Fatwa: # 18845
Category: Daily
Country: South Africa
Date: 26th July 2010

Title

How can we defend the notion to my christian colleagues at work that salah is not just making sujood to ka'ba

Question

How can we defend the notion to my christian colleagues at work that salah is not just making sujood to ka'ba

Answer

 

In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh

 

Islam is based upon five fundamental pillars. Salaah is one of the five pillars. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has compared Islam to a canopy resting on five supports. The kalimah is the central support and the other four pillars of Islam are so to say, the remaining four supports, one at each corner of the canopy. Without the central support, the canopy cannot stand, and if any one of the corner supports is missing, a collapse will result in the defective corner. This implies the importance of salaah as a solid foundation of Islam.

عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا  قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْحَجِّ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ

 

In the life of a believer, there can be nothing more important than performing salaah as this denotes total submission and slavery to Allah Ta’āla. The importance of salaah is understood from the Holy Qur’ān and the sayings of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Furthermore, salaah is no ordinary act of worship as it was bestowed upon this ummah through the intercession of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when the miraculous journey to the seven heavens (mi’rāj) had been undertaken. Allah Ta’āla had given Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the grand honour of mi’rāj (ascension) and no one else had been afforded this honour. Such a place was reached that even the mightiest angel of Allah Ta’āla, Jibril (Alayhis salām) could not surpass. It is at this juncture that Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made duaa that Allah Ta’āla grant His ummah a similar honor of nearness, therefore he was gifted with five times salaah.

We could never hope to ascend to the heavens, but by virtue of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), we can reach such a lofty place which is unimaginable. When a person is in the presence of a king, he is careful of his actions and stands there with utmost obedience and servitude. Similarly, when standing in salaah, one ought to imagine himself standing before the king of kings, Allah Ta’āla.  It is understood from here that salaah is not merely prostrating to the Holy Ka’aba, rather it has far-reaching implications. The Holy Ka’aba is a means of direction for the Muslim ummah and has been placed there for uniformity. Can we imagine ourselves gathering for salaah and each person wishes to face the direction he chooses? What chaos will that salaah be, and how disarray will everyone be?

There is a whole chapter called Surah Mu’minūn wherein Allah Ta’āla describes the believers and mentions that those who match this description shall indeed be prosperous. The first quality being that of humbleness when standing before Allah Ta’āla in salaah.

During the era of the second khalifah, Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu), the Muslims had gained many victories. Umar (Radhiyallahu anhu) had sent an official order to every governor, deputy, and responsible person of his entire state saying: “The most important of your affairs in my sight, is salaah. He who protects it and observes it carefully, protects his religion………………………”

(Muwatta Imam Mālik)

It is appropriate to mention the following hadīth wherein Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) says:

…………………………………………………………..”One of the first things to be reckoned for on the day of resurrection will be Salaah……………”

عَنْ حُرَيْثِ بْنِ قَبِيصَةَ قَالَ قَدِمْتُ الْمَدِينَةَ فَقُلْتُ اللَّهُمَّ يَسِّرْ لِي جَلِيسًا صَالِحًا قَالَ فَجَلَسْتُ إِلَى أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي سَأَلْتُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَرْزُقَنِي جَلِيسًا صَالِحًا فَحَدِّثْنِي بِحَدِيثٍ سَمِعْتَهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَنْفَعَنِي بِهِ فَقَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلَاتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ.......................................(رواه الترمذي)

 

Let us not look too far and ask our Christian brothers, what does the bible say on the subject of worship? We as Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa Alayhis salām) worshipped God and prayed to Him. The bible confirms this fact.

Matthew 26:39 “Jesus fell on his face and prayed to his GOD”

Today who pray by prostrating down on the ground but Muslims?

Luke {5:16} and he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed

This substantiates the belief of salaah being far more superior an act of worship and not mere facing the Holy Ka’aba. Furthermore, there are so many Ahādith explaining the virtue of salaat. Consider the following:

  1. Salaah intervenes between Imān and shirk.
  2. Salaah is the mark of Islam.
  3. Salaah abases the devil.
  4. Salaah is the light of a believer.
  5. Salaah is the best Jihaad.
  6. Salaah is a key to paradise.
  7. Salaah is the offering of the pious.

These are just a few to consider, however, there are many more worth mentioning. From a medical point of view, one would be surprised at the immense benefit received by a mere prostration. Below is an article extracted from the al-inaam website, of our Institute.

Psychological advantage of prostration:

This is a great psychological advantage and it gives relief to the person concerned, as life is full of worries and in this position, he gets at least a temporary refuge from the agonizing problems.

When a person goes to the position of Sajda (Prostration), his whole body is in active motion. This position can be considered as a mini dive as the musalli (one who offers prayer) goes to rest his forehead on the ground while his hands are placed at the sides. This brings most of the body muscles if not all in active motion and serves to give them some exercise. The hands are then stretched out and then the forearm as well as arm muscles are supposed to bear the weight in the Sajda (Prostration) position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in a hadith advised not to put the forearms flat on the ground but to keep them elevated above ground as this is better for the forearm and arm muscles.

Sajda (Prostration) is a unique position as this is the only position in which the brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying down), the brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain. In the position of Sajda (Prostration) due to the increased blood supply, the brain receives more nourishment and it has a good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, mind and all other abilities.

People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner.

They have fewer incidences of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function. In the unique position of Sajda (Prostration), the neck muscles get best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies on the ground; hence, the neck muscles become stronger. One can note the tense pressure at the neck muscles in the position of Sajda (Prostration) especially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted. (E.g. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.

The above is just a drop in the ocean of the innumerable benefits one receives when in salaah. We make duaa that Allah Ta’āla make us from amongst those servants who prostrate unto him with devotion and humility. Aameen

 

And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best
Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 

Ml. Ebrahim Desai,
Student Dārul Iftā

Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā

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