Prayer occupies a great status in Islam that is not shared by any other act of worship. This is indicated by the following:

1 – It is the pillar of the religion, which cannot stand without it.

According to a hadeeth narrated by Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: «Shall I not tell you of the head of the whole matter and its pillar and top?» I [Mu’aadh] said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, «The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is prayer and its top is jihad» [Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2616; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 2110].

2 – It is second in status to the Shahaadatayn (twin testimony of faith) as further proof of the soundness of a person’s belief and as visible evidence of the beliefs that reside in the heart.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: «Islam is built on five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, establishing prayer, paying zakaah, performing pilgrimage to the House, and fasting Ramadaan» [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 8; Muslim, 16].

Establishing prayer means performing prayer in full with all its words and actions, at the appointed times, as it says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, As-Salaah (the prayer) is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” [al-Nisa’ 4:103].
{إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَاباً مَّوْقُوتاً}
Transliteration: 'Inna Aş-Şalāata Kānat `Alá Al-Mu'uminīna Kitābāan Mawqūtāan

i.e., at defined times.

3 – Prayer occupies a special position among other acts of worship because of the way in which it was enjoined.

It was not brought down to earth by an angel, rather Allaah wanted to bless His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by taking him up to heaven and addressing him directly concerning the obligation of prayer. This is something that is unique to prayer among all the rituals of Islam.

Prayer was enjoined on the night of the Mi’raaj [Prophet’s ascent to heaven], approximately three years before the Hijrah.

Fifty prayers (per day) were enjoined at first, then the number was reduced to five, but the reward of fifty remains. This is indicative of Allaah’s love of prayer and its great status.

4 – Allaah erases sins by means of prayer

Al-Bukhaari (528) and Muslim (667) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said – and in the hadeeth of Bakr it is narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say – «What do you think if there was a river by the door of any one of you and he bathed in it five times a day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?» They said, “No trace of dirt would be left on him'' He said, «That is like the five daily prayers, by means of which Allaah erases sin».

5 – Prayer is the last part of religion to be lost, and if it is lost the whole religion is lost.

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: «Between a man and shirk [associating others with Allaah] and kufr [disbelief] there stands his giving up prayer» [Narrated by Muslim, 82].

Hence the Muslim should be keen to perform the prayers on time, and not be lazy or take the matter lightly. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So woe unto those performers of Salaah (prayers) (hypocrites),
Those who delay their Salaah (prayer from their stated fixed times)” [al-Maa’oon 107:4-5].
{فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ (4) الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ}
Transliteration: Fawaylun Lilmuşallīna, Al-Ladhīna Hum `An Şalātihim Sāhūna

And Allaah warns those who cause their prayers to be lost by saying (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salaat (the prayers) [i.e. made their Salaat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell” [Maryam 19:59].
{فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيّاً}
Transliteration: Fakhalafa Min Ba`dihim Khalfun 'Ađā`ū Aş-Şalāata Wa Attaba`ū Ash-Shahawāti Fasawfa Yalqawna Ghayyāan

6 – Prayer is the first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: «The first deed for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is good then he will have prospered and succeeded, but if it is bad then he will be doomed and have lost. If anything is lacking from his obligatory prayers, the Lord will say, ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary prayers, and make up the shortfall in his obligatory prayers from that.’ Then all his deeds will be dealt with likewise» [Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 465; al-Tirmidhi, 413. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2573].

We ask Allaah to help us to remember Him, give thanks to Him and to worship Him properly.

Reference: al-Salaah by Dr. al-Tayyaar, p. 16; Tawdeeh al-Ahkaam by al-Bassaam, 1/371; Taareekh Mashroo’iyyat al-Salaah by al-Balooshi, p. 31.

Islam Q&A

A Hope for Desperate Souls: Julaybib, the Prophet's companion

by Amatullah Abdullah

Amatullah Abdullah is a freelance writer who resides in Chennai, India. Her essays have been published in India, the UK, and the US. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and is currently working on her master's.AmatullahAbdullah is is the managing editor of Iqra! Newspaper, and an active member of the Islamic Writers Alliance (IWA)

There are many outstanding Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who come to mind throughout Islamic history. Some are huge in stature, and others are humble, yet highly respectable or brilliant in some way. Julaybib was a beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad however, not a likely figure to make it in the ranks of celebrated heroes of Islam.

His life and deeds were not sung nor recounted with reverence as they should be but with the meager facts available one sees hope for humble souls through his life.

Julaybib was not tall, or handsome, he was not known to be a gallant warrior on the battlefield before the advent of Islam. His personal attributes appeared so contrary to the normal heroes of old.

Julaybib was an orphan, deformed and extremely short. He was brutally rejected by society because the people were more concerned with his physical appearance and status than integrity.

His story is significant and many lessons can be learnt from it. It shows us a lot about how a human being can be devalued based on superficial things. His life is an example and hope for souls filled with despondency because they do not measure up to the norms set by society. His story touches the hearts of many even today.

