SPIRITUAL PRAYER:Prayer and Mehraj, Prayer of the greatests
Prayer and Mehraj
It is the declaration of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that ‘Prayer is the Mehrāj (Ascension to the heavens) of
When we look for the definition and meaning of the word ‘Mehrāj’ we find that ‘Mehrāj’ is actually an
alternative word used for ‘the discovery of the unseen world’. When we study the details of the Holy
Prophet’s Mehrāj we get a taste through the conscious mind of the realms existing in the unseen world.
The Holy Prophet, after being released from the grip of time and space, physically arrived at Masjid-e-
Aqsa. All the prophets present there Prayed behind the leadership (Imāmat) of the Holy Prophet. He then
made his presence at the Heavens, the first Heaven, second Heaven, third Heaven, fourth Heaven, fifth
Heaven, sixth Heaven, seventh Heaven, and then at the throne of Allah Himself. He met with the people
residing in the Heavens. He observed the state and condition of Heaven and Hell. He conversed with the
angels and then he was granted such a stage during his Ascension where there remained only the distance
of two bows or even less between him and Allah. Allah conversed with His servant about whichever
Secrets He wished, and also said that what the heart saw was not false.
From the study of this light-filled miraculous incidence we can deduce that the word Mehrāj means ‘the
discovery of the unseen world’. Mehrāj was the Mehrāj of the Holy Prophet. For his descendants the
Holy prophet has declared Prayer as Mehrāj. When a believer stands for Prayer, in his mind that door
opens up from which he can enter into the unseen world and become familiar with it. He witnesses the
angels. After being enclosed in a circle of light (Noor) and liberated from time and space he reaches the
height of the Heavens and then he arrives at the Throne of Allah where he bows down in subjection to
Allah. A believer who attains the stage of Mehrāj in Prayer is showered with the light (Noor) of Allah’s
It must be emphasised that every one of the Holy Prophet’s descendants has the ability to spiritually go on
Mehrāj up to the Throne of Allah. Through Prayer any one of his descendants can converse with the
angels, visit Heaven and progress to achieve the utmost limit which is to become a devout servant and
have intimate knowledge of Allah. Such a believer attains the honour to sight the High Throne, and Allah
Himself. His ears hear the voice of Allah and his heart becomes acquainted with Allah’s closeness. The
Holy Prophet’s Mehrāj was on a spiritual and physical basis and is such a rank which is unique and
exclusive only to the Holy Prophet. Hażrat Ibrahim’s access was up to Bait-ul-Mahmood. After Bait-ul-
Mahmood come the stages of Hijab-e-Azmat, Hijab-e-Kubrya, and Hijab-e-Mahmood. After Hijab-e-
Mahmood comes Maqam-e-Mahmood and this is the stage that the Holy prophet ascending to on Mehrāj
where he conversed with Allah, and Allah said:-
‘And We revealed unto our servant that which We revealed. The heart lied not (in seeing)
what it saw’
(Sūrah An-Najm, 10-11)
Prayer of the Lover and the Beloved
To become acquainted with the reality of Prayer we have to have knowledge of our own soul. The Holy
Prophet (pbuh) has explained that without the presence of the heart, Prayer is not Prayer. Nor is it Prayer
if one is not free from evil suggestions and distracted thoughts. Such an act could only be called ‘physical
movement’ and there would be no spiritual value in this act. When a person establishes Prayer with the
depth of his soul he is released from the grasp of that mind which we call ‘the disobedient mind’. When
the grasp of the disobedient becomes weak the Heavenly mind, which is free from the limitations of time
and space takes control. When we incline towards Allah with the Heavenly mind, Allah’s light (Noor)
starts descending upon us and in this state of Prayer we break our link with the fictional senses. This state
when one gets so absorbed in Allah’s light and magnificence is called Istaghrāq.
Hażrat Ayesha Siddiqa narrates to us that when it was time for Prayer the Holy Prophet would not even
acknowledge the presence of those around him and it would seem as if they were all strangers to him.
