Salah (Prayer)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 |

There is no word in English to translate Salah. it is not merely "prayer" in the limited sense of turning to God in supplication. The Arabic word for supplication is Du’a.

Salah is performed in a prescribed form. It is preceded by ablutions (wudu). The five set prayers have special names and are performed at special times — between dawn and sunrise (Fajr) early after noon (Zuhr), mid-afternoon (‘Asr) sunset (Maghrib) and night (‘Isha’).
Salah needs to be performed on time. It should not be delayed deliberately.Salah consists of units or rak‘ah. Each rak‘ah consists of the pronouncement of Allahu Akbar (God is Most Great), of the Opening Surah of the Qur’an, of praising and glorifying God. All words in the salah are always recited in Arabic.
Salah consists of precise bodily postures — standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting. The posture of salah is an indication of man’s relation to his Creature — a relation of reverence submission and gratitude.
Salah sharpens our moral sense. It keeps us from indecent, shameful activities. This is stated in the Qur’an: "Salat indeed prevents a person from indecency and evil." (29:45).
Salah is a regular means of purifying both body and soul. The ablution before the Prayer with fresh water act as a refresher and cleanser. The salah if properly performed purifies the soul of arrogance and hypocrisy. The Prophet, peace be on him, likened a person who regularly performed salah to a person who washes himself regularly in a stream of clean running water five times a day. Salah thus serves as a training in cleanliness, purity and punctuality.Salah brings mental satisfaction and emotional fulfillment.

Dr. Farida Khanam

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