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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|is this a good answer?|
|07/24/02 at 22:17:30|
|This is the letter from someone i have been corresponding with for dawah:|
Well, yes thank you it has helped me, Hmm, things are not bad thanks, hope your doing good. .Really I don't have any other questions as I have read a few books/articals that have answered most of my questions. So I will tell you what I do know about Islam then maybe you can tell me some things that I do not know about it, or if any of it is incorrect.
Muslims pray five times daily the "Fazr"(before sunrise, 4 rakas), "Johr"(noon, 12 rakas) "Asar"(afternoon, 3:30,4pm, 8 rakas), "Magrib"(in evening after sunset, 7 rakas) and "Esha"(at night, 17 rakas). A rakas is where you stand, kneel, then touch your head to the floor while praying is it? Also why do you do that, does it mean something, doing the stand, kneel, and touching you forehead to the floor? I guess I do have some questions now that I've started to think some more.
Wudu is the washing before prayer.
Ladies cover up to give respect to Allah. Also to hide themselves from mans wondering eye and to keep them safe. She is only for her husband.
Muhammad was the last prophet.
There is no drinking, smokeing, gambling, music, dance, burial of unwanted infint daughters, sex before marrage.
Ramadan the month of fasting.
You wouldn't happen to be related to Nabibar Rahman?
now here is my letter to this one email and what i did is put together a bunch of answers about prayer from the old board but now i worry it is not good:
after personal intro..
Insha’Allah I am going to focus this email on prayer only, if you are interested I can write about the fasting month, hijab (the modest clothing), etc in turn. But first things first. And Prayer does come first after the belief that there is only one god who is truly worthy of worship and that Mohammed was his last messenger. "There is no God by God, and Muhammad is His (last) messenger"; this is said by Muslims in every prayer, and is the most basic requirement for belief within Islam. It is called the shahada and it is the only thing you do/say to become a Muslim.
About praying 5 times…the scholars have written books and books on the requirements of prayer, the timings, the actions, the level of khushoo' (awareness of God) one should have while in prayer, how much clothing to wear, etc.
The basic concepts of the prayer are:
a) the direct communication with God, in which we ask for His guidance, and are between hope (for our good deeds to be accepted and our bad deeds forgiven by God) and fear (of disappointing God), and
b) the universality of the act, itself. Every Muslim on this planet who prays, says the exact same opening prayer/supplication (the first chapter of the Qur'aan, The Opening), all facing Mecca, all eventually moving into bowing to God, then going into prostration to God. The prayer was taught by the last messenger of God, Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him ), as was taught to him by Angel Gabriel, through revelation. Old and/or New Testaments describe the way some Prophets, including Jesus, upon him be peace, prayed by bowing or prostrating to God. Same concept. Because the timings of the five prayers are according to the time of day, the prayer is literally being done by someone(s) every day, every second, so that there is rememberance of the creator somewhere on this Earth at any given time.
5 times a day is the compulsory prayers for a muslim. This is dealing with fard (required) prayers and sunnah (way of the Prophet SAW) which occur at each prayer time. Essentially at each time there are roughly two sub-types of prayers (each which are performed exactly the same yet differ by intention)- the fard and the sunnah.
When you pray each different time, its still the same prayer, its the same motions and movements, even words, perhaps the supplication will be different, otherwise it is a standardized prayer to God. The prayers operate in units of rakaat, or cycles of movement, and depending on the prayer, a different number of rakaats (cycles) are undertaken for fard (obligatory) and sunnah (recommended) prayers. The focus is solely on God and no personal flavour until a time is given to make personal prayers.
Fajr (before sunrise) is only 2 rakas
Thuhur (noon) is only 4
Asr (afternoon) is only 4
Maghrib (early evening) is only 3
Isha’ (night) is only 4
Many a times muslims pray outside of these 5 times as well, or before and after. All the rest you mentioned in your email are only voluntary prayers which people offer. It is said if you ever are short or obligatory prayers or did them wrong, etc then Allah with his mercy will take accept these voluntary ones instead. Ofcourse you wouldn’t have to worry about that. A person who reverts to Islam ( i say revert instead of convert because we are all born with the natural instict to know Allah and worship him) then it is as though you are a new born baby, no sins at all are accounted for from you past. In fact, Allah changes your past sins into rewards because it must be hard for someone to seek the Truth which doesn’t exist in their immediate environment. Anyway, the prayers may seem like a lot but really it takes less than 10 minutes all together including wudu to do any of these prayers.
In addition to the Qur'aan (as revealed to Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him , in installments via Angel Gabriel from God), Muslims also rely on (authentic) narrations (ahadith) from the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him , to derive Islamic law/rules/regulations. These narrations vary in content from descriptions of the Prophet's actions or person, to direct narrations from him on what to do and what not to do. Strong/authentic narrations comply with Qu'raanic teachings, while weak narrations contradict it (there are various other factors involved in assigning authenticity, such as the chain of narrators, etc). Collecting and assigning authenticity to various narrations is a science, in and of itself, which cannot be compared to anything else that I know of today (ie, CNN headline news would not be considered authentic unless sources were vigorously verified, as an idea of how heavy the implications of authenticity are in Islam).
Muslims believe that the Qur'aan is protected from ever being altered (in its pure Arabic form), while ahadith/narrations can come in varying levels of authenticity. Again, it's a science that's waaay beyond my head, but without the narrations/ahadith, the specifics of prayer or wudu'/ablution, for ex, would be left for us to fight over. And btw, had the Qur'aan not been protected by God (as mentioned in the Qu'raan in at least 2 places), Muslims throughout time would definitely have already altered it by now, guaranteed. Human nature to mess with things, I guess, as exemplified by other religious books. But the fact remains, that the Arabic Qur'aan I have in my house, is the same Qu'raan memorized and taught in western Africa or or China or Pakistan or Indonesia or Saudi, word for word, generation after generation. There are no other versions (translations into other languages, yes, but versions, no). That is why Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him ), when asked what his miracle was (in order to prove the message of God was authentic), always answered, the Qur'aan. This, even though he, along with the other Prophets, had other miracles given to them by God to show the people (for ex/ healing the sick, providing enough food/water to feed hundreds, etc).
Anyhow, the following is a narration/hadith:
Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 843:
Narrated Talha bin 'Ubaidullah:
A man came to Allah's Apostle asking him about Islam, Allah's Apostle said, "You have to offer five compulsory prayers in a day and a night (24 hours)." The man asked, "Is there any more compulsory prayers for me?" Allah's Apostle said, "No, unless you like to offer Nawafil (i.e. optional prayers)." Allah's Apostle then added, "You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." The man said, "Am I to fast any other days?' Allah's Apostle said, "No, unless you wish to observe the optional fast voluntarily." Then Allah's Apostle told him about the compulsory Zakat. The man asked, "Do I have to give anything besides?" Allah's Apostle said, "No, unless you wish to give in charity voluntarily." So, the man departed saying, "By Allah I will neither do more nor less than that." Allah's Apostle said, "If he has said the truth he will be successful."
I want to add a little something so as not to confuse our prayer with the christian form
There are two kinds of "prayers" in Islam, the one i mentioned above and the dua is what most non-muslims mean by prayer. Literally it means supplication. It does not have any set rules to be followed although it's highly recommended to praise God and send blessings on our prophet (Peace Be Upon Him ) in them as well. In the dua, a person can ask for literally *anything* (all the good and permissible things that is). Making dua is not restricted to any time, place or state of the person (meaning s/he doesn't have to make the ablution as is required in salaat).
Our prayers have a blueprint. All the muslims who do them it will be in a similar manner, sometimes the only difference being in the choice of what verses from the quran they choose to recite at a particular time that we all have to recite in. And also there are certain periods where you can make what they told you is called dua (supplication) and that may differ as well.
However if you feel the need to "pray" for whatever reason then we do extra prayers, for example ones to ask guidance (istikhara)etc. Dua is considered very powerful when it is done right. It is the only thing that can change what has already been written. I have a story to share the non-muslim lady who used to clean the masjid well she just didn't have a job for years and years and then someone suggested her to help her really. and she said when she went to the womens area she faced the side we face and she put her hands up and she said something like oh Allah i know many come here and pray for you and their requests are answered and I ask that you help me find a job to help my family. She swears to me that the offers didn't stop since then. She quit the job at the masjid and now working in the high paying hospital masha'Allah. She is close to Islam please make dua for her.
The word prayer (salat) comes from the root sila which means connection. It is a time to get reconnected to your Creator and remember the reason we are on this Earth. To clear our head of worldy matters, to ask forgiveness, ask for help, humble ourselves, feel brotherhood with others as we pray side by side regardless of age, color, race, etc It sort of is the social glue of our community, as after we pray we are forced to talk to one another and find out where each of us is at and help out or celebrate,etc
Another point I wanted to add about the Muslim prayer is that it is a blessing from Allah not only on these levels of mental well-being and the community but it is a physical excerise as well. Also it is supposed to teach punctuality and self-decipline
I will attach an article I have and put together about the benefits of prostration.
