13 March 2009

The Effect of Prayer -Salah (Sholat)

Many organizations for youth provide hotlines and 24-hour phone services to help teenagers to get rid of feelings of depression and its destructive impact on life activities.

Did you ever think that we as Muslims have our own hotline? Our hotline is Prayer— salah (sholat). Salah (Sholat) is an emergency hotline that you can pick up at any time and ask for any help you might need.

Salah—the second pillar of Islam—is a gift from Allah to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Ummah—including you. So enjoy this gift and invest in it well. It is a connection between Allah and you. You can talk to Allah and ask for His guidance in any problem you face. You can even complain to Him about something you are expecting or afraid of. That is why some of the scholars said, “If you want to talk to Allah, make salah. And if you want Allah to talk to you, recite the Qur’an.”

We believe that Allah is our only Creator and that He is the One Who can guide us to what is best for us. So He is the One Who can fix our troubles, the One we can rely on in times of hardships and thank in times of ease.

Allah ordained salah—your gift—five times a day as a way of maintaining and fixing your heart, soul, and body. Likewise, you can pray at any time once you feel that you need a counselor or a guide to show you to the right path.

If someone invents a machine and sells it to you, you have to go to him regularly to maintain it and to fix any problem. You may not be aware of the problem, as you are simply the user, but he is aware of it as the inventor. And if something gets broken or out of order in this machine, you will go to him to fix it even if it is not time for its regular maintenance.
Seeking peace and calmness begins within you. You will never have outer peace if you don’t have inner peace. Allah says [and stand before Allah in a devout frame of mind] (Al-Baqarah 2:238). So you should approach salah in peace, pray it in peace, and finish it in peace, because salah gives you a break, both mentally and physically, from the daily stresses of life and in this way you will obtain peace.

If you are thinking of an important issue that you have to decide about but you can’t make up your mind, just give your mind a break from tension and pressure and perform a prayer seeking Allah’s guidance. This will provide your soul with comfort and give your mind a break and help you to think more clearly and practically about the situation that you are faced with. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told Bilal, “Call for the prayers, it will comfort us.”

Furthermore, salah cleanses your soul of any daily sins and helps you to get rid of feelings of guilt that are one of main reasons of depression. So when you perform salah and ask for Allah’s forgiveness with a regretful heart, you will have all your sins forgiven, in sha’ Allah.

Physically, the different positions you take in salah have a great impact on strengthening your muscles. Also, performing salah activates and stretches your spine, which contains most of the nerves and energy centers of the body.

Moreover, Allah ordained ablution (wudu’) before performing salah because it prepares you to meet Allah in the best condition.

[O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer wash your faces and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)

Wudu’ also has a great effect on the health of your body and soul. It not only gets rid of impurities, but also sins. As our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us, when a Muslim makes wudu’ in the proper way, the sins he or she has committed come out of every part cleaned and leaves it pure.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever makes wudu’ and makes it well, his sins come out from his body, even coming out from under his nails.” (Muslim 3/133 and others)
Your body is exposed to millions of germs and microbes during the day, and the water of wudu’ keeps the skin fresh and helps prevent infections. It also releases stress, so when you argue with someone, all you need to do is just make wudu’ and then you will feel calm and able to have a fruitful discussion with him or her.

Now is time to start! Never complain that salah is not fulfilling your demands, for you are the one who should invest Allah’s gift in the best way. And be sure that Allah guides you to the best even if it is not what you want. Also Allah likes you to continue asking with a sincere heart; thus salah will never fail you unless you fail salah first by neglecting it or doing it insincerely.

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