This ritual prayer is, according to the Prophet, 'the key to Paradise', and he said to his companions: 'Tell me, if there were a river at someone's door in which he washed five times daily, would any dirt remain upon him?' When they replied that none would remain, he said: 'That is like the five times of prayer by which Allah obliterates sins.'
If only people knew what blessing lies in the Dawn prayer, he told them, 'they would come [to the prayer] even if they had to crawl to do so.' It is little wonder that when the Call to Prayer is made, 'the devil turns his back and breaks wind, so as not to hear the Call being made...' That is the devil's way of evading reality; but men and women, if they are whole and sane, respond.
A man came to the Prophet saying: 'Messenger of Allah, I have done something which merits punishment, so appoint [a punishment] for me!' The Prophet said nothing, and when the time for prayer came, the man prayed with him, then repeated his request for punishment.
'Did you not pray with us?' the Prophet asked him. He agreed that he had done so. 'Well then, Allah has forgiven your offence.'
... Islam and the Destiny of Man, Gai Eaton