Narrated ‘Ubaid-Ullah Ibn ‘Abdullah bin ‘Utba:
I went to ‘Aisha and asked her to describe to me the illness of Allah’s Apostle. ‘Aisha said, “Yes. The Prophet became seriously ill and asked whether the people had prayed. We replied, ‘No. O Allah’s Apostle! They are waiting for you.’ He added, ‘Put water for me in a trough.” ‘Aisha added, “We did so. He took a bath and tried to get up but fainted. When he recovered, he again asked whether the people had prayed. We said, ‘No, they are waiting for you. O Allah’s Apostle,’ He again said, ‘Put water in a trough for me.’ He sat down and took a bath and tried to get up but fainted again. Then he recovered and said, ‘Have the people prayed?’ We replied, ‘No, they are waiting for you. O Allah’s Apostle.’ He said, ‘Put water for me in the trough.’ Then he sat down and washed himself and tried to get up but he fainted. When he recovered, he asked, ‘Have the people prayed?’ We said, ‘No, they are waiting for you. O Allah’s Apostle! The people were in the mosque waiting for the Prophet for the ‘Isha prayer. The Prophet sent for Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer. The messenger went to Abu Bakr and said, ‘Allah’s Apostle orders you to lead the people in the prayer.’ Abu Bakr was a soft-hearted man, so he asked ‘Umar to lead the prayer but ‘Umar replied, ‘You are more rightful.’ So Abu Bakr led the prayer in those days. When the Prophet felt a bit better, he came out for the Zuhr prayer with the help of two persons one of whom was Al-‘Abbas. while Abu Bakr was leading the people in the prayer. When Abu Bakr saw him he wanted to retreat but the Prophet beckoned him not to do so and asked them to make him sit beside Abu Bakr and they did so. Abu Bakr was following the Prophet (in the prayer) and the people were following Abu Bakr. The Prophet (prayed) sitting.”
‘Ubaid-Ullah added “I went to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas and asked him, Shall I tell you what Aisha has told me about the fatal illness of the Prophet?’ Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘Go ahead. I told him her narration and he did not deny anything of it but asked whether ‘Aisha told me the name of the second person (who helped the Prophet ) along with Al-Abbas. I said. ‘No.’ He said, ‘He was ‘Ali (Ibn Abi Talib).
I was thinking about the initial part of this Hadith. Prophet (SAW) is so ill, he can’t even stay awake for long. He faints each time he wants to get up. Each time he recovers, he asks about the prayer. He worries about the people waiting for prayer. He is so weak, so close to death, yet he keeps Salah above everything else.
What is it about Salah? Why is it SO important? Why do Allah and His Messenger (SAW) emphasize on its establishment so much? Why does Prophet (SAW)’s face get lit up when he sees the Muslims praying during his last days? Why does he want to burn the houses of those men who do not turn up for congregational prayer in the masjid five times a day? Why are Muslims promised an ‘honorable’ place in Paradise for praying? Why is praying on time so important? Why so much reward on doing it properly and such severe punishment on ignoring it? Have you ever thought about it?
This is what I came across when I Googled ‘importance of Salah’:
“Then, there came after them a generation who gave up Salah and followed lusts; so they will be thrown in Hell.” (19: 59)
“Salah is the second pillar and one of the most important pillars of Islam. Salah is the key to Islam.” -Hamid Syed
“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [Tabarani]
“Salat is a pillar of the religion (Islam). He who establishes it, establishes religion; and he who destroys it, destroys religion.” [Tabarani]
After going through all this, I’m now thinking: Salah is one of the basic necessities of life. If water keeps your body alive, Salah keeps your soul nourished. We can go on about the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, personal, social and other benefits of Salah. But I can conclude early: Salah is a Muslim’s basic necessity.
Let your soul live. PRAY!