Prayer – A Cure for Grief
Prayer is a practice that takes a person closer to his soul. When a person is acquainted with the knowledge
of his soul it becomes clear to him that it is Allah Himself who is guiding him. Just think what our life
would be like if Allah Himself was guiding us and just how close we would be to Allah. Truly, with this
course of conduct our every movement would become based upon Allah’s movement.
If we contemplate on the psychological depths of this course of conduct we find that whenever we do a
good deed for Allah’s sake, we find great satisfaction and happiness in it. That happiness penetrates deep
within and illuminates every part of the soul. With that happiness the soul becomes so light that it forgets
about its physical body. If we look into the lives of saints we realise that they spent their lives in the same
way as an ordinary person spends his life. The only difference is that they were acquainted with the
pleasures of a good course of conduct whereas we are not. How is it not possible for every descendant of
the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to achieve what was possible for the saints? Certainly it is possible for us all but
we are careless and ignorant. The saints, after acquainting themselves with this pleasure and with the
blessings of real Prayer managed to gather people to perform congregational Prayer. The congregational
Prayer of those few people managed to change the condition and structure of the whole world. But when
Muslims stopped performing Prayer in the way it should be performed and turned this sacred alchemic
worship into a ritual, as a punishment nature took all kinds of leadership and authority away from us.
There was no warmth left in our hearts. We became deprived of softness, passion, humility, modesty,
tolerance, knowledge, intellect, understanding and a healthy mind. While Praying, if there is no presence
of concentration and softness of the heart, and we do not get to know our soul and do not manage to
befriend Allah then this Prayer is a similitude to a body without a soul. If we perform our Prayers in the
manner prescribed by Allah and His Prophet then why would our Prayers not be Prayers? How could they
not? Why are we bereft of the blessings and rewards that our forefathers were blessed with?
According to the declaration of Allah and His Holy Prophet, Prayer is the cure to all our sadness and
grief, is an ointment to heal all the hurt inside us and is a remedy for our pain. But because we have
changed Prayer to suit us according to the time and occasion, we have left no stone unturned in making
this blessed deed lifeless.
All the prophets that have come to this world promoted the worshipping of Allah and good deeds. They
are those holy and pure beings that Allah has favoured and those who have been chosen to favour others.
But those who were disobedient and unfortunate did not take on board the teachings of these virtuous
messengers sent down by Allah and instead overlooked them. Allah states in the Holy Qur’ān:-
‘But after them came a later generation who were disobedient who lost the reality of
Prayer and followed their carnal desires. But they will meet deception’
(Surāh Maryam, 59)
The meaning of this auspicious verse is that Prayer is the ‘jewel’ of worship, in other words, the essence.
If we remain unaware of the reality of it then all our Prayers will go to waste.
If we contemplate upon the knowledge of ethics we come to realise that the most effective way to develop
is through the character of oneself, and the complete picture of the character is made from the postures
and movements of Prayer. According to the declaration of the Holy Prophet, the greatest nourishment for
one’s character is Prayer. Allah declares in the Holy Qur’ān:-
‘Establish Prayer and pay the poor due. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls
before you, ye shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees all that ye do’
(Sūrah Baqara, 110)
In another place Allah declares:-
‘O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and Prayer: for Allah is with those
who persevere’ (Sūrah Baqara, 153)
These are the two forces through which we can free ourselves of our troubles, trials, pain, dishonour and
disgrace. If Muslims gather these two forces within them, the crown of kingship of the world would be
placed upon their heads. They would never become failures in any religious or worldly affair.
Prayer is the fountainhead of spiritualism. Prayer is a fort that protects us from an army of wrongdoing.
Prayer keeps us away from sinning. To just complete the movements of Prayer is not called Prayer. It is
necessary to possess the knowledge of the purpose of Prayer. The Qur’ān does not give us the order to
perform the ritual Prayer, it gives us orders to fulfil all the fundamental pillars of Islam properly and
completely. It clearly states that without mental concentration and the presence of the heart, Prayer is not
‘Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer, for
Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest
(thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the deeds that ye do’ (Sūrah Ankabūt,
The Entering of Thoughts in Prayer
People often complain that they cannot concentrate in Prayer and as soon as they make intention to pray,
thoughts start to enter their minds. Sometimes they cannot even remember which Sūrahs they have
recited in Prayer and which ones they have yet to recite. After ending the Prayer they are left with the
impression that Prayer was a burden on them until not recited and they have now got rid of this burden.
There is no pleasure or peace gained from such a Prayer whereas Prayer is actually a great way of
achieving a satisfied heart and being introduced to the unseen world. The main reason for this is that we
perform Prayer so quickly that the actual purpose of Prayer is diminished. The whole Prayer is read in the
time a single rakat performed with humility should be completed. The bowing and prostration are carried
out with such speed that one cannot even recite
in that time. The body is bent a little to bow down while placing the hands on the knees, lifting the head,
they have not even stood up straight again and already gone down to prostrate, lifting the head after
prostration, they have not even sat up properly yet and already gone down into prostration again, and then
got up to stand.
A Prayer performed as such is an act of dishonouring Prayer and rudeness in front of Allah. A Prayer or
act as such can certainly not be termed as Prayer. Instead it is a defective act which will become a cause
of shame and remorse for us on the Day of Judgement and from which we will gain no benefit at all.
It is the saying of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that the one who performs the best act of stealing is the one
who steals in Prayer. His companions asked:-
‘O Prophet! How can one steal in Prayer?’
‘To not perform the bowing and prostration in Prayer properly is robbery in Prayer’