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May 31, 2011

All the Earth is a Place for Prostration

by Simple Muslimah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

*Reminder: italicised terms used in this post can be found on the Key Terms and Expressions page*

Five times a day Muslims pause and reflect, turning to their Lord no matter where they are or what they are doing.  The five obligatory, daily prayers in Islam offer a time-out from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, five conversations between the servant and his Lord. Salaah is one of the pillars of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم emphasised its importance by stating that the difference between faith and disbelief is salaah.  For me, its impact is striking: when my salaah is good, I feel good; if my salaah is ever rushed or lacks concentration I feel restless and grouchy.

Although a person can call out to their Lord anywhere and at any time, the five daily prayers have to be performed at certain times (see the key terms and expressions page) in a certain way.  In this there is something truly amazing: when the time for salaah comes Muslims pray- no matter where they are!  All that is required to perform salaah is wudhu, a clean place to perform the prayer and facing the direction of the Ka’bah in Makkah (I have a compass and travelling prayer mat which are easy to stash in my handbag :)).  Whether it’s at home, in the Masjid, at school, university or work, all the earth is a place for prostrating to one’s Lord.

Which unconventional places have I prayed in to avoid missing my salaah?  Empty classrooms, in between silent shelves in the  Uni. library, in a quiet niche under the stairs next to filing cabinets in my Uni. Faculty, trains (praying sitting down out of necessity during cross-country journeys), my car, aeroplanes, a museum, in a park (on one particular occasion out of necessity, out of sight), a store cupboard, an executive board room, lecture halls.

Check out how these Muslims responded to the call of their Lord when the time of salaah came upon them wherever they were, mashaAllah.  Click on the thumbnails to view the images.

More pictures here.   Click Articles plus anciens at the bottom of each page to view older entries.

To see an example of how salaah is performed, watch this video.

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