By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: and whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with ALLAH: for ALLAH sees well all that you do.”
Trials and tribulations come into our lives on a constant basis. It seems as though when we are free from one problem, another is appearing. But that’s OK because Almighty ALLAH has already warned us that we can not expect a free ride just because we say we believe. He assures us that we will be tested – as those that came before us were tested. We are fortunate though because ALLAH has put the answers to all our problems in the prayer. Prayer helps us to pass the tests.
In the first part of the prayer we recite Al Fatiha. Al Fatiha is basically stating two things – recognizing the oneness, uniqueness, and power of ALLAH and then asking for His guidance. It is a crucial first step because, for the Muslim, there is no other deity except ALLAH. The Muslim shahada emphatically states that there is nothing worthy of worship except ALLAH and it is He who revealed the Holy Qur’an and gave man all the instruction he will ever need.
Our prayer is essentially the revealed word of ALLAH. We, of course, are not limited to just the five fard (obligatory) prayers. You are free (and encouraged) to pray as much as you feel comfortable doing.
It is beneficial to focus and concentrate on the Creator as much as possible while performing your salat. The serenity of the masjid or a quiet place at home are excellent places to offer your prayer to ALLAH.
In addition to performing the actual mechanics of the prayer, there is another essential act that must be done after the recitation of the words. I’m speaking of DOING what the words say. Our religion is spiritual – it’s not magic. Spiritualality is your personal connection to ALLAH. It is using our minds to connect to and utilize the atoms, molecules and other forces of nature to try and communicate with the Spirit of God. This is part of the things unseen ALLAH mentions in Surah Baqarah. But we can’t expect change to magically appear just because we bow down.
Prayer and works is what’s necessary for success. If you recite surah Asr in your salat, you are instructed to have faith, do righteous deeds and be patient and constant assisting each other with truth. Now if you get up from prayer with a mean scowl on your face or utter harsh words to those in your presence, the prayer has not helped you fulfill what you prayed for. The execution of the prayer is just as important as the request.
We must also remember that ALLAH answers our prayer requests as He sees fit. We should not expect each and every request to be granted each and every time we request it. It might not be the proper time for it, or it might not even be what you need. And if He gave you everything you ask for you would get the big head and think maybe you were god.
“And if ALLAH were to enlarge the provisions for His servants, they would indeed transgress beyond all bounds. But He sends down His goodness in due measure as He pleases, for He is ever with watchful and acquainted with His servants.”
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin