The Meaning of the Phrases Used in Salat
Once we are standing towards Ka’baa [the black sacred square in Mecca], but before staring Salat, we state our intention, and then we bring our hands to our earlobes while saying “Allahu Akbar.”
At this juncture, we should pause and analyze what we are committing to when we decide to perform Salat.
We begin by analyzing and defining “Allahu Akbar”.
This phrase is most commonly translated to mean “God is the greatest,” but unfortunately, this translation is not able to connote what it actually means even if the word “greatest” is used.
In Arabic, “Kebir” means great and “Akbar” means greatest, and this is why Allahu Akbar is literally translated to “God is the greatest.”
At this point, we must stop and thoroughly and carefully reflect on what this phrase means.
In order for us to fully comprehend what this phrase means, not only do we need to understand what “Allah” means, but we also need to understand the different levels by which we achieve closeness to Allah; thus, it is imperative that we realize the mightiness of Allah we are praying to.
We will deepen further into this subject in a subsequent chapter when we discuss “Ezan-i Muhammedi,” that is the official call to prayer prior to Salat.
As stated above, when we are ready to start praying, we raise our hands up to our earlobes with our palms facing Ka’baa.
We will now examine the statement “Allahu Akbar” as follows:
There are Arabic numbers inscribed in every person’s palms. Inscribed on the right palm is the number 18 and on the left the number 81; the sum of these numbers is 99. Additionally, the fingers represent the letters in the word “Allah” in Arabic. Once a person appreciates the significance of what is stated above, he should recognize that when he simultaneously raises his hands up to his earlobes and says “Allahu Akbar” he should abandon all worldly thoughts and concerns. Knowingly or not we become the mirror of Hakk due to the facts that the 99 attributes of Allah are inscribed on our palms, our fingers spell the word “Allah,” and that when we stand in the direction of Ka’baa we face the representation of Unity.
This level or mertebe is the stage where we appear before Hakk, and thus we become conscious of our own existence and discover the purpose of our life.
While in this level, we should experience our own importance and recognize the lovingness within our being.
I only wish that people could realize the beauty and opportunity they forego when they fail to perform Salat!
When we stand before our Creator, we should stand before him as we truly are from within by surrendering our physical bodies since this is the state that human beings were intended to exist in.
Before starting each of the five daily Salats we express our intention a total of thirteen times, that is also the number representative of Insan-i Kamil.
In the same way, our five fingers represent the five stages or levels of the state called Hazrat [that is the pursuit of attaining Insan-i Kamil.]
“Fesubhanelleziy biyedihi melekutu kulli sey’in ve ileyhi turcaun” (sura YASIN 83) means, “So Glory be to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things and to Him will ye be all brought back”
“Tebarekellezi biyedihil mulk” “Tebarekellezi biyedihil mulk.” means “One has a blessing in one’s hands indeed.”
The number 18 in the right palm represents the 18,000 universes.
When the each digit of the numbers 18 and 81 are added together along with an additional 1, that represents the individual, the total is 19 (1+8+8+1+1=19); 19 is the Holy Koran’s miraculous number. Not only does 18 + 81 = 99, but when the number 9 from the right and left hand are grouped together, the number 99 is also formed.
In conclusion, the right hand represents 18,000 universes, and the left hand represents the Koran’s miraculous number 19.
The number 99 represents Allah’s attributes when we repeat “Allah.” The 99 attributes of Allah plus “ALLAH” make the 100 beautiful names of ALLAH.
When we repeat the names of Allah, our goal is to cause all of the names of Allah to be present within us.
I wish every human being had the ability to understand their extraordinary potential and the high level that they can attain.
From the instant one begins to perform Salat and expresses one’s intention before Hakk, one is able to see beyond the veil that hides sacredness, and thus begins to experience the state of being before Hakk.
Does this mean that a person is away from Hakk at other times? Although the answer is no, during Salat one is able to make a private appearance before Hakk.
After one states the intention while holding both hands by one’s earlobes, both hands are lowered and placed over the abdomen; this symbolizes that because one has already unveiled the hidden sacredness, as a result of both hands facing Ka’be, one must now conceal this sacredness and humble oneself by returning to the state where one is his servant. The importance of stating one’s intentions during the beginning of Salat cannot be stressed enough, for if one starts praying aimlessly without attention, it is probable that from the onset one will fail to reach the objective of Salat.
Although the Creator, Cenab-i Hak, is not dependent on our Salats, we desperately need to become as aware of Hakk as is possible, at least as much as Allahu teala permits.
For example, if we perform Salat hoping that we will be rewarded with heaven, we are clearly not seeking Allah c.c.’s acceptance; instead, we are merely cheating ourselves and enslaving ourselves to our egos ¾[nefs], and this sort of intention only leads toward self-centeredness.
To become a true seeker, we must refrain from anticipating any potential benefits that may result from performing Salat whether in this world or in the hereafter.
Even if Rabb, Allahu teala c.c., told us that we were destined to an eternity in hell in spite of the fact that we perfectly perform Salat, we should still make a sincere attempt to perform the obligation of Salat.
Even if performing Salat were not to bestow any privileges upon us, it would, nonetheless, be a perfect method by which one could reach the level referred to as Insan-i Kamil; this is the stage that every human being should make an attempt to arrive at.
“Namazi Gafilan, sehv-i sucudest.” means “The deluded ones prostrate in delusion.”
“Namaz-i arian, terki vucudest.” means “The mature ones prostrate by surrendering their physical bodies.”
Hallac-i Mansur, known as one of Hakk’s poorest lovers, asked the prosecutor who cut off his hands to allow him to perform his last Salat before he passed on to the hereafter. He first told everyone that there is a two-rekat Salat that all of Allah’s lovers are obligated to perform and that involves performing ablution with their own blood. He then washed his arms and face with his own blood and performed his last Salat in reverence of Hakk at which point, he was executed.
There is another story about another great teacher whose name was Cuneyd-i Bagdadi. One day, someone approached Cuneyd-i Bagdadi and told him, “One of your closest friends, Huseyin Ennuri, has been performing Sema[The sacred turning ritual performed by a Sufi who is engaged in a miraculous state] for almost a week. How do you feel about that?” After pondering on the question for some time, he asked, “What did he do when it was time to perform Salat?” When the visitor responded, “When it was time to perform Salat he stopped Sema and began performing Salat, and afterwards, he immediately started turning again.” Hz Cuneyd-i Bagdadi concluded the conversation by responding “Elhamdulillah” [Praise be to Allah]; he did what is expected of him.”
Another unforgettable incident was when an arrow pierced Hz Ali (ra)’s foot so deeply that it could not be removed. It is said that in order for him to not feel any pain during its removal, those who were assisting him in removing the arrow had to wait for him to perform Salat.
Finally, there are extensive accounts that tell of the ultimate Sheik Hz. Muhammad Mustafa (sav), whose feet would start bleeding because he prayed and performed Salat continuously for long periods of time.
Performing Salat adequately and properly can provide everyone with happiness and piety in both this world and the hereafter.
The English Koran, published by The Presidency of Islamic Resources, Saudi Arabia.
The Meaning of the Phrases Used in Salat