ibn salmaan says that he heard one of the companions of the holy prophet (peace be upon him) narrating, "when we had won the battle of khaibar, we began to buy and sell among ourselves the booty that had fallen to our lot. one of us went to holy prophet (peace be upon him) and said, '0, apostle of allah, no one else has earned so much profit as i have obtained in today's trade.' 'how much did you earn? asked the prophet (peace be upon him). he replied, 'i kept on selling and buying till 1 earned a net profit of three hundred 'ooqiyyah' of silver.' the prophet (peace be upon him) said, "shall i inform you of something better than that?" he exclaimed, 'do tell me, 0, prophet of allah!' the prophet (peace be upon him) remarked 'two rakaats nafl after (fardh) salaat.'
three hundred ooqiyyahs of silver come to about three thousand rupees. according to the prophet (peace be upon him), the perishable gain of this world stands no comparison with the everlasting gain of the hereafter. our life will be pleasant and worth living if we develop our 'imaan' to an extent where two rakaats of salaat, in our sight, are more valuable than all the riches of this world. salaat is really a great treasure and that is why the prophet (peace be upon him) has called it 'the comfort of his eyes' and had been enjoining its
observance right up to his last breath. umme salamah (may allah be pleased with her) narrates that the last words of the prophet (peace be upon him), which he could hardly utter, were about guarding the salaat and kindness towards the slaves. there is a similar hadith narrated by hadhrat ali (may allah be pleased with him) as well.
the prophet (peace be upon him) once deputed in ]ihaad a jamaat towards najd, they returned victorious very soon with a handsome booty. when the prophet (peace be upon him) saw the people envying them and wondering at their quick and lucrative return, he said to them, "shall i inform you of a group of people who earn much more in a much shorter time? they are those who perform their fajr with jamaat and keep sitting after prayer till a little while after sunrise and then offer tworakaats of salaat."
there are so many sayings of the holy prophet [peace be upon him) enjoining salaat and explaining its virtues that it is very difficult to cover all of them in this small book. a few quotations are, however, reproduced below as a benediction:
1. "salaat was the first and the foremost thing ordained by allah, and it shall be the first and the foremost thing to be' reckoned for on the day of judgement. "
2. "fear allah in the matter of salaat! fear allah in the matter of salaat! fear allah in the matter of salaat!.
3. "salaat intervenes between man and shirk."
4. "salaat is the mark of islam. a person who says his salaat at the fixed hours with sincerity and devotion, observing all its regulations including the mustahabbaat, is surely a mo'min."
5. "of all things that have been ordained by allah, imaan and salaat are the most valued. if there were any other thing better than salaat, then allah would have ordained it for his angels, some of whom are always in ruku and others in sajdah."
6. "salaat is the pillar of islam."
7 . "salaat abases the devil."
8. "salaat is the light of a mo'min."
9. "salaat is the best [ihaad."
10. "allah keeps relenting towards a person so long as he is engaged in salaat." .
11. "when a calamity befalls us from the heaven, people frequenting the masjid are spared and saved."
12. "if some major sins of a muslim land him in hell, the fire would not burn those parts of his body which have touched the ground while he was in sajdah during his salaat."
13. "fire has been forbidden to touch those parts of the body which touch the ground while performing the sajdah."
14. "of all the practices, salaat made at fixed hours is most loved by allah."
15. "allah likes most the posture of a person when he is in sajdah, pressing his forehead on the ground in humility."
16. "a person in sajdah is nearest unto allah."
17. "salaat is a key to paradise."
18. "when a person stands in salaat the gates of paradise are let open and all the veils between him and allah are lifted (provided that he spoils not his salaat by coughing etc)."
19. "a person in salaat (so to say) knocks at the door of the sovereign lord, and the door is always opened for him who knocks."
20. "the position of salaat in islam is as the position of the head in a body."
21. "salaat is the light of the heart. let those who wish enlighten their hearts (through salaat)".
22. "if a person wishes to have his sins forgiven by allah, he should perform the wudhu properly, offer with devotion two or four rak'aats of fardh or nafl and then pray to allah. allah will forgive him."
23. "any strip of earth, on which allah is remembered in salaat, takes pride over the rest of the earth."
24. "allah accepts the prayer of a person who prays to him after performing two rakaats of sa la at. allah grants him what he prays for, sometimes immediately and sometimes (in his own interest) later."
25. "a person who performs two rakaats of salaat in seclusion, where nobody except allah and his angels see him, receives a writ of deliverance from the fire of hell. "
26. "grant of one prayer (wish) becomes due to a person from allah after each fardh salaat performed by him."
27. "fire of hell is forbidden and the paradise becomes due to a person who performs his wudhu properly and says his salaat conscientiously, according to its regulations."
28. "the devil remains scared of a muslim so long as he is particular about his salaat, but no sooner does he neglect it than the devil gets a hold upon him and aspires for success in seducing him."
29. "salaat at its early hours is the most excellent practice."
30. "salaat is the offering of the pious."
31. "salaat at its early hours is a practice most liked by allah."
32. "at dawn, some people go to the masjid and some to the market. those going to the masjid are the flag bearers
of imaan and those leaving for the market are the flag-bearers of the devil."
33. "the four rakaats before zuhr have the same reward as the four rakaats of tahajjud."
34. "the four rakaats before zuhr are counted equal (in reward) to the four rakaats of tahajjud."
35. "mercy of allah turns towards a person standing in salaat."
36. "salaat at the dead of night is most valued, but there are very few who do it."
37. "jibra-eel (peace be upon him) came to me and said, 0, muhammad (peace be upon him)! however long
thou livest thou shalt die one day, and whoever, thou may love thou shalt depart from him one day. surely, thou shalt receive the recompense of whatever (good or evil) thou dost. no doubt the dignity of a mo'min is in tahajjud and his honour is in contentment and restraint."
38. "two rakaats in the late hours of the night are more valuable than all the riches of this world. but for fear of hardship to my followers, i would have made these obligatory."
39. "keep offering tahajjud, for it is the path of the righteous and the means of approach to allah. tahajjud keeps one away from sins, causes forgiveness of sins and improves the health of the body."
40. "allah says, '0, son of aadam! do not be weak in offering four rakaats in the early part of the day, for i shall suffice thee in thy jobs in the rest of it."
books of hadith are full of discourses on the virtues of salaat, enjoining its observance on all muslims. the forty short hadiths given above can be memorized and thus the reward of knowing ahaadith in that number can be earned. in fact, salaat is really a big boon, but this is realised only by those who have enjoyed its taste. that is why tile prophet (peace be upon him) used to call it the comfort of his eyes and used to spend the major part of the night standing before allah. for the very same reason, our dear prophet (peace be upon him) even on his death-bed charged us and enjoined on us to be particular about salaat. it has been reported in many ahaadith that the prophet (peace be upon him) would often say, "fear allah concerning salaat." abdullah bin mas'ood, (may allah be pleased with him) narrates that he heard the prophet (peace be upon him) saying, "of all the practices, salaat is the dearest to me."