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Prayer And Forgiveness: The Five Obligatory Daily Prayers Erasing All Sins

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

Abu Hurayrah states that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) as he said to some of his companions: “Suppose that a stream runs just outside a person’s door, and he bathes there five times every day. How much dirt is left on him?” They answered: “This will make him absolutely clean.” He said: “This is exactly the same with the five obligatory daily prayers. They erase all sins.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

God has created us all with two parallel tendencies: to steer a pious and God-fearing way of life or to yield to temptation and fall in sin. He has given us the ability to choose either way, and the will to implement our choice so that our actions give credence to what we profess. Our choices give our life its color and character. The God-fearing way is one of purity, cleanliness and aspiration to a higher level of humanity. It translates into love for fellow human beings, willingness to sacrifice one’s interests for the common good, readiness to help those who need help, and looking always to improve oneself spiritually and materially. By contrast, sins impart an air of impurity, selfishness, individualism and profanity.

This is not to say that societies that are not based on religious principles are devoid of good values. Good moral values are universal. However, in a godless environment, such values are thin, and people are willing to shed them for slight material gain.

By its values and practices, Islam helps man to steer a healthy and goodly life, aiming to bring out the best in human beings. The five daily prayers God has made obligatory to us, spread as they are along the length of the day, are instrumental in helping us to lead a life of piety and purity once we have made this our choice. In the Hadith we have quoted the Prophet (peace be upon him) describes how this is accomplished. He begins with citing the example of a person washing himself five times every day, using the clean water of a stream running just outside his doorstep. It is easy to get the water and easy to use it for cleanliness. The Prophet asks his companions if such a person is left with any dirt on his body. The answer is readily given. Such a person is always very clean.

The Prophet then compares prayers to this clean stream and the physical dirt to the mental one produced by sin. When Muslims stand up to perform prayers, they address themselves to God. They had already performed their ablutions which is a physical symbol of the spiritual purity they achieve through prayers. They address God, turning to Him in perfect submission, stating that they worship Him alone and seek help from no one other than Him. They appeal to Him to guide them along His straight path. As this is repeated time after time throughout the day, and every day of the week, they maintain a constant and interactive relation with God Almighty. This imparts real purity to their whole life. Thus, they live in this world, but they feel their close relation with the world beyond, the world of God and the angels. They feel the presence of God wherever they turn, and they realize that they can seek His help whenever they need it, knowing that it is handy and extended to them at all times. They have perfect peace in their lives. They are free of worry, fear and pressure. The dirt the five daily prayers remove from them is not the physical one washed off by the water of the stream, as in the Prophet’s example, but it is the dirt that attaches to souls and brings hardship to hearts and minds.

 

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