A 12-Year-Old Boy Wonders: What is the Wisdom of Salah?

09 August, 2020
Q As-salaam-u Alay-kumI have always prayed Salah and I know the meaning of what I say in it. But, I feel a missing link. I think it is because I don't the wisdom of it. I don't know what it's supposed to be. I know it is a connection between me and Allah but I don't understand it's wisdom and thus, I don't get the feel that you are supposed to get. The feel that the Sahaaba (RA) got while Salah.So, here is what I want to know.1.Why do we recite the Qur'an in Salah?-What is Allah (SWT)'s wisdom in making us recite the Qur'an in Salah. I mean it is his own words that we are reciting back to him. What is the wisdom behind it? What should you feel during it?2.Why Ruku and Sajdah?-I know that it has something to do with humbling yourself before the Almighty. But what does it truly mean. What is the difference between Ruku and Sajdah? In both cases we bow our head. What does it mean when we put our head on the ground? Is it gratitude, is it fear, is it love or awe? What does it mean when you bow your head down during Ruku? Is it respect? Or perhaps it is gloryfying or praising Allah (SWT).Why do we sit after Sajdah and go to Sajdah again?Why do we say Sami ALLAHu liman hamida and Rabbana lakal hamdu.Why do we pray it in rakats? We can pray once. What is the wisdom behind praying it in rakats?Why do we salaam after Salah. Why not before Salah?I am not trying to be rude but I need to know these so I can improve my Salah and close the missing link. Jazak-Allah Khair

Answer

Short Answer: 

  • Did the Sahaba get the feeling you described because they asked about the wisdom behind the movements, how many units of prayer, and why this and that not the other? Not really. 
  • The point is, we lovingly follow what Allah instructed, this is what brings us joy, that we’re doing an act pleasing to Him. 
  • We pray the way we pray because Allah said so, and we submit to Him. It is enough to know that this is what He wants and what He loves. Knowing that you’re praying the exact same way Allah instructed, the exact same way the Noble Archangel Gabriel taught the Noble Prophet as per the order of Allah, knowing that should overwhelm you with honor, gratitude and humility. 

………….

Part 2

Walaykum Asalam,

Thanks for sending us your message.

There are two parts to your question: your desire to improve your prayer, feel what the Sahaba felt and close the missing link as you mentioned, and thinking that knowing the answers to the questions you proposed is what will help you accomplish that purpose. 

So, it’s important to discuss both parts in order to correct a seeming misconception there.

How do we improve our prayer?

First of all, we do not improve our prayer experience by answering the questions you proposed. As a matter of fact, these are not the elements necessary to have a deeply meaningful payer. 

Rather, we improve our prayer by fulfilling its purpose. And the purpose of prayer is the humble submission to The Creator. 

[How to Have Khushu’ (Humble Submission) in Prayer?]

Allah is our Master. We are His slaves. Worship is an act of servitude to the Master. The peak of worship is in being humbly and lovingly submissive to the Master

You increase in that by knowing Him more, His Majesty, Power, Might, Beauty…etc. and asking Him to teach you and bring you closer to Him, and following what He taught His Messenger to teach us. This is the essence. 

Benefits of Worship

We need to acknowledge that Allah, The Lord of the universe, The All-Wise, The All-Knowing, orders us to do what’s in our benefit spiritually, physically and socially. 

In worship, He instructs us to do what benefits our souls the most and gives us peace, since He is the Creator and Controller of hearts, so He is The One who knows perfectly what soothes those hearts.

Think about it: if you want to connect with someone urgently and lovingly, do you hold the mobile phone and start asking “why is the phone rectangular, not circular? Why do I have to dial digits in order to call the person? Why not just slap the phone once and it connects me with who I want?” 

These questions are not what will enhance the quality of your phone call. 

So, when Allah orders us something, we as His slaves submit to Him. THIS — whether our ego wants to believe it or not– is what brings a true and overwhelming sense of peace and satisfaction. 

Just like if you swim against the waves, it’ll be difficult, but if you flow with the waves, you can relax and enjoy it. Similarly, when we go against the Will of Allah for us and our purpose in life, deep inside there will always be a burden. But if we submit and become in harmony with the Will of Allah and what He wants from us, we get peace.    

The Sahaba and The Sweetness of Prayers

Now, you mentioned the Sahaba. But did the Sahaba get the feeling you described because they asked about the wisdom behind the movements, how many units of prayer, and why this and that not the other? 

Not really. 

Even though the Sahaba asked the Prophet about almost everything so they can learn and grow further in nearness to Allah, they were not concerned about these particular questions. 

Simply because the Prophet (saw) clearly said: “offer your prayers in the way you saw me offering my prayers“, and they followed without question. 

They rejoiced at the fact that Allah instructed them to do what pleases Him and what brings them closer to Him. This was it, and this was enough. 

Quality Vs Quantity

They didn’t say, “but wait, why 3 units of prayer here, not 4, why x, not y…”  

If there was a benefit in this, they would have done it and/or the Prophet (saw) would have explained it. He explained almost everything at length. But in these matters, in the matters of prescribed Divine rites of worship, they captured the essence of worship which is to submit. 

They loved and desired to do what Allah Almighty wants; and when He instructed something, they rushed to do it the way it was instructed by Him. 

Just when you love someone, you rush to do what the beloved wants without questioning them. Imagine if you love someone so deeply and the person asked you to buy them flowers, so instead of rushing happily to get the flowers, you start asking: but why flowers, not chocolate? Why 4 flowers, not 5? Why pink, not yellow?

Pleasing Allah

The point is, we lovingly follow what Allah instructed, this is what brings us joy, that we’re doing an act pleasing to Him. 

We pray the way we pray because Allah said so, and we submit to Him. 

It is enough to know that this is what He wants and what He loves. Knowing that you’re praying the exact same way Allah instructed, the exact same way the Noble Archangel Gabriel taught the Noble Prophet as per the order of Allah, knowing that should overwhelm you with honor, gratitude and humility. 

And the more humble we are in prayer and the more we follow the Sunnah in doing it, the more we’ll feel the peace of Allah descending upon us and enveloping us.

Just like Allah said:

 “Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”.” (Qur’an 3:31)

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Sweetness Of Salah

12 Amazing Tips to Love Your Prayer Like Never Before!

The Beauty & Sweetness of Salah (FB Live Session with brother Waleed)

About Dina Mohamed Basiony
Dina Mohamed Basiony is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt. She specializes in Islam and spirituality. Dina holds an MA and BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo.