The Center of Mosque Studies - Each and every one of us needs to adopt a different outlook towards daily prayers... I am saying this as a word of advice for myself. We – people in general – keep failing to appreciate the value of daily prayers the way we should. Daily prayers maintain the structure of religion in the real sense of the word. This means that if it were not for daily prayers, the ceiling of religion would cave in and the structure would lose its real form. This is what daily prayers are.
Therefore, the great structure of religion is founded on daily prayers. What kind of daily prayers can preserve this structure? Only the kind of daily prayers that enjoy ideal characteristics can preserve this structure: “Daily Prayers help every pious individual to get close to God” [al-Kafi, Vol.3, page 265]. Daily prayers should prevent us from doing evil deeds and they should be accompanied by dhikr [remembrance of God]: “And the remembrance of Allah is the greatest” [The Holy Quran, 29: 45]. We should both act on and promote this dhikr.
In my opinion, one of the important tasks that the honorable public prayer leaders should do in mosques is to explain the issue of daily prayers for the people so that they appreciate their value. If this is done, then the quality of daily prayers will improve. The truth of the matter is that in many cases, either our daily prayers are of poor quality or they do not have the necessary quality. We should get to the depth of the dhikrs that exist in daily prayers. Well, our daily prayers should be immune from indecent maladies. They should be immune from the malady of negligence while praying, and from the malady of inattention to daily prayers concepts, and to the addressee of daily prayers Who is the Holy Being. This is one of the maladies of daily prayers.
The late Mr. Meshkini said in this Hussainiyah, “If a device is invented which we can connect to our brains and which can record our memories from the beginning to the end of daily prayers, the result would be something strange and bizarre.” From the moment we begin to say daily prayers, which places our minds go to, which paths they take, which issues they solve and which matters they show interest in! This is one of those maladies which I referred to as indecent maladies. If we can protect ourselves from this malady and also if we can save ourselves from another malady which is hypocrisy – there is a Dua which says, “And free my heart from hypocrisy, love of fame and doubts about Your religion” – then our daily prayers will become ordinary and regular prayers, but they still suffer from lack of depth.
In Salat when we say, “My Great God is free of any blemish and I praise Him”, what is this Greatness based on? What notion of greatness do we have in our hearts? What is this Greatness before which we prostrate ourselves and which we praise and worship? Where is that Mine of Greatness which is mentioned in this dua, “Bestow upon me the perfection to separate from everything and to join You… and to walk towards the Mine of Greatness” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Vol.2, page 687]? What is it? We read, “My Great God is free of any blemish. My Exalted God is free of any blemish. You do we worship, and Your aid we seek.” But do we pay any attention to these deep meanings and concepts, to the exclusive divinity of God, to the exclusive request for His assistance, to familiarizing our hearts with these concepts and to saying daily prayers with such quality? Well, we should practice so that we can reach these points.
Of course, the majority of the present participants are thankfully young and such tasks are very easy during youth. These tasks are very difficult for people at my age. If people want to begin these tasks when they reach my age, then it will become very difficult. However, these tasks are very easy during youth. Give this quality, this hue and this fragrance to daily prayers and then they will improve us from the inside. This will influence all those who are aware of our daily prayers and who perform them with us.
There are some narrations which say that the good and bad deeds of ma’mumin [those who say daily prayers under the leadership of a public prayer leader] fall on the shoulders of public prayer leaders. I do not mean the things that nullify daily prayers, rather I mean these lofty concepts. If these lofty concepts exist in the daily prayers of public prayer leaders, then they will overflow into the ma’mumin. In any case, daily prayers are these. If there are some people inside our own society – in our Islamic society – who are unfamiliar with daily prayers, this is a very big and important matter. Our society should be such a society that all individuals in it pursue daily prayers as a favorite and ideal task, not as an obligatory duty, one that we would like to get rid of as soon as possible. We should pursue daily prayers like something that is exciting, like something that is attractive.
Imam Khamenei, Aug 21, 2016