Salah is an act of pure devotion and worship of Allah and it is most dear to Him. Salah is a conversation only between Allah and His believer where Allah’s servant turns to His master and submits himself to Him completely; mind, body, and soul. It is through Salah that the believer expresses his need and dependence on his Creator through this connection. However, this connection can only be achieved if the salah is offered with utter sincerity and obedience, and prayed on time.
We have all had times where we have delayed saying our daily prayers without any justification till the time of the next salah is upon us and we have only a few minutes left before our salah becomes ‘Qazah’. But do we ever ponder about the consequences of our delayed prayers?
"Woe to the worshipers who are unmindful of their prayer." (Quran 107: 4-5)
This verse sheds light on the importance of salah in the lives of Muslims. It calls for us to consciously make it a habit to say our prayers at their designated time. To help us develop this habit, Athan is the much-needed alarm clock that every Muslim needs. We need this application to pull us out of our busy routines every day and remind us to turn to the One who created us and offer supplications to Him, all day, and every day to fulfill our duty as a Muslim.
Salah is Allah’s most favorite form of worship by His believers and Islam without Salah would be incomplete. They are inseparable; just like coldness can’t be separated from ice, one cannot even think of separating the act of Salah from a Muslim. To become a good Muslim it is important that we complete the designated deeds such as offering the daily prayers, and the best way to offer them is to pray on time.
Upon being asked which Ibadah was the most virtuous, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied:
''To pray your Salah on time'' (Bukhaari, 527; Muslim, 85)
In another hadith narrated by Sahih Muslim:
“Someone came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and asked him about the times of prayer… and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained to him the beginning and end of the time for each prayer, and said, ‘The time is between these two.’ ” (Sahih Muslim, 614)
The root causes behind the delay in salah is either due to Satan’s games and tricks that he plays on the believers, or because the believers choose to follow their nafs and inner desires while being fully aware of the cost at which the choice is being made. Satan takes it upon himself to mislead the believer and distance him from his duties to Allah (SWT). According to a hadith:
“The Shaitan ties three knots at the back of the head of any one of you when he goes to sleep, striking each knot and saying: “You have a long night ahead, so sleep.” If he wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone. If he does wudoo’, two knots are undone. If he prays, all the knots are undone, and he starts the day energetic and in a good mood. Otherwise, he starts his day in a bad mood and feeling lazy” (al-Bukhaari (3269) and Muslim (776)).
However, it cannot be denied that there are instances when there are valid excuses for the delay and sometimes we may not have full control of our schedule. But that does not mean that we give Satan the satisfaction of winning and let our nafs get too involved in this world that we forget to turn towards Allah in time.
The greatest example which showcases the importance of prayer was showcased by the Prophet’s (PBUH) grandson, Hussain ibn Ali (RA). During the war on the day of Ashura, he demanded the enemy to delay the battle so he, along with his followers, could offer their salah. And it was while praying that the enemy attacked Hussian (SAW) and his followers, but even then, Hussain (SAW) did not break his salah and passed away in the salah position he had taken. That is how important salah is in Islam.
By offering the salah not only on time, but in the first part of the designated time period, and make a conscious effort to not have any further delays in the salah, one becomes the recipient of Allah’s blessings. Praying salah on time basically reflects the believer’s devoutness and his devotion towards gaining his Lord’s favor.
God has given us countless ways to invoke His forgiveness, his mercy and His blessings, which not only include salah but fasting in the month of Ramadan and giving zakaat’. Whatever seeds we sow in this world and the deeds we do, we will have to reap them in the Hereafter and face the consequences of our actions.
Salah not only strengthens your bond with Allah, but it is also the protection you need from this world and all its evils. Salah is what will give you peace, tranquility, purity, shelter and protection. So pray and do not delay!