Ruku`: Internal Actions

Ruku`

We stand between fear and hope, but the overwhelming emotion is love.

Preparing ourselves for the Prayer means realizing whom we are meeting with—Allah (exalted is He), our Lord, the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. We beautify ourselves externally because we are meeting with Allah, and we humble ourselves internally as we stand before the Most High. We stand between fear and hope, but the overwhelming emotion is love.

When we recite Surat al-Fatihah (the Opener), we pause after every verse to reflect on it, knowing that Allah responds. When we recite a short Surah (chapter) afterward, we recognize that these words are a message to us.

The External Acts of Ruku`

When finish reciting the short Surah after al-Fatihah, we should implement a very short pause just as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did (as related by Abu Dawud), and then raise our hands to say, “Allahu Akbar (God is Greater).”

Remember that between almost every change of position we say, “Allahu Akbar.” This is to remind ourselves and to alert us that Allah is greater than anything—whatever our mind is distracted with and whatever worries plague us. And then we bow down in ruku`. When we bow down, we should emulate the actions of the Prophet who said:

“When you make ruku`, place your palms on your knees, then space your fingers out, then remain (like that) until every limb takes its (proper) place.” (Ibn Khuzaymah) In another narration, he added that we should straighten our backs. (Abu Dawud)

Many of us rush our ruku` and sujud (prostration), but it is very important to give each action its due measure. The Prophet once saw a man not completing the ruku` properly, and rushing his sujud such that he looked like he was pecking, and he said:

“Were this man to die in this state, he would die on a faith other than that of Muhammad—the likeness of one who does not make ruku` completely and pecks in his sujud is like the hungry person who eats one or two dates, which are of no use to him at all.” (At-Tabarani)

Why did the Prophet (peace be upon him) use such an example? Because we come to our Prayer as people who are spiritually hungry and thirsty, looking for a refuge from the worries of the world. It does not make sense for a starving person to eat one or two dates if he has access to more; neither does it make sense for us to rush our ruku` and sujud.

 Du`a’ (Supplications) of Ruku`

 Just as we discussed previously that there are different opening du`a’s, there are also a variety of du`a’s of ruku`. We should try to memorize them and vary what we say so that we are conscious of them and so they do not become words we simply repeat.

1- We should say three times:

Subhana Rabbiya al-‘Azheem “How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud) When we say “Subhan Allah” or “Subhana Rabbiy,” we are disassociating Allah from any imperfection or impurity or from anything derogatory. And we say “Rabbiy” meaning “my Lord” in order to feel closeness to Him and love Him.

2- We can also say:

Subbuhun Quddusun, Rabbu al-Mala’ikati wa al-Ruh, “Exalted, Pure, Lord of the Angels and the Spirit.” (Muslim)

Subbuh comes from the same root word of subhan, which is Sa-Ba-Ha, and is an aggrandizement of subhan, meaning the Exalted One who is praised and glorified extensively. It has been debated by scholars as to what the ‘Spirit’ refers; most have said that it refers to Jibreel (peace be upon him), others have said it is another great Angel, and others have said that it is a formidable being that not even the Angels can see. Allah knows best.

3- We can also say:

Subhanak Allahuma wa bihamdik, Allahuma ighfirli, “How Perfect You are, O Allah. Praises are for You. O Allah, forgive me.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

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 Source: Suhaibwebb.com.

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Ruku`: The Internal Component

Ruku`

True worship comes through humility of the soul.

When we recite the Qur’an, we know we should have khushu` (devotion) because we are reciting the words of Allah. When we go into sujud (prostration), we know that God answers our du`a’ (supplication), so we try hard to concentrate. Yet what do we feel when we go into ruku` (bowing)?

Fulfilling the Needs of the Soul

We all have certain daily needs. A parent cannot wait to get home from work to embrace their children, and even if the children are asleep, the parent will give them a kiss just to fill that space. When we feel hunger, we sometimes become tired and cranky until we eat.

Just like we have emotional and physical needs, we also have spiritual needs. The soul thirsts for the worship of God. Many people feel an emptiness, and try to fill it with other things. But just like a hungry person cannot satisfy his hunger by running—we would find that absurd—this spiritual thirst cannot be fulfilled except through the true worship of God.

Humility through Ruku`

True worship comes through humility of the soul, and ruku` represents a part of that. One of the Arabs, Hakim bin Hizam, when accepting Islam, told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that he would fulfill all of the commandments except ruku` during Prayer because of the humility it involved.

Thus when we go into ruku`, we should make a conscious effort to make the straightening of our backs, the lowering of our heads, and the uttering of “subhan rabbiya al-`azheem” (Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme) a reflection of our internal state.

When we say “subhaan rabbiya al-`azheem,” we are disassociating Almighty Allah from anything. “Rabb,” as with many other words, does not just have one meaning—rabb means the Lord, the Sustainer, and the Cherisher. When we think of what we have—the clothes we wear, our wealth, our health, our loved ones—who has provided them? So, how can we not humble ourselves to our Lord? And how can we not feel a special closeness to Him—that He is my Lord?

