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Tuesday 15th of October 2019
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Prayer is Instinctive

Prayer is also instinctive. Fasting during this Holy month of Ramadhan is in accordance to mans’ nature, because when man recognizes his Lord, he wants to get closer to Him. In the Holy Month of Ramadan, fasting brings man closer to Allah.

We notice that some people draw a lot of pleasure fasting in this felicitous month. Imam Sajjad (a.s) used to express extreme happiness at the commencement of the month of fasting. As the month drew to a close, he used to cry.

A person who has recognized his Lord, and has removed the curtains from his heart gets so much pleasure from offering prayers, that nothing else can compare with it. He enjoys it so much that according to Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.):

Offering two genuflections (rakaat) of prayer in the night is more dear and superior to me than all the good in this world.”— Wasail Shia, Vol 5, Page 286

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq says that if someone offered him all the riches of the world for not offering the two rakaat of the Night Prayer (Salatul Layl), he would refuse to accept it! The reason for this rejection is that the Imam (a.s.) is aware of Allah. He has attained proximity to Allah and is aware that absolute humility before the Creator is achieved with salah. Being charitable is not difficult for him because it gives him pleasure. When a person reaches this stage, he sacrifices not only his worldly belongings but also his own life and dear ones in the way of Allah. The Holy Quran has observed in this regard 

تَتَجَافىَ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبهَُّمْ خَوْفًا وَ طَمَعًا وَ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ (*) فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِىَ لهَُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْينُ ٍ جَزَاءَ بِمَا كاَنُواْ يَعْمَلُون 

Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what we have bestowed on them. No soul knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do. (Sura Al Sajdah 32:16,17 )

The Holy Book says that there are some people who have recognized Allah and have drawn aside the veils of the heart. These are the people who leave their beds in the darkness of the night and stand for salahul layl, and spend out of whatever Allah has given them. . The delight one experiences by reciting salahul layl and being charitable can be understood only by those who have reached this stage. When a person recognizes Allah, salah and sawm (fasting) come naturally to him. Deriving joy from salah and fasting become natural for him. He not only pays khums and zakat, but is willing to sacrifice everything in the way of Allah. Sacrificing himself and his children comes naturally to him. He does not need to be told to fulfill his obligations. On the contrary, fulfilling his obligations is a routine thing for him.

 

If a person is able to recognize Allah the way He should be recognized, then he strives to offer salah, fast and pay khums or zakat. Now he will wish to circumambulate the Kaaba. He has his sights on performing the Sai (the obligatory rounds) between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah. He wishes to do everything that pleases Allah, whom he has recognized! It is He who is ruling over his heart. Nothing else will find a niche in his heart when one has achieved this level of dedication. All the mandatory and optional worship become instinctive for him. He recognizes Allah with his heart’s eyes as one instinctively recognizes hunger and thirst.

Some people can perceive, instinctively, all perfections in Allah, and thus love Him. These individuals have such profuse love for Allah that, in sheer impudence, when Ibn Ziyad confronted Sayyida Zainab in his court saying, “Have you not seen how Allah has treated you!” she stood up and said, “Do you not perceive? Are you blind? In Kerbala, I saw nothing except good from Allah. I have sacrificed my brother for the sake of Allah, whom I have recognized.” When an individual finds Allah, then Jihad, Amr-bil-Maroof (enjoining righteousness)andNahi-an-il-munkar (forbidding evil), befriending Allah’s friends and shunning His enemies becomes instinctive for him. If a human being wishes to remain a human being, it is necessary for him to fast. Fasting brings one closer to Allah. If a person desires to become complete he has to get close to Allah. Then all other obligations like khums, zakat etc. will become his instinctive practice. In a nutshell all Islamic practices become instinctive for the Mu’min.

 If we wish to attain this stage, we should purge all the curtains from our hearts, recognize Allah and strengthen our beliefs. One should not allow his beliefs to weaken. If anyone in this gathering finds salah to be a burden, he is ill. Sometimes people are hungry, but they don’t know that they are hungry because they are ill. He is not interested in food, even though he has not eaten for two days. Because of his illness, the instinct for hunger has been suppressed. The person who listens to these lectures in this Holy Month of Ramadan, but is not motivated to give charity, is sick too. He is like a person who has not eaten for a couple of days and still has no inclination to eat. He has reached a stage where heavy curtains have veiled his heart; these are the curtains of being engrossed in the world, of bad traits, of repeatedly sinning. He has reached a stage where salah, which has been described as the food for the soul, gives him no joy. He cannot even correctly fast, an act which connects one with Allah and is a source of delight for the perfect man.

Once, during the time of the Holy Prophet (s), a lamb was slaughtered and its meat distributed. The Prophet enquired whether anything was remaining. Someone told him “Only the neck is left, everything else has been distributed for the sake of Allah”. The Prophet said “No, you should say that everything else is there, only the neck has been wasted, because the neck has not yet been given.” Being charitable, doing tawaf(circumambulating) of the Ka’ba, being friends with the friends of Allah and being the enemy of His enemies are things which don’t require to be proven. 

