Importance Of Salah

Question

I cannot pray five times a day. However, I feel pain for orphans, the poor and the needy. I think for their betterment and do what is in my capacity. I think I am doing better than those who pray five times a day but neglect these people. They engage in corruption while they earn etc. Now would you please guide me whether my approach is acceptable?


Answer

Thank you for writing to us. We believe that it is of course an act of great virtue to feel for the downtrodden and the unfortunate. They have a right upon us which must be fulfilled. The right of God upon us however is even greater. Let us try to understand this with the help of an example.

Suppose I have old parents who need my help and support. I send them money and provide for all their material needs. However, I do not visit them and do not talk to them and remain engaged in my other philanthropic activities. I do not listen to them and go against any wish or command issuing from them. I hope you would not approve of my practice.

Similarly, I believe, it is wrong to pray regularly but neglect other duties. If a person, regular in his prayers, does not feel for the poor and is engaged in illegal and unethical acts his prayers are not rightly directed. They are deficient. However, his bad behavior does not mean that those who feel for the poor but neglect their duties to God are better. They commit another kind of sin, disobedience to God. God Almighty has commanded us to offer five daily prayers. If someone fails to abide by this duty accidently and turns to God when reminded that is acceptable. But if one starts feeling that he is doing a better course by helping out the poor and the needy and that he does not need to pray and fulfill duties owed to God then he needs to correct his understanding. The rights of God are to be preferred. They must be fulfilled.

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