Prayer in Islam, is worship of Allah the Almighty, Praising and Thanking Him, acknowledging His Sovereignty and committing oneself to obey and remember Him at all times. It is the central part of a way of life, which is based on submission to the Creator of us all.
The five prayers are among the best acts of worship that the Muslim performs. Performing them is the best deed after having the correct belief in God and His Messenger. Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), was asked what the best deed was and he said it was performing the obligatory prayers at the beginning of their times.
When we say "prayers" we are referring to an act of worshipping God which has a specific format as God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). The prophets, from Prophet Adam to Prophet Muhammad (Pbut), ordered their followers to pray as per God's orders.
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 at the mall 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 out or delaying the prayer. This indicates the importance of the obligatory prayer. Performing the obligatory prayer on time takes priority over other non-obligatory matters.
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