In the Prophet’s mission on earth, every instruction, every commandment was sent down through Angel Jibril (Gabriel). But, there was one commandment that was not. There was one commandment so important, that rather than sending angel Jibril down with it, Allah brought the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) up to Himself.
That commandment was Salah (prayer). When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was first given the command to pray, it was to be fifty times in a day. After asking Allah to make it easier, the commandment was eventually reduced to five times a day, with the reward of the fifty.
Reflecting upon this event (of Ascension to Heaven and receiving the commandment of daily prayers) scholars have explained that the process of going from fifty to five was a deliberate one, intended to teach us the true place Salah should hold in our lives. Imagine for a moment actually praying fifty times a day. Would we be able to do anything else but pray? No. And that’s the point. What greater way than that to illustrate our life’s true purpose? As if to say, Salah is our real life; all the rest that we fill our day with… just motions.
¨ Source: Excerpted from the article “Life’s Forgotten Purpose” by Sister Yasmin Mogahed