The true meaning of Salat and its real worth and significance can be appreciated only when there is an adequate awareness of the innate character of the relation that obtains between God and man. This bond is absolutely unique. It is not possible to conclude about it on the basis of the ties we experience between any two persons around us, as for instance, between the master and the slave, the weak and the strong the rich and the poor and the donor and the recipient. It is a much more sublime, strong and comprehensive relationship than any of theses.

Relations are Governed by Attributes
For a proper understanding of the nature and importance of the bond between the Lord and His slaves it is, again, necessary to acquire some knowledge of the Divine Attributes for it is the attributes that govern the relations. We cannot understand the real nature of relationship between any two beings unless we are duly informed of their essential qualities and of the association of amiability and gratitude that is established between them. All die-ties we cherish in the world, all the social relationship we observe and all the rights and obligation that go to mark the law and bring into existence a civilized society are determined by the moral and material attributes which are at work in the different fields of human existence.

Importance of Divine Names and Attributes in the Quran and the Shariat.
Hence, in all the revealed scriptures, religious systems and holy laws the foremost stress is laid on the Divine Attributes and it is then that the details of worship are set forth and teaching on duties and obligations and social conduct and monetary dealings formulated. The correction of the conceptual tenets and doctrines has been given priority in all Divine faiths over worship, deeds and commandments, and every Apostle, in his life-time, has devoted the greatest attention to impart a true knowledge of the Attributes of God and His purity and sublimity, and made it the central point of his teachings. The holy Quran which is the custodian of all the heavenly scriptures and the Last and Eternal word of God offers a classical case in point. It takes it up for its central theme and returns to it again and again and deals with it in thousand ways. It is for this reason that the brief Sura-i-Ikhias in which the oneness of God and His Sublimity has been summed up in a few verses of matchless eloquence and profundity is often described as one-third of the Quran.
The holy Quran has dwell upon the glorious attributes of Allah, His beautiful names, His functions and authority, His creativeness and originality, His munificence and forgiveness, His power to bestow and to withhold, His control over gain and loss, His knowledge and wisdom and his nearness and companionship in such a thorough and authoritative manner that what emerges from it is undoubtedly the ultimate picture of elegance and majesty, perfection and greatness and beauty and beneficence. It says:
His is the Sublime Similitude in the heavens and in the earth. He is the Mighty, the Wise.
Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer (and) the Seer (of everything).

Man is a Mixture Opposites
In the revealed scriptures one finds a number of observations that throw hood of light on human psychology and its inner contradictions. There is, without doubt, no one more wonderful, delicate and sensitive among all the created beings than man. At the same time, he is the biggest mixture of opposites. He is weak, yet an adorer of strength; he is poor, yet crazy after wealth; he is a mortal, yet a seeker of eternity; he is an heir to a hundred ills and ailments and yet in quest of health and happiness. He is fainthearted as well as ambitious; his needs are endless and his desires unbounded. He is more sensitive than an air bubble, yet fidgety and restless. His feelings and emotions change from moment to moment. His thirst is unquenchable. He does not rest on his laurels and is never contended. He is intolerant of the old and new. What he has holds no charm for him while what he does not have is always beckoning him, drawing him to itself. This limited world, this fleeting life, is utterly inadequate for the fulfillment of his desires and aspirations.
But in these very contradictions, in the loftiness of his ambition and the restlessness of his soul, lies the secret of man's glory and his elevation to the office of the vicegerency of God on earth. It was this sublime peculiarity of his nature which induced him to accept the forbidding responsibility of trusteeship after the heavens, the earth and the mountains had declined to shoulder it.
Lo! We offered the trust to the heavens, the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it. Lo! He hath proved a tyrant and a fool. (- xxxiii : 72)

Love and Affection
Love is ingrained in the nature of man. His clay has been kneaded with it. Along with the five senses by which man perceives and responds to the material world there is another instinct in him which we call love, affection or attachment. This instinct can be-strong as well as weak, manifest as well as hidden. But if it were to become extinct, it would be a clear proof of the fact that man has lost his intrinsic superiority and worthiness, turned away from his original destiny and into the domain of fossils and stones. Man is both loyal and sensitive. His emotions are excitable and his feelings are delicate. He is drawn irresistibly towards beauty and perfection. He is ready to sacrifice every things, life, liberty and happiness, for the sake of the beloved. The memorable stories of lovers, the stirring deeds of all men of faith and suffering and the entire emotional and intuitive literature and lyrical poetry of the world are inspired by the tender passion called love.

