Category Archives: Reading Prayer and Establishing Prayer

SPIRITUAL PRAYER: Reading Prayer and Establishing Prayer

Reading Prayer and Establishing Prayer
It has been mentioned that one of the meanings of Prayer is blessings. In other words, Prayer is a source
of attaining Allah’s blessings. It is spectacular work of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that he has devised for the
followers of his faith (Muslims), and for other human beings, a method for attaining Allah’s blessings that
combines all the movements which occur in one’s life. The purpose of it is so that in every situation and
in every movement of life one stays connected with Allah’s blessings. When we study and analyse the
movements contained within Prayer it becomes apparent that there is no movement in human life that the
Holy Prophet has not included in Prayer e.g. lifting the hands, raising them, moving them, tying them,
touching the body with the hands, standing up, bending, lying, sitting, speaking, looking, hearing, moving
the head around to determine directions. Thus, Prayer includes every state of life. The purpose of it is so
that no matter what a person is doing, his mind stays established with Allah and this should become a
habit. When this becomes a trait encompassing every moment and breath of one’s life one develops a
strong connection with Allah.
When we make intention (niyat) we raise our hands up to the ears and touch them, and then saying Allāhu
Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) we tie our hands. Before starting Prayer it is our intention that we are going
to perform this act for Allah. Intention is related with the brain i.e. first we mentally present ourselves in
front of Allah.
From the beginning of creation up until now all the inventions and developments that have came into
existence are firstly related to the brain and then with the hands. When we lift ours hands for Prayer and
declare Allah’s greatness we are forming a relationship between Allah and all our mental abilities and all
the developments produced by using these abilities. In other words, all the inventions that mankind has
invented and the ones still to be invented in the future are all related to the abilities that Allah has granted
us. When we recite Subhāna kallāh humma (O Allah, all glory is for you) we are declaring Allah’s glory
and confessing that the abilities present within us that enable us to speak, think and understand are
actually the attributes of Allah and a favour bestowed upon us by Him. When reciting Sūrah Fātiha we
are negating ourselves and declaring that all praise is for Allah only and that He is the one who grants us
guidance, and only by earning His kindness and favour are we able to walk along the straight path.
After Sūrah Fātiha we recite any other Sūrah from the Holy Qur’ān e.g. Sūrah Ikhlās. When reciting this
Sūrah we are confessing that Allah is One (Single) and His creation is not. Allah is not in need of
anything, but all else is in need of Him. None is born of Him nor is He born. Allah is Unique, the One,
Single, Eternal, Absolute, and there is none like Him. While declaring Allah’s greatness we bow down
and then stand up again. After standing up we go into such a position which is close to lying down
(prostration). We then get up into a sitting position. Next, we prostrate again. We then stand up. In the last
rakat we sit down in peace for quite a while and then looking in both directions we salute (say Salām).
It sure is a remarkable fact worth contemplating upon that the Holy Prophet has incorporated every single
moment that exists in human life into Prayer. The purpose of it is so that whatever a person is doing,
whichever state he is in, whether he is sitting, standing, bending, saying something, looking here or there,
moving the hands and feet, thinking about something, in every situation there remains a mental link with
Allah. Wherever Prayer is mentioned in the Holy Qur’ān Allah has ordered us to ‘establish Prayer’ or
‘those who establish Prayer’ etc. It is important to contemplate about the wording here. In the Holy
Qur’ān we have been given guidance to establish Prayer, not to read Prayer.
Prayer and Fire-Worshipping
There is a big difference between establishing Prayer and reading Prayer. The Holy Qur’ān does contain
the word read (recite) as well though:-
‘O thou (Muhammad) folded in garments! Stand (to Prayer) by night, but not all night, Half
of it, or a little less, or a little more; and recite the Quran in slow, measured rhythmic tones’
(Sūrah Muzzammil, 1)
There is an expression in the Persian language ‘Namāz Khwandan’ which means ‘to read Prayer’. This
expression is used by fire-worshippers. They read their book Zandu’awsta and then bow down to fire; this
is what they call Namaz Khwandan or to read Prayer. When this was translated from Arabic to Urdu there
was a translation error: ‘establish Salāt’ was translated as ‘read Namaz’. According to the teachings of the
Holy Qur’ān Salāt should have been translated as Salāt, just as the translation of Kalimah Tayibah (first
Creed) is Kalimah Tayibah, translation of Allah is Allah, translation of Rahmān (merciful) is Rahmān,
translation of paighambar (messenger) is paighambar, translation of rasool (prophet) is rasool etc.
