The Refuge And Haven For A Believer
Salāh to a believer is a greater refuge than a loving mother who comforts and provides solace to her child. It is more consoling and reassuring than a lap which is forever open for a weak, helpless and vulnerable orphan. Whenever a child perceives danger, something or someone vexes him, he experiences hunger and thirst, or is afraid of something; he immediately rushes to his mother and sticks to her. He sits in her lap and thinks to himself that he is now safe from everyone and everything.
In the same way, salāh is the greatest refuge and haven for a believer. It is a strong rope which is extended by his Creator to him. If he wishes, he can hold on firmly to that rope and obtain the guarantee for his safety and protection. It is the food for his soul, the remedy for his pain, the bandage for his wound, the cure for his illness, and his greatest weapon and refuge.
Allāh ta‛ālā says:
O believers! Seek help through patience and prayer, surely Allāh is with the patient. (Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2: 153.)
Whenever Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was faced with a problem, he would turn to salāh. Hadrat Hudhayfah radiyallāhu ‛anhu narrates that when Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam experienced any worry, he would immediately stand up for salāh. (Abū Dāwūd)
Hadrat Abū ad-Dardā’ radiyallāhu ‛anhu narrates that when a strong wind blew at night, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam would proceed to the masjid and remain there until the wind subsided. Similarly, when there was a solar or lunar eclipse, he would remain occupied in salāh until the eclipse passed.
Abū Dāwūd contains a narration in which Nadar relates that once during the time of Hadrat Anas radiyallāhu ‛anhu a pitch darkness pervaded everything. I presented myself to him and said:
“O Abū Hamzah! Did this ever happen during the era of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam?” He replied: “Even if there was a strong dust-storm, we used to hasten to the masjid and seek refuge there out of fear that the Resurrection is arriving.”
The Sahābah’s attachment to salāh and their sacrificing the most beloved of things for its sake was fully known to the idolaters of that time. Hadrat Jābir radiyallāhu ‛anhu narrates: We were with Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam in a jihād against the Juhaynah tribe who fought very strongly…(the ending words of the Hadīth are): they used to say: “The time of that salāh will come soon – that salāh which is more beloved to them than their own children.”(Muslim)
The Body, Mind And Heart – All Three Are Represented In Salāh
Salāh is not made up of just a few bodily movements or a dry lifeless ritual which is devoid of a soul and life. It is also not a military discipline in which one’s will and choice have no influence. It is an action which encompasses the body, mind and heart. All three are wisely and justly represented. The body is allocated the standing, bowing and prostrating postures. The tongue is allocated recitation of the Qur’ān and glorification of Allāh ta‛ālā. The mind is deputed to ponder and reflect. The heart has to be humble, submissive and dutiful. All three are mentioned in the Qur’ān.
Reference to the bodily actions is made in the following verses:
وَقُوْمُوْا لله ق نِتِيْنَ
Stand before Allāh with respect.1
ي اَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ ا مَنُوا ارْكَعُوْا وَاسْجُدُوْا وَاعْبُدُوْا رَبَّكُمْ وَافْعَلُوا الخْ يَْْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْ لِحُوْنَ.
O believers! Bow down and prostrate, and worship your Sustainer and do good so that you may succeed.2
Reference is made to the actions of the heart in the following verses:
ي اَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ ا مَنُوْا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّل وةَ وَاَنْتُمْ سُك رٰ ى حَتّٰى تَعْلَمُوْا مَا تَقُوْلوُْنَ .
O believers! Do not approach salāh at a time when you are intoxicated until you begin to understand what you say.3
َقَدْ أ . الَّذِيْنَ هُمْ فِيْ صَلَا تِهِمْ خٰ شِعُوْنَ
Successful indeed are the believers. Who are humble in their salāh.4
تَتَجَافٰٰ جُنُوْبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَّطَمَعًا وَّمِمَّا رَزَقْنٰهُمْ يُنْفِقُوْنَ.
Their sides remain away from their sleeping places, calling on their Sustainer with fear and longing. And they spend out of what We provided for them.1
1 Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2: 238.
2 Sūrah al-Hajj, 22: 77.
3 Sūrah an-Nisā’, 4: 43.
4 Sūrah al-Mu’minūn, 23: 1-2.
Insisting On Just One Of The Three Is Ignorance And Deviation
Man is made up of a body, mind and heart. Based on this, salāh which is the greatest manifestation of Dīn contains a representation of three of human nature’s fundamental departments. Some creeds, spiritual devotees, and Jews of the last era consider salāh to be merely a few bodily movements. A few philosophical and oriental mystics classify it solely as a form of reflection, pondering and meditation. Yet other Christian monks and pseudo Muslim Sufis confine salāh to humility, submission, crying and supplicating, and yearning and love. And they are quite smug with this belief. However, if we were to look at all these groups carefully, we will conclude that they have deviated from the original reality of salāh, and have no knowledge whatsoever about the comprehensive and miraculous system of salāh