…verily Prayer is enjoined on the believers to be performed at fixed hours. (4:104)
“The Prayer (Salat) is obligatory for every Muslim. It is mentioned in the books of hadith that a certain group of people joined Islam and requested the Holy Prophet (saw) to exempt them from offering their five daily prayers. They said they were traders, and because they were dealing in cattle, they could not be sure of the cleanliness of their clothes; they also did not have enough time to spare for the prayers. The Holy Prophet (saw) told them in reply: *If the prayer is taken out of the rituals of a religion, there is nothing that is left behind.* After all, what is the prayer: It is one’s admission of humility before God and telling God to fulfill one’s needs.
“In order to express His grandeur, one has to stand up hands folded – an indication of one’s being prepared to serve in every way – and one has to express one’s humility by going into prostration and thus requesting him to grant provision from Himself. This is what the Prayer is. It is like praising the one whom we are asking to give us something and talking of His Mercy through His grandeur and exalted position. A religion that does not have this kind of ritual, is not worth being called a religion.
“Man is always in need of being granted provision by God. He should always ask God to grant him, His will and His pleasure – and His Grace. It is only by the power of God that one can do something.
One should be asking God that He may enable him to be devouted to Him and win His pleasure by treading the path that He has chosen. The Prayer really means the remembrance of God with affection. This indeed is the essence of religion. He who is exempted from the Prayer does not live a life any better than that of the animals: eating, drinking and keep on sleeping. This is no religion at all. This is the trait of the disbelievers.
“It is very true to say that any time a man is negligent of God, he is no better than a disbeliever. The Holy Qur’an says: Uzkoroonee azkurkum wa laa takfuroon. That is, O My servants, you should remember Me and you should be appreciative of my bounties that I bestow on you; you should not prove yourself to be ungrateful. This verse very clearly shows that to be negligent of the remembrance of God is nothing less than Disbelief.
“The five times that God has fixed for the prayers are just to draw the attention of the people to the remembrance of God; one should be remembering Him all the time, never negligent; one should be remembering Him while walking, sitting or standing, that is all the postures. It is the remembrance of God that distinguishes a man from other creatures and make him a real and true human being; it is only this remembrance that makes him deserving of having hope in God and trust in Him. This is a well known principle that if a man wishes to reach a destination, the longer the distance, the more he will have to strive.
“Attaining to God is also a sort of destination; it is a long distance that one has to walk to reach thus destination. The Prayer is like a Railway Train for reaching this destination, and it can carry the man there faster. He who abandons the Prayer cannot reach his destination.”
(Fatawa Ahmadiyya, p. 11)
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