Never forget to pray to Allah

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Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits. 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. (Surat al-A'raf: 55-56)

Never forget that Allah is the Lord of all of humanity, including yourself, and that He is your only friend and helper. Therefore, never forget that when you ask for anything, ask it first from Him.

Prayer is one of the most important acts of worship to draw us nearer to Allah. By their very nature, all people feel the need to perform this act of worship. However, while it is a necessary and desirable part of believers' lives, a disbeliever resorts to it only in times of distress. The latter may not be accepted by Allah, since what is most commendable is to ask help from Allah both in times of ease as in difficulty, that is, in every moment of our lives. That is because, the one who prays to Allah is the person who acknowledges his weakness in Allah's sight, and his inability of accomplishing anything unless it is by His Will.

Prayer is accompanied by submission to Allah. One who prays attributes all outcomes, whether easy or trying, to the Creator and Ruler of the universe. The acknowledgment that the solution of a problem, or the prevention of an undesirable circumstance, rests with Almighty Allah, is a source of relief and confidence for a believer. For, praying only to Allah, and taking Him as one's sole friend, instils a sense of security in a believer.

However, we need here to point to a common misconception: praying to Allah alone does not mean to sit-back, wait, and do nothing. A person must feel confident in the fact that Allah holds every event in His control. As well, he must be meticulous in employing the means Allah has shown as solutions. One who sincerely prays to Allah must also perform "prayers of action" in compliance with the rules established by Allah. What we mean by "prayers of action" here, is doing one's utmost to attain a desirable result. For instance, exploiting all forms of medical care is a form of "prayer by action" exercised by a sick person in order to recover from his illness. Offering one's prayers to Allah for recovery is a form of verbal prayer. Therefore, prayer by action is a fundamental act of worship that must always accompany verbal prayer.

While praying, never forget to be sincere and to turn towards Allah with a deep feeling of humility in your heart. Allah is nearer to man than his jugular vein. He knows and hears everything. Prayer is the easiest way to reach Him. Not a single thought that crosses your mind can be kept concealed from His knowledge. Although this is the case, many nevertheless are unaware that Allah has knowledge of everyone's prayers and wishes. They think that Allah only listens to some of their prayers, or that even if He hears, that He does not answer. (Surely Allah is far above what they attribute to him). This reasoning of theirs is flawed. Allah knows our innermost thoughts, every word we may utter, and He answers them all. Allah draws our attention to this fact in the Qur'an as follows:

If My servants 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. (Surat al-Baqara: 186)

Therefore, never forget that if we want something we need only to ask it from Allah. Reaching our Lord is that easy.

Man is impetuous by nature, a fact which is also stressed in the verse, "Man was created hasty. I will show you My Signs so do not try to hasten Me." (Surat al-Anbiya': 37) This hastiness may sometimes reveal itself in his prayers too. As is stated earlier, man always expects an immediate answer to his prayers.

However, we must bear in mind that it is Allah Who knows what is good for us. We are informed about this in the Qur'an, "it may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know." (Surat al-Baqara: 216) This is why, when a person asks for something from his Creator, he must be pleased with Him, whatever the outcome, being aware that the decision rests with Allah alone. Not everything you wish for may be good for you. Therefore, Allah answers the prayer, not in the way we necessarily expect, but in the way deemed by Him to be most just. It may well be that, in order for you to grow in wisdom, Allah may prepare your character otherwise until it is time for you to do so. It may also be that Allah will replace your wish with something still better, but is testing your patience and faithfulness.

The Prophet Muhammad's advice to believers as to how to pray to Allah is a very good example of how a believer must behave:

When one of you contemplates entering upon an enterprise, let him supplicate: O Allah, I consult You through Your Knowledge, and I seek strength through Your Power, and ask of Your Great Bounty; for You are Capable whereas I am not and, You know and I do not, and You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me in respect of my Religion, my livelihood and the consequences of my affairs, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. But if You know this matter to be bad for my Religion, my livelihood or the consequences of my affairs, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it, and grant me power to do good whatever it may be, and cause me to be contented with it. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Indeed, Allah recommends us to be steadfast in prayer:

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

Do not forget that perseverance in prayer purifies a believer, and endows him with strength of will and character. As an answer to his prayers, a believer attains a deeper spiritual state, which is more valuable than anything else he could ask for.

