"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)
Allah surrounds everything. He is nearer to man than his jugular vein. He is the All-Hearing and All-Knowing. Allah knows everything that happens to a human being; not a single thought can remain hidden from Him. A believer knows this and acknowledges that he only needs to think in order to ask Allah for something. Even if this thought is hidden in one's breast, Allah hears it and indupitably answers one's prayer, because Allah is the friend, protector and helper of believers.
According to the Qur'an, prayer is man's turning towards Allah in all sincerity, taking refuge in His infinite and unbounded might, and asking help from Him. It is the acknowledgement of one's weakness before the infinite might of Allah. Prayer is one's personal relation with Allah. All thoughts and wishes of a man remain concealed between the man and Allah. Therefore, there is not the slightest possibility of showing off in this form of worship. It is worship founded entirely on sincerity.
Those who deeply feel that Allah is nearer to them than anybody and anything, that He hears all prayers and answers them all and who live by these truths, are the people of perfected faith. They are again those who turn towards Allah with a sincere heart and know their weaknesses as human beings before His omnipotence. They further know that it is Allah alone Who answers all prayers and saves man from all difficulties and trouble.
Not only in times of trouble or affliction, but at any time and in any situation the people of faith turn to Allah, because, they know that there is not a single moment in a man's life when he is not in need of Allah. They do not wait for an affliction to befall them before they pray to Allah. They know that this is a form of worship, a servant's duty to his Creator, and an important way to draw nearer to Allah. This is, in actuality, one of the most important attributes that distinguishes them from other people. The morality displayed by those who pray to Allah when they are in trouble, but immediately turn their backs soon after they are freed from trouble is described in the following verse:
When harm touches man, he calls on Us, lying on his side or sitting down or standing up. Then when We relieve his affliction, he carries on as if he had never called on Us when first afflicted. Thus their foul deeds seem fair to the transgressors. (Surah Yunus, 12)
Believers, on the other hand, are the ones who turn towards our Lord whether they are at ease or in trouble, because, they comprehend the insight provided by the verse "… What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him? …" (Surat al-Furqan, 77)
They pray as described in the Qur'an. In one verse Allah commands the following:
Remember your Lord in deep in your soul humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be among the heedless. (Surat al-A'raf, 205)
Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. He does not love those who overstep the limits. (Surat al-A'raf, 55)
As is evident, Allah demands a humble and fearful prayer from His servants. Because, in their prayers, the only criteria Allah sets for His servants is sincerity. Our Lord, whom we implore, knows and hears what we utter as well as our innermost thoughts. Aware of this and, following their instincts, people of faith sometimes pray secretly and sometimes aloud, but never make their prayers a matter of ostentation, because, in the Qur'an, Allah draws attention to the importance of "calling on Allah, making religion sincerely His":
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. (Surat al-Mu'min, 65)
Believers "feel Allah's existence" while they pray. While praying, they not only make their requests of Allah but also deeply feel the unity of Allah, His existence, His greatness and His infinite might. In the Qur'an, Allah commands as follows:
Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely. (Surat al-Muzzammil, 8)
While praying, the people of faith keep their minds occupied with the remembrance of Allah's beautiful names. Allah's names make us attain a better understanding of Allah's attributes. Believers who call on Him, aware that He is the most Merciful and All-Compassionate, truly grasp His nearness to His servants and His mercy. Indeed, man can pray to Allah by uttering His beautiful names:
To Allah belong the Most Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them and abandon those who desecrate His Names. They will be repaid for what they did. (Surat al-A'raf, 180)
As is true of all other issues, sincere prayer is a quality best exhibited in Allah's prophets. In the Qur'an, the sincerity of the prophets' prayers are especially stressed:
He (Sulayman) said, "My Lord, forgive me and give me a kingdom the like of which will never be granted to anyone after me. Truly You are the Ever-Giving." (Surah Sad, 35)
He (Musa) said, "My Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your mercy. You are the Most Merciful of the merciful." (Surat al-A'raf, 151)
In a hadith, we read the following prayer of Allah's messenger (saas):
"My Lord! The Lord of the Seven Heavens and The Lord of the great Throne, our Lord and The Lord of all, The Creator of plants and trees: I seek refuge in You from the evil of all creatures; You are the First; Nothing is before You. You are the Last; Nothing is after You." (Muslim)
Believers are also steadfast in their prayers. As the verse says, they "seek help in steadfastness and prayer" (Surat al-Baqara, 45) from Allah. Their submission to Allah and the trust they put in Him accounts for such steadfastness and commitment. A believer feels assured that Allah will certainly answer his prayers. He never despairs and keeps on imploring Him: "… Do not despair of solace from Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for those who disbelieve." (Surah Yusuf, 87)
A man of faith fears Allah and prays to Him with profound respect and patience. He prays to his Lord at any moment; at an unanticipated time of the day or an unexpected place, a believer takes the time to pray to his Lord in earnest. Even in his busiest moments, he takes refuge in Him, implore Him and asks for His guidance. He does all this because he knows that this is the easiest way to draw nearer to Allah, to attain His approval and paradise. There is no obstacle that would hinder such a one from drawing near to his Creator. Allah only wants His servants to turn towards Him with a sincere heart. Allah commands as follows in the Qur'an:
Those who shun the worship of false gods and turn towards Allah will have good news. So give good news to My servants. (Surat az-Zumar, 17)2010-02-28 15:41:34