WHAT DO YOU RECITE IN 'SALAH'
I have explained to you in my last lecture how Salah prepares a man for Allah's 'Ibadat, i.e. servitude and obedience. Whatever I said in this connection should have helped you to comprehend that if one offers Salah regularly considering it his duty according to the Divine injunction, it keeps alive in his mind the fear of God, the belief in His Omniscience and Omnipresence and the conviction that he is accountable before Him, even though he may not understand the meaning of what he is reciting. By this continuous practice the belief that he is slave of none but God and that God alone is his real Sovereign and Ruler, becomes a living consciousness in his mind. The habit of being dutiful and ready to carry out God's commandment is developed. All those qualities are automatically developed in him which are necessary to transform the entire life of a man into one of servitude and worship of God.
Now I want to stress the fact that if a man were to observe this very Salah with a full understanding of its contents and consciousness of what he is reciting, imagine what a tremendous effect will it produce on his thoughts, habits and natural qualities and to what great extent his power of faith will develop and how his life will be refashioned.
'Adhan' and its effects
Let us first take the case of Adhan. You are summoned by it five times a day with the following words:
Allahu Akbar, ( repeated four times )
Allah is the Greatest of all,
Ash-hadu al-la Ilaha ill-Allah( repeated twice )
I testify that there is no god but Allah.
Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasulullah ( repeated twice )
I testify that Muhammad (peace be on him) is the Messenger of Allah.
Hayya' ala-a-salah ( repeated twice )
Come for prayer.
Hayya'ala-a-falah ( repeated twice )
Come for well-being.
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Allah is the Greatest of all, Allah is the Greatest of all.
La Ilaha ill-Allah,
There is no god but Allah.
See how forceful call it is ! How this voice reverberates five times a day and reminds you that. " All the big entities on the earth whom you see laying claim to divinity are liars. In the earth and the heavens there is only one Being Who possesses the attribute of greatness and He alone is worthy of worship. Come and worship Him. In His worship alone lies your well-being of this world and that of the Hereafter". Who is there who will not be moved on hearing this voice? How is it possible for anyone who has faith in his heart to hear such a great testimony and so powerful a call, and yet sit heedlessly and not run to bow his head before his Master ?
On hearing the above voice you rise from your seat and first of all see whether your body is clean or not, whether you have done Wudu' or not? This shows that you are conscious of the fact that the matter of attending the court of the Lord of all the worlds is different from all the other affairs of the world. Other works can be done in every condition but here it is highly disrespectful to attend without cleanliness of body and dress and, over and above it, without further purity, i.e. Wudu'. With this feeling you first satisfy yourself about your being clean and then begin doing Wudu'. If in the course of Wudu', while washing your limbs, you remember Allah and after finishing it recite the prayer taught by the Messenger of Allah (peace be on Him) no only your limbs but along with these your heart also will be washed clean. The words of this prayer are : -
Ash-hadu al la Ilaha ill-Allahu Wahdahula Sharika lahu Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abdu-hu wa rashuluhu Allah-umma j'alni min-attawwa bina waj'alni minalmuta-tahirin.
" I testify there is no god save one single God, Who has no associate and I testify that Muhammad is Allah's slave and messenger. O God ! include me among the penitents and make me keep pure."
After this, you stand up for Salah with your face toward Qibla. Neat and clean you are attending the court of the Sovereign of the universe. First and foremost, you utter the words :
"Allah is the Greatest of all ".
Admitting this superb reality, you raise your hands to your ears as if you have relieved yourself of the world and whatever there is in it. Then you clasp your hands around yourself so that you are now standing reverently before your Sovereign with folded hands. After this you make the following submission:
Subhanak-Allahumma wa bi-hamdika wa tabarakasmuka wa ta ala jadduka wa la-Ilaha ghairuk.
" O Allah, I affirm Thine purity and that too with your praise. Highly blessed is Thy name. Sublime is Thine greatness and there is no god save Thou".
'Ta'awwudh' (Seeking refuge with Allah)
A'uzu billahi min-ash-shaitan-ir-rajim "
I seek refuge in God from the intermeddling and mischief of coursed statan".
'Bismillah' (In the name of Allah)
" I begin with the name of Allah Who is most Beneficent and Merciful."
'Hamd' (Praise of Allah)
Al-hamdu lillahi Rabbil-alamin
" Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds".
" The Beneficent, the most Merciful ".
Maliki Yaum-id-din "
Master of the Day of Judgement".
Iyyaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'in
" Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone we ask for help".
" Shows us the straight path ".
Sirat-allazina an'amta 'alaihim
" The path of those whom Thou hast favoured ".
