Prophet Muhammad, The Messenger, peace be upon him, once asked: “Listen. Shall I guide you to the things through which God blots out sins and elevates you to higher ranks?” When his Companions asked him to do so, he told them: “Perform wudhu’ (ritual ablution) as correctly as possible, even in the most adverse conditions; walk to the mosque for each prayer, and wait for the next prayer after praying. This is the ribat, this is the ribat (preparation, dedication).” [Muslim]
The hadith begins with ‘Listen’ to stress the importance of what follows. In this case, it is the five daily prayers.
The prescribed prayer is the pillar of Islam. Without it, Islam cannot be maintained. When believers pray correctly, they are protected from evil thoughts and deeds. It is also a sacred ladder for ascending to the Presence of God. But before we climb it, we must perform wudhu’ as perfectly as possible. From the first step toward wudhu’, believers begin to gain reward. While performing it, they are relieved of the stress of daily life and cleansed of sins. When performed in difficult circumstances, believers receive an even greater exhilaration.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, describes the prescribed prayer as ribat, which can be translated as “dedication to something or guarding the frontier.” By describing the prescribed prayers as ribat, God’s Messenger also emphasizes that Muslims should dedicate their lives to Divine worship and organize their daily activities around the five daily prayers. They should ensure that they can pray when necessary and with full attention. After each prayer, they should wait expectantly for the next one. Those who pray in such a manner will be cleansed of sins and, moreover, protected against committing more sins.