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Prayer:

Remembrance of Allah

Q A Ahmad


"Convey (unto others) whatever of this book has been revealed to you and be consistent and constant in prayers: for, behold, prayer restrains from indecent deeds and prohibited actions; and remembrance of Allah is indeed the greatest virtue. And Allah knows well all that you continue to do."

(Quran, 29:45)

Allah addresses the Muslim

In this ayah (verse), Allah is addressing the Prophet but it also is an address to the Muslim reader who is now playing the role of the Prophet as the conveyor of the Message to humanity.

Recitation of the Quran

The word tilaawat conveys many meanings:

a) recitation the Quran (loud enough for others to hear) and declaring it to the world;

b) reading to oneself;

c) studying and understanding the verses to the full extent of ones ability;

d) reflecting on the meaning to fully apply it in our lives.

The advantages of tilaawat (loud recitation) of the Quran are multifold, it gives contentment to and strengthening of the heart; the virtue of the reward from Allah (swt); better insight into its understanding due to pondering upon its interpretations; those who hear the recitation get the blessings by listening and understanding the words; fulfillment of the hujjah (???) upon the listener by conveying the message; performance of daawah.

Keeping away from evils with prayers

A. The causal characteristic of prayer (salat):

Just as an antibiotic keeps away or removes infections, salat (the five-time daily prayers) keeps one away from bad deeds and actions. The cure may not be achieved in one dose. Sometimes one has to administer medicines regularly for quite a long time. Moreover, some precautions have to be observed, like not to do or eat something that can negate the effectiveness of the medicine.

Thus, the Prayer is surely the most effective medicine that works as a potent preventive for the eradication of spiritual ailments. And remember the conditions of usage: its performance should be continued for quite a long period according to instructions of proper quantity and the optimum level of quality.

Then and then only will the patient experience how prayer eradicates the malignant evils that persist over a long period of time.

B. The pre-requisite characteristic of the Prayer

Each action and supplication in prayer demands and enables one to not make mischief and not break the pledge after coming out of prayer. In each prayer, one accepts and declares in the court of Allah ones servitude, obedience and humility under the sustenance, divinity and ownership of Allah.

In other words, each gesture of the prayer orders the supplicant five times a day:

"O the one who claims the slavery and servitude of Allah (swt)! Now lead life and live upon earth as the servants and slaves in reality."

It demands in the language of the creatures to keep one away from promiscuity, mischief and high-handedness.

Whether one keeps away from the evils or not, the Prayer certainly forbids and stops one from doing evils in the same way as Allah stops:

"Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you that you may receive admonition."

(Quran, 16:90)

The unfortunate ones who do not keep away from evils at the prohibitions of Allah, it is not strange if they do not stop doing evil even after prayers.

It must be clear that the accomplishment of this abstention from evils through Prayer will be according to ones intensity in the remembrance of Allah especially during Prayer. The Prayer is not merely the actions of standing and sitting. The main task in Prayer is the remembrance of Allah. The performance of Prayer is to concentrate on the Grace and Greatness of Allah and to keep heart and tongue in the consonance of His attributes during the recitation of the verses of the Quran, supplication and glorification of Allah in Prayer. The more our heart listens to the sound of the prohibition of evil in Prayer; to the same extent our prayer will be effective in us keeping away from evils.

It is quiet obvious that Prayers performed with a careless and distracted heart, will fall under the category of the hypocrites' prayer. This has been pointed out in two ways in the following ahadith:

The Prophet (s) said: 'What do you think, that a person who bathes in a river stream at his door five times a day, would he still have dirt on his body?' They said: 'No dirt will be left there.' The Prophet (s) then said: 'So like this is the Prayer, five-times a day. Allah would erase the sins through the prayers.'

Bukhari & Muslim

The Prophet (s) said: 'The person who remembers his/her Sustainer and the one who doesn't remember are like the alive one and the dead one respectively.'

Bukhari

The Prophet said: 'The person, whose prayers did not stop him from vulgarity and forbidden things, continues to become further away from Allah (swt).'

Al-Tibrani

The Dhikr (Remembrance) of Allah is the greatest

In conclusion, the dhikr of Allah is the best deed and it is the best of the best when performed during salat. Thus, a servant of Allah never neglects the dhikr of Allah, especially when the mind bends towards any evil actions.

Ahadeeth informs us:

'When a servant remembers Allah, then Allah also remembers him/her. The return call for Allah to His servant in prayer should be considered a very great honour to the extent that the servant should increase his remembrance of Allah.'

Since Prayer is the best mode for the Remembrance of Allah, its function is to keep the praying one away from evils.

Remembrance of Allah is a very great asset. This is that very valuable commodity which can be termed as the essence of Salat, the Jehad and all worship. Without this all worship is a soulless body and a meaningless word.

"Verily, I am Allah: there is no God but I: so serve Me (only), and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise."

(Quran, 20:14)



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