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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why Don't You Pray? (IISNA pamphlet)

Sadly, many Muslims do not pray or fulfill the conditions of the prayer, despite its importance. The purpose of prayer is to strengthen your relationship with God; to be grateful for all His blessings; and to remind yourself of His Greatness. Just as the body requires physical needs, such as food and water, the soul requires spiritual needs, nourished by acts of worship, the most important of which is prayer. It could be that the body of a person is healthy but the person is spiritually dead.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The comparison of one who remembers Allah and one who does not, is like that of the living and the dead.”

Allah says, “O you who believe! Respond to (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” Qur’an 8:24

It's Importance

1. Direct communication with Allah:

“The closest a person is to His Lord is when he is in prostration.”

Prayer connects you with Allah. The Arabic word for prayer (As-Salah) is actually derived from the Arabic word meaning “connection”. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “When any one of you stands to pray, he is communicating with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.” Don’t sever this relationship with your Creator.

2. A pillar of Islam:

Prayer is the second most important pillar of Islam, and is the most regular compulsory action in a Muslim’s life. Prayer is an act that must be fulfilled daily, regardless of the circumstance. In fact, Allah did not even exempt the Muslims from praying during battle! He says, “Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers. If you fear (an enemy), pray on foot, or riding.” Qur’an 2:238-9 Such is the case during war. What then during peace?

3. Success lies in the Prayer:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The first of his deeds for which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful. But if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser.”

Its Benefits

1. Shields against evil:

Without seeking Allah’s help, it is impossible to refrain from evil.

Allah says, “Verily, prayer restrains (oneself) from shameful and unjust deeds.” Qur’an 29:45 How can sins be committed if you’re willingly standing before Allah 5 times a day?

2. Enriches your soul:

Prayer satisfies your spiritual need to be in contact with your Creator. This gives your soul peace and contentment, especially with your busy lifestyle.

Allah says, “Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” Qur’an 13:28

3. Makes you humble:

Pride and arrogance is rid by realizing Allah’s greatness and your dependence on Him. In the prayer, the Muslim puts the highest part of his body and source of intellect, his head, on to the ground and says, “How perfect is my Lord, The Most High.”

He says, “Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers.” Qur’an 23:1-2 Of course, this can only be achieved when you understand what is recited and concentrate with humility.

4. Washes away sins:

Everyone commits sins, however, Allah has provided, through prayer, a way to wipe out those sins.

Allah says, “And perform prayers, surely the good deeds remove the evils deeds.” Qur’an 11:114 The Messenger gave a beautiful example when he said to his companions, “Consider if one of you had a river by his door in which he bathed five times a day. Would any filth remain on him?” They said, “No.” Then the Prophet replied, “Likewise, Allah wipes away sins with the five daily prayers.”

5. Solves your problems:

If you strengthen your relationship with Allah, Allah will strengthen your relationship with the rest of the creation. Through prayer, He, who is All-Powerful, will rectify all your problems.

Allah says, “Seek help in patience and prayer.” Qur’an 2:153

6. Unites the Muslims:

Congregational prayer cultivates brotherhood, equality and humility between Muslims. The worshippers stand in rows and as one body, shoulder to shoulder, without any distinction of race, nationality, color, wealth, family or status. This act of unity helps demolish all barriers which stand between people.

Abandoning Prayer

“O Mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?” Qur’an 82:6

1. You are disobeying your Creator:

The whole purpose of your existence is to worship Allah, yet daily, you are disobeying your Creator.

“Then, there has succeeded them a generation who have given up prayer and have followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell. Except those who repent and believe, and work righteousness.” Qur’an 19:59-60

“(The people in Hell will be asked:) What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: We were not of those who used to pray…” Qur’an 74:42-43

2. You are being ungrateful:

Refusing your Creator’s invitation to establish this close relationship with Him is the ultimate ingratitude.

Allah created you and gave you everything.

“It is He who has created you and endowed you with hearing and seeing and hearts, little are you grateful.” Qur’an 67:23 The Prophet’s feet would swell because he would stand in prayer for lengthy periods. When asked about this, he replied, “Should I not be a grateful servant of my Lord?”

3. You are being lazy:

What excuse will you give your Creator, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, on Judgment Day? The One Who blessed you with 24 hours in a day, yet only asked that you spend merely 30 minutes for prayer!

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned with five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.”

4. You will be miserable:

Allah says, “And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed for him is a life of hardship. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection, blind. He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was (once) seeing?” (Allah) will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot (disregarded) them; and thus will you, this Day, be forgotten.” Qur’an 20:124-6

5. You are only harming yourself:

Allah doesn’t need your prayer or anything from anyone - Glory be to Him! It is you that stands in need of His Mercy.

“Give thanks to Allah, and whoever gives thanks, it is only for his own soul’s good, and whoever is ungrateful, surely Allah is free of all needs, worthy of all praise.” Qur’an 31:12

6. You are flirting with disbelief:

Many Scholars of Islam hold the opinion that if you do not pray, you are a disbeliever, quoting the following hadith: “The covenant which distinguishes between us and them (i.e., between believers and disbelievers) is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.”

Additionally, the Prophet’s companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did not consider the abandonment of any act as disbelief, except for prayer.

Common Excuses

1. No time (work, study, busy, etc): Pure and simple deception. You haven’t given prayers priority. Allah will bless your time and make you more effective, efficient and successful.
2. My heart is clean: Allah judges who has clean hearts, and He wants you to pray! Actions will reflect what is in your heart. No one has a cleaner heart than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who used to pray regularly.
3. My alarm: It’s hard for your alarm to go off, if you don’t SET it!!! Purify your intention and sleep according to the Sunnah.
4. My family/spouse/parents/friends prevent me: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.” You will be judged alone.
5. I’m sinning too much: In time, your prayers will prevent you from committing these sins - just pray! You are sinning because you are not praying.

Contemplate over this hadith, “If they knew the merits of the ‘Isha and Fajr prayers, they would come to them (in the mosque) even if they had to crawl.”

What excuse for abandoning prayer do you honestly have when you face your Lord on that difficult Day?

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