الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل الصلاة سيدَ الحسنات، وأفضلَ القُرُبات، وأمر عبادَه بالخشوعِ فيها وإقامتِها في الأوقات، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ذَلِكَ ذِكْرَى لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

 

Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “Establish the prayer at each end of the day and in the first part of the night. Good actions eradicate bad actions. This is a reminder for people who pay heed.” Last week, we talked about the shahada and how it is, both inwardly and outwardly, the key to the Deen of Allah. But if the shahada is the key to the building that is the Deen, then the prayer is its central support. The Prophet said,

 

الصلاةُ عِمادُ الدينِ فمَن تَرَكَها فقد هَدِمَ الدين

 

“The prayer is the central support of the deen. Anyone who leaves it has destroyed his deen.” And Umar ibn al-Khattab said,

من حفِظ صلاتَه وحافط عليها فقد حفِظ دينَه

 

“Anyone who safeguards his prayer and is constant in it, has safeguarded his entire deen.” In many ways, the prayer is the deen and the deen is the prayer. The salat is the sila, the connection of the slave with the Lord, the key to his continuing relationship. If there is prayer, there is deen, if there is not then there is nothing and a person’s life becomes empty and valueless. The Prophet said,

 

إنّ أولَ ما يُنظَر فيه من عملِ العبدِ يومَ القيامة الصلاةُ فإن وُجِدَت تامةً قُبِلَت منه وسائرُ عملِه وإن وُجِدَت ناقصةً رُدَّت عليه وسائرُ عملِه

 

“The first of a slave’s actions that is looked at on the Day of Qiyama is the prayer – if it is sound and complete then it and the rest of his actions are accepted from him, but if it is found lacking, then it is rejected along with the rest of his actions.” The key to having a prayer that is sound and complete, and thus acceptable to our Lord, lies in the word iqama, for throughout the Book of Allah, we are not commanded to pray but rather to establish the prayer. Indeed it is, in every instant, the first quality of the believer mentioned after belief. Allah says,

قُلْ لِعِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا يُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ

 

the translation of which is, “Tell My slaves who believe that they should establish the prayer.” Shaykh Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi said, “Whenever Allah mentions those who pray in a praiseworthy way, He always refers to them as establishing the prayer, such as when He says: ‘Those who believe in the Unseen and establish the prayer’, ‘My Lord, make me one who establishes the prayer’ and many other places. But when he mentions those who are forgetful about their prayer, He says: “So woe to those who pray, and are forgetful of their prayer”, and does not say ‘woe to those who establish the prayer.’” Thus, praying alone is not enough, it must be established. According to the fuqaha, there are three main aspects to iqama:

The first is establishing it in the community – in other words, by building a building, a mosque, in which the adhan is called and people pray the prayer in jama’at behind an imam. This was the first act of the Messenger of Allah upon arriving in Madina, for while the prayer is the most private and intense connection of the slave with his Lord, it is also the key to social cohesion and unity. Without it, a society will swiftly crumble. It helps bind the hearts together in a manner that few other things can. It is why they say one of the secrets of a strong and healthy marriage is praying together. Allah says,

 

وَامُرَ اَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا

 

the translation of which is, “Command your family/wife to pray and remain constant in it.”

The second is establishing it in its time. When Qatada was asked what establishing the prayer meant, the first thing he said was,

المحافظة على مواقيتها

 

“Maintaining it in its times.” Praying each of the five obligatory prayers in the time allotted to it, for each prayer has been assigned a specific time. Allah says:

 

‏إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا‏

 

the translation of which is, “The prayer is prescribed for the believers at specified times.” So important is this aspect of prayer that Allah warns those who are lax in this regard of an impending woe, saying,

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ، الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “Woe to those who do the prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer,” Woe is a translation of the Arabic word wail which is said to be the name of a valley in the Fire, the forgetful are said to be those who continually delay the prayers outside their times without excuse.

