Are there difference between Salaat and Dua?
The short answer for this question is YES
It is very common to hear people refer Salaat to as prayer which can be confusing with Dua because dua is also primarily referred to as prayer.
These two terms are different things all together that every Muslim should know in order to connect with Allah correctly. Today I just want to differentiate the difference between these two terms.
First of all I would like to highlight on the meaning of this terms. Salaat is an Arabic word whose basic meaning is “Bowing, homage, worship, prayer”.
That is to say, the picture of worshipers arranged in rows, led by one person (Imam) and facing the Qibla (mecca) usually inside the mosque is referred to as Salaat.
But this act sometimes can easily be referred to as prayer (meaning Dua) which is inaccurate but convenient as there is no perfect English equivalent word for Salaat.
On the other hand, the Arabic word Dua is the same in meaning as the English word “Prayer” which is basically “supplication.”
In summary, the terminological difference between Salaat and Dua can simply be put that: Salaat is a spiritual prayer whiles Dua is just a prayer. So Salaat can be referred to a holy dua/spiritual prayer rather than just prayer.
Purpose/Importance of Salaat and Dua
Salaat and Dua slightly differ in their purpose and the importance which is worth knowing.
The most important purpose of Salaat is to remember and communicate with Allah and to fulfill the second pillar of Islam which makes it mandatory upon every Muslim.
This mandatory act is performed 5 times a day by all Muslims who have reached the age for Salaat. Furthermore, Salaat also have rules and regulations which must be followed and when ignored render your Salaat void.
Under some school of thought, a person or individual who fails to pray 5 times a day automatically becomes a disbeliever as he or she has ignored a mandatory act imposed upon him by his creator.
Another school of thought said that no, if a person ignores this act does not becomes a disbeliever but rather he/she becomes an unholy sinner. Allah stated in the Quran that Salaat is cited as a means of preventing believers from social wrongs and moral deviation [29:45].
The importance of this lovely act has reached a stage where the holy Prophet (PBUH) even mentioned it in his last sermon. With all these points, am just trying to highlight how important Salaat is as compared to Dua. Salaat is the dividing line between a believer and a non-believer.
On the other hand, let’s see how much Dua is important. Dua is also very important but not as important as Salaat. Dua is a very strong recommendation for every Muslim but not compulsory.
But the fact that everybody needs Allah’s mercy, we must perform dua for it, even though Allah knows all our needs. Dua is very important so don’t forget to perform Dua each and every day, it a Sunnah. But the thing here is that, dua can be performed by anybody whether you are a believer or a kaafir. But Allah answers dua according to His will. May He accept all our duas.
How Salaat and Dua are practiced also makes it differ
Another point that distinguishes between Salaat and dua is how and when they are performed. Let’s take a look at Salaat for instance, it contains certain rules that one must abide by. Failure to obey some of those rules renders your Salaat void.
Salaat is also preceded by a ritual ablution and intension. Your Salaat becomes invalid when one fails to purify him/herself by performing ablution. Salaat also have the number of times it should be performed which is 5 times a day.
One must also perform Salaat not less than or more than 5 times a day. Each Salaat further have the number of rakaats that must be followed. Therefore Salaat generally have its rules and pillars that must be obeyed.
In this case Dua is completely different because everybody has the option to choose how to perform dua unlike Salaat where you need to follow some specific rules. Also dua can be performed at any time. Either before, during or after doing almost everything. Even we perform dua in Salaat.
I would like to hope that all the above can help my readers to be able to distinguish between Salaat and dua which I will finally summarize and add other concepts that would enlighten you more on the differences between these two great deeds (Salaat and Dua). May Allah Almighty grant us the wisdom to understand well.
- Salaat is an obligatory (fard) prayer ordered by Allah for every Muslim, performed 5 times a day. Whiles Dua on the other hand is a prayer that can be performed according to ones will at any time and place.
- Salaat means to worship Allah according to how He (Allah) liked to be worshiped and Dua is a prayer offered to seek help, forgiveness, mercy, grace etc. from Allah (SWT). Inside Salaat contains Dua. Salaat is full of Dua which is repeated many times until the Salaat is complete.
- Salaat is preferably performed in the place of worship (Mosque) but dua can be performed at any place except filthy places like in the bathroom/washroom etc.
- Salaat is performed in the Arabic language only but dua on the other hand can be said in any language of your choice provided you’re not performing Salaat.
- Salaat literature is restricted to prophetic culture which must be done as taught by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) but dua is not restricted to prophetic supplications. Many later Muslims scholars have composed their own supplications which are recited by many people across the world. Even you can come out with a nice dua that people can use.
All thanks and praises be to the one and only God who grant us lives and made us to be Muslims. May HE forgive us our sins and increase us in knowledge that is beneficial.
Please if anything is not well understood just comment it bellow for more clarification. Also if you have any suggestion you can make it known. May Allah grant us knowledge which is beneficial. Allah knows best.