The Holy Qur'an draws attention to observance of Salat in many places. At times it gives commandment to safeguard Salat, other times it gives commandment to be regular in Salat and it also gives commandment to offer Salat on time. In short, God has instructed true believers repeatedly towards observance of Salat and its excellence and above all has stated: 'And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.' (51:57) But man does not recognise this and is distant.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God has created you for the purpose of worshipping Him. Those who do not follow this simply eat and drink and sleep like animals and lose out on God's grace. Whereas a person who claims to have faith should try their utmost to become recipient of God's grace.
How does one fulfil the purpose of worship of God? Islam commands five daily Prayers for this. A Hadith relates that Salat is the core of worship of God. We are fortunate to have accepted the Imam of the age who taught us the correct ways of worship of God, and gave us the wisdom into the requisite of worship. He repeatedly drew attention of his Jama'at to this matter in detail so that we would understand its significance and would adorn our worship of God.
At times due to severe weather or owing to shorter nights attendance can be low at the time of Fajr Salat. Or people combine their Zuhr and Asr Salat. So, owing to severe weather, not having enough sleep due to short nights, or being busy in work people either miss offering Salat or combine them. These days the Salat time in these countries is going backwards and at the time of Fajr Salat there is a decrease of one and half row [at mosque]. Sometimes the numbers increase because of visitors from abroad but the locals, who live close by should come to the mosque regularly for Salat especially for Fajr Salat. This should not be just here [in the UK] but everywhere in the world. Much improvement can be made in this regard if office-holders and life-devotees pay attention to this.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: 'Observe Prayer services regularly. Some people content themselves with one Prayer service daily but they must remember that no one is exempt from them, not even Prophets. It is narrated in a Hadith that a company of men who had just accepted Islam requested the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to be exempted from the Salat. He observed: A religion that does not demand action is no religion at all.' (Essence of Islam, Vol. II p. 297)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that some people pay more emphasis to hygiene opining that if one does not practice it how can one benefit from righteousness. But they should note that at times physical means of attaining good health like medicines and hygiene do not work and if God so wills and the reverse can work. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 263)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God does what He wills. The city of Babylon for which man had great plans was made desolate and turned into a ghost town but the place [Mecca] which man wanted to be desolate became the hub for people all over the world.
It should be borne in mind that to leave God and rely on plans and other means is foolishness. We should bring about a change in our lives and abundantly seek God's forgiveness. People who are occupied in worldly affairs and have little time to spare should be wary more than others. Professionals usually do not fulfil obligations due to God therefore when pushed it is warrantable for them to combine Zuhr and Asr Salat. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said that employers usually give permission to offer Salat and such matters should not be made excuses to abandon Salat. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 265)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that if one spends all of one's energy in worldly matters what has one put by for the Hereafter? One should wake up to offer Tahajjud and observe it with eagerness. There can be difficulty in offering day time Salat due to being at work. God alone is the Provider and Salat should be offered on time. Zuhr and Asr can sometimes be combined. God knew that people would be weak therefore He gave this flexibility but this flexibility cannot be used in combing three Salat services. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 6)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Salat is a special form of supplication but people take it as if it is like a levy charged by the government. They are foolish and do not realise that God is not in need of man to glorify Him and to declare that there is none worthy of worship save Him. These matters are for man's own good and advantage. The Promised Messiah expressed sadness that people are not drawn to worship of God and righteousness and love of religion anymore. This is owing to the pernicious effect of cultural rituals which have cooled off love of God. People do not derive the kind of pleasure in worship of God as they should. There is nothing in life in which God has not placed an element of pleasure and delight. Just as an ailing person does not enjoy fine foods and finds them bitter or insipid, people who do not experience delight in worship of God should be concerned about their spiritual ailment. God has created man to worship Him, so how could it be that there would be no element of delight and pleasure in His worship! Indeed there is pleasure in it if only there were people to delight in this. God has stated: 'And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.'. Since man was created to worship God it was essential that worship of God had delight and pleasure in it. This can be understood very well by everyday experiences. Food has been created for man and it gives pleasure and delight. And for this man has been given the sense of taste. Likewise, man derives pleasure by watching beauty in nature, animals etc. and by listening to melodious, pleasant sounds. What more could be needed to prove that there is delight in worship of God!