The Holy Prophet would stand in Prayer for so long that his blessed feet would get swollen.
The Prayer of the Beloved Prophet (pbuh)
It is narrated in a Hadith that once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) arrived late for the Fajr Prayer. After Prayer
he told the people to remain seated. He narrated to them that last night when he was establishing Prayer
he went into a state of drowsiness. He saw Allah’s splendour and beauty in front of him without any veils.
Allah asked him ‘Oh Muhammad! Do you know what subject these certain angels are conversing about?’
He replied ‘Yes, O Lord! They are conversing about those deeds which remove sins’. Allah asked ‘What
are they?’ He answered ‘To lift a step towards the mosque for congregational Prayer, to stay in the
mosque after the Prayer and to perform ablution despite intolerable conditions (such as very cold water).
There is happiness and welfare in the life and death of the one who does this. He will be purified from his
sins just like the day when his mother gave birth to him’. Allah then asked him ‘Oh Muhammad! What
are the stages?’ He replied ‘To feed people, to talk with a soft tone, to get up to establish Prayer when the
world is asleep’. Allah then ordered ‘Ask for anything from Me’. He answered ‘O Lord! I want divine
guidance to be able to do good deeds, refrain from evil deeds and to love the poor. Save me and have
mercy on me. When you wish to test a nation, lift me without testing me. I am the aspirant of Your love
and the love of the one who loves You and the love of every deed that takes me closer to Your love’.
Once the Holy Prophet was performing the Kasoof Prayer (the Prayer performed when there is a solar
eclipse) and remained occupied for a long time reciting the Qur’ān, bowing down and prostrating. During
this time his companions saw that he reached his hand forward. They then saw that he moved back a little.
Later when the people questioned him regarding this incident he told them:-
‘At that time those things were exposed in front of me of which you have been promised.
Paradise and Hell were displayed just beside this wall. I saw bunches of grapes hanging in
Paradise, I felt like breaking off a bunch. If I did break it you would have been able to finish it
until the Day of Resurrection. I then saw Hell and have never before seen such a terrifying
The Prayer of Hażrat Abu Bakr Siddiq
When Hażrat Abu Bakr Siddiq used to get up to perform Prayer he would get into a state of intense
weeping and the non-Muslim women and children within the radius of this soft and gentle atmosphere
would also start crying.
The Prayer of Hażrat Umar
Hażrat Umar used to cry with such force in Prayer that the sound of it would even reach the last row.
Once Hażrat Umar was leading the Fajr Prayer and the other companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)
were following behind him. Suddenly an unfortunate malicious person holding a dagger came forward
and stabbed Hażrat Umar in his blessed belly. Hażrat Umar fainted and fell to the ground. Despite the
occurrence of this horrific incident the Holy Prophet’s companions praying behind Hażrat Umar remained
unaware of this. Hażrat Abdul Rahman bin A’uf stepped ahead and completed the obligations of Imāmat
(leadership in Prayer). Only after the completion of the Nafl Prayer did the companions of the Holy
Prophet realise what had happened and went to assist Hażrat Umar.
The Prayer of Hażrat Ali
When Hażrat Ali would make intention to Pray, his whole body would start trembling and the colour of
his face would change. He used to say:-
‘The time has arrived to implement that trust which was offered to the Heavens and the
Earth and which they did not have the courage to take on’
Once an arrow hit Hażrat Ali’s thigh and went through to the other side of the thigh. When it was tried to
pull out the arrow he felt an awful lot of pain. One of the other companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)
suggested that the arrow be taken out when Hażrat Ali is Praying and so Hażrat Ali made intention and
started to Pray. He got himself so focused and engrossed in prayer that he became totally unaware of his
surroundings. During this time the arrow was easily removed and the wound was bandaged. In the
process Hażrat Ali did not even feel the slightest of pain.
The Prayer of Hażrat Hassan
Hażrat Hassan explained that there are three particular honours for the one who establishes Prayer:-
The first honour is that when a person stands up for Prayer, divine blessings form a cloud from his head
up to the sky from which divine light pours down on him like rain.