Glorifying Allah, the Supreme

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:  “In the ruku`, therefore, glorify the Supremity of the Lord, Mighty and Sublime.” (Muslim)

When you recognize the supremity of Almighty Allah, and the words are reflected in your heart, you should then have reverence for everything associated with Him. Almighty Allah has said in the Qur’an:

And whoever honors the symbols of Allah—indeed, it is from the piety of hearts. (Al-Hajj 22:32)

Thus, reverence during ruku` is from piety of the heart and we should all strive to perfect it. Ibn Al-Qayyim, a medieval Muslim scholar, stated that the ruku` is almost an introduction to sujud, when we take one form of humility before Almighty Allah to a deeper level. This effort that goes into feeling humility in ruku` can only increase our love for Him, and is one way of manifesting the meanings in the famous hadith qudsi:

“If my servant comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him or her an arms-length; and if he or she comes to Me walking, I come to him or her at speed.” (Muslim)

As we increase in good deeds to grow closer to Almighty Allah, He loves us, and what more could we want than Allah’s love? This is why the Prophet would lengthen his ruku`, such that his ruku`, his standing after ruku`, his sujud, and his sitting in between the two prostrations, were nearly equal in length (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).

Bear in mind that his ruku` was also almost as long as his standing before ruku`, where he would sometimes recite five sections (ajza’). (Muslim)

Muslim bin Makki once described `Abdullah bin Al-Zubair  (may Allah be pleased with him) as he was praying. He said that he saw him go into ruku`, and in that time, Muslim read chapters Al-Baqarah, Aal `Imran, An-Nisaa’ and Al-Ma’idah, and `Abdullah bin Al-Zubair was still in ruku`.

Some of us may be inspired by this, but others of us may think, “I can never reach this level,” and not even try. However, let us remember the hadith above about servants who try to move closer to Almighty Allah by as little as a hand span—as long as we are trying to change the state of our Prayers, we have fulfilled this part of the hadith.

May Allah allow us to taste the sweetness of ruku`.

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This article first appeared at suhaibwebb.com. It is republished with slight editorial modifications.

 

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Prayer: The Key to Good Life

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiq

The benefits of prayer are numerous, both in this world and the Hereafter.

Performing the prayer is a command of Allah. It is the most important pillar of Islam. It distinguishes between the believers and non-believers. Prayer is not an option; it is obligatory. It is not once or few times a week. But, it must be performed five times a day. All the Prophets of Almighty Allah merely told their people to pray; Islam, however, made it a very essential part of religion.

Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayer, and stand up truly obedient to Allah. (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely, the morning recitation is witnessed. And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. (Al-Israa’ 17:78-80)

Perform the regular prayer at both ends of the day, and during parts of the night, for good things drive bad away; this is a reminder for those who are aware. (Hud 11:114)

The sincere and devoted prayer helps a person to enter the Paradise, and it is the key to everything good. In fact, the benefits of prayer are numerous, both in this world and the Hereafter; its benefits are spiritual, moral, physical, individual, and social. Prayer is our link, our bond, and our communication with Allah. If you love Allah and want Him to love you, know that the prayer is the means to that. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The source of my delight is the prayer” (authenticated by Al-Albani). He used to ask Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) to give the Adhan for the prayer thus: “Give us comfort by it, O Bilal.” He used to spend a long time in his nightly prayers. Sometimes, he used to offer prayer for one-third of the night and sometimes for half of the night, or even more than that. He used to find great comfort and joy in this heart-refining act of worship. Performing prayer is rewarded both in this world and beyond.

The whole structure of prayer is so beautiful and so remarkable that there is nothing comparable to it in any religion. Prayer is not just recitation or physical movements. Yet, mind, soul and body, all three are involved together in a most harmonious way during this obligatory act of worship.

Prayer is done both individually and collectively; it is done both in public and in privacy. If we observe our prayer as it should be observed, everything in our lives will change for the better. Our relationship with Allah will be good because we shall be living fully conscious of Him all the time. Our relations with our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, and everyone and everything will be very good. By means of prayer along with the ablution, we shall be clean from sins as much as a person who takes a bath five times a day will be clean from every kind of dirt. Almighty Allah tells us in the Qur’an that the prayer precludes all kinds of evils, vulgarities, and indecencies,

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. . (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)

Moreover, we are told in the Qur’an that those who establish prayer regularly do not experience fears or anxieties when afflicted with hardships. Allah, the Most-High, says:

Surely man is created of a hasty temperament, being greatly grieved when evil afflicts him, And niggardly when good befalls him, except those who pray,those who are constant at their prayer. (Al-Ma`arij 70:19-23)

More importantly, prayer brings about the true success in this life and in the life to come, as Almighty Allah tells us in the Qur’an,

Successful indeed are the believers. Those who pray humbly … and who keep up their prayers, they shall be the heirs who shall inherit the Paradise and they shall be there forever. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-11)

Everyday Benefits

Prayer requires taharah (Arabic for: cleanliness of one’s body and clothes, and of the place of prayer). So, those who perform the prayer enjoy clean bodies, clean clothes, and a clean environment. In addition, prayer is to be performed on appointed times. Consequently, the regular performers of prayer learn punctuality in all their affairs and get a sense of how valuable time is.

