Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prayer in Islam

  • No pictures, no idols, no symbols, then what do Muslims pray to?
  • No holy water, no peacock feathers, then how are Muslims blessed?
  • No chairs in mosques, then where do Muslims sit when they pray?
  • They don’t speak in Arabic here, then why do Muslims pray in Arabic?
  • A big prayer hall, but why are only a few Muslims praying here?
The Unseen Creator

Muslims pray to The Unseen creator Who created everything. His power to create is limitless. All he needs to say is ‘Be’ and it comes into existence. Everything came from Him and will return to Him. He does not have a son, and was not fathered by anyone. He has no partners, and is unlike anything that the human mind can imagine. The Arabic word for God of The Unseen Creator is Allah. Some say that when we drink water, we must remember the person who dug the well. The aims of a Muslim’s prayer are to remember and be grateful to Allah The Merciful. The Creator of the water and the person who dug the well.

Simple activity

Prayer in Islam is a simple activity that consists of a series of body postures and recitation of The Noble Quran. It is an environment-friendly prayer in that it does not require burning of paper or other substances. The practice of making “offering” to God is unacceptable in Islam. God is self-sufficient and has no needs.

The Imam who leads

The Imam leads the prayer in the mosque. A person who has a good knowledge of Islam and is able to recite The Quran well and lecture to the gathering during the Friday noon prayer is appointed as the imam of a mosque. The imam is not a priest in that he is not an intermediary between God and man. Muslims seek the mercy of God directly.

No peacock feathers

Islam calls on the believers to base their faith on reason and logic and not on blind beliefs such as believing that sprinkling holy water on the body or stroking the body with peacock feathers will drive away bad luck and bring prosperity. To receive the mercy and blessing of God, Muslims are commanded to base their life on what is permitted and keep away from the things prohibited in The Noble Quran such as gambling, intoxicants and adultery.

No chairs

The Muslim prayer position consists of standing, bowing, sitting and placing the forehead on the floor. It is not possible to do these while sitting on a chair. Thus all Muslim prayer places are furniture-free. There are no ‘reserved’ places in the prayer area. All Muslims pray as equals.

Prayer in Arabic

Muslims use the Words of God when praying to Him. They recite verses from The Noble Quran which is in Arabic. Praying in the language of The Quran ensures uniformity. A Muslim can go to any mosque in the world and join the prayer without any difficulty. Praying in the language of The Quran ensures accuracy. Translations of the meaning of the verses in The Quran are not used in prayer. At the end of the formal prayer, Muslims can seek the forgiveness and blessing of God in their own languages.

Prayer in any clean place

Muslims can perform their five daily prayers in mosque, homes or in any clean place. In some places, only a small number pray in mosques, and they are usually those staying near the mosque and visitors. Muslims are required to perform the Friday noon prayer in the mosque. The mosque is packed during this prayer in some places, Muslims pray in the compound of the mosque due to lack of space inside.

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