Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why Do We Pray? (Parts 1 & 2 & 3)

by-KIWI MUSLIM » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:37 am Asalamu'alaikum :brother: :sister:

Zoom in (real dimensions: 652 x 445)Image

Why Do We pray? (Parts 1 & 2)

By Dr. Suhaib Hasan

Part 1

Read Complete Book (16 pages) from
http://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/ ... -hasan.pdf




After a long and hectic day at work, how difficult it is for a tired person to go out to the mosque and concentrate on his prayers to Allaah, the Almighty. Snuggled up in a warm and cozy bed, how difficult it is to get up at the call of the Muazzin: "Come to prayer! Come to success!"

The famous doctor and philosopher, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), recalls such a moment in his life. One cold and icy night, he and his slave were resting at an inn in a remote part of Khuraasaan. During the night, he felt thirsty, so he called to his slave to bring him some water. The slave had no desire to leave his warm bed, so he pretended not to hear Ibn Sina call. But finally, after repeated calls, he reluctantly got up and went to fetch the water. A little while later, the melodious sound of the azaan (call to prayer) filled the air. Ibn


Sina began to think about the person calling the people to prayer. "My slave, Abdullaah, he mused, has always respected me and admired me. He seizes any opportunity to lavish praise and affection on me, but tonight he preferred his own comfort to my needs. On the other hand, look at this Persian slave of Allaah: He left his warm bed to go out into the chilly night, he made ablution in the icy water of the stream, and then he ascended the high minaret of the mosque to glorify Him Whom he truly serves: "I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah."

Ibn Sina records: "I learned the essence of true love, that love which results in complete obedience." The love of Allaah demands total and unconditional obedience. Allaah, the Almighty says: { Say [oh, Muhammad!]: "If you love Allaah, follow me: Allaah will forgive you your sins, for Allaah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful } (Soorah 3:31)




Prayer: A Cry of the Inner Soul


His arrogance and pride have often led man to behave as an oppressor and a tyrant. Some men have been carried away by their own self-importance that they have even claimed divinity.

Pharoah, the ruler of Egypt, was among those who announced: "I am your supreme Lord!" With his sense of greatness and pride, Pharoah subjugated the Israelites and made their lives wretched and miserable.

But is man really as strong and great as his ego tells him? The Quran tells us the reality of mans nature: { It is Allaah Who created you in a state of weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength, gave you weakness and a hoary head: He creates what He wills, and He is the All-knowing, the All-powerful } (Soorah 30:54)

Weakness in the beginning and weakness in the end: This is the essence of man. He is so weak and helpless at birth that his entire existence depends on his parents and his family. If he were to be abandoned in these first crucial years, he could not survive on his own. He needs a gentle and loving hand, not only in his infancy, but in his childhood and even in his teenage years.

As this child enters the years of youth and independence, he begins to take control of his own life. He looks with pride at his strong physique, his handsome features and his many talents. He begins to despise those of lesser abilities, even scorning his parents, who exhausted their own health to nurture him. He becomes unjust and cruel, using his strength and vigor to dominate others. He thinks he is master, free to act as he wills. But does this youth, these good looks last forever?

In only a few decades, he begins to lose his strength…his youth is replaced by old age. Weakness in the beginning, weakness in the end." The message is clear: The real Master is Allaah. He Alone is Mighty, He Alone, is Great. He Alone is never tired, never needs rest, is never dependent upon anyone. Allaahu Akbar! - Allaah is the Greatest!

In our everyday lives, we say a warm thank you for the small acts of kindness which others do for us. So what about thanking Allaah, Who, in His infinite Mercy, has provided for every single one of our needs. Just observe the beauty and perfection of the earth around you and fall down in gratitude to your Lord.



Prayer: The Ascension for a Believer

After the Messenger of Allaah was commissioned for Prophethood, the first thing he was commanded to do by Allaah was to pray. The angel Jibreel came to him and a spring of water gushed out of the rocks in front of them. Jibreel then showed Allaahs Messenger how to make ablution. He then showed him how to offer prayers to Allaah. He began to pray two rakah twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. He then went home and showed his wife Khadijah what he had learnt from the angel Jibreel.

From that time, the Prophet never went through a day without praying. Just before his migration to Madeenah, he was taken on a night journey to Jerusalem and then to the heavens (Miraaj). During this journey, Allaah, Almighty, ordered him to pray five times a day. This prayer was a gift given to every Believer to enable him to experience a spiritual ascension five times a day.

The Prophet said: "The prayer is the Miraaj of the Believer." It gives every Muslim the chance to communicate with his Lord.

During each prayer, the Muslim recites Soorah Al-Faatihah: This recitation is not a dull monologue by the Believer, but Allaah promises that it is a conversation between Him and the worshipper.


The Messenger of Allaah reported that Allaah, the Almighty says: ‘When my slave says in his prayer: "All praise is for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds,"
I say: "My slave has praised Me"
When he says: "The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgement,"
I say: "My slave has glorified Me."
When he says: "You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek,"
I say: "This is between Me and My slave."
When he says: "Show us the Straight Path,"
I say: "This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants."