In prayer, Muslims stand together without any distinction of race, color, financial status, or political position. Those who perform prayer in congregation regularly do learn the concepts of equality, solidarity, and brotherhood. Prayer in congregation is performed behind an imam whom everyone has to follow. This teaches them discipline, order, and organization. Moreover, if the imam makes any mistake, any person can correct him. Indeed, this is a clear sign of democracy. Let us pray regularly and pray in the best way, so that the benefits and beauty of prayer may reflect in our lives. Mu`adh ibn Jabal, one of the Prophet’s Companions, reported,

“One day the Prophet took my hand and said, ‘By Allah, I love you.’ And said, ‘I advise you, O Mu`adh, not to fail to say after every prayer the following: O Allah, help me to remember You, to thank You, and to worship You in the best way’.”(An-Nawawi)

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This article first appeared on Pakistanlink.com. Here taken from Onislam.net.

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiq is Islamic scholar of North America; Director, Orange County Islamic Center, California.

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Prayer in the Qur’anic Sense

Do you recall when was the last time you prayed?… Readers’ answers may vary, but what is common to all is that most people pray, at one time or another. Indeed, people can pray to Allah, our Lord, at any time and in any place they like, for anything they wish. Allah calls attention to the fact that people can pray and remember Him anywhere they wish:

Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying]: “Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire. Our Lord, those You cast into the Fire, You have indeed disgraced. The wrongdoers will have no helpers. Our Lord, we heard a caller calling us to faith: “Have faith in your Lord!’ and we had faith. Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions, erase our bad actions from us and take us back to You with those who are truly good. Our Lord, give us what You promised us through Your Messengers, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Rising. You do not break Your promise.” Their Lord responds to them: “I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female…” (Aal `Imran 3:191-195)

In the Qur’an, Allah describes the kind of prayer He most likes, which we will explain in this series of articles.

1- Praying Humbly, Without Loudness of Voice

When you are in distress or feel desperate and thus feel the need to pray to Allah, where would you like to pray? Surely, the solitude of one’s own room at night or a very tranquil place that will give you the sense of Allah’s nearness would be the place you are looking for.

While worshipping, spiritual integrity can best be attained in a time and place that offers secure undivided attention. A person who feels the need to pray to Allah for the correction of his or her mistakes prefers to be alone and pray in secret. The Prophet Zakariyya’s prayers, through which he asked for a descendant, is an example of secret prayer:

When he called on his Lord in secret and said, “My Lord, my bones have lost their strength and my head is crowned with white, but in calling on You, My Lord, I have never been disappointed.” (Maryam 19:3-4)

As stated above, prayer is “accepting one’s weaknesses and limited power before Allah’s infinite might and asking for help from Him.” For this reason, prayer demands absolute consciousness and acceptance of one’s weaknesses and destitution before Allah. In this sense, there is no doubt that one will fail to attain such consciousness if one is insincere. In the Qur’an, Allah recommends believers to pray humbly and secretly:

Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits. (Al- A`raf 7:55)

Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and with awe, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be one of the unaware. Those who are in the presence of your Lord do not consider themselves too great to worship Him. They glorify His praise and they prostrate to Him… (Al-A`raf 7:205-206)

In the Qur’an, Allah calls our attention to solitary prayer that is performed with a deep feeling of dire need. In this sense, the place, the sophistication of the outward performance, the number of participants, or the supplicants’ loud voice can by no means be the criteria for a successful prayer.

One must be aware that a loud voice in prayer is not an element that makes it heard by Allah. As already mentioned, Allah, the All-Knowing, knows even our inner thoughts and He is closer to us than our jugular vein. In this sense, it is needless to raise our voice so as to be heard by our Lord Who is close to us. One can either pray secretly or in a tone of voice audible only to oneself.

From the verses below we understand that both while praying or going about our daily business, a person needs to use his or her voice at a moderate level:

Be moderate in your tread and lower your voice. The most hateful of voices is the donkey’s bray. (Luqman 31:19)

Say: “Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful, whichever you call upon, the Most Beautiful Names are His.” Do not be too loud in your prayer or too quiet in it, but try to find a way between the two. (Al-Israa’ 17:110)

As the verses reveal, the form of worship described in the Qur’an is far from ostentation. It is not performed to impress people: the sole purpose is the due fulfillment of one’s duty towards the Creator. The Qur’an emphasizes this point strongly. In verses related to prayer, there are strong references to “calling on Allah, making one’s religion sincerely His,” which means, performing one’s prayer to earn Allah’s good pleasure alone and not seeking any other purpose. We can see this from verses such as the following:

He is the Living—there is no god but Him—so call on Him, making your religion sincerely His. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (Ghafir 40:65)

So call upon Allah, making your religion sincerely His, even though the disbelievers detest it. (Ghafir 40:14)

Say: “My Lord has commanded justice. Stand and face Him in every mosque and call on Him, making your religion sincerely His. As He originated you, so you will return.” (Al-A`raf: 29)

The religion belongs to Allah alone. All forms of worship are performed to earn Allah’s good pleasure. The only way to attain this goal is to perform our worship in the form Allah describes.