However, those who do not regard Allah in a manner due Him harbour doubts in their hearts, falsely assuming that their prayers have gone unanswered. A believer, however, feels certain that Allah hears his prayers, and that, in some way, He answers them. He is fully aware that nothing is outside of His control, and that everything occurs according to a specific predetermined fate. Therefore, he feels no doubt that his prayer will be answered. Never forget to offer your prayers to Allah without doubting in securing Allah's help, knowing that your call will certainly be answered. Regardless of the situation, trust in the Lord, because Allah wants His servants to be near to Him. It is so easy for Allah, Who created you from a drop of fluid and created the universe from non-existence, to answer your prayers. Hence, all you have to do is to ask with faith and patience.

Prayer is a special bond between man and Allah. A person shares all his troubles and wishes with Allah; he pleads Him. Allah, Who hears every call, never leaves it unanswered. This is why the Qur'an does not specify merely one way of worship. The Qur'an urges man to "remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on your sides" (Surat an-Nisa': 103), which means that 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...

This aside, a particular place does not necessarily need to be assigned for prayer. Remember that you can pray in the shopping mall, on the street, in the car, at school, at work, that is, anywhere. All you have to do is to free your mind from idle thoughts and feel Allah's nearness to you.

Never forget that a life without prayer is meagre in the sight of Allah.As the 77th verse of the Surat al-Furqan reads, "What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?" Being conscious of one's subjection makes a person dear in the sight of Allah. Therefore, man must turn to his Creator, admit his shortcomings to Him, and seek help only from Him. Any other comportment would mean showing arrogance to Allah, and to incur an eternal punishment in Hell.

Never forget that Allah is the Most Merciful.Anyone who does evil and then asks for forgiveness will find Allah Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisa':110) Hence, remember that Allah is the Most Merciful and the Ever-Forgiving, and pray to Him in hope.

No matter how serious the error you may have committed, and are in deeply remorse over it, it is not a reason for you to despair of Allah's forgiveness. Thus, no matter how guilty a person feels, he can always expect to find his Lord forgiving. In fact, the Qur'an informs us that it is only disbelievers who despair of Allah's mercy:

...Do not despair of solace from Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who are disbelievers. (Surah Yusuf: 87)

On the other hand, never forget that no one can guarantee that he is worthy of Paradise.No one is safe from the punishment of his Lord. This is why, when calling on Allah, a person must hope for Allah's mercy, but also be in fear of losing His good pleasure.

Just as how eagerly he prays to attain Paradise, so must he for avoidance of Hell. In other words, through fear of Hell, he hopes to attain Paradise. One who grasps Allah's greatness, fears His punishment, and desires to earn His good pleasure, will turn to Him with heartfelt sincerity and honesty. In a like manner, one who submits himself to Allah, and takes Him as his only friend and helper, will admit his struggles and distress to Him. As is in the case of the Prophet Ya'qub, who said "I make complaint about my grief and sorrow to Allah alone," (Surah Yusuf: 86), he will admit his sufferings and requests to Allah, and ask for help and good from Him alone.

Also remember that praying merely for the blessings of this world is a form of insincerity. The true goal of believers is Paradise. Allah grants the blessings of this world to those who desire them alone. Yet, it is not likely for them to attain the glorious recompense of the hereafter. As is stated in the Qur'an:

...There are some people who say, "Our Lord, give us good in the world." They will have no share in the hereafter. And there are others who say, "Our Lord, give us good in the world, and good in the hereafter, and safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." They will have a good share from what they have earned. Allah is swift at reckoning. (Surat al-Baqara: 200-202)

In times of difficulty, the ignorant withdraw themselves and turn to Allah in prayer. Though, when relieved, they immediately lapse back into their former state of heedlessness, as if they had never called on Allah. That is, they turn to Allah as the "last resort." This ungrateful attitude is related in the Qur'an as follows:

When harm touches man, he calls on Us, lying on his side or sitting down or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him he carries on as if he had never called on Us when the harm first touched him. In that way We make what they have done appear good to the profligate. (Surah Yunus: 12)

It is He Who conveys you on both land and sea so that when some of you are on a boat, running before a fair wind, rejoicing at it, and then a violent squall comes upon them and the waves come at them from every side and they realize there is no way of escape, they call on Allah, making their religion sincerely His: "If You rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful." But then, when He does rescue them, they become rebellious in the earth without any right to do so. Mankind, your rebelliousness is only against yourselves. There is the enjoyment of the life of this world and then you will return to Us and We will inform you about what you did. (Surah Yunus: 22-23)

Actually, not a single moment passes in which man is not in need of his Lord... So, never forget to call on your Lord "…humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening" (Surat al-A'raf: 55, 205). Remember that the end of those who fail to offer their 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." (Surah Ghafir: 60)

2012-02-02 01:19:51

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