According to the teachings of the Holy Qur’ān, ‘establish Salāt’ and the Urdu translation; ‘read Namaz’
has a very big difference in its meanings.
The Thinking Approach of the Holy Prophets
The universal law is that until our thoughts with all their abilities and concentration do not find a focal
point, and do not stay still on that one point, we remain ignorant of the real meaning and understanding of
that point. Whenever we do something with mental anxiety and the entering of foreign thoughts, the
proper result is not achieved. As a matter of fact it is the attribute and the meaning of the attribute inside
any thing that brings together the result. For example, water can quench thirst because the attribute of
water is to irrigate dry veins. Fire can cook food because the attribute of fire is to use its heat and intensity
to make food edible and digestible. Until the attribute and meaning of a thing does not enter our mind we
cannot take advantage of that thing.
If we pay attention to the wisdom and meaning of Salāt (Prayer) we come to conclude that Prayer is a
sure and true method of getting close to and to and getting to know Allah. But to get close to or to get to
know something is not possible until one is fully focused and attentive towards that thing. Until one does
not absorb himself within the meaning of something he cannot become familiar with the essence of that
thing. To become absorbed within the meaning is only possible when every angle of the intellect,
perception, and thinking is focused upon the one point. In another words, to get to know the reality of
something one should establish a link with that thing, consciously and subconsciously. In life whatever
movement or whatever thing one may be doing, mentally one’s full attention should stay attentive towards
finding the meaning of that thing. This is the same thinking approach with operates within the holy
prophets. They wilfully and naturally turn their attention towards Allah in every action and deed. In their
minds it is well established that their every action is for Allah. This is the thinking approach that the holy
prophets have preached about and persuaded the whole of mankind to take on, and the same thinking
approach that they themselves have spent their whole lives with.
A Programme for the Descendants (Umat)
It is evident from the Holy Qur’ān and the other three books which have come to us through revelation
that man has no prestige or status of his own. Allah tells us:-
‘You listen through My hearing, see through My sight, think through My thought. Your
coming is from Us and to Us you will return. Allah encircles everything. He is the
Beginning, and He is the End. He is the Manifested, and He is the Hidden. Where you are
one, the second is Allah. Where you are two, the third is Allah. It is Allah who gives birth to
you, and provides the sources for your upbringing after birth, and it is Allah who provides
you with food without account’
Every prophet devised a programme for his descendants by the order of Allah. All these programmes
have the same fundamental aim which is to establish a link between man and Allah. The prophets have
told us that Allah has created us so that we get to know Allah and form a mental link with Him that stays
firm and established. May we lay down our life for our beloved Prophet who has determined a method in
the form of Salāt in order to form a link with Allah. As we have already emphasised previously, by
contemplating upon Prayer it becomes very clear that Prayer contains all life’s movements and actions.
Even though these movements and actions are related to the physical body, the actual purpose of them is
to witness Allah and attain intimate knowledge of Allah.
Adam and Eve
Allah ordered Adam:-
‘O Adam! Reside here in Heaven with your wife, and eat and drink happily from whereof
you like but do not come near this tree or you shall be amongst the transgressors’
Until Adam and Eve did not commit disobedience they enjoyed Allah’s blessings in Heaven. When they
committed disobedience the atmosphere of Heaven could not tolerate them anymore and refused them.
They got thrown into the ‘lowest of the low’ (Earth):
‘And We created man of the best stature and then We reduced him to the lowest of the low’
(Sūrah Tīn, 4)
There are two minds operating within man. One is the heavenly mind; that status of Adam before he
committed disobedience and the other mind is the one that came into existence after disobedience. Adam,
who was given authority by Allah to exercise his free will, had only one mind operative in him whose
characteristic was to spend life in obedience. When Adam using his choice of free will committed
disobedience, a second mind came into existence which was based upon disobedience. Until Adam and
Eve spent their life within the sphere of the heavenly mind they were free of time and space restrictions.