Surrender and Submission
Man has been endued with an instinctive desire to submit and surrender, to pay homage and bow down in resignation to someone. This urge has been present in him at all the stages of his evolution. He has never been able to overcome it. During the primitive times (and this state of civilization is still persisting in some parts of the world) man sought the satisfaction of this instinct by prostrating himself before trees, rivers and hills, by worshipping the fire, the sun, the moon and the stars, and by idolizing the saints, the monks, the ghosts and the angels. He was prone to be overawed by anything that was beyond the scope of his understanding, and, even today, inspite of all the claims to rationality and progress, he is caught, identically, in the 'spell of political leaders, ideologies and movements. In these days of 'culture', 'enlightenment' and liberalism', he is enamoured, in the same way, by writers, poets, artists and inventors and by others men of wealth and renown, and his infatuation is inspired by the same sentiments of love, reverence and sell-surrender as in the days of yore, simply because by his very nature "man is a loving creature and it is inherent in him to love and admire and lose his existence in the adored one. This yearning is a grand peculiarity of his being and he has never lived without it.
Man stands in needs of an ideal, an embodiment of excellence- or in the words of the Quran, a sublime similitude which can satisfy his inner urge by virtue of being above and beyond his comprehension, by it exceptional beauty and perfection and power and authority.
The correct Concept of the Bond between God and Man
Let us, now recall to our minds the immaculate attributes of the Lord, His Omnipotence, Magnanimity, Benevolence, Knowledge and Omniscience, and His Elegant Names as revealed in and interpreted by the Quran. We many also take note of such of the attributes of man as can be summed up in the two words of indigence and helplessness as well as to his ambitiousness and passion for distinction which has not been granted to any other living being, to his unquenchable thirst and insatiable appetite in both the material and spiritual spheres of his life- to the never-ending catalogue of his needs and desire, and to the sentiment of love, devotion and submission which runs through every fibre of his existence.
From the above it follows that man should always hold himself in a slate of obeisance, loyalty, worship and supplication before the Lord who is the Supreme Being. The All-powerful, the King of kings, Who provides for all his needs whether expressed by him vocally or otherwise (And He giveth you of all ye ask of Him, and if ye would count the bounty of Allah ye cannot reckon it), and Who is aware of his innermost thoughts and feelings and even of desire and aspiration he himself has forgotten or given up out of despair and in respect of which, sometimes, his heart does not tolerate even the participation of the intellect.
And know that Allah cometh in between the man and his own hearts.
He knoweth the transgression of the eyes, and that which the bosoms hide.
And if thou speakest aloud, then lo! He knoweth the secret (thought) and (that which is yet) more hidden.
Who is nearer that the nearest and hears and responds more than any other hearer:
And when my servants question thee concerning me, then surely I am high. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My Call and let them trust in Me. in order that they may be led aright.
We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him. and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.
And We are nearer unto him than ye war, dut ye see not.
He loves him who beseeches Him supplicates to Him for his needs and cries out to Him foe help, more than those who do not:
And your Lord hath said: Pray unto me and I will hear your prayer. Lo! Those who scorn My service, they will enter Hell, disgraced.
(O mankind!) Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loveth not the transgressors."
It is related that the holy Prophet once said; "God is displeased with His servant who does not supplicate to him for his needs."

