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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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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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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Our Children and Prayer (1/2)

The Prophet said: "Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten."

The Prophet said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten.”

 

• “My son does not pray except because he fears me.”
• “If I did not remind him of the prayer time, he would wait until its due time had passed.”
• “My son only prays to silence my yells. Can you imagine that he does not even perform ablution before praying?”

Dear parent, if you are among this group, I would like to invite you, from the depth my heart, to contemplate my words; perhaps you could find guidance in what I have compiled from the opinions of experts in the field of education and parenting to make full use of it in laying the optimal and best foundation in your precious child [i.e., your beloved son] of which you are dreaming.

Before We Start

Before we start our journey on that road and go through the details, we should adopt the following narration as our motto in the process of teaching our children to perform prayers; the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Command your children to pray at the age of seven and beat them for it at the age of ten (if they do not pray).” (Graded as Sahih by Al-Albani)

Why the Age of Seven in Particular?

In fact, there are several issues that are related to that specific age. At that age, the children’s mental horizons broaden and they are willing to learn essential life skills. Moreover, seven-year-old children are more eager to seek their parents’ pleasure; since they are full of deep admiration for their parents in this phase of their lives. In fact, children then are willing to do whatever they are told, to get in return simple words of praise or encouragement.

Furthermore, children at that age tend to imitate adults in their various actions and behavior; they are rather keen to go to the mosque and pray, unlike the eleven-year-old son and older children who believe that implementing their father’s commands is a return to the childhood phase.

Therefore, children try to keep away from implementing their orders at the age of puberty. In fact, children at that age believe that their rejection to their father’s orders is the utmost level of attaining the phase of youth and being a grown-up.

Let us Overcome the Obstacles of Teaching Together

• Failing to understand the meaning of the word “obligatory” i.e., when your child is informed that performing prayer is obligatory; since such abstract words are rather hard for children to comprehend at that age as they have simpler understanding abilities at that time. Hence, you should resort to using intelligible and simple language.

For example, you may tell him, “Prayer is obligatory; this means that we cannot neglect it and as soon as we hear the Adhan (call to prayer), we should immediately perform the due prayer”, and so on.
• Lack of innate readiness to pray; the child may pray when he is asked to do so.
• Lack of commitment to perform the five daily prayers at their due times without the supervision of parents.
• Accustoming him to perform Fajr (Dawn) Prayer.
• Accustoming him to perform ablution before each prayer.

Step by step … do not hasten things.

Purification is the Key to Performing Prayers

A parent or teacher should first teach the child the significance of prayer, and the fact that it was the last advice of the Prophet  before his death. Moreover, you should inform him that the one who wishes to be able to talk to Allah The Exalted, can simply pray.

Dear parent and educator, you should teach your child how to perform ablution; you can perform ablution in front of him several times, and then ask him to perform ablution before you so that you can correct his mistakes.

In fact, when the child masters ablution, the father should encourage him by offering him some sort of reward, or a piece of candy as an encouraging gesture so as to urge him to continue. However, if he makes a mistake in performing ablution, the father should not scold or reprimand him; instead he should correct him nicely.

In fact, numerous Companions have adopted the same method in teaching the Tabi`in (Followers) how to perform ablution correctly. Thus, the virtue of ablution would take root within the child’s heart. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If the Muslim performs ablution, his sins will get out from his ears, eyes, hands and feet; and as he finishes (i.e. performing ablution) and sits, he will be forgiven.” (Graded as Sahih by Al-Albani)

Hence, the child would learn that whenever he wants to purify himself physically and psychologically, he can perform ablution.

Teach him Through Representation 
A parent or a teacher should start teaching his child how to pray after he is taught how to perform ablution. The first stage in this process is for the father to pray before his child duly while observing Khushu` (submission); since the first stage of learning is observation for several times before the child gets used to performing its due movements, if the child has not yet reached the age of distinction.

However, when he reaches the age of seven years and is able to comprehend, he should be instructed to perform the prayer with its pillars and acts of Sunnah. Moreover, when the child performs his first obligatory prayer correctly, the parent should offer him a big reward; so that prayer would be associated with reward in his heart, and as he grows older and reaches puberty, he would come to know that the real and big reward in the Hereafter is Paradise.

Moreover, when the child reaches the age of ten, he should be made to perform the prayers regularly, and if he is negligent, he should be reproved, then threatened, then rebuked and reprimanded severely, then the father can hit his child for what he has been negligent of in terms of performing the due acts of worship. In fact, the parent should resort to corporal punishment only after trying all other parenting methods of punishment.

Dear parents, let us instill love for prayer into our children at an early age by allocating a special outfit for prayers for the girl, or allocating a prayer mat for the boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             To be continued…

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Source:  Islamweb.net.