Those who do not make their prayers or any other form of worship sincerely Allah’s, that is, those who seek “ostentation,” are in great delusion. As Allah says:

So woe to the praying ones, Who are unmindful of their prayers, Who do [good] to be seen. (Al-Ma`un 107:4-6)

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The article was first published in Harun Yahya’s book: Prayer in the Qur’an. Here taken with kind permission from www.harunyahya.com

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Prayer in Islam

brunei-ramadan-mosque-water-reflection

God is accessible at anytime and in any place.

Nowadays the media reports a lot on the religion of Islam and the Muslims; but the majority of this ‘primetime’ is used to mar the image of Islam. Muslims are often depicted as being fanatical or extreme for simply following the basic tenants of Islam.

The media goes a step further in marring the image of Islam by confusing cultures with what Islam really is. Basic practices and pillars of Islam begin to take on strange connotations when the reality is they are acts of worship that denote piety and God consciousness.

Muslims testify with certainty that there is none worthy of worship except God alone. They believe that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His messenger. They fast, they give in charity, and they try to go to Mecca for pilgrimage. Muslims also pray five times per day.

Five times! When some hear this, they throw their hands up in shock and wonder just how much time this must take and how it can be slotted into a 24 hour period.

Others, who are used to communicating with God in their own form of prayer will often question the rules and regulations that are attached to Prayer in Islam. God, they say, is accessible at any time.

According to the Muslim belief, God is accessible at anytime and in any place. Muslims call on God frequently throughout the day and night. They raise their hands in supplication and ask for His help, mercy, and forgiveness.

This, however, is not the act that Muslims refer to as Prayer. This is called making du`a’ (supplications) wherein one calls unto God asking Him for His help. For Muslims Prayer is a set of ritual movements and words performed at fixed times, five times per day.

God says in Qur’an, “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specific times.” (An-Nisa’ 4:103) Muslims pray in the early morning before sunrise, in the middle of the day, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. Muslims pray in obedience to God because they believe God created humankind for no other purpose except to worship Him. We read in the Qur’an: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Consequently, for a believer, worship is a way of life. Prayer at fixed times serves as a reminder of why we are here and helps to direct a person’s thoughts and actions away from sin and onto remembrance of God.

Prophet Muhammad emphasized the importance of Prayer when he explained its ability to remove sin. He said, “What would you think if there was a river by the door of any one of you and he bathed in it five times a day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?” They said, “No trace of dirt would be left on him.” He said, “That is like the five daily prayers, with it God erases sin.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Prayer is just one act amongst many acts of worship; it holds a very special place in Islam because of the way it was enjoined. It was not brought down to earth by an Angel rather it was bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad during his unique ascension into the Heavens.

Fifty prayers were first enjoined upon the believers but this was reduced to five, while the reward for Prayer remains as if it were still fifty. This reduction shows just how great God’s love for humanity is, a few minutes throughout the day are rewarded as if they were continuous worship.

Muslims pray five times per day. If possible men should pray in a mosque or in a congregation of men. Women have the option of praying at home. The believers stand alone, or surrounded by others, they stand in their homes and workplaces, the parks and the mosques. They stand, bow, prostrate, and sit. Their voices are sometimes raised and sometimes silent, but the words remain the same.

When a Muslim prays he or she addresses God in the Arabic language and uses the same words and movements as every other Muslim across the globe. Muslims unite in the ritual and language of Prayer.

For Prayer, Muslims stand facing the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the House of God, known as the Ka`bah is situated. If a person is ill or injured it is possible to pray sitting, or even lying down. The leader of the Prayer known as the imam, is not an intermediary between the people and God; rather, he is usually the person able to recite the most Qur’an. Women may also pray with a congregation of women. When Muslims pray together they stand shoulder to shoulder. Their proximity to each other demonstrates unity. No one person is better than another except by his or her piety.

Kings stand next to the poor, the white stand next to the black, Arabs stand beside Europeans. The believers then raise their hands to ear level and proclaim that God is the greatest. This indicates that the Prayer has begun and that all matters related to this world are left far behind. The connection is made and in the few minutes, it takes to pray each person stands before God in full submission. Interestingly the Arabic word for Prayer is Salah and it is derived from a root word that means to connect. Muslims then recite the opening chapter of the Qur’an, al-Fatihah, and sometimes another chapter from Quran. They then go through a set of ritual movements bowing and then prostrating, all the while proclaiming God’s greatness, glory and majesty.

In prostration, when the forehead touches the ground, the believer is closer to God than at any other time. There is now an opportunity to make supplication, asking God for help, mercy or forgiveness (this can be in any language).

Towards the end of the Prayer, Muslims sit to praise and ask God to bless Prophets Muhammad and Abraham (peace and blessings be upon them). The Prayer concludes with the words As-salamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullah (may God’s peace and blessings be upon you) spoken while turning the head towards the right and then the words are repeated while turning towards the left.

The Prayer has now ended and the world comes rushing back. However, for those few minutes the believer was alone with God. Whether he or she was praying alone or within a congregation, the connection was between God and the individual. It was a moment of bliss, peace, and tranquility. Prayer is a reminder and a comfort. Every hour of every day somewhere in the world, a Muslim is praying. The believer is seeking the comfort that comes from feeling close to God and the peace that comes from feeling God’s love and mercy.

