Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and prayer

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and prayer

Prayer was made a comfort to my eyes:

Huthafah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated for us the state of Prophet Mumhammed (peace be upon him) while he prayed, saying,

«I prayed with Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) one night. He (peace be upon him) started to recite Surah Al-Baqarah in the prayer, so I thought he would read one hundred ayahs (verses of the Quran) and then bow, but he read more than this. So I thought he (peace be upon him) would finish all the surah and then bow, but he read more than this until he read all of Surah Al-Imran and An-Nisaa’ and then he (peace be upon him) bowed, saying, ‘Glory be to my perfect Lord, the Magnificent, Glory be to my perfect Lord, the Magnificent’ while in the bowing position. Next, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) raised his head, saying, ‘Allah hears those who praise Him, Oh Allah, my Lord, all praise belongs to You.’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) stayed standing for quite a while and then prostrated, prostrating for quite a while. In prostration he said, ‘Glory be to my perfect Lord, the Most High.’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) did not read in the prayer any ayah of the Quran which mentioned Allah’s punishment or greatness without saying this phrase (Glory be to my perfect Lord, the Most High)

[related by Al-Bayhaqi]

Another narration states,

«He (Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him) started reciting Surah Al-Baqarah. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) did not recite any ayah which mentioned Allah’s mercy but he would pause and ask Allah (for His mercy), and he (peace be upon him) did not recite any ayah which mentioned punishment but he would pause and seek Allah’s protection from it. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) then bowed and stayed in the bowing position for the same length of time he had stayed in the standing position»

[related by Ahmed].

This hadith illustrates how Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) loved the prayer and standing before Allah (Glorified is He). Prophet Muhammed’s prayer, when praying by himself, was longer than any other people’s prayer. Moreover, if

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) had any difficulties, he would rush to pray. Aisha described for us how long Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to pray, saying,

«He (Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him) used to stand praying at night until his feet became swollen." Aisha asked him, "’Why do you do this (pray so long), Oh Messenger of Allah, when Allah has forgiven your future and your past sins?’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Should I not [then] want to be a thankful slave?’»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

And how can this not be the case when Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) himself said,

«The prayer has been made the comfort and delight of my eyes»

[related by Ahmed].

This indicates that his eyes used to be comforted during the prayer, that is, his eyes used to be comforted by being connected to his Lord, worshipping and being devoted to Him.

As for how Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to pray the obligatory prayers when he (peace be upon him) led the believers in prayer in the mosque, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to make the prayer easy for the people. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to take into consideration the needs of those who prayed behind him and so was merciful and easy with them. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) also advised his Companions to be like this too, as he said,

«If any of you lead others in prayer, make the prayer light and easy, as among the congregation are those who are weak, ill, old and have needs to attend to. If any of you pray by yourself, extend the prayer as you like»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) sometimes started the prayer intending to make it long, but then shorten it after hearing a baby cry, out of mercy for the baby’s mother. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«I stand to pray and intend to lengthen the prayer, but I then hear a young boy cry so I shorten the prayer for fear of causing difficulties for his mother»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

Although Prophet Muahmmed (peace be upon him) had all his past and future sins forgiven, he used to stand in prayer in front of Allah more than other people. What is the proof that supports this fact? And what do we learn from this?

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

"Prayer has been made the comfort of my eyes"

How can you make prayer the comfort of you eyes?

Why did Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) make the prayer easy for the people, easier than other Imams when they lead the prayer, but when praying alone Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to pray until his feet became swollen?!

Khushu (reverent fear of Allah, and humility and presence of mind) in the prayer

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was particular to have khushu in the prayer, being calm and concentrating about his Lord (throughout the prayer). Moreover, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) told his Companions to be like this in the prayer as well. Abu Hurayrah said,

«A man entered the mosque when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was sitting in a corner of the mosque. The man prayed and then went to greet Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) returned the greeting and then told him, ‘Go to pray again, as you have not prayed.’ Therefore, the man returned and prayed again, and then went to greet Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) returned the greeting and then told him, ‘Go to pray again, as you have not prayed.’ After the second or third time, the man said, ‘Teach me, Oh Messenger of Allah,’ So Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, ‘If you stand to pray, perform ablution properaly, face the direction of the Qibla (the Kaaba) and say the Takbirah Al-Ihram (Allahu akbar, to start the prayer). Next, recite what is easy for you of the Quran and then bow until all your limbs feel calm and at rest in the bowing position. After that, raise you head until you reach the standing position. Next, prostrate until all your limbs feel calm and at rest while prostrating, and then raise your head until you reach the sitting position and all your limbs feel calm and at rest in the sitting position. And repeat this in every rakat (unit) of the prayer’»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In this way, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) taught the Companion to have khushu (reverent fear of Allah, and humility and presence of mind) and to be calm in all the different positions and pillars of the prayer, and Prophet Muahmmed (peace be upon him) made it a basic condition to make one’s prayer correct. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«A prayer in which a man does not make his back at rest

in the bowing position and in prostration is not accepted (as a prayer)»

[related by Abu Dawood].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) considered one who performed the prayer like this as being like a thief. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«’Those who perform the worst type of theft are those who steal from their prayer.’ The Companions asked, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, how can one steal from the prayer?’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) replied, ‘He (such a person) does not perform the bowing or prostration properly (waiting to be at rest in them)’»

[related by Ahmed].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) also said,

«A man leaves (the prayer to continue his work) and nothing is written to his account but one tenth of his prayer, one ninth , one eighth, one seventh, one sixth, one fifth, one quarter, one third or one half of his prayer»

[related by Abu Dawood and An-Nisa’i].

