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SALAAH, THE SECOND PILLAR OF ISLAM

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Islam has five pillars which form the bedrock of our existence. The first one is to believe absolutely in Allah alone, as the source of our creation. Consequently there is a law of first things first which should govern our lives. Embracing this principle encourages us to acknowledge, accept and embrace Allah first in all that we do. By commencing every action with the Basmallah, we do everything for the sake of Allah. When we truly believe, we inquire of Allah what we are supposed to do. As we listen to our parents, because we know they have our best interests at heart, so we listen and obey Allah. We firmly believe that Allah, who created us, knows what is best for us. We obey out of gratitude, first for the gift of life, and then for the many blessings in our life. When we believe in Allah, we trust Allah will lead and guide us. When we put Allah first in our lives, the law of first things ensures that Allah will reward us abundantly. Every breath we take, that’s Allah, every move is with the permission of Allah. When we decide where we need to be and what we need to do, that’s Allah giving us the power to take the thought and translate it into action. When we speak, that’s Allah, when we eat, that’s Allah. Without Allah’s love, mercy and grace, nothing will be possible. The truth of the matter is; Allah is first.
When you wake in the morning, remember it is Allah who is making it possible. When you place your feet on the floor, acknowledge Allah for moving through you as the source of your life. Before you do one thing in the day for yourself or anyone else, thank Allah for every ability, talent, gift and opportunity that lies within you or before you. As you move through the day, be conscious of Allah and ask that you be guided toward right thought and right action. When we do things with Allah consciousness, our activities will bring rewards; just remember to thank Allah first.
The second pillar is the Salaah. We are required to perform Salaah five times per day, it is not negotiable. The performance of Salaah is much more than praying; it is an opportunity to stop, listen, be aware of, and to connect with our Creator.  We are indeed fortunate because for us prayer is not just a communication with Allah. Because of the ritual set of movements, it becomes an active act of worship. It is done in veneration, in gratitude and in obedience. This gratitude for the many blessings in our life, for the gift of life itself, converts Salaah into an act of homage to the One Supreme Being, Allah. We yearn to connect with Allah, but if we are not present, if we do not connect with the Divine within us; prayer becomes meaningless.
Even the preparation for Salaah is different.

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It is not something we can do by breaking off from some task. It requires consciousness. We have to be aware that the time of the waqt is approaching and switch off from whatever we are engaged in at the time. We physically walk to the bathroom to perform wudhu, which in itself is an act of ibadah.
However, sadly, for most of us Salaah has becomes a ritual, a duty to be performed. We now know that the time of the Salaah corresponds with the rhythm of our physical bodies, that our bodies actually need what we are about to do. We also know what is happening as we go through the movements into rukuh and sujood. We know that every movement we make is not just for spiritual benefit, but that it actually conforms to what our bodies’ need, when the body needs it. This knowledge brings quiet to the mind and emotional well being. We are now perfectly poised to access the spiritual benefits of connecting wit Allah. We are reminded of how merciful our Creator is. People often tell us that they also pray, they do not have to do up and down movements to pray, nor do they have specific times to do so. In Islam no act or deed that we are required to do was chosen at random. There is a reason, a purpose, and above all, a benefit to every act and aspect of Islam. This is what makes our Deen different to any other.  As children we do not always see the wisdom of obeying our parents. We fail to see that they have our best interests at heart, that they know what is good for us. Similarly, we often rail against what Allah commands us to do, and how to live.  We are instructed to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Knowledge is very powerful and knowledge in Islam has specific benefits.  With knowledge we become aware.  With full consciousness we appreciate that our Creator knows us so intimately simply because we are the creations of Allah. In the same way that our parents know what is good for us, our Creator knows, only multiplied a thousand fold.
At some point we should ponder why those acts which are incumbent on us are called pillars. A pillar is something which is strongly embedded in the ground, and serves to support the structure upon it. This structure is our Eemaan, and we have the blessing of having five strong pillars to support our faith. A building needs a strong foundation if it is to stand the test of time. Any weakness will cause the building to develop cracks, be lopsided and even topple. This will happen to our Eemaan if any of the pillars shows signs of cracking or toppling.
Very often we pray for results, we appeal when we have a problem, or when we need something. When someone has a problem we hear people saying: “Go on your Musallah and beg Allah for help”. One of the best times for dua is at the conclusion of a Fard Salaah. When we are accustomed to doing it, there is no need to ‘go on your Musallah”, we are already there. When we pray in gratitude we acknowledge and accept Allah’s love and mercy. We trust implicitly that it is in Allah’s power to give us what we need, in Allah’s own time. We do not perform Salaah for the physical benefits. As parents we will not be teaching our children to perform for the physical benefits. The purpose is not to exercise our bodies. Salaah is compulsory upon every Muslim, and there is no negotiation. However, we should be doing it with something more than just obedience. Just as we obey our parents because they know what is best for us, we obey Allah because Allah created us and is therefore perfectly poised to know what is of benefit to us. We obey out of love grounded in gratitude. Love for the sake of Allah, for the pleasure of Allah. We are comforted that Allah’ mercy grants us added benefits, Alhamdulillah.

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