The Sujood or prostration is mentioned approximately 92 times in the glorious Quran in about 32 Suras. And in the Quran it is obligatory to make sajdat attilawa in about 15 differnt places. So what are the benefits of sujood? Why did Allah prescribe it to us? Dr. Muhammad Karim Beebani, from the Saudi Gazette has a great article which discusses some of these benefits.
Sajada has plenty of medical advantages Sajda is a unique position or stance in the regular prayers, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least
five times a day. Although the basic purpose of obligatory prayers is not to provide an exercise for people yet it is being increasingly recognized that it
has plenty of medical advantages for the human body.
Here it is worth mentioning that Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has mentioned in a hadith in Ibn Maja that prayer is a cure for many diseases. The fact is that a person who offers his prayers regularly that too in the mosque is protected from many diseases which he many not even know. The position of Sajda in which the forehead touches the earth is exclusively associated with the Muslim form of prayer. It is the climax of a Muslim's prayer and as mentioned in a Hadith a Muslim is nearest to Allah
>in this position. Abu Huraira (R) reported in Bukhari that the messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) said: "The nearest a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating himself, so make supplication (in this state)"
Syeda Aisha Siddiqa (R) narrates that Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Qur'an) before he would lift his head, (Bukhari). In another Hadith narrated by Anas bin Malik (R) Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) advised Muslims to perform Rukuu (bowing) and Sajda properly.In another Hadith he (Peace Be Upon Him) advised to perform Sajda and Bowing calmly and to get up only when the body has come to ease. Inupplicated for the victory. He (Peace Be Upon Him) also performed long bowing (Rukuu) and Sajda in the special prayers at the time of eclipse.
Hence the first positive effect upon a person who prostrates or does Sajda is that he comes nearest to Allah and hence in that condition he can supplicate. This is a great psychological advantage and it gives relief to the person concerned as life is full of worries and in this position he gets at least a transient refuge from the agonizing problems. When a person goes to the position of prostration Sajda his whole body is in active motion. This position can be considered as a mini dive as the musalli (one who offers prayer) goes to rest his forehead on the ground while his hands are placed t the sides. This brings most of the body muscles if not all in active motion and serves to give them some exercise.
The hands are then specifically stretched out and thence the forearm as well as arm muscles are supposed to bear the weight in the Sajda position. It gives good exercise to the muscles of the upper limb. Holy Prophet Peace Be Upon Him) in a hadith advised not to put the forearms flatly on the ground but to keep them elevated above ground and this is better for the forearm and arm muscles.
Sajda is a unique position as this is the only position in which brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying) brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain. In the position of Sajda due to the increased blood supply the brain receive more nourishment and it has good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities. This extra blood supply to the skin on the face [helps] prevent diseases such as chilblain etc.
Similarily, the circulation of the blood and its return to the heart from all the variou parts of the body is made easy.
When you do sujood there is drainage of sinuses and there are fewer chances that a person will have sinusitis, that is inflammation of the sinus, this drainage of module sinus, of the frontal sinus and facial secretion are made easier. Another example of this is when a person does sujood even the bronchitis's, the secretion of the bronchitis, get drained. And so there are less chances of having bronchitis.
When a person breathes normally only two thirds of the capacity of the lung is exhaled out, the remaining one third remain in the lung as a residual air, now when you do sujood the abdominal visra, they press against the diaphragm and the diaphragm presses against the lower part of the lungs, the lower lobes, and when you breath during sujood even this one third residual air is aired out and that's very important for a healthy lung. There are less chances of having diseases of the lungs.
People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner. They have less incidence of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function. Why is this? Well, it is said that each of us is exposed to many electormagnetic charges from the surrounding environments each day. These charged ions will focus on the INS especially in the frontal lobe of the brain. And we have to rid our bodies of this ionization or else we will have pains and tightness in the neck and other parts of the body. Many will even resort to pills, pain killers, even alcohol and drugs to try to lessen this pressure on the brain. It can get to the point where we may need to see a therapis or even a psychiatrist. Meanwhile the ideal way to lose these ions and their negative effects is to put our heads, especially the foreheads, to the ground to discharge them. And through that we get much mental stability.
In the unique position of Sajda the neck muscles get best exercise. They have to bear the load when the forehead lies at the ground hence the neck muscles become stronger. One can note the tense pressure at the neck muscles in the position of Sajda specially the active motion of the neck and the facial muscles when the head is being lifted. (e.g. one inch above the ground) and it will be noticed that they are in a very active motion.
More strong cervical muscles mean the cervical vertebra will be better protected. Strength of cervical muscles is important as the head rests upon cervical vertebra supported by cervical musculature. Infact head performs rotator movements over the cervical vertebra. In any accident cervical neck examination is especially important to the physicians because of its extraordinary importance.
It is uncommon that a person who offers his prayers regularly will get the usual neck myalgias or cervical spondylosis as the neck muscles particularly become very strong due to the 34 sajdas offered daily in five
Position of Sajda is also said to be a good treatment for the retroversion of uterus, a disease of women. Most of us do not know that the position of Sajda is an excellent exercise for men (for manpower). It may be a good information to the Viagra dependents. While getting up from Sajda the perinneal muscles are one of those muscles which have to pull the trunk back to sitting position and they contract actively.
When you do sujood, there is increased venes return there is less chance of having hernia, etc. Due to posture in sujood there is less chances of having hemorrhoid, that is piles.
Similarly while standing up from Sajda the perennial muscles are again actively mobilised and this gives much strength to the muscles important for manpower.
The unique position of Sajda also has positive effects upon the back muscles as while going into Sajda and getting up from it the back muscle contract actively and they become stronger.
Probably it is because of this reason that a person who is regular in prayers will uncommonly get backache.
After performing Sajda either the musalli stands up or he sits to pray Attahiyyat. In this position the person sits calmly while his hands rest at his thighs which are folded backwards. This is much similar to the relaxation position of Yoga and has soothing effect upon one's health and mentation.
In a salah we stand up and we sit down, do qayam, rukuh, sujood and when we stand up from same position the weight is localized on the bottom of the feet and the calve muscle and the thigh muscle are activated and they increase the blood supply to the lower part of the body, which is very important. Further we do various postures like standing erect, bowing down, prostrating, the vertebra column takes various postures and there are less chances of having disease of the vertebrae, of the spine.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to elongate the position of Rukuu (bending) and Sajda positions and he (Peace Be Upon Him) advised to do so. In the light of the above facts it is appropriate to say that from medical point of view as well this advice is a golden rule for health.
Finally it must be reminded that prayer is not meant to be an exercise. However there are a lot of medical advantages associated with it. Still the best blessing is the peace of mind, which a person derives by the accomplishment of his duty to Allah by fulfilling an obligation.
With regards to the movement whey we do that…well we are not sure we can fathom all the wisdom behind it..that alone to me explains our limited understanding. Many things that Allah the all mighty has asked of us to do we find out nowadays through science that it is best for the body or mind or health in general. But to me it is the ultimate expression that we are slaves only to our Creator, not to money, false gods/idols, oursleves, other lovers, animals, etc. It is a very humbling experience when you put your forehead to the ground. It is stronger feeling than being in the rockies or banff ;)
Here’s an awesome (short point form article about benefits of prayer)
Here is a link to a book that has changed the lives of many…I would send you it through snail mail if you like. But it is online as well:
You are right in saying Mohammed peace and blessing be upon him is the last prophet, in fact it was in the bible, and you can still find it in certain versions that were not as corrupted as the others.
You are also right about the hijab, but it is so much more than that. It is a command just for us women, even though men have to dress modestly, i think it is a special test of our faith. It also forces men to acknowledge the person, the mind, the spirit, not just the looks which is nice for a change. It frees women from alot of meaningless competition, and contributes to a better society where we also help take care of each other as genders. But insha'Allah we will discuss hijab further in another email.
You had a list of don’t i want to give you a list of do’s in Islam:
Ramadan will insha’Allah be the next email if you like ok? If there is anything that seems unclear about prayer please let me know. I can even give you a site that shows you a person praying and what they say if you like to follow a long.
please help me fill in the blank about the do's and i am open to any changes or ideas or opinions or encouragement. Please remember she is in mid-teens.
why do i feel this one is not good? I feel she just wants to say this is what i know and then leave it at that, i dont know what to say next, but i dont' want to make a boring thing about just prayers. Am i doing the right answer?
|Re: is this a good answer?|
|07/25/02 at 03:45:14|
I thought it was beautifully written, mashaAllah. The only thing I might change would be the health benefits of sajood, it was kinda long. Other than that, very nice! May Allah help you in your dawah.
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