The second honour is that angels gather on all four sides of the person and encircle him.
The third honour is that one angel says ‘Oh, one who is praying, if you could see who is in front of you
and who you are talking to, I swear on the Lord you would not salute (say Salām at end of Prayer) until
the Day of Resurrection’.
The Prayer of Hażrat Anas
When Hażrat Anas prayed he used to get so engrossed in Prayer. Because of his engrossment the length
of time between standing and prostration was so prolonged that people used to think that he had forgotten
The Prayer of Hażrat Abdullah-bin-Zubair
When Hażrat Abdullah Bin Zubair established Prayer he used to recite a large number of Sūrahs from the
Holy Qur’ān. When standing in Prayer it would look as if he were a pillar. When he would prostrate he
would stay in that position for so long that the pigeons of the Holy Kaba would come and sit on his back.
The Prayer of Awais Karni
Hażrat Awais Karni would not sleep all night. He would say that it is surprising that the angels, who
worship Allah all the time never get tired, and us, being the best of creation get tired and have a peaceful
The Prayer of Zain-ul-Abideen
One day Zain-ul-Abideen was performing Prayer in the mosque when all of a sudden the thatched roof
caught fire and set it all in flames. Despite this, Zain-ul-Abideen kept steadfast and focused in Prayer.
Watching this incidence, all the people gathered and shouted out to him but he remained unaware of what
was happening. Once he had finished his Prayer he came outside the mosque where the people asked him
why he did not act in response to their shouting out so loudly. Zain-ul-Abideen told them that while they
were trying to save him from this worldly fire, he was actually standing in the court of Allah.
The Prayer of Rabia Basri
Hażrat Rabia Basri used to spend a large portion of the night Praying. She used to say that her reason for
performing Prayer was not to achieve reward but rather that on the Day of Resurrection in front of all the
prophets, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would be able to proudly say that this Prayer is of a woman from
amongst my descendants.
The Prayer of Hażrat Sufiyan Sawri
Once Hażrat Sufiyan Sawri was busy establishing Prayer near the Holy Kaba. While he was prostrating
an enemy cut off the toes of his feet. After he head saluted (said Salām) in both directions he saw blood
on the floor and felt pain in his feet, and only then did he realise that someone had cut off his toes.
The Prayer of Hażrat Muslim-bin-Bashar
Hażrat Muslim-bin-Bashar had a very domineering personality, so much so that when he would enter the
house the people at home would go into complete silence due to fear of him. But when he prayed he
would get so deeply engrossed in Prayer that no matter how much noise the children made, he would not
have the slightest knowledge of it.
Once Hażrat-bin-Bashar was in his room making intention to pray when accidentally one of the corners of
the room caught fire. Despite this, he remained preoccupied with Prayer. After he had saluted, his family
informed him that all the people in the village had gathered to put out the fire and yet you did not leave
Prayer even though in a time like this it is allowed to break the intention of Prayer. Hażrat-bin-Bashar
replied that if he had known what was happening he certainly would have broken the intention.
The Prayer of a Woman
Hażrat Abdullah-bin-Mubarik relates to us an incidence which occurred in his childhood regarding a
woman who spent a lot of time in worship:-
“During Prayer a poisonous spider stung her forty times but she offered no resistance.
When she finished prayer I asked her why she did not move the spider away. She replied:
‘Oh son! You are still a child. How was it possible, I was preoccupied in the work of my
Lord, how could I have done my own work?’”
The Prayer of a Saint
Hażrat Abu-Alkhair-Aqtah had a cyst in his foot. Doctors suggested that his foot be amputated but Hażrat
Abu-Alkhaira-Aktah did not agree to this. His disciples advised the doctors to cut the foot off while he is
Praying because at that time he has no awareness of himself at all. And so, while he was Praying, his foot
was cut off. Only when he had finished his Prayer did he realise that his foot had been cut off.