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Taken with modification from: islamreligion.com.

 

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Introduction to Prayer

It was here in Makkah where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad was flown from his house in Makkah to Jerusalem mounted on Al-Buraq, which travelled at the speed of light.

When he arrived in Jerusalem Prophet Muhammad led the previous Prophets in prayer at AL-Masjid Al-Aqsa.  After he was descending to the heavens it was there that the prayer was established and made compulsory.

It’s till today that the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) answer the call to prayer in order to thank, praise and remember Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He).

As the sound of the Adhan (call to Prayer) is heard throughout the world, Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, thanking Him, remembering Him, bowing down to him in prayer.

Salah is the most important Pillar of Islam after the two Shahadah (testimony of faith): ‘Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash hadu anna Mohammadan rasoolu Allah’ (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger).

The aim of the project is to introduce salah to those who don’t know how to pray at all, for beginners or for those who have some idea or for those who want to perfect their prayer.

 

 

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Power of Prayer

A believer who shows determination in prayer gets much in return by earning a deep faith

Prayer, which is an important connection with God, is demanding in the sense that we demonstrate our weakness in front of Almighty Allah. Our Lord reveals that prayer is an important act of worship with the verse:

Say: ‘What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him? (Al-Furqan 25: 77)

Actually the need to form a connection with Allah exists in every man’s character, entailed in creation. However, while praying is an inseparable part of their lives for believers, for some people it is an act of worship to be remembered only when they face with difficulties or life-threatening situations. However, this is a big mistake because what is truly good is to ask for Allah’s help both in difficulty and ease and to take refuge in His mercy.

Being Determined in Prayer

Allah has made it possible for His servants to reach anything that He sees as good and beautiful. However, being determined in the prayer being made is just as important as the prayer itself. Praying with patience is an indication of the need for the desires prayed for, of the inconvenience about this matter and most importantly an indication that one’s closeness to God has increased. Being determined in prayer makes the believer more mature and bestows on him a strong will and character. A believer who shows determination in prayer gets much in return by earning a deep faith, which is more valuable than most of the things he asked for. It is revealed in the Qur’an that one needs to be determined in prayer as such:

Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. But that is a very hard thing, except for the humble. (Al-Baqarah 2: 45)

Our valuable Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated how much he needs God sometimes by praying for years on and our Lord, the All-Merciful, has given what he asked for at the best time. The fact that God accepts every prayer, both open and hidden, is due to His mightiness and grace. God never leaves any thought which crosses one’s mind without a return. However, “accepting a prayer” does not mean something happening as it was asked for because sometimes a person may be demanding something harmful to himself. Almighty Allah reveals as such about this matter:

Man prays for evil just as he prays for good. Man is prone to be impetuous. (Al-Israa’ 17: 11)

Allah knows best what is good and what is bad for a person because He is the One Who appreciates everything. As with His every work, there are many wonders hidden in the way He accepts prayers. For example, the Prophet Jacob (Ya`qub, peace be upon him) rejoining his son the Prophet Joseph (Yusuf, peace be upon him) after many long years, the Prophet Joseph gaining power and rulership after staying in prison for a long time, the Prophet Job (Ayyub, peace be upon him) being saved from the pain caused by Satan; all of these occurred after showing great patience and continuous prayers. Almighty Allah has accepted the prayers of these sincere servants of His at the best time for them and has made them mature, educated them, increased their loyalty and sincerity and turned them into servants worthy of high degrees in Paradise.

How Does Allah Accept Prayer?

• When a believer prays, he knows that Allah hears him and will always accept his prayer in any way. This is because he realizes that events do not take place in a coincidental way, but according to the destiny determined by Allah and in the way He wills. Therefore, he has no doubt that he will not have any return for his prayer. Praying with this sincere spirit causes great goodness by Allah’s leave. In one verse, it is revealed that our Lord will always accept a prayer as a manifestation of His name “Al-Mujeeb” (The Answerer of Prayers; One Who accepts the demands of those who beg to Him).

If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Al-Baqarah 2: 186)

• The reason that something asked for in a prayer is given with delay, or accepted in a completely different way, could also be that our Lord tests His servants. God may grant His blessings after certain periods of time in order to test the patience of His servants and to make them mature according to a certain reason.

Due to this and similar reasons, it cannot be expected that every prayer is realized as it is asked for and as soon as possible. As it is stated by the great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman, Allah may give less of something asked for in prayer or sometimes more of it as a reward or because of the reasons we mentioned above He may not grant them at all. However, in every condition, Allah accepts the prayer of the one who prays to Him.

How Did Our Prophets Pray?

Praying is a way of submitting to Allah and all people need prayer. The most erudite example of this is that all Prophets pray to God by submitting to Him in every matter as revealed in the Qur’an. In the prayers of our Prophet and all other prophets, we see both their submission to Allah, the fact that they see Allah as their sole friend and helper and that they praise our Lord’s glory with His most beautiful names.

