Among the five pillars of Islam, Salah is the second pillar obligatory on mature persons five times a day. After the Shahada, salah is the most significant and fundamental part of Islam. Standing five different times in a day in front of Allah in congregation removes all the discrimination of financial and racial status. All the Muslims bow down for Sajda on the call of one Imam. Salah can also be offered alone, as there are many kinds of Namaz like obligatory, compulsory, Sunnah prayers, and Voluntary prayer.
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Types of Salah
There are four kinds of Salah classified based on degrees.
Obligatory or Fardh prayer is the most important, offered usually in the congregation. Missing obligatory prayer is considered a big sin. Muslims who reach the age of maturity is obliged to offer five times a day. Obligatory prayers are offered at specific times in a day. For example, the time for Fajr prayer is before sunrise, the time for Zuhr prayer is midday, the time for Asr prayer is between Zuhr and sunset, the time for Maghrib prayer is at the time of sunset, and Isha prayer is offered between Maghrib and midnight. No obligatory prayer is offered in place of another.
Compulsory prayer is second to Fardh prayer in degree. Missing compulsory or Wajib prayer is a grave sin but not like the Fardh prayer. Jumma prayer, Eid prayers, and Witr prayer are Compulsory prayers. Women at home do not pray Jumma prayer; instead, they prayer Zuhr prayer. Similarly, if a man misses Jumma prayer in the congregation, then he has to offer the same as zuhr prayer.
The sunnah prayer is those which Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) offered. They are divided into two categories. Rasool SAW offered regularly is called Sunnah Muakkadah, and those which he SAW offered occasionally are called Sunnah Ghair Muakkadah.
Offering Voluntary prayer is a sign of being virtuous. Missing voluntary prayer does not lead to being a victim of sinning.
Besides these four types, there are other types also. For example, funeral prayer is offered on the death of a Muslim. Namaz Kasar, which is offered during travelling according to some prescribed rules.
Rules for offering Salah
However, you can freely offer prayer, but before standing in front of Allah for offering prayer, you must observe some rules. Without following the rules, you are not allowed to stay for Namaz. To make yourself qualified to offer the prayer, first of all, you have to make Wadu. The practice of Wadu includes cleaning all parts of the body according to the specific method for making ablution.
Another requirement for offering the prayer is that you have to cover parts of your body as it demands. Intention for offering the prayer is a must, and your body should be clean. Another rule for offering the prayer is that each prayer must be offered at a specific time. While offering the prayer, you should see whether the place on which you are standing is clean or not.
Importance of Salat
In the Holy Quran, Allah SWT repeatedly asks us to offer prayers. He SWT created us for nothing but to worship Him. As it said in the Holy Quran: And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [51:56]. Similarly, Hazrat Mohammad SAW also urges us in Hadith to offer prayer on its time.The covenant that distinguishes between them and us is prayer; whoever leaves it has committed Kufr. [Vol. 1, Book 5, Hadith 1079].
Salah is the direct conversation with Allah SWT. It brings the man closer to his Lord. Offering Salah removes all the mortal gaining from our hearts and directs us to eternal success.
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