The third aspect of iqama is praying the prayer in as complete a fashion as possible. Ibn Abbas said,

إقامة الصلاة إتمام الركوع والسجود والتلاوة والخشوع،

 

“To establish the prayer is to complete its ruku, its prostration, its recitation and to have khushu in it.” And others also mentioned its preconditions. What this means is that proper establishment of the prayer is only possible with knowledge of the fiqh of the prayer. Every Muslim without exception must know the elements that make it up and the elements that make it sound or otherwise. They must know how to purify themselves, how to dress appropriately and how to find the qibla. And then, armed with that knowledge, they must put it into practice, taking care to give each and every element and precondition its full due, not just a passing acknowledgement. The Prophet said:

 

أسوأُ الناسِ سرقةً الذي يَسرِقُ من صلاته. قالوا: وكيف يَسرِقُ من صلاته؟ قال: لا يُتِمُّ ركوعَها ولا سجودَها

 

“The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” “How does someone steal from his prayer?” asked the Companions. He replied, “By not completing his ruku’s or his sujuds.” This does not mean it is incumbent to spend a long time in each of those positions nor that a person must pray very slowly, as some might think, for some of the Companions, including Ammar ibn Yasir, Talha and az-Zubayr, used to pray very quickly. They wanted to make sure that there was no opportunity for their mind to wander or their concentration to lapse, for a prayer with awareness is infinitely more valuable than one without regardless of pace. The Prophet said,

إنما يُكتَبُ للعبد من صلاته ما عَقَل منها

 

“The only part of a slave’s prayer which is written for him is that in which his mind is present.” No, completion does not refer to slowness and deliberateness, but rather to stillness in the fullness of the position. To letting all the limbs settle before moving on to the next part of the prayer.

The final thing Ibn Abbas mentioned with respect to having completeness in the prayer is khushu, and in many ways it lies at the very heart of what it means to establish the prayer.  It is the secret a successful life. Allah says,

 

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “It is the believers who are successful, those who have khushu in their prayer.” After belief, the very first prerequisite for success mentioned by our Lord in this aya is the quality of khushu. To have khushu is to be humble and present in the prayer, and maintain an awareness throughout of the One to whom you are praying. When the great man of Allah, Hatim al-Asamm about this, he described how he approached each and every prayer. He said, “When the time of the prayer comes, I do wudu thoroughly, then go to the place of prayer. Then I sit down to gather myself. Then I stand up to pray, placing the Kaba in front of my eyes, the sirat under my feet, the Garden to my right, the Fire to my left and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking that this prayer could very well be my last. Then I stand up between fear and hope, say the takbir with meaning, and recite the Quran with care. Then I enter into ruku with humility and prostrate with khushu, and sit on my left buttock with my left foot spread flat under it and my right foot upright. All of this I strive to do with true sincerity and at the end I do not know whether it has been accepted from me or not.” This is khushu.

The prayer is a microcosm of your life. How you are in prayer is how you are in life. If your prayer is haphazard and lacking, then how can you expect your life to be any different. So the first step to setting your affairs right, in this world and the Next, is to rectify and remedy your prayer, to establish it in the true sense of the word. Then and only then will true success follow.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: قال الله تعالى: قسمت الصلاة بيني و بين عبدي نصفين ولعبدي ما سأل؛ فإذا قال العبد: الحمد لله ربّ العالمين، قال الله تعالى: حمدني عبدي. وإذا قال الرحمن الرحيم، قال الله تعالى: مجّدني عبدي. وإذا قال: ملك يوم الدين، قال: فوّض إليّ عبدي. فإذا قال: إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين، قال: هذا بيني وبين عبدي ولعبدي ما سأل. فإذا قال: اهدنا الصراط المستقيم صراط الذين أنعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم ولا الضّالين، قال: هذا لعبدي ولعبدي ما سأل

 