The Entire Creation is occupied with paying Divine Honours to God
Since the beginning of time the sun has been the source of light and energy and it has been continuously discharging its function, without a fault or interruption, and the moon has been determining the months and years by its movement. Similarly, the mountains have been doing duty at their posts for thousands of years, the trees are standing where they are, engrossed in Divine worship and rendering service to mankind with their shade and fruit, the air is blowing from one place to another carrying the message of life to man (who is the leader of the universe and the vicegerent of God), the clouds are floating from place to place sending down the rain which imparts a new life to earth, causes the springs to flow and induces the crops to grow and the fields to open up their bowels, the quadrupeds, presenting a picture of Ruku are running here and there serving as beasts of burden and providing milk, meat and hides to mankind, and even the insects that crawl on their bellies are mutely fulfilling the will of God and serving the cause of man in various ways. All these created things which their homage to God and carrying out His command. There is no intransigence on their part, no revolt, no defiance, no protest. They are incessantly occupied with paying honours to the Almighty.
Hast thou not seen that unto Allah payeth adoration whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth, and the sun. and the moon, and the stars, and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind, while there are many unto whom the doom is justly due. He whom Allah scorneth, there is none to give him honour. Lo! Allah doth what lie will.
And unto Allah maketh prostration whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth of living creatures, and the angels (also), and they are not proud. They fear their Lord above them, and do what they arc bidden.
And unto Allah falleth prostrate whosoever is in the heavens and the earth. willingly or unwillingly, as do their shadows in the morning and the evening hours.
The sun and the moon are made punctual. The stars and the trees adore,
Allah is He who created the heavens and the earth, and causeth water to descent from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you, and maketh the ships to be of service to you, that they may run upon the sea at His command, and hath made of service unto you the rivers:
And maketh the sun and the moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and hath made of service unto you the night and the day. And hath given you of all we ask of Him, and if ye would count the bounty of Allah ye cannot reckon it. I.o! Man is verily a wrong-doer, and ingrate.
The living and non-living things, in spite of the difference of form and nature and in the modes of their worship, are engaged in the veneration and glorification of the Lord in a manner typical to their function and disposition. But only those blessed with spiritual insight can perceive it.
The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein praise Him and there is not a thing but hymneth His praise; but ye understand not their praise. Lo! He is ever Clement, Gorgiving.
Doth thou not know that Allah, He it is Whom all who are in the heavens and the earth praise and the birds in their flight? Each of them knoweth verily the worship and the praise; and Allah is aware of what they do.

Place of Man in the Scheme of Creation
Of all the created beings man was, by virtue of the inherent superiority of his position and latent qualities of mind and character, most worthy of slaying permanently in a state of Divine worship and veneration, singing His praises and glorifying His names all the time. The special favours bestowed upon him by God and the exquisite rewards set apart for him would seem to require that he did not spend a moment of his life in anything except Divine worship and adoration and devoted his entire existence to His glorification and adulation like the angles about whom it has been said in the Quran.
Unto Him bclongeth whosoever is in the heavens and the earth. And those who dwell in his Presence are not too proud to worship Him nor do they weary; they glorify Him night and day; they flag not. (xxi ; 19-20)
But since man had to serve as the vicegerent of God in the world and to fulfil a crucial role in the entire design of creation provided with feeling and emotion, with the twinge of love, the sensation of joy as well as the pang of sorrow, and with the zeal endowed with the power to unravel the mysteries of nature and to harness them to his use. The distinction he enjoys of having been taught "All the Names" is indicative of his intrinsic worth and merit and symbolic of his high position as the representative of God on earth. Savs the Quran:
And when thy lord said unto the angles: Lo! I am about to place a vicegerent on the earth. They said: Wilt wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn thy praise and sanctify thee? He said: Surely. I know that which you know not. And He taught Adam All the Names, then showed them to the angels, saying; Inform Me of the name of those, if ye are truthful.
They said: Be Glorified! We have no knowledge saving that which Thou hast taught us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower the Wise.
He said: O Adam! Inform them of their names, and when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not tell you that 1 know the secret of the heavens and of the earth? And I know that which ye disclose and which ye hide.
He it is who created for you all that is in the earth.
Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondman and the good things of His providing? (vii:32)
It is for these reasons, for the earning out of the obligations that go with the exalted office of Divine Vicegerency and the fufiillment of the mission which is the real purpose of His creation that man has not been bound to constant worship and prayer, he has not been constrained to keep himself engaged permanently in Qayam. Ruku and Sujood and in the other forms of God-remembrance as the ease is with planets, trees, mountains, birds and animals. Were he even to try to do so he could be making an admission of his failure as the Vicegerent of God and providing a confirmation of the objection raised by the angels who had offered their services in his place thinking that they were more suited to near the mantle of Vicegerency as they were constantly occupied with worship and veneration.
In view of it, there was needed for man a form or system or worship that was in keeping with the distinctiveness of his personality, with his task and function and place and position in the world and with the duties and obligation entrusted to him as the deputy or representative of God. Worship was essential for him for it constituted the high requirement of his nature and the lofty purpose of his being. Yet, it had to be wholly in accord with his natural instincts and the peculiarities of his position, fitting his entire personality like a well-cut garment.