You must have proof and evidences for your beliefs. There are many people who can explain the philosophy of Mulla Sadra well, but does this mean that worship comes naturally to them? These things don’t require education. Some illiterate people are better than philosophers because they have cleansed their hearts. They have been successful in illuminating their dark hearts because of their love for Allah. Because they perform the obligatory and recommended worships, and especially because they avoid sin, their hearts are enlightened by Allah. Their example is like that of iron in fire. When iron is put into fire it becomes so red that it cannot be distinguished from the fire. What is required is to avoid sin and purify oneself

 

 

4. Importance of Prayer

 

إِنَّنىِ أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنىِ وَ أَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ لِذِكْرِى

 

Lo! I, only I, am Allah. There is no god save Me. So serve Me and establish worship for My remembrance. (Sura Taha 20:14 )

In this verse, Allah points the way to His creatures for achieving His remembrance through prayer. If man wishes to see Allah, he should do it through the vision of the heart. Similarly he can hear Allah through the medium of his heart! The way to achieve both these faculties is through sincere prayer. Man should establish a strong rapport and link with his Lord. This is done through establishing prayer - that is Iqamat as Salah - this is what brings man closer to Allah quickly.

The mandatory prayers must be offered at the earliest, during the scheduled time for each prayer. I also fervently appeal to this knowledgeable gathering that in the ongoing month of Ramadan they should offer the optional Night Prayers (Salaat al-Layl). In this Holy month, prayer should be the source of communion with our Creator, Allah! Lucky is the person who establishes communication with Allah during this blessed month. It will be like conversing with Allah. How can one converse with Allah?! It is possible through recitation of the Holy Quran! Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

O servant of Allah! When you recite the Quran and reach where it says ‘ya ayyuhal ladheena aamanu,’ you should say‘labbayk, labbayk’ [that means ‘Yes, O Lord! Yes, O Lord!’]

There are lots of people who, when they hear ‘ya ayyuhal ladheena…’ they hear only through their mortal ears and not the ears of their hearts. One who hears the word of Allah through the ears of his heart; verily he can say ‘labbayk!’ What is the purpose of dua? Dua is to establish close rapport with Allah, it is conversing with Allah! While offering prayer you, particularly I mean the youth, should not let your thoughts wander - whether you have had sufficient food or not, whether the prayer will be answered or not! The prayer should be offered with utmost sincerity, wanting Allah to say, ‘labbayk, labbayk!’ The Holy Quran, in many a place says, “call out to Allah and he will answer you.” One meaning of this statement is that if you call Allah, your prayer will be answered. But the fact is that Allah answers the prayers according to the abilities of the supplicant. If the supplicant has asked for something harmful, Allah gives him better than what he has asked for! ‘Ud-ooni astajib lakum’ - O My creature! Continue conversing with Me! 

Prayer is definitely the best way of conversing with Allah. In the salah, reciting the Surahs is Allah talking to the supplicant. In the other parts of the salah the supplicant talks with his Lord. The greatest pleasure in this is for the lover of Allah. The persons whose hearts are ruled by Allah derive the maximum pleasure from their prayers!

 

 

 

5. The Prayer of Hadhrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.)

 

This discussion has prolonged. I therefore wish to conclude it now. But I am confident that it will turn out to be better than what I originally visualized. Lady Fatima Zahra (a.s.) was young. We all know that youth is the period when people need more sleep. The youth sleep for longer hours than older people. Once, when Hadhrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.) was tired after the hard toil of the daily chores, the Prophet (s) entered her house and found her asleep. She was asleep, but was holding her baby in one arm, while her other hand was on the grinding wheel. Hearing the sound of his steps, she awoke from her slumber.

The Prophet (s) said, “Dearest daughter! Bear the bitterness of this world for the Blessings of the Hereafter!” Fatima Zahra (a.s) was tired, she had small children to tend to, she had no servant to help her in the daily household chores. But when Fizza came to help in the work, the Prophet (s) visited Hadhrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.) and suggested to her to share the responsibilities of the daily chores with the new servant! He told her that Fizza too is a human being like her and by sharing the work they could lessen each others burden. He suggested that she should perform the chores herself on one day and the next day Fizza should do the tasks! Fatima Zahra (a.s.) performs the household tasks that are very tiring, similarly she attends to the needs of the husband which is also a difficult task. In the subsequent talks we shall discuss how Hadhrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.) performed these tasks so well. But, during the nights, which is the best time for prayers, where is sleep for her?!

There is no sign of fatigue. She stands up in prayer so much that her feet swell. It is mentioned about two great personalities who used to stand so much in prayer that their feet were always swollen. One was the Prophet of Allah (s.a.) and the other his daughter, Hadhrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.). She used to wake up in the nights and stand in prayer till the dawn. Her supplications always used to be for the benefit of others. Imam Hasan (a.s,) says, “She used to stand in prayer from night until morning! During her supplication she would pray for her neighbors and Muslims in general. Once I suggested to her that it would be nice if she prayed for us as well! She replied, ‘First for the neighbors and then for the members of the family!’”

 


source : Islamic Family-Life Ethics /Ayatullah Hussein Madhahiri
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