The Messenger of Allaah once said: "Prayer is the pillar of religion." (Narrated by Al-Baihaqi)

He also informed us that Islaam is built upon five pillars, the second being to establish prayer five times a day. (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari)

"Verily, between man and polytheism and disbelief is abandoning prayer." (Narrated by Muslim)


Allaah says, concerning the plight of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement, that they will be asked by the Believers: { "What led you into the Hell-fire?" They will say: "We were not of those who prayed." }
(Soorah 74:42-43).


Allaah also says: { Successful indeed are the Believers, those who humble themselves in their prayers } (Soorah 23:1-2),

and: { And those who guard [strictly] their worship, such will be the honoured ones in the Gardens [of Bliss] } (Soorah 70: 34-35).


Allaah has emphasized the need for humility and concentration in prayers. There is no doubt that Satan is the most bitter enemy of man; he always tries to disturb the Believers prayers. He (the worshipper) finds his mind suddenly engulfed with memories, problems, worries, work and his family… and he will often find himself wondering whether he has prayed three rakah or four. This is how Satan steals the prayer.


Man was created only to worship Allaah. He says: { I created not the jinns and mankind except to worship me } (Soorah 51:56).

Man is to live in this world as a worshipper of Allaah and prayer is the best for of worship. On the Day of Judgement, man will have to answer for his deeds. Allaah says: { Then shall you be questioned about the joy [you indulged in] } (Soorah 102:8)

This makes the image very clear: Islaam is like a building supported by five columns; remove just one column and the entire building weakens.

In the same way, when a person stops praying, his faith becomes weak, and the mildest blows can cause it to crumble.

(Abridged from: "Why Do We Pray?" by Dr. Suhaib Hasan)


Read Complete Book (16 pages) from


http://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/ ... -hasan.pdf

Why Do We Pray

Part 2

By Dr. Suhaib Hasan


PRAYER IS LIKE A FORTRESS

Prayer is the basis of all good actions. Below are quoted two passages of the Quran, both of which list a number of good actions. Prayer comes before and after all good actions:-

A. Surah al-Muminun (23:1-11)

"Successful indeed are the believers.
Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.
And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehoods and all that Allah has forbidden).
And those who pay the Zakat. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, -for then, they are free from blame.
But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors. Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants.
And those who strictly guard their Salat (five compulsory congregational prayers at their fixed stated hours).
These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise).
They shall dwell therein forever."



B. Surah Al-Maarif: (70:19-35)

"Verily, man (disbeliever) was created very impatient; irritable (discontented) when evil touches him; and niggardly when good touches him.
Except those devoted to Salat (prayers), those who remain constant in their Salat (prayers), and those in whose wealth there is a known right, for the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened).
And those who believe in the Day of Recompense, and those who fear the torment of their Lord.
Verily! The torment of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure.
And those who guard their chastity (ie, private parts from illegal sexual acts), except with their wives and the (women slaves and captives) whom their right hands possess, -for (then) they are not to be blames. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers. And those who keep their trusts and covenants, and those who stand firm in their testimonies, and those who guard their Salat (prayers) well; such shall dwell in the Gardens (i.e. Paradise) honored."


Other signs of believers are:


-They avoid vain and vulgar activities. -They pay their Zakat regularly.

-They guard their chastity and avoid illicit relations. Their marital lives are confines to their wives and salve-girls (assuming such a situation exists in which the presence of slaves is justified).

-Those who do not betray covenants and trusts.
-Those who stand by their testimonies
(as in Surah Al-Maarij.).


After mentioning these five characteristics, regularity in prayers is once again commended.

The quotation from Surah Al-Maarij is similar to the one from Surah al-Muaminun. It shows that prayer is like a fortress which protects and preserves other good deeds. To guard ones prayer helps guard ones other virtues.

The Prophet (pbuh) said in a similar way:

"Prayer is the pillar of the religion" (Al-Baihaqi)

Allahs Messenger (pbuh) also said:

"The first thing about which a man is going to be questioned on the Day of Judgment is prayer. If it is found to be sound all his other reactions will be sound as well. If his prayer is not sound all his remaining actions would be spoiled." (Al-Tabarani)



WHICH PRAYER IS ACCEPTABLE ?

"Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness." (23:2)

The emphasis , in this verse, is on humility and concentration in the prayer (Khushu). There is no doubt that as Shaitan (Satan) is the most bitter enemy of man, he always tries to disturb the believers prayer.

As soon as a person begins his prayer, he finds his mind suddenly engulfed with memories, problems, worries, work and his family. He may become so engrossed in his thoughts that he has no idea where he is and what he is doing. His prayer becomes a series of automatic actions, and he will often find himself wondering whether he has prayed three Rakaa or four. This is how Shaitan steals the prayer.


The Prophet (pbuh) once said that only a tiny portion of the prayer, maybe as little as a tenth or an eighth, is accepted by Allah. The rest is lost because of the whisperings of Shaitan.


It is reported that a Successor saw a man playing with his beard while praying. He commented that: "If there had been Khushu (concentration) in his heart, the other organs of his body would have concentrated as well."