• The Prayer of Our Prophet

In the prayers of our Prophet Mohammad the most beautiful examples of citing Allah with His names are revealed. One of the verses in which our Prophet’s prayers are mentioned is as follows:

Say, ‘O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! You give sovereignty to whoever You will You take sovereignty from whoever You will. You exalt whoever You will You abase whoever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things. (Al ‘Imran 3: 26)

In the narrations, it is noted that our Prophet prayed to our Lord to give him a good morality and good nature.

“O Allah! Enhance goodness and ethics! O Divine! Remove from me bad morals!” (At-Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad)

• The Prayer of Prophet Noah

The patience of Prophet Noah, who called his society to the true religion for years with an exemplary determination, was praised in the Qur’an. He struggled against his society that acted with enmity towards him and the believers who were with him. The fact that Prophet Noah turned to Allah in every situation and prayed by hoping for his help sincerely is a great example for believers. In one verse, it is revealed that God knew the condition Prophet Noah was in and that he prayed as follows:

He called upon his Lord: ‘I am overwhelmed, so help me!’ (Al-Qamar 54: 10)

Allah accepted Prophet Noah’s prayer and commanded him to prepare for the Flood, which was going to take place in future. Prophet Noah began to build a massive ship by the command of Allah, even though there was no sea or lake nearby. During the construction of the ship, he was continuously subject to spiritual pressure by his society. When the time came Allah’s promise was realized and the flood disaster took place.

• The Prayer of Prophet Jonah (Yunus)

In the Qur’an, it is revealed that this valuable prophet of ours separated himself from his people, as they did not respond to his calls. (Surat as-Saffat, 139–142) As it is revealed in the verses, following this, there was a draw in the ship that Prophet Jonah was traveling on and as a result of the draw it was decided that he was to be thrown into the sea. On top of these events, Prophet Jonah submitted to Allah and prayed to Him. Allah revealed this event as such in the Qur’an:

And Jonah when he left in anger and thought We would not punish him. He called out in the pitch darkness: ‘There is no god but You! Glory be to You! Truly I have been one of the wrongdoers.’ We responded to him and rescued him from his grief. That is how We rescue the belivers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 87–88)

As it is revealed in the verses Prophet Yunus confessed his condition sincerely in his prayer.  He prayed to God and waited for His help. Our Lord, Who has infinite mercy, accepted his redemption and saved him from the stomach of the fish by accepting his prayer.

• The Prayer of the Prophet Job (Ayyub)

In the Qur’an, the Prophet Ayyub’s patience was mentioned as an example to believers. Prophet Job who received revelations from Allah and who was a selected servant (An-Nisaa’ 4: 163) experienced serious trouble and went through a difficult period. However, despite all of the heavy tribulations he was in, he always set an example for believers with his patience and submission to God:

Truly! We found him patient. How excellent (a) slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)! (Saad 38: 44)

The sincere prayer of this holy Prophet was revealed in one verse as follows:

And Job when he called out to his Lord, ‘Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful,’ (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 83)

It is revealed in the Qur’an that Almighty Allah accepted the prayer of the Prophet Job who was one of His sincere servants:

We responded to him and removed from him the harm which was afflicting him and restored his family to him, and the same again with them, as a mercy direct from Us and a Reminder to all worshippers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 84)

Prayer, which is an important means to reach Almighty Allah, the All-Knowing and the All-Hearing, Who is nearer to man than his jugular vein: We verily created man and We know what his soul whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Qaf 50: 16), is an act of worship believers carry out in every occasion and condition.

However, when believers do this, as it is revealed in the verse: But you will not will unless Allah wills… (Al-Insan 76: 30) they behave in a manner conscious of the fact that everything is always under the control of our Lord and that everything is realized by His will.

There is a Response to Sincere Prayers in Both the World and the Hereafter

Prayer leads the person towards what is going to happen in his destiny; God is the One Who determines destiny and creates prayer. However, the blessing that comes following a prayer contains prosperity in this world and a good return in the Hereafter. A person’s whole life is a result of the active or verbal prayers previously made, whether he realizes it or not.

Active prayer is our actions and efforts put forth on the subject of prayer by Allah’s leave. When this effort is not for the good pleasure of Allah –as is the case with some people- it could still be a means for an individual to reach his or her wishes, by Allah’s leave. People who do not have faith but carry out their active prayers with great ambition, for example, those who work and earn a lot, becomes rich or becomes expert about a subject and becomes famous, have reached that degree through their active struggle by holding onto causes, and again by Allah’s leave.

However, active prayers that are not made for the good pleasure of Allah will bring no benefit to the individual in the Hereafter even if a person reaches his or her objectives from time to time in this world.

No Other Than Allah is Prayed to

By the verse revealed in the Qur’an: O Prophet! Allah is enough for you, and for the faithful who follow you. (Al-Anfal 8: 64), believers know that Allah is the only One Whom to ask help. He is the most superior, the most powerful and the One Who sees and hears everything. Allah is the One Who is excluded from all deficient features, and Who is the Owner of eternal power. All power in the universe is in His hands. So help and forgiveness should be asked for only and only from Allah, Whom everyone is need for and Who Himself does not need anyone. In the Qur’an it is revealed that it is wrong to pray to others than Allah and that Allah is the sole authority of prayer:

So do not call on any other god along with Allah or you will be among those who will be punished. (Ash-Shu‘ara’ 26: 213)

Conclusion

Prayer is an example of Allah’s mercy and compassion for His servants. Believers can pray to Allah at every moment and under every condition and they are peaceful that God will accept these prayers in the best ways.

