“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” [Qur’an 29:45]
Reciting this verse of Qur’an always makes me stop and reflect on my prayer. Allah subhananhu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) tells us that “as-Salaah” – the prayer – that we perform five times a day prohibits immorality and wrongdoing. So I ask myself, when was the last time my prayer had a significant effect on my actions outside of prayer?
Every act of worship has an internal element, an external form and a lasting effect after the action itself ends. The internal element of prayer – the worship of the heart – is khushoo’ (devotion). It is to connect with every aspect of the prayer and thereby connect to Allah, being in deep conversation with Him. Fiqh covers the external form of prayer. And if those two are sound, or at the very least, we make an effort to make them sound, the effects will be lasting.
If we attend an inspirational talk, we leave feeling inspired. If we were really touched, we want to act upon the knowledge we gained and truly change. The inspiration might fade after a while, but the initial effect was there.
Prayer comes five times a day to give us that inspiration. It comes to remind us of what this is about ultimately. And if we truly connect, we will find that simply coming out of the prayer puts us in a state that keeps us away from immorality and wrongdoing. Because after connecting to the heavens, how can we come back to the earth to ruin it?