God states that He has created man and woman as a couple and has placed delight in their relationship. If procreation was the only objective here, the purpose would not have been fulfilled. God has placed delight for men and women in it. God willed to create human beings and for this He made a connection between man and woman and made it pleasurable, although this became the sole purpose for some foolish. It should be understood in the same vein that there is no burden and levy in worship of God. It is also pleasurable and delightful and this delight and pleasure is higher than all worldly delights and pleasures. And just as an ailing person is deprived of enjoying fine foods likewise unfortunate is the person who cannot find pleasure in worship of God. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, pp. 159-160)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said people are negligent about Salat because they are not aware of the pleasure and delight that God has placed in it. He said question arises why are people not aware of this and why have they not experienced this delight! He said people are occupied in their tasks when the call for Prayer is made and people do not want to know. There are shopkeepers with shops adjacent to mosques but they do not attend. Thus one should pray most soulfully to God that just as He has given us the delights and pleasures of foods and other things, may He also grant us the delight in His worship. Those who do not offer Salat consider it as a burden which entails getting up in the morning and doing ablutions in the cold, leaving blissful sleep and other comforts. Such people are weary and do not know of the delight and pleasure that is found in Salat. An alcoholic does not give up drinking because he cannot get drunk but goes on drinking till he begins to feel the effect and delight that he desires in liquor. A wise person can learn from this and continue offering Salat until such time that he experiences delight in it. Just as an alcohol drinker seeks to find delight in alcohol and it is his objective, similarly one should be inclined with complete focus to attain delight in Salat. And then supplicate with resolve and earnestness in the manner of the anxiety and anguish of the drinker to attain the delight. This would be mostly truly enable one to experience the said delight.
Moreover, while offering Salat one should be mindful to gain its benefits and be aware that: '…Surely, good works drive away evil works…' (11: 115) One should be mindful of the good works and the delights and seek the Salat which is offered by the truthful and the good. God has stated '…Surely, good works drive away evil works…' and has also stated that Salat keeps one away from what is foul and immoral. We note though that some people do bad deeds in spite of offering Salat. This is because although they offer Salat they do not do so in spirit and with truthfulness. They only go through the motions as a ritual and perform it as a force of habit. They are dead of soul and God does not call them the good. Salat which removes immorality is that which has a spirit of truthfulness and has an effect of beneficence in it. Such Salat most certainly removes badness. Salat is not a matter of going through the motions, the core and essence of Salat is that supplication which has delight and pleasure in it. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, pp. 162-164)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is important to offer Salat while being mindful of its words as well as being mindful of the physical state in which it is offered. Words of Salat correspond with its different postures. The posture when one stands up in Salat and glorifies and praises God is called qiyyam [this Urdu word can also signify 'to establish']. The appropriate position to submit glorification and praise is indeed in a standing posture. When eulogies are read to kings it is done in a standing position. Thus in Salat, during qiyyam one is standing before God in a spiritual sense. Praise is given when one is convinced about something and a person praises something having arrived at a viewpoint. Thus a person saying Alhamdolillah (all praise belongs to God) will only truly say Alhamdolillah when he is completely convinced that all manner of acclaim belongs to God alone. When one is convinced on this with one's heart and mind, this is a state of spiritual qiyyam.
Then in Salat there is the posture of bowing called raku during which one affirms 'Holy is my Lord, the Most Great'. It is a matter of principle that when one acknowledges someone's greatness one bows to them. Thus in the raku posture one utters 'Holy is my Lord, the Most Great' and physically bows down. Thus words and physical state correlate. Then one utters 'Glory to my Lord, the Most High' this utterance requires a state of prostration this is why when uttering this one physically prostrates during Salat, adopting the suitable posture to go with the utterance. Thus these are three physical postures to go with three utterances. In addition to this, Salat is not proper if one's heart is not in one's Salat. Thus it is important to have qiyyam of one's heart as well so when God looks at the person He sees that as the person glorifies God he also stands upright and his soul, as well as his physical self, stands upright to glorify God. And when he utters 'Holy is my Lord, the Most Great' God sees that not only has the person acknowledged God's greatness but has also bowed and his soul has also bowed. When man prostrates before God mindful of God's Exaltedness God sees that the person's soul also prostrates on God's threshold. One should not be satisfied unless such a state is acquired as this is what the prayer 'make me observe Prayer' means. As to how can one reach such a state, well, one should be regular in Salat and not get anxious about any doubts and misgivings. One has to battle doubts and misgivings in the early stages and its antidote is not to tire and continue with resoluteness and steadfastness and supplicate God until that state is attained which was just mentioned! (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, pp. 433-435)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is worth remembering that Salat which is Salat in the true sense is attained through prayer. It is totally against the ethos and honour of a true believer to seek from anyone save God. Unless one asks God in complete humility and only asks Him he is not worthy of being called a true Muslim. The reality of Islam is that all one's inner and external faculties submit to God. Just as all the components of a large engine operate on the power of the engine, likewise unless a person makes all one's actions subservient to the high power of the Engine, how can he be really convinced of the Divineness of God and can truly consider himself as a hanif [one who is ever inclined to God] when uttering: 'I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth…', If he is inclined to God just as he utters, then no doubt he is a Muslim. He is a true believer and a hanif. However, he who who turns to others besides God should remember that he is most unfortunate and a time will come when he will not be able to turn to God in a pretentious manner.