When they acted against the order of Allah, time and space restrictions were imposed upon them and the
free mind became imprisoned and confined within difficulties and hardship. To spend life after becoming
restricted in time and space Adam had to devise new methods. For example, in order to fulfil the demand
of hunger and thirst he had to set up a cultivation system and carry out hard labour. As well as this he had
to undergo a lot of wait, whereas in Heaven there was no such thing as wait. Adam admitted his mistake
to Allah and pleaded for forgiveness. Allah said to Adam:
‘We will be sending our chosen people who will guide you to the straight path and those
who act upon the guidance of those prophets will be permitted back in their home; Heaven
once again’
When Adam disobeyed Allah the link between him and Allah was broken. Because this link was
temporarily broken the heavenly mind refused them. There is an Arabic proverb that says, ‘Everything
yearns to return to its source’. Therefore, to achieve the mind that is free of time and space restrictions we
will have to employ the same method that we used to lose it. Using our choice of free will we will have to
reject this mind in which we are enclosed within, the mind that caused us to move away from our
liberated mind and lose the link which we had with Allah in Heaven. To search for this connection and to
retain this connection has been termed as ‘Qiyām Salāt’ (establishment of Prayer) in the language of the
Qur’ān. Allah orders us to ‘establish Prayer’ in other words, to establish a link and relationship with Allah
– such a relationship that stays firm and established in every state and situation in life.
When we want to achieve something we usually have to negate ourselves, in other words, give less
importance to ourselves. We also have to sacrifice our time and our mental and physical health. Success
in our mission will be in proportion to this sacrifice or negation. The more we sacrifice or negate the more
success we will achieve.
Conscious and Subconscious
Man has two states of mind: the conscious and the subconscious. Conscious is the name given to the mind
which operates during the state of wakefulness and subconscious is the name given to the mind that
operates during the state of sleeping and dreaming. According to the teachings of Allah, the senses of the
wakeful state and the senses of the dreaming state are the one. The only difference is that when we are in
the wakeful state, time and space restrictions apply whereas in the state of dreaming there are no
restrictions of time and space. To liberate ourselves from time and space restrictions we have no other
way except to suppress the senses of wakefulness and to settle our life upon the senses of dreaming. The
current situation is that the senses of wakefulness are predominant upon us and the senses of dreaming are
suppressed. We are continuously changing between these two states of wakefulness and sleep. Sometimes
we are in the state of wakefulness and at other times we are spending our life in the senses that are free
from time and space restrictions (dreaming). In the Holy Qur’ān these senses have been mentioned in the
name of day and night. It explains:-
‘We enter the night from the day and We enter the day from the night’
In another place it states:-
‘We take out the day from the night and take out the night from the day’
In other words, the senses are the one. It is only a matter of which one is governing at the time. The
senses of the day are bound within time and space whereas the senses of the night are not. It is the senses
of the night that are the means of travelling in the unseen world. With these senses man can witness the
realm of the souls (Burzukh), purgatory (Arāf) and the realm of the angels. Referring to Prophet Mūsa
(Moses), Allah tells us:-
‘And we promised Moses thirty nights and completed them with ten more and so were
completed your Lord’s forty nights’
Allah is saying here that in forty nights He granted the Torah to Mūsa (by revelation). This statement of
Allah must be contemplated upon deeply as it is very important. Allah is not saying that He completed the
promise in forty days, only the night has been mentioned. Obviously Mūsa stayed on Koh-e-Tūr (Mount
Tūr) for forty days and forty nights, it means then that for forty days and forty nights the senses of the
night were functioning within him.
Relating to the Holy Prophet’s Ascension (Mehrāj), Allah’s words are:-
‘Pure is He who one night took His servant from Masjid-e-Hiram to Masjid-e-Aksa so that
He could show him His signs’
When we are in the senses of the night (the state of sleep) we do not eat, nor do we talk and nor do we
deliberately use our mind for worldly issues. This is the state that the programme of establishing Prayer
(Qiyām Salāt) orders us to take on. During the state of Prayer nearly all those senses come upon us which
we call night.
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