All praise be to Allah and May Allah raise the rank of Prophet Muhammad and protect his nation from that which he fears for them.
My brothers in Islam, may I first urge myself and you to obey Allah the Lord of the worlds, by performing the obligatory and avoiding the unlawful, and to follow the path of His honourable Prophet.
Brothers in Islam, today’s khutbah is about the importance of prayer.
The five prayers are among the best acts of worship that Muslims perform. Performing them is the best deed after having the correct belief in Allah and His Messenger. Prophet Muhammad, may Allah raise his rank, was asked about the best deed and he replied: it is performing the obligatory prayers at the beginning of their setting times (al­-Bayhaqiyy):
Since the prayer is the most important matter of Islam after having the correct belief in God and His Messenger, one must plan his life around the prayer. It would be a great sin to neglect praying when at work if a prayer was required at that time. If a believer is shopping or waiting at the airport and there is no way to get home or to a mosque, he is still obligated to perform the prayer within its due time instead of purposely leaving it out or making it up after its due time is over. This indicates the importance of the obligatory prayer. Performing the obligatory prayer on time takes priority over other non-obligatory matters.
‘Ayah 238 of Surat al-Baqarah means: “Perform the [five obligatory] prayers”
Also The Messenger of Allah said: “There are five prayers that Allah ordained as an obligation upon the slaves to perform. Allah promised whomever performs them properly with Paradise without prior torture. Whoever leaves them out does not have that promise and in accordance with Allah’s Will, that person may be tortured or forgiven”. Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad.
It is obligatory to perform each of these five prayers in its due time. However, it is better to perform each prayer straight after its setting time.
Brothers in Islam,
Prayer is one of the greatest means of securing piece of mind and of eradicating crime. It is also the most effective means of teaching chastity and virtue. Ayah 45 in Surat-ul-^Ankabut means: And perform the prayer regularly for prayer restrains from unlawful and unjust deeds. Prayer is the gateway to success and prosperity, it is among the first of deeds one is questioned about on the Day of Judgment. Performing the prayer consistently symbolises honesty and truthfulness and leads to victory, forgiveness and enlightenment on the Day of Resurrection. On the other hand, neglecting the prayer is a sign of humiliation, for the one who neglects it will be assembled with Qarun, Pharoah, Haman and Ubayy Ibn Khalaf because of the magnitude of one’s sin.
Brothers in Islam, Prayer is full of blessings, mercies, and merits; it also raises one’s rank and increases one’s reward. Prophet Muhammad said: “if one is dwelling next to a running river where one is bathing five times a day, would one have any dirt left on his body?” the Companions said: he wouldn’t, then the Prophet said: “That is the example of the five obligatory prayers, whoever performs them wins Allah’s forgiveness (i.e. of minor sins) “.
Moreover, the Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, encouraged performing the congregational prayer. He ordered the people to pray the five (5) prayers in congregation in a way that anyone who wants to pray in congregation with another can easily do so. When people gather in obedience to Allah, great benefits occur.
 The Prophet, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said: “Performing the prayers in congregation is 27 times more rewardable than when performed individually.” (Related by Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhiyy, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.)
In the end, we ask Allah to make us among those who properly and regularly perform the five obligatory prayers in their due time. Ameen.

 

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