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How to Live in the Prayer before the Act of Praying

Adhan for the prayer

The Prophet said: “A person is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.”

When we say Prayer, most of us believe it begins when we stand and say “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greatest). But it begins before that.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“A person is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

For men, this refers to one who has prepared for and is waiting for the prayer to start in the mosque. For women who are not at the mosque, this refers to performing wudu` (ablution) and dressing in the appropriate attire, if necessary, and waiting for the time for prayer to set in.

An oft-neglected aspect of prayer is the Adhan (call to prayer). Have we ever tasted the sweetness of the adhan? Whoever tasted the sweetness of the adhan will increase in devotion in the prayer. One could ask: what is the relation between the adhan and khushu` (devotion)?

Satan hates the prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“When the adhan is pronounced, Satan takes to his heels and passes wind with noise during his flight in order not to hear the adhan. When the adhan is completed, he comes back and again takes to his heels. When the Iqamah is pronounced and after its completion he returns again, whispering into the heart of the person (to divert his attention from his prayer) and making him remember things which he does not recall to his mind before the prayer and that causes him to forget how much he has prayed.” (Al-Bukhari)

From the time the adhan starts, Satan tries to distract you, so that you do not benefit even from the great blessings of it. So what is so special about the adhan?

An Opportunity to Seize

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The muezzin (person calling to prayer or making the adhan) is forgiven for as far as his voice reaches and whoever hears him will confirm what he says. He will get a reward similar to those who pray with him.” (An-Nasa’i and Ahmad)

So if fifty people pray, the muezzin gets the reward of fifty prayers. If it is hundred, he gets the reward of hundred prayers. Now we ask what does that have to do with me? I’m not a muezzin. Yet you too can get the same reward of a muezzin.

`Abdullah ibn `Amr (may Allah be pleased be with him) related that a man asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Does the muezzin get more virtues than us?” and the Prophet responded:

“Say what they say and when they finish, ask and it shall be given.” (Abu Dawud)

When the adhan starts with “Allahu Akbar” it is reminding you that Allah is greater than what you are doing, be it the television series you are watching, the article you are reading or the conversation you are having. And why do you rise up when you hear the adhan? Because of “La ilaha ila Allah” – your belief in One God. If you find what you are doing seems to be more important, then in reality it is almost as if that is what you deem to be more important than praying to God.

We know that when we hear the adhan, we repeat what the muezzin says, except for when he says “hayy `ala as-Salah” (make haste to the prayer) and “hayy `ala al-falah” (make haste to true success). Here we say: “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah” (there is no power or strength except through God).

Why do we say that? Because we know that we will not be able to have true devotion, nor perform the prayer perfectly, except with the help of Allah.

A Higher Calling

Remember that the adhan is a calling; it is a most beautiful calling because it alerts you to meeting your most Beloved. When we are about to meet someone we love, the feelings of excitement and longing come before the meeting. They begin when that special someone tells us: “I’ll meet you in ten minutes” or “I’ll see you in a few seconds.” This implies that the person that is telling you that he or she will meet you is a special someone, which brings upon feelings of happiness.

Lady `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The adhan is telling you that now is the time to meet Allah. So those who truly love Allah will jump at the chance to meet Him, and not wait until the time for that prayer is almost over. Look at Musa (peace be upon him) as Allah the Exalted says:

And what made you hasten from your people, O Moses? He said, they are close upon my tracks, and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased. (Ta-Ha 20:83-84)

Look at how Musa (peace be upon him) said he rushed to Allah that is the action of one who truly loves and has awe.

So, enjoy the adhan, and you will, in sha’ Allah (Allah Willing), enjoy the prayer.

We ask Allah to help us perfect our prayers.

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Source: OnIslam.net.

 

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Washing the Feet While Performing Wudu’

Is it permissible to just wipe over your feet? In which case is it allowed to wipe over them? What is the rule of the prayer if someone wiped over his feet?

In this talk, Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem gives the answers to these questions and explains that whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) said is a revelation from Allah not his own words.

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Source: Huda TV.

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The Prophet’s Prayer

According to the authentic Sunnah, how did the Prophet (peace be upon him) use to pray?

How did the Prophet do that affair affair, and what did he say about such? Could I pray with my shoes on? Was there a certain way to do it? Is it fard (obligatory) or a necessity?

Is it for example forbidden to stand (in prayer) wearing my shoes? What does this have to do with the Sunnah of the Prophet?

Here Sheikh Muhammad Salah enlightens us with detailed answers to many questions that cross our minds concerning rulings and conditions of prayer.

