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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 upon His Servant and Messenger forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave servant, and messenger of God. I'd like to extend the greeting to all of the viewers of the Islam and focus program, a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. The Universal greetings of peace, assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond you. Welcome to our program Islam in focus. I'm your host, Ahmet Rashid, and today we have

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our sixth program on Pillars of Islam. We'll be concluding our discussion of prayers in Islam or a lot. And I have with me back on the program again today. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University Assalamu alaikum. Brother, Ronnie

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is our custom, the beginning of our program, brother Jamal, I wonder if perhaps you could very quickly go back to our program last week and highlight the main points that we discussed for our viewing audience certain. First, we started by giving the translation of the meaning of the recitations and supplications that are mentioned in the prayers. We also indicated that this application has to be in the original Arabic language. And that gives an opportunity for any Muslim going anywhere in the world at any time for 1400 years to have the same prayers in the same language and unite with other Muslim brothers and sisters anywhere.

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Thirdly, we talked also about the significance of the timing of the prayer over the day,

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the regular performance of the prayers, which helped keep the believers life on the proper railing for the entire day,

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we talked briefly about some of the concession in prayers to facilitate the you know, the performance in case of some difficulties like travel and sickness. We talked about this also. And finally, we indicated that the five daily prayers are the bare minimum, that are mandatory or required on every adult Muslim. And that beyond that, a person can do additional prayers at any time, virtually anytime during the day or night.

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Now, in our earlier programs, that I think you mentioned that an individual could perform their prayer or select almost anywhere and almost under any circumstances. I wonder if there are any prayers, which must be

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performed as a group in congregation? Okay. Yeah, there are certain

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prayers that must be actually performed in congregation, the most important of which is the noon prayer on Friday, every Friday at noon time, must be a congregational prayer. And usually it's preceded by a brief sermon, explaining some aspects of Islam and its application to the life of people and some of the contemporary problems.

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In addition to that, there are certain other prayers like funeral prayers must be in congregation. Also the prayers at the time of festivals. There are two basic festivals, the one after the month of fasting after the month of Ramadan, and the other one is the called that the feast of sacrifice at the time of pilgrimage. And both of those prayers again, they must be performed in congregation. Now I'm just talking about the must the thing that must be in congregation, preferably in a mosque, or house of worship.

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But in addition to this, the five regular day prayers are also highly desirable to be performed. In congregation also, whenever it's possible, especially if the person has x easy access to the to the mosque. In fact, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him indicated that to perform prayers in congregation would have at least 27 times spiritual reward than doing it just by yourself.

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However, if a person doesn't have easy access to the mosque, or who might be traveling or in a place where there's no possibility of

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Going to the mosque, then at least few people in the same locality, neighbors, or even within the family context. CONGREGATION prayer also could be performed.

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Now when prayer is done in congregation is it done in the same ways it's done when an individual forms of fire alarm, what the basic format of the prayer doesn't change whether you are praying individually, or in congregation, the basic format in terms of basic contents and frustrations that are,

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you know, part of the prayer. But when prayers is conducted in the congregation, then what happens that the people who are praying stand in straight rows, shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot, the standard as a solid, straight line, and rows.

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And then in front of them, they would be an Imam, or leader of prayer. His position is simply not like a priest, or intermediary between men and God. There's nothing like that in Islam, it's simply standing there as a coordinator or leader for the prayer. So the basic format or basic movements and frustrations are done. But following that a man who initiates the beginning of the prayer, forgive segment by saying Allahu Akbar, or God is the greatest when moving from one frustration to the other. And when all visitations also are finished at the end of the prayer, he ended also by saying a cinematic more Peace be upon you. So that will be a signal for those behind him. So that everybody

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would be praying in unison.

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All movements are done as a solid, one group. A person should not anticipate that Imam or the leader should just follow him so long as it's done, of course, in the proper way.

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But when the the prayers held on Friday, or in and festivals, like I said before the there is a sermon that preceded like in Friday or follow the prayer, as in the prayers in the time of festivals, there might be some other detailed differences, but not really in the basic

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format, just doing the prayer in unison.

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What about women that can they join in the the the prayers that are setting the group and the congregational prayers, certainly women can have a congregational prayers in a variety of forms, they can have congregational prayer, either

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by themselves if there's only women available so they can pray together.

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They could have prayers with other

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Muslims like for example, if people in a given family, a man has fled him in a man, wife and children can pray together, along with the neighbors, that's again, another form of

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congregational prayer.

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If women also prefers to go to the mosque, Masjid or the house of worship, they should also be welcome. In fact, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said in one of his saying that you should not prevent the female servants of God just like you say, servant of God, for a male, the female servant of God, from going to the houses of God or the houses of worship, we should not be prevented.