One reason people give up Salat is also this that when man turns to others besides God his heart and soul is also drawn to that source just as branches of a shrub or tree are trained to grow in a certain direction. His heart develops severity towards God and makes him stony and cold and he cannot change his direction and his heart and soul grow distant from God by the day. This is a dangerous and frightening matter that man should leave God and seek from another. This is why observance and regularity in Salat is very important so that it is established as an enduring habit and one is mindful of turning to God. Gradually the stage also comes when one is completely devoted to God and is the recipient of a light and a delight.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said he did not have the words to express the badness of those who turn to others beside God. They beseech people and this impassions God's sense of honour and He casts them away. In broad terms though not quite similar when the sense of honour of an honourable man cannot accept to see his wife have relationship with another, similar is the sense of honour of the Divine. Devotion and supplication are for God alone, He does not like another called or considered worthy of worship. Thus it should be remembered very well that to turn to others besides God is cutting off ties with God. Salat or belief in Unity of God is without blessing and of no avail unless it has humility of spirit and a core that is inclined to God alone. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, pp. 166-168)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that unless a person completely abides by Unity of God he cannot have love and greatness of Islam instilled in him. And he cannot attain delight and pleasure in Salat. It is all dependent that unless bad, impure intentions and wicked scheming are not incinerated arrogance and conceit will not be removed in order to attain humility and humbleness. In such instance a person cannot be called a true servant of God for the best teacher and most excellent means to impart perfect devotion is Salat alone. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that he would say it one more time that if true communion and true connection with God was desired then one should abide by Salat in a way that not just one's body or one's tongue but the very intentions and passions of one's soul embody Salat. (Paraphrased from Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 170)
Funeral Prayer in absentia was announced for Asghari Begum Sahiba, wife of Sheikh Rehmatullah Sahib, Amir Jama'at Karachi. She passed away on 27 March at the age of 90 in USA following brief illness. Her nikah to Sheikh Rehmatullah Sahib took place in 1943 and she accepted Ahmadiyyat in Lahore in 1944 at the hand of Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him). She accepted Ahmadiyyat before her husband. She fulfilled her pledge to Khilafat with complete honesty all her life and always advised her children to remain connected to Khilafat. She had great reverence for Khilafat. Since its inception, watching MTA was her favourite pastime. She was a moosia, a most steadfast person with keen sense of gratitude. She was prayerful, observed Tahajjud and was regular in observing Salat and fasting and recitation of the Holy Qur'an.
During the time her husband was privileged to serve in Karachi she also served shoulder to shoulder with him. She was a most hospitable person. When Sheikh Sahib was Amir Jama'at Karachi, among all other activities she fulfilled the responsibility hosting guests a great deal and had the honour to play host to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on them).
She was at the forefront of making financial sacrifices. Once in 1950 the Jama'at went through a time of financial constraints and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) made special appeal. Following this her husband gave a large portion of his income to the Jama'at and she was also regular in making sacrifices with him. She lived a very simple life free from affectations. Her son writes that she always advised her children to write letters to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih requesting prayers. She leaves behind five sons and two daughters and 43 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Dr Nasim Rehmatullah Sahib, Naib Amir USA and in-charge of our website alislam.org is one of her sons. Her son-in-law Rehmani Sahib has lived here in UK for a long time and served as Secretary Wasiyyat UK Jama'at for a long time.His wife Jamila Rehmani has served as Secretary Maal in her local branch and has also served/or is serving in other capacities. A son, Farhatullah Sheikh Sahib is Naib Amir of Faisalabad, Pakistan. May God elevate the station of the deceased and keep her children and generations connected to Khilafat!