The Prophet said, “Allah says, ‘I have divided the prayer between Me and My slave into two halves, and My slave will have what he wants. When the slave says, ‘Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds, Allah replies, ’My slave has praised me.’ When he says, ‘The All-merciful, Most Merciful’, Allah replies, ‘My slave has glorified Me.’ When he says, ‘The King of the Day of deen,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has handed his affair over to Me .’ When he says, ‘You Alone we worship and You Alone we ask for help’, Allah says, ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave will have what he asks for.’ When he says, ‘Guide us along the straight path, the path of those whom You have blessed, not of those with anger on them nor of the misguided,’ Allah says, ‘This is for My slave and My slave will have what he asks for.’” The prayer is truly something extraordinary, a gift beyond compare. For by means of it, we, the lowly slaves, are granted a direct audience with the Lord of all the Worlds and the opportunity to converse intimately with Him, munaajaat ar-rabb. He listens to everything we have to say and responds, as the hadith above indicates. And, unlike the kings of this world, Allah does not just grant us this private audience once in a blue moon, but instead allows us to have a private audience with Him whenever we want, day or night. The door is always open and Allah is always there, ready to listen. No master has ever granted a slave such an honour, and no king has ever been so accommodating to his subjects.

And unlike the leaders of this world, Allah does not brush us off with underlings or deal exclusively with us through intermediaries and hirelings, but rather addresses us directly without any barriers. The Prophet said,

 

إن العبد إذا قام إلى الصلاة رفع الله الحجاب بينه وبينه وواجهه بوجهه وقامت الملائكة من لدن منكبيه إلى الهوى يصلون بصلاته

 

“When the slave stands in prayer, Allah lifts the veil between them and faces him directly, while the angels that are on the slave’s shoulders do the prayer with him.”

And so generous is our Lord that no slave comes before Him except that he is showered with gifts and granted honour upon honour. He permits no one to leave empty-handed. Muhammad ibn Ali at-Tirmidhi is narrated as saying,

 

دعا الله الموحدين إلى هذه الصلوات الخمس رحمة منه عليهم وهيأ لهم فيها أنواع الضيافة لينال العبد من كل قول وفعل شيئاً من عطاياه

 

“Allah invites those who affirm His Oneness to these five prayers out of His mercy for them, and readies all sorts of hospitality for them in them, so that the slave receives gifts for every word and for every movement.”

These gifts are neverending. To list them would take a lifetime, not a khutba. So I will make do with the words of the Messenger of Allah. He said, in a truly remarkable hadith,

 

الصلاة مرضاة للرب تبارك وتعالى، وحب الملائكة وسنة الأنبياء ونور المعرفة وأصل الإيمان وإجابة للدعاء وقبول الأعمال وبركة في الرزق وراحة في الأبدان وسلاح على الأعداء وكراهية للشيطان ، وشفيع بين صاحبها وملك الموت ، وسراج في قبره وفراش تحت جنبه وجواب مع منكر ونكير ، ومؤنس في قبره إلى يوم القيامة ، فإذا كانت القيامة ، صارت الصلاة ظلا فوقه وتاجا على رأسه ولباسا على بدنه ونورا يسعى بين يديه ، وسترا بينه وبين النار ، وحجه للمؤمنين بين يدي الرب تبارك وتعالى وثقلا في الموازين وجوازا على الصراط ومفتاحا للجنة، لأن الصلاة تسبيح وتحميد وتقديس وتعظيم وقراءة ودعاء، وإن أفضل الأعمال كلها الصلاة لوقتها

 

“The prayer is the pleasure of the Lord, the love of the angels, and the sunna of the Prophets; the light of gnosis, the source of imaan, and the answering of dua; the acceptance of action, baraka in provision, and rest for the bodies; a weapon against enemies, the confounding of Shaytan, an intercessor between you and the angel of death; a lamp in the grave, a soft bed under your side [in the grave], a response to Munkar and Nakir, and a barrier between you and the Fire; On the Day of Qiyama, the prayer is shade, a crown upon your head, and clothes for your body; a source of light streaming out in front of you, a barrier between you and the Fire, and a proof for the believers when they are in front of their Lord; a heavy weight in the balance, a swift crossing of the sirat and a key to the Garden. And that is because prayer is glorification, praise, recitation and dua. The best of all actions is doing the prayer in its time.” We ask Allah to make us people who establish the prayer and people in whom the prayer is established. We ask him to make every prayer a joy and not a chore, and give us the humility and khushu to take the most from it. We ask Him to give us presence, constancy and jama’a. And bring us together by means of it and multiply the number of our rows. We ask that He strengthen us by it so that we may go out from it nourished and determined to see the whole of Allah’s deen established in our time.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى. رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.      إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.