by Muhammad al-Fateh
The Salah is one of the basic pillars of Islam, and one that separates a believer from a disbeliever. The khateeb starts by narrating the story of a man who was asked by the Prophet ﷺ to pray again, though he had just prayed.
Abu Huraira (radiallahu ‘anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ entered the mosque and a man came in and prayed, then he came and greeted the Messenger ﷺ, to which the Messenger ﷺ replied his salaam, and said “go back and pray, for you have not prayed”. The man went back and prayed as he prayed before and came back and greeted the Messenger. After replying to his salaam the Messenger ﷺ once again said “go back and pray, for you have not prayed”. When he had done that three times, the man said: by the One Who sent you with the truth, I cannot do more than that. Teach me. He ﷺ said: “When you go to pray, say takbeer, then recite whatever you can of the Qur’aan. Then bow until you are at ease in bowing, then rise until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then sit up until you are at ease in sitting. Then do that throughout the entire prayer.” (collected by Bukhari  and Muslim ).
The main point in the Prophet’s ﷺ instruction to the man was not to be hasty in his Salah, to have khushu’ and to pause between the ruku’ and sujood. Most of us often view salah as just an act that must be performed, so we treat it as a quota to be filled (click to tweet).. We mindlessly rush through our prayers and repeat this process 5 times daily, without much thought or contemplation. However, the Messenger ﷺ and his Sahabas used Salah to attain a state of peace, rest, and calmness. They did not view it as an obstacle, rather they saw it as a refuge from the daily struggles of life. The Prophet ﷺ emphasized pausing after standing from ruku’, and pausing between sujood. There should be a state of calmness and rest when praying, which helps one concentrate on communicating with their Lord Most High (because that is what Salah is, it is communication with Allah).
Painting of Muslims praying and making du’a in Cairo
The Prophet ﷺ also used to make Dua’s during several stages of the Salah. He would make a du’a after standing from ruku’, du’a while prostrating, and also du’a after tashahud and before saying salaam to finish Salah. He would further vary his du’as from Salah to Salah. This tells us that we should treat Salah as a means of not only fulfilling the obligation to pray, but to also contemplate, ask Allah for forgiveness and success in the hereafter, ask our Lord to grant us anything we want or need, and pray for the ummah.
Another importance of Salah and the need to pray it perfectly, is that we should use it as a means to overcome our most difficult situations and trials. A man like our beloved Prophet ﷺ lost 6 of his 7 children, 3 of them passing away in their infancy. This would drive any parent mad, causing a great deal of pain, sorrow and depression. Yet the Prophet ﷺ, though he was crying and grieving, only stated that which pleases Allah, and resorted to Salah to give him consolation during this tremendous trial. We should also cry and make long dua’s during Salah, and make sure our heart is in it.
Another important teaching of our Prophet ﷺ regarding Salah is to make the obligatory congregational prayers short, so as not to make it hard for the elderly, sick, and workers who are tired. When he ﷺ led prayers, he always made them short but sweet and sincere. We should really learn to pray correctly according to the authentic sunnah, and keep putting effort in attaining khusu’ in our Salah. And Allah knows best.