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The Prayer
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The Prayer

The Most High God says on the tongue of Wise Luqman, O my son! Establish regular prayer… ﴿1 Also, The Most High God says, Speak to my servants who have believed, that they may establish regular prayers, and spend (in charity) out of the sustenance We have given them, secretly and openly, before the coming of a Day on which there will be neither mutual bargaining nor befriending﴿2

The Importance of the Prayer and Its Role in Life

The Most High God says, …and establish regular prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And God knows the (deeds) that ye do﴿3

It is related that God’s prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said, “The prayer is the base column of religion. Once it is accepted, everything else is accepted. And once it is rejected, everything else is rejected.”4

The word “prayer” [salat] is derived from connection [sila]. That the person be a performer of prayer means that he is connecting with The Most High God. The prayer, therefore, represents the connection point between the servant and his Creator.

It is by means of the prayer that the servant calls his God; shows to Him submission and acknowledgment of His Godhood and his own slavery to Him; repeats the allegiance with the absolute obedience to The Most Glorified God; refuses to turn towards and to submit to anybody rather than God; and refuses to obey anybody rather than God.

It is related that Imam Ali bin Musa Al-Rida (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “The cause of prayer lies in that it is an acknowledgment of the godhood of The Most Glorious and Reverent God; a rejection of any peers; a standing before The Most Reverent Almighty in an act of humiliation, misery, submission, and confession; an asking for forgiveness of sins; a putting of the face five times a day on the ground in an act of glorification of The Moat Glorified and Reverent God.

It is by means of the prayer that one be remembering God i.e. neither forgetful nor ungrateful; be pious, humiliated, yearning, asking for more in religion and in this life; and be day and night restraining himself and continuously extolling The Most Glorious and Reverent God, so that the servant will not forget his Lord and Manager and Creator, and thus will not turn to be an arrogant and a tyrant, and so that he will be, in his extolment of God and standing before Him, restrained from the sins and prevented from the sorts of corruption.”5


The Prayer Is a Continuous Purification from Sins

Because of the human being’s presence in the abode of test and affliction [i.e. this life], he commits sins. Consequently, his heart gets polluted and occupied with this life, thus becoming inadvertent of the remembrance of God and of the prayer. In this context, one poet said,

Satan, this life, my soul, and the fancy
How to attain salvation with each being my enemy

Still, God, due to His Mercy, provided the human being with a means, so that he will get continuously purified from his sin; this means is the prayer. The Most High God says, The believers must (eventually) win through * Those who humble themselves in their prayers﴿6

It is related in a discourse ascribed to God’s prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) that he said, “If there is at the door of one of you a river from which he washes five times a day, will there any dirt remain on his body?” We [those present] answered, “No.” Then, he said, “The prayer is like the flowing river: At each time one performs a prayer, it will wash the sins between one prayer and the next one.”7

It is related that The Prince of the Believers (God’s peace bestowed upon him) used to recommend his companions with: “Commit to the prayer. Keep it. Perform it abundantly. Get close [to God] by means of it, for it is enjoined on the believers at stated times. Do not you hear the answer of the people of the fire when they will be asked, ‘What led you into Hell?’

They will answer, ‘We were not from among those performing the prayer.’ It rubs the sins as the paper is rubbed and releases them as the slaves are rubbed. God’s prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) resembled it to the hot fountain which cures from all diseases and which is at the door of man from which he washes five times a day and night; then what dirt will remain on him? And its due was known by believing men who neither the worldly decoration nor the pleasure nor the child nor the money occupies them from. The Most Glorified God says, By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the Remembrance of God, nor from regular prayer, nor from the practice of regular charity8?﴿9

Underestimating the Prayer

Underestimating the prayer results necessarily in the deprivation from the Divine Kindness because the one underestimating the prayer is in fact belittling the greatest duty between him and God. From here, a grave dispraise of those belittling the prayer is mentioned in the Book and in the Prophetic norm. The Most High God says, So woe to the worshippers * Who are neglectful of their prayers﴿10

It is related that Imam Abou Jaafar Al-Baqer (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “Do not belittle your prayer, for The Prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said at his death, ‘He who underestimates his prayer does not belong to me. He who drinks an alcoholic drink does not belong to me: He will not come to me at the Pond.’”11

From the signs of underestimating and belittling the prayer is when the servant quickly performs it without having his heart present and without thinking about its meanings and about Whom he is standing before.

It is related that Zarara related that Abou Jaafar (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “Once when God’s prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) was sitting in the mosque, one man entered and started praying without elaborating neither his bowing nor his prostration. So he (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said, ‘It is like the peck of the crow. If this man dies and such is his prayer, he will not be belonging to my religion when he dies.’”12

The Prayer Is the First Point about Which the Servant Will Be Asked

It is related that Abou Abdullah (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said that God’s prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said, “He who performs the prayer not at its proper time will have it raised for him black, dark, and saying, ‘You wasted me. May God waste you as you did waste me.’ And the first point about which the servant will be asked when he will stand before The Most High God is the prayer. If it is purified, all the rest of his work will be purified. Yet, if it is not purified, his work will not be purified.”13

It is related in a discourse ascribed to Imam Al-Sadik (God’s peace bestowed upon him) that he said, “The first point for which the servant will be accounted is the prayer: If it is accepted, all the rest of his work will be accepted. But if it is rejected, all the rest of his work will be rejected.”14

How Must We turn towards God in the Prayer?

What is important is not to perform a lot of prayers or to perform them lengthily; it is to stick to them and to perform them with serenity, contemplation, and presence of the heart.