On this issue Sheikh Salah is accompanied by Dr. Yasir Al-Fiki, assistant Professor of Islamic Studies in Al-Azhar University, to give us a practical live explanation, step by step, of how should we perform prayer following the Sunnah and teachings of our beloved Prophet.

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Ruku` in Prayer

A person is bowing during prayer.

Many of us rush our bowing and prostration, but it is very important to give each action its due measure.

Ruku` (bowing): Internal Actions

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 be upon him) did (as related by Abu Dawud), and then raise our hands to say, “Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest).” 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 bowing. 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 bowing and sujud (prostration), but it is very important to give each action its due measure. The Prophet (peace be upon him) once saw a man not completing the bowing properly, and rushing his prostration 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 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 bowing and prostration.

Du`aa’s (supplications) of Ruku`

Just as we discussed previously that there are different opening supplications, there are also a variety of supplications of bowing. 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.

We should say three times:

1. Subhana Rabbiya Al-‘Azheem.

“How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

When we say “Subhan Allah” or “Subhan Rabbiya,” we are disassociating Allah from any imperfection or impurity or from anything derogatory. And we say “Rabbiya” meaning “my Lord” in order to feel closeness to Him and love Him.

2. Subuhun Qudus, Rabb Al-Mala’ikati wa Al-Ruh.

“Exalted, Pure, Lord of the Angels and the Spirit.” (Muslim)

Subuh 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.Subhanak Allahuma wa bihamdik, Allahumma ighfirli.

“How Perfect You are, O Allah. Praises are for You. O Allah, forgive me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

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Source: Suhaibwebb.com.

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Seeking Refuge in Allah during Prayer

Two Muslim men are performing prayer.

We have been taught to seek refuge with Allah from the accursed devil before we begin to recite the Qur’an in prayer.

Do you know that Satan becomes extremely envious when a person is standing in prayer before his Lord? And thus he does everything he can to get the worshiper out of that elevated state- by distracting him or her to think about other things. And all too often, unfortunately, we accept the invitation. The likeness of Satan is to that of a fly – every time one pushes him away, he comes back.

Satan

We have been taught to seek refuge with Allah from the accursed devil before we begin to recite the Qur’an in prayer. The devil’s impact is substantial – when we come to pray we remember things that previously escaped our memory and we think of solutions to our biggest problems.

By the time we say “salam” at the end, we do not remember what we have said in the prayer or even how many rak`ahs we prayed. If this description fits us, Ibn Al-Qayyim says that this person leaves the prayer the same way he entered it – with all of his sins and burdens unexpiated. If this is how it is in this life, can we imagine how it will be in the next? In the Qur’an, Allah (Glory be to Him) tells us of the scenario on the Day of Judgment:

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. (Ibrahim 14:22)

Imagine- being duped and distracted and then having that sealed with remorse on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“A person may pray and have nothing recorded for it except a tenth of it, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a quarter, or a third, or half.” (Abu Dawud)

So the Satan wants to decrease our reward by stealing what he can from our prayers. It is as though we have already been given up all of our rewards but we must guard them- every time we become heedless the Satan steals some of it. And for some of us, he keeps on stealing until we are left with nothing.

The Solution

Sheikh Al-Shinqiti (Saudi Caller to Islam) tells us that Allah the Almighty has shown us how to guard ourselves from the human demons and from the demons of the jinn. Allah says:

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’ And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. (Fussilat 41:33-34)

Thus to protect ourselves from the human demons, we should do the above – repel evil with good. This will not only protect us but it might make that enemy a warm friend. This is not easy, which is why Allah  says straight afterward:

But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good]. (Fussilat 41:35)

But what about the demons from the jinn? We cannot use the same method above. So what do we do? Seek refuge in Allah, as Allah tells in the verse directly following the one mentioned above:

And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (Fussilat 41:36)

It is related that an old man asked a young lad what he would do if he saw Satan.

“I would hit him,” the young man said.

“And if he came back?”

“I would hit him again,” he replied.

And the old man asked the same question, and the young man gave the same response.

Shaking his head, the old man said, “If you were walking on a road and a ferocious dog came to you, how often would you hit him to make sure he doesn’t come back? Rather the smarter way is to ask the master of the dog to remove it from your path.”

And this is why we seek refuge in Allah when we begin the prayer. Ibn Al Qayyim said that it is narrated that when we commence the prayer, Allah orders for the barrier between us to be lifted and we are directly facing our Lord, yet if we turn away (i.e. get distracted) the barrier is brought back down. And it is in these moments of heedlessness that the Satan tries to make one thought lead to another but when the barrier is removed, Satan does not dare to distract us.

Thus, let us seek refuge in Allah from the Satan, truly think over the meaning of that supplication, and guard ourselves from Satan throughout the prayer.

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Source: suhaibwebb.com.

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