Alhamdulillah, how fortunate are we to have been blessed with Islam as our religion, Allah as our lord, and the most purest of beings Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam) as our prophet.
"A chain is no stronger than its weakest link and the link between Allah and a muslim is Salaah. Don't let this break, strengthen the connection by worshipping him.-"
Allah has made it incumbent upon us to perform salaah 5 times a day and proof of this can be found in numerous verses of the Qur'an. Amongst them, in Surah israa' Verse 78 Allah says:
"أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا"
[Establish regular prayers-at the suns decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony.]
Unfortunately, our salaah today no longer defines the meaning of worship. Our Salaah has become a chore and done without a second thought. Allah forgive us, sometimes our salaah even feels like a burden, inconveniencing our plans and coming in the way of our social lives. Only by truly understanding why we read salaah and how precious salaah is can we find peace in sujood, calmness in our minds and tranquility in our hearts by the will of the Almighty Allah.
The first thing we're going to take a look at, is a story we know all too well. The story of Adam ('Alayhis salaam) and Iblees is a story of many lessons and warnings all of which hold great importance.
Iblees is a Jinn, who before the creation of Adam ('Alayhis salaam) was considered as part of the angels, even residing in the gardens of Jannah. He worshipped Allah day and night, bowing and prostrating till not a single bit of land on earth remained untouched by his sujood. Such was his spiritual state and closeness to Allah that it seems almost unbelievable how such a worshipper of Allah would become the Iblees we know of today. A shaytan who is cursed by millions before the recitation of the Quran by means of Ta'awwuz, a shaytan whose life changed by one decision, and a cursed individual whose purpose in life is to turn everyone against the one Lord Allah, who he himself worshipped profusely for years.
Allah 'Azzawajal created Adam ('Alayhis salaam), sculpting his physical form to perfection, beginning a whole new legacy of humans, giving us the title of the best of creation. After creating Adam ('Alayhis salaam) Allah 'Azzawajal ordered the angels to prostrate before him, not for the sake of worship, but out of respect for the creation of Allah. All the angels fell into prostration except Ibless. Bemused he retorted saying "Ya Allah! You want me to bow down to clay? You have created me from fire, a more superior matter which kindles and never dies. I will never bow down to Adam, he is clay and I am fire."
The refusal of one sujood is what saw the end of Iblees as a worshipper of Allah. He was thrown out of Jannah and became the most cursed. On that day, Iblees made an oath to Allah saying he will never enter Jahannam alone, and will take as many servants of Allah as possible to burn with him. Allah protect us from the fitna of Iblees and his shayateen and protect us from the fire of Jahannam. Ameen.
Now, there are 2 key factor which led to Iblees refusing to prostrate before Adam ('Alayhis salaam):
1- Anyone can worship Allah. The truth is, sometimes we find ourselves fulfilling the fardh of salaah for years on end but our connection with Allah never gets any stronger. The reason for this is demonstrated by Iblees's actions. We have an 'Aabid (a worshipper), and an 'Aashiq (a sincere lover) both of which go hand in hand when it comes to worshipping Allah. Iblees was an 'Aabid but he wasn't an 'Aashiq. If he truly loved Allah, whatever Allah commanded him to do would have been done without a second thought. True love for Allah is when our hearts yearn for his company, our lips yearn to recite the Qur'an, and we push through any obstacle just to feel close to Him. Our hearts need to recognise the greatness of Allah, the power of Allah and the blessings of Allah upon us in order to truly love him. If we fail to truly recognise Allah, its catastrophic consequences can remain life long, damaging our iman and becoming a part of our character.
This leads me to the second key factor for iblees's rejection:
2- Pride. Without a sincere purpose to worship, our hearts are vulnerable to diseases the likes of pride, anger and selfishness. If our love for Allah is true and sincere, we should be living our lives for the pleasure of Allah and doing every action for the sake of Allah alone knowing only Allahs opinion of us counts. Allah give us the tawfeeq to continuously strive to better ourselves, and help us on our journey to meeting Him. Amen.
So here we are today. Muslims Alhamdulillah by the grace of Allah, but in terms of our spirituality and closeness to Allah where do we stand? Iblees became the most cursed because he rejected one sujood, how many sujood do we reject daily? Salaah isn't for Allah, it is for us. Allah doesn't need us, we need Him.
The next time Salaah feels like a burden and we simply cannot motivate ourselves to stand up for Salaah, ask yourself:
" What excuse do I have to miss my Salaah? If i stand in front of my Allah, the Lord of the universe who knows me better than anyone on the face on this earth, my Allah who can determine my final abode, if i stand in front of Him and tell Him the excuse for missing my salaah, what would he say?"
Allah help us on this journey of life, fill our hearts with love for Him and accept our efforts. Ameen.
Wa ma Tawfeequ illa Billah.