Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Prayer generating the best pleasure|
|09/19/01 at 04:17:37|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]Prayer generating the best pleasure
Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
Life has become so complex that it places numerous types of stress on individuals. Indeed man has lost much of the reassurance that his simple life of old times used to provide. That reassurance and self-confidence was enhanced by the limited requirements of life and by a priceless sense of contentedness.
Our life has changed a great deal, with much less manual work and far more importance given to machines. Manual work normally requires more concentration, with both mind and hand preoccupied with what is being done. Machines are often operated with little concentration and much boredom.
Today we live in cities, crowded with millions of people. Noise, constant movement and pollution make a great difference from rural life, where people have their fields, mountains and riverbanks. Moreover, our family and social ties have become much weaker. Man is urged to view the forces of nature as the enemy to be overcome. Thus, man feels isolated, even when he lives among millions, and his isolation is multiplied when he considers the powers operating in the universe and in nature as enemies.
In our world today, man lives under much stress. He lives with his worries more than he lives with the present reality. Hence, he is always talking to himself in endless daydreaming. He is constantly planning for a future that is fast becoming a nightmare, as expectations of hardship outweigh those of comfort and pleasure.
Nowadays we rarely address our full attention to the reality of the present; we are hardly ever free of worry and preoccupation. Indeed our relaxed moments, when we are free from pressura are a rarity.
Man in the present world of ours has forgotten how to stop daydreaming in order to take stock of his surroundings and to listen attentively to those around him. Indeed, a whole industry has sprung up to teach man how to regain attention to his immediate world and how to look at the present reality. Professionals of all sorts provide Yoga lessons, contemplation courses, relaxation training, exercises in self-hypnotism, and courses in biofeedback. All this is meant to enable man to control the rate of his heartbeat, muscular tension and brain electricity.
All this is undertaken in order to provide man with a few minutes, or a longer period, of relaxation, reassurance, and freedom from daydreaming that weighs heavily on man as he is absorbed by worries about the future or memories of the past.
A believer in Islam who stands up to pray five times a day, starting at the age of seven, learns how to offer his prayers with full attention and perfection. He prays as though he is standing in front of God, who is looking at him and listening to him. In a Hadith related by Muslim, the angel Gabriel asks the Prophet: "Pell me what perfection is." The Prophet answers: "Perfection is that you worship God as though you were seeing Him. If you do not see Him, remember that He sees you." Thus, a Muslim feels God's presence as he prays. The Prophet says: "When any of you stands up to pray, he is actually addressing his Lord, or indeed his Lord stands in the direction he is facing." (Related by Al-Bukhari).
A good believer always tries to maintain full alertness when he prays so that he is aware of what he says and does. This means that he is not daydreaming as he is engaged in his prayer. He realizes that the presence of mind is necessary for his prayers to be complete and done well. In fact, Ammar ibn Yassir, a companion of the Prophet, used to say: "The parts of prayer when a worshipper is totally distracted are not credited to him."
The Prophet has encouraged the believers to concentrate their full attention on their prayers, so that they are aware of what they are saying and doing. He urged them not to indulge in daydreaming when they pray. He promises a great reward for anyone who offers a short prayer attending fully to his prayer.
That reward is full forgiveness of past sins. Uthman ibn Affan reports that the Prophet once performed his ablutions, i.e. wudhu, and said: "Whoever performs his ablutions as I have just done and stands up to offer two rakaahs during which he talks to himself about nothing of this world will have all his past sins forgiven." (Related by an-Nassaie).
Full attention in prayer, and the ability to refrain from self-talk and daydreaming while praying, leaving aside all thoughts about the past and the future, are very important in making prayer a source of complete peace of mind and reassurance.
That is indeed what made prayer the greatest comfort for the Prophet. Hence, whenever he faced a difficult situation, he asked Bilal, his companion, to call for prayer, saying: "Bilal, give us the comfort of prayer." Indeed, prayer is a source of comfort for all believers in all generations.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 23 April 2001[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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