Purpose of Salaat

Purpose of Salaat

1. Allah’s Zikr

The primary purpose of salaa(t) is Allah’s Zikr.

أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي

…Establish SALAAT for my ZIKR… [20:14]

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ

O You who believe! When the call is made for the SALAAT on the Day of the Congregation, hasten to the ZIKR of Allah and leave your commerce…[62:9]

1.1 Some Results of Allah’s Zikr

The purpose of Allah’s ZIKR is as follows:

i. To feel a fear in the heart (for the consequences of violating the commands of Allah); (and as a result)

ii. To make the heart humble and submissive to the commands of Allah; and

iii. To get the faith strengthened

See the following verses:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

The true believers are those who feel a fear in their hearts(of the consequences of violating the commands of Allah) when Allah is mentioned. And when His Revelations are recited to them, they find their faith strengthened. They do their best and then put their trust in their Lord.[8:2]

الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ

Whose hearts are filled with fear (of the consequences of violating the commands of Allah) when Allah is mentioned…[22:35]

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ

Is it not time for the believers that their hearts feel humble at the remembrance of Allah and the Truth which has been revealed?… [57:16]

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

…Verily, with the remembrance of Allah hearts become tranquil (, lowly and submissive). [13:28]

1.2 What is Allah’s ZIKR?

Allah’s ZIKR is the remembrance of Allah Himself (but it does not mean repeating His name for a certain number of time) as well as remembering, revising, and being mindful of His commands in the Quran {Quran is also called ZIKR (15:9)}.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ


وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ

And whoever turns away from My ZIKR, his shall be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind. [20:124]

2. Social and Economic Reforms

Remembrance of Allah Himself and being mindful of His Laws is not an objective in itself. The ultimate objective of SALAAT is more than that. Please see the following verses:

وَيَا قَوْمِ أَوْفُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ

بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ وَمَا أَنَا عَلَيْكُم بِحَفِيظٍ

قَالُوا يَا شُعَيْبُ أَصَلَاتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِي أَمْوَالِنَا مَا نَشَاءُ إِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ الْحَلِيمُ الرَّشِيدُ

(The Prophet Shoaib said) “Hence, O My people! Always give full measure and weight with equity and do not deprive people of what is rightfully theirs. Do not spread corruption and disorder in the land. That which Allah gives you as just profit is better for you if you believe. But I am not a guardian over you.” They said, “O Shoaib!. Does your SALAAT command that we should forsake the worship that our fathers practiced? Or, that we leave off doing what we like to do with our economy? Behold, you want us to think that you are the only clement, and the rightly guided man among us.” [11:85-87]

3. End to everything that is  contrary to the Quranic values (munkaraat)

إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ

…Verily, establishment of SALAAT (as an end result) refrains from lewdness, stinginess and all behaviour contrary to the Quranic Values. [29:45]

In the verse 29:45, the word tanha is used, which is from the same root as the word muntaha (which means end result or ultimate point).  Tanha means that which forbids or refrains. So the end result of the establishment of the system of SALAAT is to refrain from all stinginess, lewdness and end of all behaviour contrary to the Quran. The remembrance or ZIKR of Allah Himself and remembrance and revision of His commands are just means towards the ultimate objective. Means of Remembrance are also important to attain the ultimate objective but to consider means as the objectives in themselves will never attain the ultimate objective. Nor the objectives can be achieved without the means.

SALAAT  is a means of  Allah’s ZIKR, which leads to the end of Fuhshaa and Munkar

The following verse is also worth consideration in comparison to 29:45 given above:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and forbids lewdness, stinginess and all behaviour contrary to the Quranic Values and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful [16/90].

In 29:45, salaat forbids fushaa and munkar and in 16:90 Allah forbids fahshaa and munkar and commands  to remember this admonition and be mindful of it. Allah does not Himself implement or enforce His Laws on people. His commands have to be implemented by the people through a system or mode. The system or mode that Allah has suggested for the end of fuhshaa and munkar is Salaat.

In summary, this is how the system of Salaat functions:

i. People preserve in their memories the commands of Allah

ii. They remind themselves, remember and rehearse the commands of Allah on a regular basis

i and ii { i.e. ZIKR (on a regular basis)}  results in

a.  a fear in the hearts of the people (for the consequences of violating the commands of Allah);

b. making their hearts humble and submissive to the commands of Allah; and

c.  getting their faith strengthened

a, b, and c drive them to follow what is commanded in 16:90 (and in other parts of the Quran) fulfilling the objective laid down in 29:45 and disobeying what the satan commands according to 24:21.

If Allah’s laws are enforced without taking into account ZIKR, people may only follow the laws when they are being watched but they might tend to violate otherwise if they do not have a fear in their hearts for the consequences of violating the commands of Allah and their hearts have not become submissive to His commands and their faith is not strengthened through ZIKR.

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