In this way, they can tell their deepest secrets and the most hidden desires to Allah, and live the goodness, prosperity and beauty that comes from the knowledge that God is the only friend, guide and helper. We can see the biggest secret in Allah accepting prayers in the lives of prophets as we have mentioned in some examples. There is a relation in praying and carrying out the actions Allah commands. The physical effort shown for Allah’s good pleasure, mercy and Paradise is an act of worship as important as prayer.

Allah revealed in the Qur’an about the importance of effort:

But as for anyone who desires the Hereafter, and strives for it with the striving it deserves, being a believer, the striving of such people will be gratefully acknowledged. (Al-Israa’: 19)

Islamic scholar Imam Rabbani explained this matter with these words:

“Desiring something means attaining it; indeed, Almighty Allah does not make His servant pray for something He will not accept.”

Believers who know that their actions are also prayers not only pray at moments of difficulty but at every moment by feeling the existence and mightiness of Allah. They preserve this close connection to Almighty Allah at every moment of their lives.

 

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Source: HarunYahya.com

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Strength and Nobility in Prayer

The importance of the second pillar of Islam is discussed by first exploring its place in the lives and teachings of all the prophets of God. Dr. Badawi then proceeds to emphasize the fact that prayer in Islam is not a mere ritual but rather a practical way of remembering and worshipping the Creator and doing good. Other areas covered are the significance and virtues of prayer which include preparation, form, and congregation.
httpv://youtu.be/jWRlLiliUjM
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Source: IslamOnDemand.com.

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The Beauty of My Prayer

 

He stays like this for several minutes with only Allah knowing what he is saying.

He stays like this for several minutes with only Allah knowing what he is saying.

He awakes in the middle of the night with a purpose. Slowly, he gets out of bed and quietly slips off to the bathroom so not to awaken the others. Inside he feels refreshed as the cool water splashes on his face, arms and feet. Revived, he heads out with a purpose to his prayer room.

He has had a very difficult day with a lot of questions echoing in his head, but he did not complain to anybody, as he knows there is only One who can assist him; the One who ordered him to seek assistance through prayer and patience. So, here he is, seeking assistance through prayer, while many others sleep.

He raises his hands above his shoulders and proclaims the greatness of his Creator Allahu Akbar! (Allah is Greatest), then folds them on his chest. Quietly, he seeks protection from the accursed Satan, and begins in the name of his Lord. He recites Al-Fatihah (the opening chapter of the Qur’an) in beautiful rhythmic tones. He takes his time, knowing that after every verse, his Lord replies. ‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds’, he begins. He can feel the response within him, ‘My slave has praised me!’

‘Most Gracious, Most Merciful’, he continues. ‘My slave has glorified me!’ is the response. ‘Master of the Day of Judgment’, he affirms. ‘My slave has related all matters to me’, Allah responds. ‘You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help’, he attests. Allah’s reply fills his heart with hope and joy, ‘This is between me and my servant and my servant will have whatever he asks for!’

At this point, he breaks down into tears as he asks Allah for the most important thing in his life, ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those who have earned your favor, not of those who have earned your anger or have gone astray!’ He feels peace as he internalizes Allah’s response, ’This is for my slave and my slave will have what he asked for’.

He then recites further and feels Allah’s guidance in every verse he recites. For whichever chapter of the Qur’an he chooses to recite from, he is assured that he will find guidance as Allah has testified, ‘this is the book in which there is no doubt, it is a guidance for those who are conscious of Allah’. After completing his emotional recitation in which he pondered over Allah’s wise and reassuring words, he bows in rukū’ and glorifies his Lord for His guidance and mercy.

He then stands up straight and praises Allah as he prepares for his favorite part of the prayer: the sajdah (prostration)! He proclaims the greatness of Allah and goes straight down into prostration, indicating his full submission to his Creator. It is a position which signifies complete obedience and humility and it is the position in which a person is closest to their Lord.

He stays in sajdah for a long time with no intention of getting up soon. He glorifies his Lord, The Most High, multiple times then breaks down into tears and begins to ask for everything he needs. He stays like this for several minutes with only Allah knowing what he is saying. He is praying; praying for everything he needs, praying for everyone he knows, praying for people he doesn’t know, praying for people who might even hate or harm him. He prays and prays, in complete submission to his Lord.

He then sits up to take a short break and seeks forgiveness for any shortcomings in his prayer, then goes back into prostration to glorify His Lord more and ask Him again for His endless bounties. After a few minutes, he stands up and repeats the entire cycle again.

Several minutes later, the humble slave returns to his bed at peace with his Lord, and at peace with creation. He recites his du`aa’ before sleeping and closes his eyes for a short nap, ready to tackle the challenges of life in the morning with full faith in his Lord.

This is salah (prayer), true salah; salah based upon understanding, concentration, sincerity and submission. It was never meant to be a ritual, but rather a means of communication with our Creator and spiritual revival. May Allah grant us all the ability, guidance and commitment to pray like this every day in all our prayers.

