Fruits for the Week

Header Last edition English

While we are always interested in our body’s needs, we tend to ignore the needs of our souls. That is an important reason why Muslims are ordered to pray five times a day: to keep renewing their connection or unintentionally straying away from the straight path, and thus to supply their souls with an infinite source of energy. It was related that Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and you bathed in it five times daily, would you see any dirt on yourselves?’ They (his companions) answered, ‘No trace of dirt would remain.’ He (SAW) added, ‘That is the similitude of the five prayers with which Allah blots out evil deeds.’” (Bukhari)

Early Muslims sought prayer time like a slave seeking his freedom; that is the true freedom of the soul from earthly connections, boundaries, and limitations. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to say to Bilal (RA), his companion who was responsible for the call to prayer: “O Bilal, give the call to prayer, and bring comfort to my heart.” (Abu Dawud)

Prayer energizes the soul and helps us transcend to a higher level of awareness. Nick Williams gave the analogy of an airplane pilot following his usual path, but when he encounters any rough weather, he needs to shift to a higher altitude to acquire a clearer view.

As Muslims, we should not even wait for the turbulence to resort to higher altitudes; we constantly seek these higher connections to transcend our situations and adjust our priorities.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us: “You are in prayer for as long as you are waiting for it.” (Bukhari). Studies show that engaging in regular ritual activities helps us relax, which in turn adjusts our blood pressure and heart rate, and harmonizes our breathing. Relaxation reduces the over-secretion of adrenaline resulting from the constant stresses of life. By reducing stress, one empowers the immune system, protects the heart, and adjusts one’s blood pressure and circulation. This regular act not only harmonizes the soul but also heals our physical ailments and helps us cope with the tensions of everyday life.

Many studies now show evidence of reduced rates of depression, melancholy, sorrow, and pessimism among individuals who perform their prayers regularly.

The books on the Prophet’s life show how the Prophet (SAW) resorted to prayer when he had any worries or problems. Allah (SWT) says in His Holy Book: “And seek help in patience and prayer, and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for those who have true humility.” (Qur’an 2: 45). Allah (SWT) also says: “O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly Allah is with the patient ones.” (Qur’an 2: 153)

In order to acquire the full benefits of prayer, one should approach it after ablution, which aims first at cleaning any physical dirt on the body and clothing. Allah (SWT) says: “O you who believe! When you intend to offer the prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, rub your heads, and wash your feet up to the ankles.” (Qur’an 5: 6)

Ablution is not a mere physical act; it is a sign of the purification of the soul, driving away evil thoughts, clearing the mind, and preparing one to concentrate only on the glorification and worship of Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us that ablution washes away sins, purifying and cleansing the soul: “If the Muslims ablution and washes his faces, any offense he overlooked with his eyes will come out with the water; and when he washes his hands any assault he committed with his hands will come out with the water; and when he washes his feet any misdeed to which he walked with his feet will come out with the water, till he concludes (the ablution) free from sins.” (Muslim and Tirmidhi)

After ablution, one should perform prayer with complete humility and submissiveness to Allah. Put all worldly thoughts behind you; in prayer, you are directly addressing Allah. You should try to sense the meanings of each word and verse you are reciting; contemplate these meanings as deeply and sincerely as you can to keep yourself away from any mental distractions.

According to scholars of Sunnah, it is disliked to close the eyes during prayer, but if this is necessary to help you concentrate, you can do it. I cannot even try to explain the marvelous effects of true prayer. One who practices it will soon feel and learn for himself; it is enough to say that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told us: “If one prays two rak’ah with full concentration, Allah forgives that person for whatever sins were committed before.” (Bukhari)

The timings of the five prayers are adjusted according to the daylight and night-time calculations; this helps us to maintain our connection with Allah during all our waking hours, and organizes our eating, working, resting, and sleeping patterns. To be able to pray Fajr (dawn prayer), we have to go to sleep early and wake up early, thus we eat our supper early and sleep soon after Isha’ (evening prayer), to allow the body to rest. This gives the brain the chance to synthesize and secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical responsible for giving us energy, motivation, and increased interest and focus.

by Amira Ayad

e-Newsletter Subscription Form

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Anti-Spam: What color is the sky?