Establish prayer(DW#756 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], we have been exploring verse 45, in which the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer(Salaat) (establish prayer); surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

So the Holy Prophet (saw) is being told to announce that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to

1)    recite the Book,
2)    establish Salaat and
3)    engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

Let us explore the second one today: Establish Salaat/prayer

When the Quran talks about the five daily prayers, it uses the word:"aqeemus Salaat": establish prayer. Don’t simply pray but establish prayer. Establishing prayer is very different from simply praying.

To establish prayer means to have it as a central practice in the days of our life, as a foundational structure of our life, as opposed to praying the occasional Salaat.

The ritual of prayer means to practice regularly turning our attention away from all the distractions that surround us and to realign our focus and attention to what truly matters. It is to turn our attention to the moral compass within so that we can keep coming back to it through out the day. It is to recalibrate our intentions and our actions and to get back on track and to re-energize ourselves.

This is how prayers keep us away "from indecency and evil": when we know that we have to present ourselves in the court of the Lord of the Worlds, we are continuously monitoring ourselves throughout the day to ensure that we do not do anything that would evoke His displeasure. Just as no one would steal from their place of work if the boss was watching, when we know that we have to present ourselves to the ultimate Authority several times a day, we are restrained from actions that would lead to His displeasure.

Salaat reminds us of our origins and our ultimate destiny. It reminds us that while we are here, we are connected to, and dependent upon Him. This helps us walk the journey and stops us from anything that will take us away from our final goal.

Salaat not only stops us, but it also allows us to let go of the baggage that we end up collecting when we do slip up. In this way it allows us to travel lightly and with ease on the path from Him back to Him.

As the Prophet (saw) said:

"The five ritual prayers is like a stream with flowing wholesome water at the door of the house of one of you in which he washes himself five times a day, then there will remain no dirt (over his body)."

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