Julaybib was an orphan from Madinah and acquired his name before embracing Islam. His name means "small grown" in Arabic which denoted his physical appearance. He was extremely short and could be compared to a dwarf when considering today's definition. It is also noted that he was even described as "damim" in Arabic which means deformed, unattractive or of repulsive appearance.

In addition to his physical appearance, another important factor in his mistreatment had to do with his lineage. Lineage was an essential part in the Arab society he lived in, just as it is still important today in many cases. One's lineage determined his or her status in the society. His physical appearance, and unknown lineage, made people shun and spurn him. He was an outcast which caused him much public humiliation and disgrace.

Facing such disdainful treatment, Julaybib was apparently a lonely soul yearning for love and compassion. As he was carrying the burden of prejudice on his shoulder from the time he was born, companionship, love and compassion became alien to him.

There were often times, a question as to whether this man would even taste any compassion or respect in his life. The question cleared with his acceptance of the Prophet Muhammad's message of Islam.

He became a devoted servant of Almighty God and beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad. He gained respect and affection from Prophet Muhammad, for his sincerity, integrity and strong Islamic belief. Julaybib earned the honor he yearned and became one of the most valued companions of the Prophet.

Prophet Muhammad cared deeply for this soul. He was sensitive of Julaybib's needs, and this is evident from the hadith where the Prophet approached a man from the Ansar (Madinah Muslims who helped the Makkans when they emigrated to Madinah), seeking the hand of his beautiful daughter in marriage on behalf of Julaybib. The Islamic scholar, Imam Ahmad, has recorded this incidents in Julaybib life as follows:

The Prophet went to a man of the Ansar and said:

"Give me your daughter for marriage."

The man answered excitedly, "Yes, O Messenger of Allah , it would be an honor and a blessing."

For which the Prophet said, "I do not want her for myself."

The Ansari man asked, "Then for whom, O Messenger of Allah?"

And the Prophet answered, "For Julaybib."

When the Ansari man heard this, he was shocked and said, "O Messenger of Allah, let me consult her mother." So he went to the girl's mother (his wife) and told her, "The Messenger of Allah is proposing marriage for your daughter."

The wife of the Ansari seemed overjoyed and said, "Yes, it would be a pleasure."

The Ansari explained to his wife that the Prophet was not proposing to marry their daughter for himself but he is proposing on behalf of Julaybib.

His wife was almost shaken and immediately responded, "What! Julaybib? No, by Allah, we will not marry her to him."

When the Ansari prepared to leave to meet the Messenger of Allah and mentioned to him his mother's disapproval, his daughter, a pious Muslim, asked her father, "Who is asking for my hand?"

Her mother told her that the Prophet was asking her hand on behalf Julaybib.

Their daughter instantly asked them, "Are you refusing to follow the command of the Messenger of Allah? Follow his command, for I will not come to any harm."

The following is illustrated in the book Companions of the Prophet by Abdul Wahid Hamid:

Hearing her daughters word, the Mother's heart being filled with remorse said: "Stop my daughter, don't say another word indeed I have erred I repent and I repent a thousand times over for as of this moment their is no one who I would prefer for you than Julaybib."

The following day the marriage was in place, Uthman and Ali, two of the Prophet's Companions, presented Julaybib a gift of money to help arrange the wedding reception, and to purchase necessary accommodation.

So the Prophet married the beautiful daughter of the Ansari to Julaybib who was once rejected by the whole society. The attitude of the daughter of the Ansari was that of a true believer.

The daughter's attitude shows her confidence of a Muslim woman who could not be influenced by the whims of the society. Unlike the parent's of today's world who are more concerned about status and money, her parents' reaction to her approval explains how Islam does not pressure a woman nor does it disregard her right to choose her husband.

Islam gave the happiness Julaybib deserved and he lived happily together with his beautiful wife until he was martyred.

The follow hadith is another proof that Julaybib was indeed dearly loved and valued by Prophet Muhammad:

After a battle, the Prophet asked his Companions:

"Is anyone missing amongst you?"

They said: "So and so and so."

He asked them again: "Is there anyone missing amongst you?"

They answered: "So and so and so."

He asked them for the third time: "Is there anyone missing amongst you?"

They said: "No."

Thereupon the Prophet said:

"But I see that Julaybib is missing."

The Companions searched for him amongst those who had been killed and found him by the side of seven enemies whom he had killed. He had been killed. The Prophet came there and stood by his body and said:

"He killed seven people. Then his opponents killed him. He is mine and I am his."

He then placed him upon his hands and there was none else to lift him but the Prophet Muhammad. Then the grave was dug for him and he was placed in it. (Muslim)

The man whose life was filled with despair and struggles won the hearts and admiration of many through his pure intentions, traits, and love for Islam and the Prophet. It is really amazing to note how this man of small stature managed to hold a sword and kill his opponent. He was able to accomplish much chivalry through the Prophet's encouragement.

There are so many lessons to be learnt from Julaybib's life. His story is a reflection of Islam. Islam ended his desolate world of disparagement.

His life is an example and hope for human souls which are filled with desolation.