Pronouncing the Formula of the Faith: – After heartedly believing that God is one, having no partner, or son, and that Muhammad is His Prophet and Messenger to announce God’s word to mankind, it is the religious duty of every faithful embracing Islam to exercise the practical devotions of the religion.
1) The first and foremost of these is to pronounce publicly the formula of the faith as follows: “I bear witness that there is no deity save God, and that Muhammad is His servant and his Apostle.”
2) Next comes the duty of exercising the stated prayers, as given in detail, though only summarized hereinafter.
Prayers to God, according to Islam, are the essence of man’s duties to God. It is an outpouring of the heart’s sentiments, a devout supplication to God, and a reverential expression of the soul’s sincerest desires to its Maker. Prayers according to the Qu’ran are the only way to communicate with God. The word of God in the Qu’ran teaches thus:-
“Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book [the Qu’ran] and establish the prayer, for prayer precludes indecency and wrongdoing, while remembrance of God is greater still.” [29:45].
Islam, therefore, enjoins prayers as a means of the moral elevation of man. But if prayer is said carelessly or with an absent heart, it degenerates into a mere ritual, into a lifeless and dull ceremony gone through with insincerity of heart. This is not the sort of prayer accepted by Islam. Such a prayer is denounced by the Qu’ran which gives the warning: - So woe to the worshippers, who are neglectful of their prayers, those who [want but] to be seen [of men].” [107:4-6]
Whilst the rite of Salât, [i.e. saying the enjoined prayers] is being performed one concentrates internally to God, while the reflections of meaning and reason of the verses one reads, stir and exalt one’s soul to everything that is supreme, lofty and good. This Salât is, so to say, a form of exercise and training. But it is not enough to practice merely its various movements of standing, bending, prostrating and sitting such movements as will be fully described later. The real spirit of Salât is to be in constant communication with, and worship of, God. The Fâtiha – the Opening Chapter of the Qu’ran – forms an essential part of every prayer, so that no prayer, according to a teaching of the Prophet of Islam, is complete without the Fâtiha, which is really a wonder in sense and meaning. Its translation is as follows:
“All praise is due to God the Lord of all Worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful, the King of the day of reckoning. You only do we worship, and from You only do we seek for help. Guide us to the straight path, the path of those to whom You has been gracious, not of those who are condemned nor those who are misguided.” [1:1-7]
The Fâtiha is rightly described as a wonder in sense and meaning. Honestly speaking, the prayer contained in the Fâtiha is the subliming of all prayers that exist in any religion. It is composed of seven verses, the first three of which speak of the Divine attributes of Providence, Beneficence, Mercy and Requital; the last three verses lay open before the Creator of the Universe the earnest desire of man’s soul to walk in righteousness without stumbling on either side, while the middle verse is expressive of man’s entire dependence on God. The attributes referred to are those which disclose God’s overwhelming beneficence and care, the ideal to which a human soul is made to aspire is the highest to which man can rise, namely the path of righteousness, the path of grace in which there is no stumbling.
On one hand, God has His providence for all human beings, nay for the creatures that exist in the world; He has given nourishment and perfection of the creatures long before they came into existence. On the other hand, there is the high aspiration of the soul for an unbounded religious rise without the least consideration of care of the body which craves for the “daily bread”.
The Prophet of Islam attached great importance to the human body as well as to the soul, and to the preservation of its cleanliness and purity. He taught that faith is the spring of cleanliness. Islam considers the human body as something entrusted to man by God, and, therefore, obliges him to take care of it. Islam enjoins upon its followers to keep it clean and pure, morally as well as materially.
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human