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In fact, in his own practice during his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, welcomed women and the masculine the came also and prayed.

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with men, the so called rightly guided caliphs after the Prophet, especially the first four are followed strictly the instructions of the Prophet peace be upon him. They also followed in the same tradition by welcoming women who wanted to come to the mosque.

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But one should also indicate that for women, there are concessions concerning congregational prayers which are not given to men.

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This concessions basically,

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are related to the compulsory compulsory nature of attending congregational prayer, for example. for males, it is compulsory, mandatory, that they should go and pray in congregation on Friday, for example, it is almost compulsory, not quite but almost compulsory, also to have the prayers in festivals in congregation and to have even the five daily prayers whenever it's possible in the mosque.

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For women, however, this is optional. And they are getting this concession in order to keep in mind or in consideration of their basic novel function as mothers which may make it at times a little bit difficult or inconvenient to go to the mosque on a regular basis several times a day, especially if they have you know, small children might be sleeping or sick or need her

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attention and care. So it's simply a concession, but not necessarily

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something that means that

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They are not to be working. It's up to their

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choice.

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So this is basically the

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situation with other women, no problem at all. Now, you described earlier a few moments ago how the prayer was done in congregation, and you've just indicated that women can participate in the congregational prayer. That's right.

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For the women who wish to join in the prayer is there, where do they stand? Is there a special question women stand? Or do they join in the roles with the men that or do they have a special place? Okay, well, in my description of how the Muslim prayer is performed, one has to keep also the format and prayer in order to understand why it's organized in a particular way. As I said earlier, in Muslim prayer, it's not simply people sitting together or singing or whatever. It's it involves recitations thinking as well as physical movements. And as I said, in congregation of prayer, people should stand in straight rows, shoulder to shoulder, and toe to toe as one

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line, one row, of course, more than one row, then again, the other rows would be equally straight and close to each other in the, in the prayer. Now, this considering this kind of format, and prayers,

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there's only

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three alternatives. When women participate in those prayers, either that they should be in front of men pray behind them,

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or that they should stand mixed with men in the same rows, or they should be standing in the back rows.

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Let's take each of these alternatives. If women were to stand in front of men, and prostrate

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to the ground, and that prayer while men are behind them, certainly they will not feel their privacy. And it is not really a very comfortable situation for either side, because prayer has lots of movements about

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if they stand alongside with men, showed that the shoulder toe to toe, when Well, obviously, this might not necessarily be the best conducive atmosphere for both sexes, to really concentrate on this devotion and prayer where the person is literally standing before God communicating with him and really dedicating himself to God.

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The third alternative, which is perhaps the more logical one, and that's actually what the Islamic law shows, is that when men come, they should go first to the front rows, women should start from the back rows and closing in depending how many people come. So in this way,

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both sexes can be totally devoted, and concentrating in their prayers, without any particular physical distraction or something that might reduce this highly structured acts of the prayer. So it's simply the format that necessitates that particular order.

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Like to

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approach the conclusion of our discussion of prayers, or salaat, by looking briefly at some of the some of the benefits that come from one involving himself or herself in the salon, or the prayer, and some of the getting some of the impact that this can have on an individual's life. I'd like to look first of all, at perhaps one of the more obvious aspects of prayer, one of the means to come to most people's mind, and that is the question of the spiritual impact of, of prayer or salop. Could you perhaps share your views in terms of what you consider to be the spiritual impact? What's special effect of prayers can be for an individual, certainly, well as human beings to start with,

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we have a kind of inclination, tendency, or natural, instinctive

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inclination to relate to some power that is greater than us.

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That's what we call to worship.

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Now, what happened is that

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in the absence of divine guidance, and being guided to the right path, people try to seek that power that's greater than they are the power that they yearn to relate to.

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They may discover mistakenly, in some powers that God created in nature, like trees, rivers, sun, moon, and all that and they worship the subject which is an erroneous way of fulfilling this human natural aspiration.

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Some people may find this Fulfillment by worshipping other human beings because they're saints are prophets. And again, they try to get fulfillment through that.