Surah Al-Maun also makes a reference to lifeless prayers:

"So woe unto those performers of prayers (hypocrites), who delay their Salat (prayer) from its stated fixed time, " (107:4,5)

A worshipper is neglectful of his prayers either when he delays the prayer to the last possible minute, or when he does not concentrate fully on what he is doing and saying.



Allah's Messenger (pbuh) was once sitting in the mosque at Al-Madinah when a bedouin entered and began to pray. He prayed so quickly, that when he had finished, the Prophet (pbuh) asked him to repeat the prayer.
His second attempt was just as hurried, so the Prophet (pbuh) asked him to repeat it again. After a third hurried prayer, the bedouin said: "O Messenger of Allah. I cannot pray better than this."
The Prophet (pbuh) then showed the man how to pray. He instructed him to recite Surah Al-Fatiha while in the standing position, then to say Tasbih in the Ruku position, to stand upright saying Rabbana lakal hamd, to go down with Sajdah and recite Tasbih, and to sit between the two Sajdah and recite a Du'a. The Prophet (pbuh) advised the bedouin to do this in each Rakaa. (Musnad Ahmad)



Allah's Messenger (pbuh) used to spend a lot of time on each prayer, so that each movement of the prayer could be offered slowly and properly. He once said: "A mans lengthy prayer and short sermon shows that he has a good understanding of the religion."
(Muslim, Abu Dawood)

This refers to the Friday Khutbah which should not be too long while the prayer should be lengthy.

Read Complete Book (16 pages) from

http://islamfuture.files.wordpress.com/ ... -hasan.pdf 
Why Do We Pray

Part 3

By Dr. Suhaib Hasan

PRAYER AS A WEAPON


Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
"O you who believer! Seek help in patience and Salat (prayer). Truly! Allah is with the patient." (2:153)



Man is, by nature, weak. He needs help at times of misery and hardship. And the best aid we can have is that of patience in adversity and prayer. Any difficulties, unhappiness and loss should be faced with calm and wisdom. A hasty response or an unwise remark will only cause more problems. Allah's Messenger (pbuh) used to look for solace in prayer whenever he experienced difficulties. In prayer one seeks help from Allah, and who can be a better helper than Allah?



The Prophet (pbuh) used to say to Bilal:
"O Bilal ! Provide us with rest with prayer."




PRAYER AS A REMINDER



A non-Muslim once asked the following question during a discussion: "I can understand why Muslims were required to pray five times a day during the early days of Islam. They did not have many things to do in those days so the Prophet kept them busy with prayer. But our sophisticated and modern life leaves man with little spare time. He is much too busy to be expected to pray five times a day."



The answer given was what is the primary objective of prayer.

The Quran says:
"...and establish prayer for My Remembrance." (20:14)



As man is by nature forgetful, prayer reminds him of the allegiance due to his Creator and Lord. If prayer was needed fourteen hundred years ago when man did not lead such a busy life style, the it is even more necessary in today's hectic world. On the one hand, education and work keep people occupied constantly. And when it is time to relax. Shaitan (Satan) has found many new channels to operate through, such as television, the cinema and videos. Man becomes so engrossed in this life that he has no thought for Allah and the Hereafter. The need to remind man of the realities of his existence has thus intensified, and not declined in modern times. Prayer is still of utmost importance and benefit in our high-tech lives.




Prayer acts as a shield against evil. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

"...Verily, As-salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse etc. ) and al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed etc.)..." (29:45)



The following incident will help understand this point:



In the time of Allahs Messenger (pbuh) lived a man who drank alcohol, gambled and committed thefts habitually.. He came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked for some advice which would help improve his character.
The Prophets advice was simple; "dont tell any lies."

The man then left, after having been told to report back the next day. he was feeling very pleased, as the instructions given to him seemed very easy to obey.

At home the man poured himself his usual glass of wine. As he lifted the glass to his lips, he suddenly remembered that he had to report back to the Prophet (pbuh) the next day. he would be asked about that day's activities, and if he admitted in front of all the Companions that he had been drinking, it would be terribly embarrassing for him.



If, however, he did not admit to having drunk wine, it would be a lie. So he put the wine away. The same thing happened when he was about to start gambling and go on his robbing expedition. And once this man had taken the first positive step towards fighting his evil habits, he was able to reform very quickly.



Prayer can have a very similar effect. If a person remembers five times a day that he will stand on his prayer-mat and address his Lord, it will prevent him from committing the sins that Shaitan has been encouraging him to do.



The quality of the prayer is of utmost importance as well. consider a house with solid foundations, concrete walls and a strong roof. this house will be able to withstand all forms of bad weather, be it winds, hail or storms. After all, the purpose of a house is to provide shelter and protection against these elements. If, on the other hand, the house is loosely constructed with leaves and grass, it will blow away at the slightest hint of bad weather.



This image applies very clearly to prayer. If a prayer is offered regularly, at the correct time, with sincerity of intention and concentration on what is being recited, it will strengthen the person's Faith and provide comfort and strength in times of trouble.



Irregular and insincere prayers will be of little use to a person in times of distress. A healthy body can combat viruses with more ease that can a weak body.

Share/Bookmark

No comments: