The Prayer: is a link between the servant and his Lord. The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Indeed, when one of you prays, he speaks privately with his Lord." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree]
And Allaah says in the qudsee hadeeth:
"I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant into two parts, and My servant will have what he asks for.
So when the servant says: ‘Al-Hamdulillaahi Rabb-il-‘Alameen’, Allaah says: ‘My servant has praised Me.’
And when he says: ‘Ar-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem’, Allaah says: ‘My servant has extolled Me.’
And when he says: ‘Maaliki-yawm-id-Deen’, Allaah says: ‘My servant has honored Me.’
And when he says: ‘Iyyaaka Na’bdu wa Iyyaaka Nasta’een’, Allaah says: ‘This is between Me and My servant and My servant will have what he asks for.’
And when he says: ‘Ihdinaas-Siradi-Allaahu 'anhumt-al-Mustaqeem. Siradi-Allaahu 'anhumt-aladheena an’amta ‘alaihim. Ghairil-Maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-Daalleen’, Allaah says: ‘This is for My servant and for My servant will be what he asks for.’" [Reported by Muslim]
The Prayer: is a garden of ‘ibaadaat (acts of worship), in which every splendid type of worship is found. There is the takbeer, by which the prayer is initiated, the standing in which the person praying recites the words of Allaah, the bowing in which he extols his Lord, the rising from the bowing position, which is filled with the praising of Allaah, the prostration in which he glorifies Allaah by His highness and in which he implores him through supplication, the sitting in which there is the tashahhud and (more) supplication and the closing with tasleem.
The Prayer: is a means of support and assistance in times of distress and grief. And it prevents one from evil and shameful deeds. Allaah says:
"Seek assistance in patience and prayer."
And He says:
"Recite what has been revealed to you from the Book and establish the prayer. Verily, the prayer prevents one from evil and shameful deeds."
The Prayer: is the light of the believers in their hearts and in their place of gathering (on the Day of Judgement). The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"The prayer is light."
And he sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Whoever guards it (his prayers), it will be a light, a proof and a (means of) salvation for him on the Day of Judgement." [Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Hibbaan and At-Tabaradi-Allaahu 'anhumnee]
The Prayer: is the joy and delight of the believers’ souls. The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"My delight was placed in the prayer." [Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasaa’ee]
The Prayer: wipes away sins and expiates evil deeds. The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Do you think that if there was a river by the door of one of you and he bathed in it five times a day that there would remain any dirt on him?" They (the Companions) answered: "There would not remain any dirt on him." The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said: "That is how it is with the five (daily) prayers, through them Allaah washes away the (minor) sins." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
And the Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"The five (daily) prayers and Jumu’ah (prayer) to Jumu’ah (prayer) are an expiation for what (sins) occur between them so long as one is not guilty of major sins." [Reported by Muslim]
The Prayer in Congregation: Ibn ‘Umar radi-Allaahu 'anhum reported that the Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Prayer in congregation is better than praying alone by twenty-seven degrees." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
Ibn Mas’ood radi-Allaahu 'anhum said:
"Whoever would be happy to meet Allaah tomorrow as a Muslim, then let him preserve (in establishing) these five prayers from the place where they are called from (i.e. masjids), for verily, Allaah has legislated for your Prophet the ways of guidance. And indeed these (five prayers in the masjid) are from the ways of guidance. And if you were to pray in your homes as this man who refrains (to pray in the masjid) prays in his home, then you would have abandoned the Sunnah of your Prophet. And if you were to abandon the Sunnah of your Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam you would go astray. There is not a man that performs the ablution and does it well, then sets out to go to one of these masjids except that Allaah records a good deed for him for every step he takes and raises him up one level and erases one evil deed due to it. You have certainly seen us, and no one would refrain from the prayer (in the masjid) except the hypocrite whose hypocrisy was well known. And indeed a man would be brought supported by two men until he was made to stand in the row (for prayer)." [Reported by Muslim]
Al-Khushoo’ (Submissiveness) in the Prayer, which means that 1) the heart is present and attentive, and 2) preserving that condition - are both from the means of entering Paradise. Allaah says:
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who in their prayers are submissive. And those who turn away from vain talk. And those who pay their Zakaat. And those who protect their private parts - Except in front of their spouses or those (women) whom their right hands possess, for indeed they are not held to blame (in that). So whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors. And those who keep their trusts and covenants. And those who preserve their prayers. They are the inheritors –-the ones who will inherit Al-Firdaus (highest level in Paradise), in which they will abide forever."
Being sincere to Allaah in the prayer and performing it according to the manner it is described in the Sunnah are the two fundamental conditions for its acceptance. The Prophet sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Verily, actions are by intentions and every person will have what he intended." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
And he sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said:
"Pray as you have seen me pray." [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree]
Written by Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen On 4-13/1406H