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Other people who may not believe in any revealed religion may seek Fulfillment by worshipping

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Some other tyrants,

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worshipping their own desires, even self worship, mind worship are all various forms of this direction of this instinctive, natural feeling of relating to the greatest power that one can perceive of in this universe. So prayer, which is basically communication, personal contact and relation to the creator

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in Islam is directing that instinctive feeling, fulfilling this aspiration and yearning in the right direction, to the only one who is worthy of being worshipped and being related to and that is the only the one and only creator and Sustainer of the entire universe God. So this is what would be the first or the cornerstone upon which you can look into the spiritual nature of Muslim prayer. Secondly,

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prayer by its very nature,

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is an expression, a practical way of expression of one's love of God, Divine Love,

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by standing five times every day,

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keeping this vigilant remembrance of God's

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knowing and realizing when you pray that he hears you, he listens to you, he responds to your prayers, without any intermediary, without any obstacles that may stand between you. And God, is a beautiful feeling of expression of this divine love. That is why we find that God addressing Prophet Moses

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in the Quran, it says La Ilaha Illa NFR with me walk into select and indicate that there is no deity but me. That's God. So worship Me, and established prayer in order that you may remember me or to celebrate my praise. So remembrance of God is one of the greatest aspects of the expression of this love of God in a practical way.

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And when the person also stands for prayer, as you might recall, from the demonstration we had, last time,

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he stands he or she stands on the earth,

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from which he was created, and onto which is going to return and from which is going to be resurrected in religion.

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In this humble movement, and the prayer when the person puts his forehead, on the ground, or on the floor, to express submission to God, is a reminder again, not to be too arrogant or proud, because after all, the face which is the most honored part of the body is submitting itself and putting itself on the floor, or on the ground, an expression of humility before God.

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It is a such

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a total expression of submission to that submission not only by the soul, or mind, but also with the body to train the body in the prayer to to be obedient to the

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way of life and the path of God.

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In fact, you could say that prayer is the embodiment the very embodiment of the virtue of humility, and humbleness.

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In addition to this in the prayer, as you may recall, from the recitation that are repeated, from the first chapter of the Quran, in every unit of prayer, there is always the praise of God, thanking Him, thanking him for the

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various countless bounties and blessings that He has given to mankind on this earth. And as such, this develops a sense of appreciation and contentment in the mind of the Beloved. In addition to this one prayers, is understood in its true spirit. And its true meaning it could provide a person also with infinite strength, to face the difficulties and tribulation of life.

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If the person is suffering from

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anguish, or stress, then he goes to the prayer, and that would release and so in this way, we find the Quran describes prayer as one of the basic things that one can seek strength and Stein over sobrasada or your believe, seek help, and strength, and perseverance and in prayer. So it's a source of release of that stress. If the person is in a state of anxiety, and worry, and all of us at one time or the other, we get into that state, the best consolation and the best encouragement chili is to perform this prayer in that form, particularly as the Quran describes it. And Latina man was

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document in nikolova decorilla, alphabetically late of the believers, and whose hearts feel satisfied and comforted with the remembrance of God. Truly, in the remembrance of God, the hearts find full contentment and satisfaction and what what the therapy? What the therapy for the common anxiety and stress is no wonder. 1400 years ago, the prophet of Islam Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was reported that whenever he had any worry or difficulty, he just go and make evolution and get into the place the best soothing tool to help the person overcome this difficulties. And no one did that. Even in his own sayings. He was reported to have said, What's that Cora tiny for Salah that's

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the pleasure of mine, my ultimate pleasure. Ultimate pleasure is in performing the prayers relating to the page.

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In addition to the spiritual elements of the other priorities that you've just very aptly described, I'd be interested in getting your impression of how prayers can contribute to the

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individual moral development. Well, the best answers to that, perhaps is to quote the Quran directly in a Salah Cottenham, Mukesh, indeed, prayers for which the person from committing any abomination, abominable acts are in decency, which means that if the person perform the prayer not as mechanical movement, just going up and down, like many Muslims, unfortunately are doing today without really getting into the depths, and impact of it. In that complete sense, it makes it or the prayer itself is capable of transforming the life of the individual. Five times every day, a person goes in this vision of remembrance of God, remembering the greatness of God, remembering or expressing the Divine

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Love, and his love or her love of God, this approach to the prayer in this novel sense, our a person who is performing it, in that sense, is not likely to indulge himself in Acts which are indecent, or things that are really morally improper according to the revelation of God. That is why we find that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him indicated that a person whose prayer does not forbid him from indecency is not really getting anything out of that prayer, he doesn't have any prayer, which means that you just make mechanical movement, but really doesn't get the benefits of that prayer. And one time also he quoted, or he quoted in the so called heavy squats, which means he's relating the

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inspiration of God, but not in the form of the Quran in another form, called dispersive, in which God says, I only accept prayers from those who humble themselves before my glory.

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Those who try to restrain their passion, and keep away from what I have forbidden.

