The Beloved (pbuh) and prayer

February 1, 2009 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والحمدلله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء  والمرسلين
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers

Salaam Alaikum

“O Bilal, give us rest with it”

(Abu Dawud)

What is our relationship with our prayer? Do we view it as something we have to do, and so perform it with little thought? Is it a tick in the box, “yes, i’ve done what I have to do!”? Do we leave our prayer in the same state when we started?

Given the current situation in Gaza, in addition to other crises in the Muslim world such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and so on, it is even more important that we reconnect to our prayer, and realize the aim and purpose of our lives. Why is the prayer linked with all these events? Because as human beings in general, and Muslims specifically, we are naturally affected by the images we see. They make us angry, upset, and in that moment we would do anything to alleviate those people from their suffering. Other people may shrug their shoulders and say “what can I do?”. But if we truly felt our prayer, and understood the words we said, and really comprehended that we are having a conversation with Allah, our entire disposition should be affected. We would remember why we are here, what are our duties, our purpose in this temporary life, how in need we are of Allah. And from this we should learn from our Beloved Messenger (pbuh).

The Prophet (pbuh) used to say to Bilal (ra) to do the iqaama or the athan so that they could start prayer, because the prayer would give them rest. Why? Because it brought them back to what was important, because at that moment, when one stands in front of Allah, we leave the world behind. We know that we are in the Hands of the All-Merciful. We come to Him stained with our sins, poor, and yet with our recognition of this, He accepts us. It is at that time when we are conscious that truly when we have Allah, when we can turn to Him, our problems seem minimal.

It is for this reason, that the Prophet (pbuh) emphasized the prayer in his Farewell Sermon. When he was sick, he still led the people in prayer, until there were three days before his death, when he was too ill to do so. At that point, he appointed Abu Bakr (ra) to lead the prayer, as though saying that his illness should not distract the Companions (ra) from this great pillar of Islam. Allah has said “… and perform the prayer in remembrance of Me” (Surat Taha, 20: 14). We perform the prayer in order to remember Allah; when we remember Allah, we strengthen our relationship with Him, we remember His favors upon us, that we will return to Him, and we are between hope and fear. We then remember our responsibilities, to learn His rules and apply them.

And because of all of these things, Aisha (ra) said “God’s Messenger (pbuh), would talk to us and we to him, but when it was time for prayer, it seemed as though he did not know us, nor we him“.  The Prophet (pbuh), once prayed wearing a new cloak which was given to him by one of the Companions, Abu Jahm (ra). It had an ornamented border. He removed it when he finished his prayers, saying “Take it back to Abu Jahm, for it distracted me from my prayer. Bring me Abu Jahm’s cloak of coarse wool” (Bukhari/Muslim) . This was how meticulous the Prophet (pbuh) was with his prayers, that he would immediately remove anything that would distract him from Allah.

The Prophet (pbuh) also advised “When you pray, pray like a person who is saying farewell.” (Ibn Majah, Hakim, Bayhaqi) This is what will bring us to reality- because in actual fact, we do not know when our final prayer will be. And if we were distracted or rushed, Allah will ask us on the Day of Judgment- what was more important than Him?

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an “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.” (Surat Al-Ankaboot, 29:45) Allah is teaching us- how can we go to Him, and immediately afterwards commit sin or be lazy and forget our duties? This is also why it is important to be aware in our prayer, because if we just recite words without reflecting on their meaning, our prayer may fail to have an effect on us. Al-Ghazali writes about a saheeh hadith in his book, Ihya ‘Uloom Al-Deen, in which the Prophet (pbuh) asks the Companions (ra) what he recited in the prayer that he led. Ubay ibn Ka’b replied with the answer. The Prophet (pbuh) said “Good for you, Ubay!” Then he turned to the others and said “What are we to make of people who come for their prayers, line up in their rows behind their Prophet,  but do not know what he is reciting to them from the Book of their Lord? That is just how the Children of Israel behaved, so Allah (swt), spoke to their Prophet through inspiration, saying “Tell your people: ‘You present your bodies before Me and you offer Me your tongues, but you keep your hearts from Me. What you are doing is futile”

The Prophet (pbuh) prayed while feeling grateful to Allah (as opposed to some today who think they are doing Allah a favor by praying- istaghfarAllah!). He used to pray so long in the night in standing posture that his feet would get swollen. Aisha (ra) asked him, “O Prophet of Allah! Why do you exert so much when Allah has forgiven all your sins?” He replied, “Should I not be a grateful servant [of Allah]?” (Muslim)

A righteous man, called Hatim Al-Asamm, truly learned from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), such that when he prayed, he said; “When the time for prayer is at hand, I make a proper ablution, go to the spot where I intend to pray, sit there until all my limbs and organs are in a collected state. Then I stand up to perform my prayer, placing the Ka’ba between my brows, the Bridge-over-Hell (sirat) beneath my feet, Paradise to my right and Hell to my Left, and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking all the while that this is my last prayer. Then I stand between hope and fear. I carefully pronounce “Allahu Akbar! Then I recite the Qur’an harmoniously, bow in humility, and prostrate myself submissively. I then sit back on my left haunch, spreading out the top of my left foot and raising my right foot on the toes. I follow this with sincerity. Then I wonder whether or not my prayer has been accepted

And finally, our beloved Messenger (pbuh) loved to pray. At every opportunity, he would pray in order to be in intimate communion with Allah. We only need to think of all the sunna prayers, and the prostrations. It is no wonder that he is reported to have said:

The delight of my eyes is prayer.”

(Sunan al-Nasâ’î)

May Allah make our prayer like that of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and may they make us grow closer to Allah and keep us away from sin. Let our re-establishing our relationship with Allah through our prayers be the first step of many in bringing back the Islamic revival. And may Allah accept our efforts from us. Ameen.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The Beloved (pbuh) and fearing none but God The Beloved (pbuh) and his smile :)

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