Listening to the tafseer of Surah Maryam, I was really touched by the lessons taught regarding the importance of salaah (prayer).
From Salaam Studios, Shaykh Jangda in a month long Intensive course on Surah Maryam on YouTube eloquently explained how the really bad nations before us that were involved in the worst of sins and evil deeds. It all started with them being neglectful of the prayer. Some scholars interpret being neglectful as being reducing the quality of prayer by rushing, or delaying prayer or just not going to the Musjid at all. Whichever way it was, it was surely all downhill from there.
Why is that? Well he explains, if you can't be good to Allah ( ie fulfill His rights), then how can fulfill anyone else's?
It goes like this :
When you choose not to pray your salaah, you are in effect just looking after yourself. So then you stop feeling like helping other people as you are self absorbed with your own desires. That leads on to you interacting with bad people. Then, when at times you feel a bit guilty, you start seeing the Day of Judgement- not something believable as a reality when you are so busy with having a good time here and now. This is how you can become totally distracted and on the wrong path.
We hear the stories about the people of the past that were destroyed... And it seems to us so distant from us - but are we not also guilty of neglecting the prayers to some extent... So in reality how close are we to becoming that way and how important is it that we halt our negligence of prayer right away!
A man came to the Prophet (saws) and said O Prophet of Allah (saws),what is the act or deed most loved by Allah?The man asked further:What (deed or act most loved by Allah) next? The Prophet (saws) replied:Obedience to ones parents.The Prophet (saws) replied: Jihaad in the Way of Allah.
Some Very Practical Steps I have been inspired to take to perfect the prayer, as suggested from Shaykh:
1. Pray salaah when the time of the prayer starts -It's a really simple thought, but I found if I do this, I feel more relaxed during and after the prayer. I now live in a country where I am fortunate to hear the adhaan live, giving me every chance possible to do this. Knowing it's a teaching from the sunnah is a great boost as well.
2. If the above is not possible (due to work or another valid reason), then fix a personal specific time of prayer (within reason of course!), so in your schedule you know that at 2pm everyday you will pray Zuhr, for instance. Then you can work your day around this. Certainly in Europe during winter this became a must as the days were so short, and with an hour or so between the day's prayers I had to set specific times to pray and not miss the time!
3. Work our salaah! When Nabi Muhammad (may peace be upon him), was sad when there was a pause between revelation, he was advised to turn to prayer as a means of still connecting to Allah. We can do the same. All we have to do is turn salaah from being a ritual to it being functional - a source of comfort, a way to connect and speak to Allah. And we know that through reciting Surah Faatiha, Allah responds to us. How much more meaningful can the prayer now be for us?
Towards perfecting prayers Insha Allah,