All praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.
Islam dignified Salah and raised its status as the greatest pillar of Islam after the Shahadah (Testimony of Faith). Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Messenger. 2. To perform the (compulsory congregational) Salah dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity). 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan." 
Salah is the first matter a person is asked about on the Day of Recompense. `Abdullah ibn Qurt (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The first action a person is held accountable for on the Day of Recompense is Salah. If it is complete, his entire actions shall be complete, however it is incomplete, his entire action shall be incomplete." 
Salah is the difference between a Muslim and non-Muslim. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "But if they repent, perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) and give Zakât, then they are your brethren in religion. (In this way) We explain the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail for a people who know." [Surat At-Tawbah: 11].
Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of Salah." 
Salah is a barrier between a person and sins. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshâ' (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed)." [Surat Al `Ankabut: 45].
The last recommendation of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the agonies of his death was: "Salah! Salah! And fear Allah in regard of the slaves you own." 
Salah has great virtues, of which: Salah is an expiation for sins. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory Salât (prayers)]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful (those who accept advice)." [Surat Hud: 114].
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?"
"That is the example of the five Salah with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds." 
Of which: This Salah is a light for a person. Abu Malik Al Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Cleanliness is half of faith, Al Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and Al Hamdu Liliah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and Salah is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is brightness and the Glorious Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All people go out early in the morning and sell themselves, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin." 
Of which: A Muslim would reach by Salah, Zakah, and fasting the status of the truthful and martyrs. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: "Two men from Banu Quda`ah embraced Islam with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) but one of them was martyred and the second died one year after. Talhah ibn `Ubaydullah said: I have seen Paradise and I saw the one who died latter entered Paradise before the martyr. I was stunned by that and when it was the morning I mentioned that to the Prophet (peace be upon him) or that was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who said: "Did not he (the latter) observed the fast of Ramadan after him and offered 6000 Rak`ah (unit of Prayer) or such and such Rak`ah (unit of Prayer) during the whole year?" 
Salah should be performed in its fixed time. Allah (may He be Exalted) said: "Verily, As-Salât (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours." [Surat An-Nisa': 103].
Al Bukhari said: A time that was fixed upon them.
Performing Salah in its due time is one of the greatest actions in the sight of Allah. `Abdullah in Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked: "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents." I again asked: "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied: "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's cause." 
Of the Hadiths that were reported in warning against delaying Salah in its due time is the lengthy Hadith of vision reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him): "Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me: 'Proceed!' I set out with them and we came across a man Lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. Behold, he was throwing the rock at the man's head, injuring it. The rock rolled away and the thrower followed it and took it back. By the time he reached the man, his head returned to the normal state. The thrower then did the same as he had done before. I said to my two companions, 'Subhan Allah! Who are these two persons?' They said, 'Proceed!' So we proceeded and came to a man Lying flat on his back and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man's mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck) and similarly tear his nose from front to back and his eye from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man's face and did just as he had done with the other side. He hardly completed this side when the other side returned to its normal state. Then he returned to it to repeat what he had done before....They said to me: 'We will inform you: As for the first man you came upon whose head was being injured with the rock, he is the symbol of the one who studies the Quran and then neither recites it nor acts on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the enjoined prayers.'" 
This Salah should be performed in the houses of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted). Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "When you (O Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him) are among them, and lead them in As-Salât (the prayer), let one party of them stand up [in Salât (prayer)] with you taking their arms with them; when they finish their prostrations, let them take their positions in the rear and let the other party come up which have not yet prayed, and let them pray with you taking all the precautions and bearing arms. Those who disbelieve wish, if you were negligent of your arms and your baggage, to attack you in a single rush, but there is no sin on you if you put away your arms because of the inconvenience of rain or because you are ill, but take every precaution for yourselves. Verily, Allâh has prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers."
[Surat An-Nisa': 102].
The Ayah explained the obligation of congregational Salah during war, so it is more obligatory in the state of peace.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The most difficult and the hardest prayers for the hypocrites are the 'Isha' (prayer) and the Fajr (prayer.)" He added: "Had they known what is (the reward of) the 'Atma ('Isha') and Fajr (prayers)? They would have come to attend them even if they had to crawl. I sometimes thought of giving orders for firewood to be collected, then for proclaiming the Adhan for Salat. Then I would appoint an Imam to lead Salat, and then go to the houses of those who do not come to perform Salat in congregation, and set fire to their houses on them." 
Some people of knowledge said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) would not have done that except when those people had committed a terrible sin.
It was reported among the seven types of people whom Allah shall protect by His Shade on a day where is no shade but His: man whose heart is connected with Masjids." Masjids are the houses of Allah and whoever enters them shall be the guest of his Lord. So, there is no heart more kind and more happy than a soul became a guest of the Lord in His House and under His Custody. Abu Ad-Darda' (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Masjid is the house of every pious. Moreover, Allah undertakes that a person whose house is the masjid (a metaphor for connecting with masjids) would have tranquility, mercy, and passing the Sirat (a fine road on the Hell which is finer than a hair and sharper than a sword) to the pleasure of Allah and to Paradise." 
This hospitality is done by tranquility, happiness, and comfort that a person enjoys in the world and by honor and bliss that they shall have in Heaven.
Praised be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds [i.e., people]. May Allah send His Peace and Blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and all his Companions!
 Sahih Al Bukhari (1/20) No. (8) and Sahih Muslim (1/45) No. (16).
 Reported by At-Tabarany in Al Awsat (2/240) No. (1859) and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in As-Silsilah As-Sahihah No. (1358).
 Sahih Muslim (1/88) No. (82).
 Sunan Ibn Majah, (2/900) No. (2697)
 Sahih Al Bukhari (1/184) No. (528) and Sahih Muslim (1/463) No. (667).
 Sahih Muslim (1/203) No. (223)
 Musnad (Hadith compilation of) Imam Ahmad (2/333).
 Sahih Al Bukhari (1/184) No. (527) and Sahih Muslim (1/89) No. 85.
 Sahih Al Bukhari (4/311) No. 
 Sahih Al Bukhari (1/218) No. (657) and Sahih Muslim (1/451) No. (252).
 Sahih Al Bukhari (1/219) No. (660) and Sahih Muslim (2/715) No. (1031).
 At-Tabarany in Al Mu`jam Al Kabir and Al Awsat (6/254) No. (6143) Al Mundhiry said in his Book Al Targhib Wat-Tarhib (1/298). Reported by At-Tabarany in Al Mu`jam Al Kabir and Al Awsat and Al Bazzar who said: Its chain of narration is good.
Al Albany graded it as good in Sahih At-Targhib Wat-Tarhib (1\253), No. (330).
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