What is the importance of preparation to prayer?
In order to perform prayer it is, of course, essential to prepare for it perfectly. In the sayings of the Prophet (J), ablution (wudhu) is said to be the first reqirement for prayer.
Ablution is the first requirement, because prayer contains spiritual, physical, and natural beauty. The statement by Imam Azam (Abu Hanifa) in that he felt that his sins were washed away when he made ablution is such a nice account in that it explains the importance of a perfect preparation for prayer. The spiritual intuition and insight of Imam Azam, in this regard, is a famous one. He once said to a youngster who was making ablution:
“– O my son! Please leave ‘this and that’ sin…”
And the youngster responded:
“– How do you know that I commit ‘this and that’ sin?”
Imam Azam replied:
“ –I know them through the water coming down from your ablution…”
On the other hand, brushing teeth with miswaq (a stick of wood made into fibers at one end, used as a toothbrush), which is a custom (sunnah) of the Prophet (J), is also important. The Prophet (J) says in this matter:
“The prayer that is made after brushing the teeth with the miswaq is seventy times stronger than the one without it.” (Ahmad bin Hanbal, Musnad, VI, 272).
“The toothbrush (miswaq) not only cleans the teeth, but also pleases Allah.” (Bukhari, Sawm, 28).
As it is known, the act of prayer is completely done by the tongue through such means as pronouncing the profession of Allah’s Unity, the affirmation of “Allah is Great”, praising Allah, and other recitations. Therefore, the mouth, from where Divine prayers come out, should be kept clean in prayer. This will, obviously, provide serenity to hearts as well.
Though toothbrush and toothpaste clean the teeth as well, extra medical benefits are gained by using miswaq. As stated in the sayings of the Prophet (J), miswaq protects by preventing tooth decay and stomach problems in addition to many other benefits.
“A FEW ACTS OF WORSHİP BASED ON KNOWLEDGE ARE BETTER THAN MANY ACTS OF WORSHİP DONE İN İGNORANCE”
One of the important aspects of preparation for prayer is, in view of the saying of the Prophet (J) “a few acts of worship based on knowledge are better than many acts of worship done in ignorance”, to know its prerequisites, traditions, and necessities.
Then again, we should try our best to be ready for prayer by purifiying our hearts from enmity, malice, and other moral weaknesses as we clean our outer organs. We should remain vigilant about the tricks and traps of Satan and satanic people who keep us away from this preparation.
Wise people understand and put into practice, the verse “And keep your garments free from stain!” (Muddathir 74:4) meaning:
“Purify yourself inwardly and outwardly for the prayer, which means being in the presence of Allah; have good moral qualities!”
It is said in one of the sayings of the Prophet (J):
“Thin down the middle of your back and your stomach!” (Jamiu’s-Sagir).
Here, thinning down the middle of one’s back refers to keeping away from forbidden acts, and thinning down one’s stomach refers to not overeating.
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, ISLAM SPIRIT AND FORM, Erkam Publications