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    Before detailing the rulings of prayer, it is necessary to point out two things:

    First: The Importance of Prayer
    There are close to a hundred verses in the Qur’an that speak of prayer. Here we shall limit ourselves to pointing out a few of them.
    God granted Abraham (Peace be upon him) the position of prophethood, messengership and friendship. He tested him with trials and tribulations, after the passing of which, he attained a level of perfection and the lofty position of Imamate. After all this, he turned to God and said: And from among my descendants? ({^2:124^}) To which God replied: My pledge does not extend to the unjust.({^ 2:124^}) After attaining the lofty position of Imamate and God’s acceptance of extending His pledge to his descendants, he stood before the house of God supplicating: My Lord! Make me a maintainer of the prayer, and my descendants [too].({^ 14:40^}) This supplication from one who attained such a position is ample proof for the importance of prayer.
    Similarly, when Abraham settled his descendants near the house of God, he said: Our Lord! I have settled part of my descendants in a barren valley, by Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may maintain the prayer. ({^14:37 ^})
    There is a chapter in the Qur’an by the name of “The Believers”. This chapter enumerates the attributes of the believers. The chapter begins with the attribute of humility in prayer: Those who are humble in their prayers ({^ 23:1^}) and ends its enumeration of attributes with their watchfulness over prayer: And who are watchful of their prayers. ({^ 23:9^}) One can deduce from these verses that the beginning and end of faith is prayer. The fruit of this faith, the basis of which is prayer is: It is they who will be the inheritors, who shall inherit paradise, and will remain in it forever. ({^ 23:11-12 ^})
    There is also great mention of prayer in the traditions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his progeny) and his pure household. It is sufficient that we narrate one tradition from them to depict the grandeur of prayers before them. Imam Ja‘far al-ÑÁdiq (Peace be upon him) has said: “After the gnosis of God, I know not a thing better than the five daily prayers”. It should be known that the nonentity of knowledge of the Imam regarding a matter is his knowledge of its nonentity. This tradition from the Imam is an elucidation of the word of God: This is the Book, there is no doubt in it, guidance to the God wary, who believe in the Unseen, and maintain the prayer.({^ 2:2-3^}) We note in this verse that maintaining prayer has been mentioned immediately after the belief in the Unseen.
    Prayer is the most inclusive of all worship. Within it are the acts of worship (‘ibÁdat al-fi‘lÐ) and verbal worship (‘ibÁdat al-qawlÐ). The acts of worship consist of the rukÙ‘, sujÙd, qiyÁm and qu‘Ùd. The verbal worship consists of tasbÐÎ (glorifying), takbÐr (exalting), taÎmÐd (extolling) and tahlÐl (deifying), which are known as the four pillars of the gnosis of God, the Glorified, the Exalted. This includes all the states of worship of the angels of proximity, for amongst them are those whose worship is in a state of qiyÁm, while others in qu‘Ùd, rukÙ‘ or sujÙd.
    Numerous descriptions have been ascribed to prayer in the Prophetic traditions. Some of them are as follows: the apex of the religion, the last admonition of the prophets, the most beloved of deeds, the best of deeds, the foundation of Islam, the reception of the all-Merciful, the path of the prophets and that through which the servant ascends to a lofty position.
    The Time for Úuhr and ‘AÒr Prayers

    Second: Man must take caution not to attend prayers in haste. He should constantly remember God, be in a state of humility, abasement and gravity. He should know who he is addressing and should consider himself naught before the grandeur and magnificence of the Lord of the worlds.
    It is further necessary for the worshipper to seek forgiveness for the sins that prevent the acceptance of prayer such as: envy, pride, backbiting, eating forbidden food, drinking intoxicants, not giving khums and ZakÁt. Along with seeking forgiveness, he should refrain from every form of sin.
    It is also befitting that he abstain from deeds that diminish the reward of prayers such as: praying in a state of sleepiness, when experiencing the urge to urinate and while looking towards the sky. He should rather engage himself in that which increases the reward of prayer, such as: applying perfume, combing the hair, brushing the teeth, ensuring ones attire is tidy and wearing a carnelian (‘aqÐq) ring.

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