It is related that Imam Al-Sadik (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “When you perform a dutiful prayer, perform it at its time the prayer of the one bidding farewell to this world and fearing not to come back. Then turn your sight towards the spot of your prostration. When you know who is to your right and to your left, you will elaborately perform the prayer. Bear in mind that you are before Who sees you and Whom you do not see.”15

The Etiquettes of the Prayer

When praying, there is a group of etiquettes which one must consider.
1* One should not belittle the prayer, and one should take care of the purification and the cleanliness.

2* One should perform the prayer of the last moment i.e. the prayer of the one bidding farewell to this world.

3* One should know in front of Whom he is standing, Whom he is praying to, and Whom he is soliloquizing.

4* One should have his heart present i.e. being pious, submissive, and feeling poverty and weakness before The Most High God.

5* One should be sincere in the intention and in the work because the servant will have nothing from his prayer save the part which he turned to God in.

6* One should have the prayer prior to all the other issues of this world.

7* One should care for the group prayer.

8* One should follow up the prayer with the glorification of Al-Zahraa (God’s peace bestowed upon her) and with what is ascribed to the Household (God’s peace bestowed upon them).

9* One should perform the prayer in the mosque, for it is related in The Prophet’s (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) recommendation to Abou Thar (May God be pleased with him), “O Abou Thar! Every believer moving to the prayer will have the grace, as much as there is between him and the Throne, scattered over him, and will have an angel entrusted with him calling, ‘O Son of Adam! If you know what you get from your prayer and Whom you are soliloquizing, you will not get bored and will not turn aside…’ O Abou Thar! Blessed be the carriers of the Banners on the Day of Judgment: They will carry them and will forgo the people to heaven… They are those forgoing to the mosques in the early dawns and in other times.”16

Preventions from the Acceptance of the prayer

There are many causes preventing the acceptance of the prayer, among which we are going to mention the following:
1- Filial Disobedience: It is related that Imam Al-Sadik (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “God will not accept the prayer of him who looks at his parents with hatred even if they are unjust with him.”17

2- Backbiting: It is related that The Prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said, “He who backbites a male or a female Muslim will have God not accepting his prayer and fasting for forty days and nights unless the one backbitten forgives him.”18

3- Underestimating the Prayer: It is related that The Prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) said, “The thief is not the one who robs the people but the one who robs the prayer.”19

The Love of the Prayer

Once the servant knows the value and the prestige of the prayer with The Most High God, he gets attached to it and loves it because in his prayer he is close to The Most High God; such is the state of the elites and the authorities. It is related in a narrative ascribed to The Prophet (God’s prayers and peace bestowed upon him and his Household) that he said, “O Abou Thar! The Most High God made the prayer the apple of my eye and endeared it to me as He endeared the food to the hungry one and the water to the thirsty one. However, the hungry gets satisfied when he eats food, and the thirsty gets quenched when he drinks water; but I am never satisfied with the prayer.”20

For Reading

It is related that Oubayd bin Zarara said,

I asked Abou Abdullah (God’s peace bestowed upon him) about the great sins. He answered, “They are, in Ali’s (God’s peace bestowed upon him) book, seven: denying God; killing the soul; filial disobedience; taking the usury after having known it to be so; oppressingly taking the property of the orphan; escape from the fight for God’s sake; and urbanization after the immigration.”

I asked, “Are these the greatest sins?” He (God’s peace bestowed upon him) answered, “Yes.” I asked, “Which is greater: oppressingly taking one dirham from the property of the orphan or abandoning the prayer?” He (God’s peace bestowed upon him) answered, “It is the abandoning of the prayer.”

I said, “Yet you did not list the abandoning of the prayer among the great sins.” He asked, “What is the first point which I mentioned to you?” I answered, “It is the denial of God.” He (God’s peace bestowed upon him) said, “The one abandoning the prayer is an atheist i.e. abandoning it without an excuse.”


1- The Noble Qur'an/ Luqman Chapter/ Verse 17
2- The Noble Qur'an/ Ibrahim Chapter/ Verse 31
3- The Noble Qur'an/ Al-Ankabut [The Spider] Chapter/ Verse 45
4- Nahej Al-Sa’ada [The Path of Happiness]/ Part Four/ Page 140
5- Yanabeeaa Al-Hekma [The Fountains of Wisdom]/ Part Three/ Page 492
6- The Noble Qur'an/ Al-Mo’minoun [The Believers] Chapter/ Verses 2 and 3
7- Wasael Al-Sheeaa [The Means of the Shiite]/ Part Four/ Page 12
8- The Noble Qur'an/ Al-Nour [The Light] Chapter/ Verse 37
9- Nahej Al-Balagha [The Path of Eloquence]/ Part Two/ Page 178
10- The Noble Qur'an/ Al-Ma’oun [The Small Kindnesses]/ Verses 4 and 5
11- Wasael Al-Sheeaa [The Means of the Shiite]/ Part Four/ Page 24
12- Wasael Al-Sheeaa/ Part Four/ Page 32
13- Yanabeeaa Al-Hekma [The Standard of Wisdom]/ Part Three/ Page 496
14- Yanabeeaa Al-Hekma/ Part Three/ Page 495
15- Mustadrak Al-Wasael [Making up for the Means]/ Part Three/ Page 433
16- Wasael Al-Sheeaa [The Means of the Shiite]/ Part Four/ Page 34
17- Bihar Al-Anwar [The Seas of Lights]/ Part Seventy One/ Page 61
18- Bihar Al-Anwar/ Part Seventy Two/ Page 258
19- Bihar Al-Anwar/ Part Eighty One/ Page 267
20- Al-Amali/ Al-Toussi/ Page 528

889 View | 05-04-2013 | 14:31


 
 

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