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And those who feed the hungry and claws, he doesn't have claws. This is the V and nature of the moral aspect of the brain. But you say, all right, how about if the person makes an error and we are all

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sinful? As human beings, we commit errors, we're not perfect. There's no question about that. What happened? Again, through the prayer, the believer finds an ample opportunity to correct himself or herself, to try to get on the right path, and to purify himself from whatever he is done in between the prayers

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in that sense, or that basic point was explained by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when he said about prayers, said suppose one view has right at his doorstep, a river. And every day he goes to that river, immerses himself and cleanse himself five times, would you have any impurity on him? So the companion said, No, he said, the prayer is like that. So the prayer was likened to

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total immersion, cleansing, exactly five times a day, constant cleansing, no dirt can accumulate, if the person keep that so to integrate in the spiritual sense. That's what it does to the morality of the individual. In that sense, you can see then that prayer teaches the believer that the moral aspect of life is not something separate. It's not an isolated compartment of life, but that all aspects of life are interwoven, or morality in Islam is interwoven in the entire way of life. By the individual. There is nothing called secular and religious and all that subdivisions that are not relevant in the context of Islam. It shows us clearly that the sphere of religiosity

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not limited to a few hours every week or one day per week. But the sphere of religiosity and moral excellence is the entire life, just as the prayer is distributed five times on a regular basis, in every day of the individual's life.

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Now, in the over the six week, periods that we've discussed the this question of prayer,

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my understanding from the discussion that we've had to this point is that

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prayer is also relevant to the social aspect of life. I wonder if perhaps you could clarify, in what way this is. So

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there are a variety of ways of expressing that, of course, because of shortness time, I'm gonna just highlight some of the essential points. But in essence, prayer, especially congregational prayer, which is highly encouraged,

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is an actual manifestation, a practical manifestation of true human brotherhood, and equality before God.

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When a person goes to the place of worship, there is nothing called that this place is reserved for this or that people don't stand in lines in the prayers, by virtue of their race, status, or wealth, or any other false criteria.

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Everybody goes there, he stands in the line whenever he comes, the closest line that he can reach. So whether the person is a ruler, common man, whether he's rich, or poor, all stand side by side, like I said, shoulder to shoulder, with the foot, all in one line, expressing the true sense of brotherhood universal brotherhood as well as equality before God, that's a part part of the teaching. Because once you get used to it, you get to avoid and get over all this nationalistic caste or racial distinction that people have among themselves.

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Furthermore, when people go, especially for the congregational prayer in the mosque or house of worship, they do that five times a day.

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They need people in that neighborhood or locality, that many times every day that establishes a spirit of solidarity, mutual concern and caring for each other. If somebody is not there, people will inquire what happened to him Is he sick? What's wrong? So people keep asking and show mutual concern like what not like what we see in today's

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life, and crushing materialistic civilization that the person could die and rot in his house, even before anybody can ask about this constant contact, and concern, mutual affection and love among the community of believers.

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In addition to this, we find that in the congregation of prayers, where do you have to follow movement in unison, follow the leader, or the man who's coordinating the prayer. It teaches people also public order, gifts, the development of the self discipline. And this leads us into something more significant the area of even system of government, some people might wonder how could prayer, which is basically a spiritual act, relate to a system of government. But if you really make an analogy between the rules of congregational prayers and leadership and prayers, and leadership in the system of government, you find that there's a perfect fit example, and prayers. The Imam or the

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person who lead the prayer cannot impose himself he should be consented to by people who are praying behind him. This is analogous to the rule in Islam also that a ruler cannot impose himself he should also be accepted by the people in his ruling, see the analogy. Secondly, in the prayer, the role of the Imam who is leading prayer is not as intermediary between men and God, but simply a person who follows also the format of prayer himself, he does not invent or have dictatorial or absolute power.

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in government, there is no theocracy in Islam, and a ruler also is not intermediary does not claim.

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powers that are beyond any human

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capacity, and people are following him not as an intermediary, but as a coordinator is serving the people. Certainly in prayers if the Imam or the leader makes a mistake, it is incumbent duty on those who are behind him to gently correct him without disturbing the prayers or the unity in government system of government in Islam. It is incumbent duty on the root to correct the ruler whenever he makes a mistake, but again without creating chaos, so long as he is prepared to listen and correct. Finally, and if the person who was leading prayer, continues to make mistakes and refuses to comply with the rules of prayer, which is incumbent on everybody, ruler and load, then

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the people have to remove him.

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Eventually in the long run, and that is precisely the system also of government and Islam. So really, the guidance in the prayer is not limited to individual but also involves collective training of the community of believers. On that note, we'll have to conclude today's program and in this series I've enjoyed and found the series on salvato prayer. Very interesting reading. I want to thank you for enlightening us. Thank you for watching the Islamic focus program Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you