In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
NOT long time ago, I spent a night at a 'masjid' in KL and during the stay I befriended a group of young men of the 'Jemaah Tabligh'. Once I attended their 'bayan'; a point raised by a speaker among them struck my heart to this day.
Among others he said: "Look brothers, as an individual our needs are very little. For example, for food we take a small portion in the morning, a bigger one in the afternoon and in the evening only a small one or many among us skip it.
"But how come, in our society if we were to have discussion about food we talk about tons and tons of food...actually our need is so little but the problem among us human beings we are a greedy lot, each of us wants to heap food as much as we could.
"And for a place to rest or sleep, we only need a small area, but almost all people are crazy to have a big house or better still a palace. Even if you have a palace, the area you need to put your body for sleep is the same as those who own a hut.
"When you lie down you could not cover every space of your large palace. You could sleep only at a spot at a time; its area is comparable to the area occupy by a person who owns a hut or small house.
"So dear brothers, please think carefully...many of us are wasting our time, thinking, thriving for and fulfilling our worldly desires or dreaming about them...almost everyone think big about food and of having 'dream houses' as though having them are our highest goal in life.
"Let me tell you dear brothers, if you lack in food or you are without food, people around you such as your parents, relatives, neighbors, friends 'insya-Allah' would be concerned, they would not let you die in hunger, they will give you a helping hand.
"The government too would not be in an easy position if there are 'rakyats' who die due to hunger. In an event of a disaster such as flood when the supply of food is cut, the government would rush food to the affected areas.
"So, our problem about food is actually no problem at all. It is 'khalas' (enough); no problem. The problem is that human beings are greedy, that's why some people had been lavish or too much to eat, the majority had barely enough to eat while the rest in deplorable conditions."
The 'Jemaah Tabligh' preacher then told his audience that nowadays it is common for 'masjids' especially in urban areas to have food corners where supplies of daily needs such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, flour, coffee and eggs are available free to the public.
"Yes, if you have problem in food...you had not enough food, you could just pick it up at any 'masjid' that provided the service...but listen very carefully dear brothers...if you lack in your 'solat' (meaning 'iman' - faith), could you do the same - go to the 'masjid' and 'top up' your 'solat' there?
"So, this is our real problem, dear brothers. For food, if you had not enough, there would be always people even the government (such as its agencies for example the Welfare Department) to help you but if you lack in 'iman', I am afraid that nobody would bother about you.
"When you die and being buried in your grave, 'your problem about food' would not be asked, but you would be questioned about your 'iman' - for example who is your Rabb, what is your religion, which prophet's community you belong to, what is the name of your holy book and where is your 'qibla'?
"In life, your worldly welfare such as food 'insya-Allah' would be taken care of but what about your 'iman' - are there people who are concerned when you lack in it? Come on brother, let's check our 'iman' and the 'iman' of the people near to us such as our spouses, our children, our parents, our friends, our neighbors and so on...do not let ourselves and those dear to us die without or lacking of the 'iman'.
He said 'the question' being asked in the grave 'had been leaked', it is not for us to memorize the answers but to upgrade our 'iman' and the way out is to oblige or summit to all Allah's orders - perform what He told us to do and refrain from what He forbids.
One way to know our 'iman' is by doing reflections on our performance in obliging the five pillars in 'Rukun Islam' - especially 'solat'. But unfortunately, one disturbing issue among Muslims is that many Muslims do not 'solat'.
A survey carried out recently showed only about 12 percent of Muslim school children performed religiously their five times daily prayers. Then is it correct to say 88 percent of Muslim boys and girls are not committed to performing this second pillar of 'Rukun Islam'?
The question is why are our young generation distancing itself from performing 'solat' which is the most important aspect of life for Muslims? It is the second article in 'Rukun Islam' (pillars of faith) - where without performing 'solat', other good deeds done by a Muslim will not be accountable for by Allah SWT.
'Solat' is the benchmark whether a person would be successful or not in the world and the Hereafter. Remember the mu'azzin would call for prayers five times daily and in the 'azan', he would recite twice "come to success" after saying "come to prayer." This means to be successful in this life what more in the Hereafter, a person MUST perform his/her 'solat'. In short, no 'solat', no success in a human being's life.
'Solat' is so powerful in life that even some non-Muslims acknowledged that a Muslim who perform this duty religously is an honest person that could be trusted and depended upon. I have experienced this circumstance when the Chinese headmistress of my primary school son told me that she had no problem in dealing with her pupils who performed their 'solat'; they were well disciplined and organized in their work.
Thus 'solat' is the key word to be a successful person. A sincere Muslim performs all obligatory deeds and adheres to the pillars of Islam, completely and devotedly. He does not slacken, do it halfheartedly or seek excuses not to do it. So he establishes prayer, performing each of the five daily prayers on time, for prayer is the pillar of faith - whoever establishes prayer establishes faith, and whoever neglect prayer destroys the faith.
Prayer is the best of deeds, as is made clear in the hadith narrated by Ibn Mas'ood r.a. (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah: 'What deed is most loved by Allah?' He said, 'To offer each prayer as soon as it is due...'"
Prayer is so important because it is a direct link between the servant and his Lord, in which he distances himself from the concerns of daily life and focuses himself entirely on his Lord, asking Him for help, guidance and preseverance to continue along the Straight Path. So it is hardly surprising that prayer is considered to be the best of deeds, because it is the source from which the believer may replenish his 'taqwa' and the spring in whose pure water he may cleanse himself on his sins.
Well, 'solat' is the key to success but sadly Muslims were not keen in performing it. Only 12 percent of our young generation perform 'solat' regularly; we must admit that a grave mistake has been done; perhaps previously those in power were too concerned and focuses on those pillars that gave us economical gains such as paying 'zakat' (tithe) and hajj programmes but left 'the issues of solat' alone.
So dear readers, 'solat' is the key to be successful in this world in Hereafter. For food you could 'top it up' at 'masjids' but not so for 'solat' Food is being left at food corners of 'masjids' to be picked up by the poor but there is no such thing as 'solat' being put up at 'solat corners' to be picked up by those who were 'poor in solat'!