Ghair-il-maghdubi 'alaihim wa la-ddallin "
Not ( the path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray "
Amen ( Surah Al-Fatiha )
" Amen ! O God ! let it be so. O Lord ! grant this our prayer."
After this you recite some verses of the Qur'an each of which is wisdom and beauty. There are instructions, admonitions and lessons as also directions to guide you to the same straight path for which you have prayed in Surah Al-Fatiha.
For instance :
DIFFERENT SURAHS OF QUR'AN
1. 'Wal-Asr' (103)
Wal-'Asr-i Inn-al-Insana lafi Khusrin "
By the time," " Lo! man is in a state of loss."
IIlallazina amanu wa 'amilus-salihati
" Save those who believe and so do good works "
Wa tawasau bil-haqqi wa tawasau bi-s-sabr "
And exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. "
This Surah teaches us that the only way for man to be saved from destruction and failure is to believe and do good work. And this too is not enough. There ought to be a class of believers who should help each other in keeping Deen intact and in establishing it.
Or for instance :
2. 'Humazah' (104)
Wail-ullikulli humazatin lumazati
" Woe unto every slandering traducer,
Nil-lazi jama'amala wa 'addadah
" Who hath gathered wealth ( of the world ) and counted it.
Yahsabu anna malahu Akhladah
" He thinketh that his wealth will render him immortal.
Kalla layunbazanna fil hutamah
" Nay, but verily he will be flung to the Consuming One is !
Nar-ullah-il-muqadat-ullati tattalio'alal afidah
" ( it is ) the fire of Allah, kindled, " Which leapeth up over the hearts ( of men ).
Innaha 'alaihim musadatun fi amadam mumaddah
" Lo ! it is closed in one of them
" In outstretched columns."
Or for instance:
3. ' Al-Ma'un ' (107)
Ara-ait allazi yukazzibu biddin "
Hast thou observed him who belieth accountability ?
Fuzalik allazi Yadu 'ul-yatim "
That is who repelleth the orphan,
Wala Yahuddu 'ala Ta am-ul-miskin
" And urgeth not the feeding of the needy,
Fa-wail-ul-lilmusallin-allazina hum'an salati-him sahun. Allazina hum Yura'un Wa Yamna'un-al Ma'un
" Ah, woe unto worshippers
" Who are heedless of their prayer;
" Who wish to be seen ( at worship )
" And refuse small kindnesses".
" This surah teaches us that faith in the Hereafter is the essence of Islam. Without it a man can never walk on that which is the path of God. In short, whichever Surahs or verses of the Qur'an you recite in the Salah they impart you some kind of instruction or guidance and point out to you what are those commandments of God which you should follow in this world.
4. 'Ruku' (bowing)
After reciting these instructions you say Allahu Akbar and do Ruku'. Placing your hands on the knees you bow before your Master and utter repeatedly (either three times or five times or seven):
" Blessed is my Lord the Magnificent ". Then you stand straight and say :
Sami'-Allahu li-man hamidah
" Allah listened to him who praised Him".
Then saying Allahu Akbar you prostrate twice in Sajdah and repeatedly utter :
" Blessed is my Lord Who is most High and Sublime".
5. 'At-Tahiyyat' (Salutation)
Then you raise your head saying Allahu Akbar and sit reverently and recite :-
Atta-hiyyatu lillahi was-salawatu wat-tayyibatu as-salamu'alaika ayyuh-an-Nabbiyu wa rahmat-ullahi wa barakatuhu
As-salamu 'alai-na wa 'ala'Ibadullahi-is-Salihin Ash-hadu an-la-Ilaha ill-Allah Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluh
" Our salutations, our prayers and all pure things are for Allah. Salutation to you O Prophet and Mercy and Blessing of Allah. Peace be on us and on all pious servants of Allah. I testify that there is no god save Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah".
While giving this testimony you raise your first finger because this constitutes in the Salah a declaration of your faith and it is necessary while uttering it to give special attention and emphasis to it. After this you recite Durud blessing upon Muhammad (peace be upon him) :
Allahumma Salli ala Muhammadin wa 'ala Ali Muhammadin
Kama Sallaita 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali Ibrahima Innaka Hamid-um-Majid
Allahumma barik'ala Muhammad-in-wa'ala ali Muhammadin Kama barakat 'ala Ibrahima wa 'ala ali Ibrahima innaka Hamid-um-Majid
" O God ! bestow benediction on Muhammad and on his progeny just as You showered blessings on Abraham and on his progeny. Most certainly You are adorned with the best qualities and are sublime. O God ! confer blessings on Muhammad and on his progeny just as You conferred blessings on Abraham and on his progeny. Most certainly You are adorned with the best qualities and are sublime. After recting this Durud you supplicate Allah :
6. 'Dua' (Supplication)
Allahumma inni a'uzu bika min 'azabi Jahannam wa a'uzu bika min'azabil Qabri wa a'uzu bika min fitnatil Masihiddajjal wa a'uzu bika min fitnatil mahya wal mamati wa a'uzu bika min-al ma-sini wal maghrim
" O God! I seek Your protection from the torture of hell, and I seek Your protection from the torture of the grave and I seek Your protection from the mischief of Dajjal pretending as Messiah and I seek refuge with You from the mischief of life and death. O God! I seek refuge with You from the responsibility of misdeeds and from indebtedness."