Salat is the attire, the raiment that has been designed and tailored exclusively for man.
Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtile, the Aware.
Lo! We have created everything by (a particular) measure.
The method adopted for Salat is a marvel of smooth and orderly progress towards a dignified ideal. In the Meraj, fifty daily prayer-services were prescribed for the believers and then, their number was reduced to five. This was done to impress upon man that the number of daily services originally ordained for him was fifty and that he had been sound capable by God of devoting such a large part of his time and energy to His worship. One who kept it in mind will never regard the five daily prayers as excessive. On the other hand, he will realize that he had been found worthy of much more and had the Lord, out of His Grace, not made the concession he would be carrying out His command dutifully and celebrating as many as fifty prayer-services (Salat) every day. God showed His favour to him and treated him with kindness and made the five prayers equivalent of fifty. But the original command, still, is there to stir his ambition and urge him on to greater effort.
This contention is strengthened analogically by the Quran which tells that initially the Muslims were required to remain steadfast in the face of an enemy ten time stronger but, later, a concession was made and they were told to be resolute against an enemy twice as strong as they were and to overcome him it says:
O Prophet! Export the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred steadfast they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk who understand nothing.
Now hath Allah lightened your burden, for He knoweth that there is weakness in you. So if there be of you a steadfast hundred, they shall overcome two hundred and if there be of you a thousand steadfast they shall overcome two thousand by permission of Allah. Allah is with the steadfast.
Inspite of the allowance made in the above verse the original command proved very helpful in rousing the Muslims to superhuman deeds of valour and inspiring them to be brave and fearless against the heaviest odds. If this verse is still recited, despite of courage and fearlessness among the Muslim and to impress upon them that this, in fact, is the way of true Muslims and faithful crusaders.

Spiritual Sustenance
The five daily prayers are to be celebrated only at the hours prescribed for them by God. (-iv: 103)
Worship at fixed hours hath been enjoined on the believers.
The time-schedule of Salat has also been indicated in the Quran and Rak'ats for each of them have been fixed which it is necessary to observe. The holy Prophet, and after him, the blessed Companions scrupulously observed these hours throughout their lives and in all circumstances. Even in time of war they did not suffer an alteration in them. There has been such a great deal of continuity, regularity and uniformity about the Salat that it is impossible to find a parallel in any other community. The Muslim Millat has preserved it zealously and passed it on dutifully from one generation to another without a single day's break however adverse thins might have been for it.
The five daily prayers, with their fixed hours and Rak'ats, are the spiritual food, restorative and panacea prescribed for mankind by its Creator and Preserver, the Lord of Lords, the All-Knowing and the All-Wise. One should refrain from questioning the Law and Wisdom of the Supreme Being, the All-Seeing and the Omniscient. The Salat ought to be offered up at the hours and in the form, measure and manner laid down by God. The celestial significance of these hours, their inner radiance and the heavenly blessings which descend during them and the rich provision of spiritual advancement they contain are known only to Allah and His Apostle.
One of the reasons for the marking out of these hours is that the polytheisms used to worship their false deities like the sun, the stars, the stones and the fire, at that very time. Hence the same hours were fixed for the worship of the One God.
Follow unquestioningly, as we do, the instructions of our physicians with regard to the dosage of the medicines prescribed by them, although they are, after all, humans like ourselves and their knowledge is at the best only relative, there is no reason why should our attitude be different towards the commands of God whose glory is such that:
He gave unto every thing its nature, then guided it aright. (xx:50)
Should He not know He created?
And He is the subtle, the Aware. (ixvii:14)