Question: Some non-Muslims who want to convert to Islam say, “We want to convert to Islam. We do not convert to it simply because we find it difficult to perform salat five times a day, to go hungry by fasting for a month once a year, and to do the other acts of worship.” Why does a person find it difficult to do acts of worship?
To do acts of worship is not difficult for a Muslim. If they were Muslim, they would not say such things. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani says the following in his Maktubat:
Allahu ta’ala has ordered His servants (humans) what they are able to do. He did not order them to perform tasks beyond their capabilities. Because He created human beings weak, He made things easy for them. He says in the Qur’an al-karim (what means):
(Allah wanted to lay down light and easy things for you because man was created weak.) [An-Nisa’ 28]

Offering salat and fast is easy. As for zakat, He did not order us to give all of our wealth, but only one-fortieth of it, as zakat. If one carefully and conscientiously examines the other Divine laws, one will see that the duties are easy to follow. Despite these facts, there are people who find it hard to offer acts of worship, which stems from the nafs, the enemy of Allahu ta’ala. Offering salat and the other acts of worship is easy only for Believers. It is difficult for those whose hearts have blackened. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(This religion [believing and doing acts of worship] is hard upon the polytheists.) [Ash-Shura 13]

(Seek Allah’s help [in order to refrain from every sin, offer fast, and perform the other acts of worship] through patience and performing salat. Patience and salat is hard except for Believers who fear Allah.) [Al-Baqara 45]

Avoiding salat proceeds from want of faith or weakness of faith. The symptom of a strong faith is to obey the orders of our religion willingly and easily. Just as a sick person finds it hard to do some tasks, so a person whose heart and soul is sick finds it hard to do an act of worship. (Vol. 1, Letter 191, Letter 289)

In order to purify the heart, one must become a Muslim first and render shukr (giving thanks, being thankful and grateful) to Allahu ta’ala for His blessings. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(Why should Allah chastise you if you believe in Him and give thanks for His blessings?) [An-Nisa’ 147]
Shukr is rendered to Allah by believing in Him and observing His commands and prohibitions. (Vol. 3, Letter 41)

Question: Does a munafiq (hypocrite) perform salat?
munafiq is a disbeliever who pretends to be a Muslim. A disbeliever does not perform salat, but he pretends to be performing it. The following hadith-i sharifs are about hypocrites:
(Hypocrites learn the Qur’an, and then they compete with the people of knowledge with it.) [Tabarani]

(Hypocrites perform Salat al-Asr toward sunset.) [Hakim]

(Performing salat is that which differentiates us from hypocrites. Whoever leaves salat deliberately becomes a disbeliever.) [Hakim]

(Salat was made visible, and they accepted [they pretended to accept] it. Zakat was made invisible, and they did not give it.) [Bazzar]

(A hypocrite cannot keep up Salat al-Isha and Salat al-Fajr.) [Hakim]

(The sign that differentiates us from hypocrites is to come for Salat al-Isha and Salat al-Fajr. Hypocrites cannot always do this.) [Said bin Mansur]

Why do some people find it hard to perform the five daily salats? Why is performing them important?
Performing the five daily salats is hard only for those whose hearts are sick. Offering a lot of salats infuses the love of Allah into the heart, and it will be filled with it over time. The greatest felicity is to place the love of Allah in the heart.

The love of Allah diminishes, even totally vanishes in the course of time, in the hearts of those who have been immersed in prohibited, disliked, and useless deeds and who have been consumed with obtaining transient blessings and pleasures of the world. The most effective remedy that saves a person from this disaster is performing salat properly. For this reason, Allahu ta’ala, out of His infinite mercy, ordered us to offer salat five times a day, not once. This command of Allahu ta’ala is not for the purpose of putting a strain on people, but for the purpose of freeing them from the sickness of their hearts.

Just as a person’s level of proficiency at doing something decreases when he gives up practicing it, so likewise the more one becomes neglectful of thinking of and thanking to Allahu ta’ala, the more one will stray from the path leading to Him. An act of worship done regularly every day means progressing steadily on the true path of Allah.

Every Muslim must remember Allahu ta’ala much and put the love of Him in his heart. The heart is the house of Allah. If the owner of a house is not allowed to enter his house, it is an act of hostility toward both the house and the owner. The five daily salats rescue one from this calamity. Salat serves as a reminder of Allah to people who are oblivious of their Lord because of engrossing themselves in worldly affairs and ephemeral pleasures.

Şamil Aykut

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