If anyone prays quickly, have they not actually prayed?! Then why did Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) consider such a person to have not prayed?!

Moreover, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

"A man’s prayer is not accepted unless his back becomes calm and at rest in the bowing position and in prostration"

[related by Abu Dawood].

Huthafah ibn Al-Yaman saw a man who did not perform his bowing and prostration completely (until he became at rest in them) during his prayer. Therefore Huthafah said to him,

«You did not pray! If you die and your prayers are like that prayer, you will die on other than the path of Prophet Muhammed!!»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

Abdullah ibn Shaqeeq said,

«The Companions of Prophet Muhammed did not consider leaving any good deed as disbelief except [leaving] the prayer»

[releated by At-Tirmidhi].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was particular about the congregational prayer; he encouraged his Companions (to perform it and strongly advised them to pray in congregation. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«A man’s prayer in congregation is twenty five times better than his prayer in his house or in the market-place. This is because if he performs ablution in the best way he can and leaves his house to go to the mosque, intending to leave for the sole purpose of praying, he will not take one step without being raised by one degree and also have one sin erased. And then if he prays, the angels will keep sending prayers on him all the time he is in the prayer, saying, ‘Oh Allah, send prayers on him. Oh Allah, have mercy on him.’ Anyone is considered to be still in the prayer as long as they are waiting for the prayer to begin»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to also encourage the Companions to be calm and tranquil when they were walking to the mosque to pray. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«If you hear the call that the prayer is just about to start, walk to the prayer in a calm and tranquil way. Whatever you catch of the prayer, pray [in congregation], and whatever you miss, make it up by continuing your prayer after the Imam has said the tasleem (assalamu alaikum at the end of the prayer)»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Due to the importance of the congregational prayer and the great benefits that result from it, Prophet Muhammmed (peace be upon him) did not give permission even to a blind man, who had asked for permission to not pray in the mosque, to miss it. The man said,

«‘Oh Messenger of Allah, I am blind, my house is far [from the mosque], and my guide cannot lead me to the mosque. Is it permissible for me to pray [the obligatory prayers] in my house?’ Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, ‘Do you hear the call to prayer?’ The man answered, ‘Yes.’ So Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) replied, ‘You do not have permission [to pray in your house instead of the mosque]’»

[related by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah].

In fact, Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«I considered ordering a prayer to be performed and then to go to the houses of those who did not attend the prayer and burn their houses over them»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to keep warning his followers about not praying every pillar of the prayer properly until the body is at rest, and advised to have khushu (reverant fear of Allah and humility and presence of mind) and be calm while praying, and also to pray in congregation. He did not concern himself about his followers not praying at all. This is because how can a Muslim not have a connection with his Lord and not call and plead to Him? Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, warning and making clear the importance of the prayer,

«The convenant between us and them is the prayer. Whoever abandons or neglects the prayer has disbelieved»

[related by Ahmed].

Is there any excuse or justification that enables a Muslilm to abandon the prayer or pray out of time?

How do some people find an excuse to neglect the prayer—we seek protection with Allah from this—when Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) did not give permission to the blind man to pray the obligatory prayers in his house?!

How can you follow Prophet Muhammed’s example?

1. Pray and prostrate often and be constant in doing this. Moreover, appreciate and flavor the feeling of having a connection with the Most Merciful, the Most Generous, the Bestower of good, the One Who is near and answers the petitioner when he prays, Glory be to Him.

2. Prayer is a way of having a connection with Allah, so make your connection with Allah good and He will be good to you; He is the Sublime, the Magnificent, the Most Great, the Most High.

3. Learn how Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) prayed. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) ordered us to pray like him. He said,

"Pray as you see me pray"

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

4. When you stand to pray, stand in fear and love of Allah and leave your worldly matters behind you. Be careful to perfect your connection with Allah, and contemplate the words while reciting the Quran. Stop at the end of each ayah (verse of the Quran), thinking about the meaning of the ayah, as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) used to do.

5. When you pray alone, lengthen the prayer in complete devotion. When you lead others in prayer, make matters easy for them and do not lengthen the prayer in order not to cause them difficulties, as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) warned us.

6. Order your wife and children to keep praying in time, and pray some supererogatory prayers in your house, following Prophet Muhammed’s example.

7. Be quick to answer the call to prayer whenever you hear it by leaving early to pray in the mosque, and be in the habit of praying in the first row in the mosque as Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) told us it was the best row [for men]. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said,

«If people knew the benefits of the call to pray and the first row of prayer, and they could not reach it without balloting, they would ballot to win [the prize of] praying in the first row»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

8. Beware of praying any prayer out of time, even one single prayer. The first act that you will be asked about on the Resurrection Day is your prayer. All your other acts will not be considered unless all your prayers were correct.