Keys of Paradise
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The key to Paradise is prayer (salat), and the key to prayer is ritual purity (tuhur).” [Ahmed]
Paradise has eight doors. If you have the key to a door, you can turn the key in the lock and the door easily opens for you. If, on the other hand, you don’t have the keys, you could keep trying other keys that don’t fit, or attempt to break the door down. When the keys are easily available though, only a foolhardy person would insist on trying wrong keys, or try to get in by breaking the door down. The keys to Jannah have been given to you. Don’t waste your time with trying wrong ones. The keys to Jannah are the obligatory five daily prayers. And purification of the body, through wudhu and ghusl, are the keys to the prayer.
In everyday life, if we were to keep looking at a person, they would feel obliged to turn to look at us. Allah Most Mighty and Majestic is much more obliging than all of His creation. When you pray, you are addressing Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). So Allah definitely looks at you, listens to you, and pays full attention to you, while you pray. Be careful that you are giving Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) the kind of attention in prayer that is worthy of a Mighty and Loving King.
If you are heavily indebted to somebody, how are you in their presence? Respectful, careful, attentive, somber,…? When in the presence of a world reknown celebrity, whom you are very impressed by, how would you be in their company? Would you be careful about what you say, would you take pains with your appearance, your manners, or your demeanour? Would you prepare for your meeting with them, so you wouldn’t miss the chance to make a favourable impression? Allah is the ultimate source of all goodness and power. Should you not be more careful when appearing before Him?