7. 'Salam' (Salutation at the time of concluding the prayers)
After recting the above Dua, Salah is complete. Now you return from the court of your Master, and what is the first thing you do on return? You turn your head to the right and to the left and pray for the safety and blessings of all those present and everything in the world:
As-Salam-o-Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
(Peace to you and mercy of Allah).
This is like good tidings that you have brought for the world on your return from the court of God.
The above is the Salah which you offer at dawn on rising from bed before you start the work of the world. Then after being busy for a few hours in some work you present your self in God's court in the afternoon to offer the same Salah again. Then after keeping busy for some hours you repeat it before dusk. Then again yourepeat it at dusk. Ultimately, on being relieved from the worldly work, and before going to bed, you present yourself for the last time before your Master. The concluding part of this final Salah consists of Witr, in the last rak'ah of which you submit a grand covenant before your Master. This is called Dua-i-Qunut. The meaning of Qunut is affirmation of humility, subservience and servitude before God. Listen carefully to words with which you make this affirmation:
Allahumma inna nasta-'inuka wa nastahdika wa nastaghfiruka wa nu minubika wa natawakkalu 'alaika-al-khaira wa nashkuruka wa la nakfuruka wa nakhla'u wanatruku manyyafjuruk
Allahumma iyyaka na'budu walaka nusalli wa nasjudu wailaika nas'a wa nahfidu wa narju rahmataka wa nakshha 'azabaka inna 'azabaka bil-kuffari mulhiq.
" O God! We seek help from You. We ask for Your guidance. We seek Your forgiveness. We affirm faith in You. We rely on You only and say all praise exclusively for You. We express gratitude to You and do not commit ungratefulness. We will abandon every such person and sever connection with him, who disobeys You O God! We are servile to You and we offer Salah and Sajdah to you only, and all our endeavour and striving are aimed at seeking Your pleasure only. We look for Your mercy and fear Your retribution. Certainly Your dire punishment will befall those who are unbelievers.
'Salah' and character-building
Imagine a person who hears the voice of Adhan five times in a day and feels that some big thing is being testified and we are being summoned to the presence of a highly powerfull sovereign; who every time on hearing this call, leaves all his work and runs to that Sublime Being Whom he considers Master of himself as also of the entire universe; who before every Salah purifies his body and soul with Wudu' and who performs with full understanding all these things again and again in the Salah which I have just now described to you--
how is it possible that fear of God will not arise in his heart that he will not feel ashamed to violate God's commandments, that his soul will not shudder during his repeated attendance before God on account of his sins and evil doings?
How is it possible that a man who affirms servitude and obedience to God, and believes in His being Master of the Day of Judgment, will, on resuming his worldly work, indulge in lies, dishonesty, usurping of others' rights, taking and giving of bribe, taking and giving of interest, causing injury to slaves of God and commit obscene and illicit acts, and yet go again in the presence of God loaded with all these misdeeds and have the guts to repeat these very affirmations?
Aye! How is it possible that after making affirmation with full consciousness before God thirty-six times a day that
" Thee (alone) we worship; Thee alone we ask for help" and worship others besides God and extend your hands before them for help?
If once you have committed violation after making the affirmation, the second time when you go before God your conscience will censure you and you will be feel ashamed.
The reproach will be greater at a second violation and the heart will upbraid you from within all the more. How can it happen throughout your life that you are continuously offering Salah five times a day and yet your deeds are not set right, your morals are not improved and your life is not fundamentally changed?
For this very reason Allah has emphasised the characteristic of Salah as :
" Verily Salah prevents man from committing indecency and lewdness".
Yet if there be such a man who is unaffected even by such a tremendous reformatory process, then it is due to the wickedness of his own self not the fault of Salah.
It is not the defect of soap and water. The reason is coal's own blackness.
There is very great deficiency in your Salah. And it is this that you do not understand what you recite in it.
If you spend a little time you can learn by heart the meaning of all these Duas (supplications) in English or in your own tongue. Its benefit will be that you will understand what you recite.