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Source: muslimmatters.org

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Feeling Allah’s Existence While Praying

Feel God's Existence While Praying--

We must remember that prayer is both an important duty towards Allah and a means that will help us attain our next lives.

One of the essentials of prayer is having firm faith in Allah. In situations in which one feels desperate, people feel no doubt about Allah’s existence and His help. Yet a person ought also to feel Allah’s existence, might and grandeur while praying during times of ease. In fact, not only during prayer, but at every instant of daily life, a believer should retain this awareness.

At every moment he must feel Allah’s existence and closeness and pray, for only someone who is cognizant of Allah’s existence acknowledges the meaning and importance of prayer. Prayer is an intimate and personal bond between people and Allah. Through prayer, people express all their troubles and wishes to Allah and implore Him to assist them. In return, Allah answers His servants’ prayer.

Prayer in the Qur’anic sense can by no means be limited to a few rituals. As the verse “… remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on your sides.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:103) maintains, one can bring Allah to mind and pray to Him at any time and under all conditions, without necessarily performing any particular ritual or ceremony. That is because what matters is not the outward performance but one’s sincerity.

Misunderstanding this strips prayer of its actual meaning and causes it to be perceived as a form of magic or spell. We can see this by the superstitious practices of some ignorant people such as fastening clothes to trees or blowing into water. It is well to remember that superstition is the opposite of the Qur’anic rationale. Instead of directly turning to Allah and asking for their needs from Him, these ignorant people devise some superstitious rituals or symbols and pray through these means. Meanwhile, they are unaware on whom they call. They attribute supernatural power to those objects they pray to, yet they fail to describe the nature of this power. This includes the superstitious practice of visiting tombs and praying to the dead to ask for help, whereas visiting tombs should be to remind us of death and the power of Allah.

A believer who complies with Allah’s command which says, “Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely.” (Al-Muzzammil 73:8) turns to Allah alone, and submits and pleads to Him.

 

Striking a Balance between Hope and Fear While Praying

In the Qur’an, Allah refers to Himself as, “… the Most Merciful of the merciful…” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 83). It is also stated that, provided that one asks for repentance, anyone who does evil will find Allah forgiving. (An-Nisaa’ 4:110) For this reason, people must reflect upon this attribute of Allah and pray with hope. No matter how serious an error a person may have committed, and is in deep remorse over it, it is not a reason for him or her to despair of Allah’s forgiveness. Thus, the state of mind caused by erring and committing a sin must never become an impediment for a prayer of hope for forgiveness, for Allah states in the Qur’an that only disbelievers lose hope in Allah’s mercy:

 

… Do not despair of solace from Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who disbelieve. (Yusuf 12:87)

In addition, no one is immune to punishment in Hell. Indeed Allah warns people against this, saying, “No one is safe from the punishment of his Lord.” (Al-Ma`arij 70:28) For this reason, everyone must fear Allah as much as he or she can. Human beings, whose life is a test, are always vulnerable to Satan’s cunning deceptions and are thus very likely to go astray and turn away from the righteous path. Nobody is guaranteed a place in Paradise. This makes a person fear failing to attain Allah’s good pleasure, while hoping for Allah’s mercy.

Indeed, one of the attributes of a true believer that distinguishes him from all others is his fear of Allah, since a disbeliever doubts even the existence of Hell. Believers, however, are fully cognizant of Hell’s existence, and they see it as a very serious threat. Having an unswerving faith in the Day of Judgment, they feel the greatest fear. Only a person who has faith in Allah and avoids arrogance is influenced in her conduct by this fear: she feels no doubt about the existence and severity of the torment of Hell, and never assumes an attitude or behavior that may involve the risk of being thrown into it. She only aspires to the life in the hereafter that abounds with infinite beauty and makes every effort to distance herself from torment. The fear a believer feels for the hereafter manifests itself in his or her prayer.

That is why we find the concepts of fear and hope side by side in the Qur’an. If a person fails to fear the torment of Hell while praying, this is due to an essential failure of thinking and comprehension. Just as how eagerly a person prays to attain Paradise, so must he, for avoidance of Hell. In other words, through fear of Hell, he hopes to attain Paradise. Some of the verses that mention this are as follows:

Do not corrupt the earth after it has been put right. Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. Allah’s mercy is close to the good-doers. (Al-A`raf 7:56)


Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. And they give of what We have provided for them.
(As-Sajda 32:16)

As is seen, fear and hope are the two essential feelings that are proper to prayer as described in the Qur’an. In fact, a careful scrutiny of the Qur’an reveals the vital importance these two concepts represent for all forms of worship and in every instant of one’s life.

We must remember that prayer is both an important duty towards Allah and a means that will help us attain our next lives, for in the Qur’an Allah states that the end of those who fail to offer prayers to Allah will be the eternal torment in Hell.

 

Your Lord says, “Call on Me and I will answer you. Those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell abject”. (Ghafir 40:60)

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The article was first published in Harun Yahya’s book: Prayer in the Qur’an. Here taken with kind permission from www.harunyahya.com.

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