Time to Pray *A Journey of Du`aa' Through the Qur'anBy Harun YahyaMuslim Thinker — Turkey
We use prayer to turn to the Eternally Merciful Allah, present ourselves to Him, and ask Him to meet all of our needs. We entreat Him humbly and submissively, fully aware of our status as weak, poor, and needy servants who are not self-subsistent. Thus, prayer is a necessity arising from our belief, trust, and full confidence in the Lord, as well as our understanding of tawheed (Arabic for: oneness of Almighty Allah).
Within this framework, servants become engrossed in a combined feeling of fear and hope. Away from the sight of others, we supplicate from the heart only to Allah and pray in secret. This sentiment, which is reflected in this ayah(Call on your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He does not love those who exceed the limits) (Al-A`raf 7:55),
describes an essential element of prayer that we must observe while praying. However, only the Legislator (i.e. Allah) can permit and encourage this attitude at various times, and only He can determine the degree to which it is allowed.
Allah enjoins us to pray to Him only in fear as well as in full hope and to know that His mercy is with those whose hearts beat with the consciousness of His constant supervision over them.(And call on Him fearing and hoping; surely the mercy of Allah is near to those who do good (to others)) (Al-A`raf 7:56).
He even shows us the door toward which we should walk and teaches us the rules and principles of how to wait in front of it.
Turning to Allah all the time and in every condition, opening our hands in supplication, and revealing our concerns and problems to Him are all an honor and an initial prize. In addition, they are very significant steps taken to earn a favorable response from Him.
Almighty Allah says,(And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way) (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
However, there is a condition: All of these prayers and supplications are to be performed as indicated here,(And call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience) (Al-A`raf 7:29)
And here,(Therefore call upon Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, though the unbelievers are averse) (Ghafir 40:14)
Instead of praying only when among people, as if showing off to others, we should entreat the All-Knowing Allah, Whose hearing and seeing is worth far more than any person's, by sighing in secret (as well as in public) with utmost sincerity, so that we are closed to others but open to Him.
Meeting these conditions will enable us to implore Him with the alchemy of secrecy, and it will prevent our voices and sighs from being fouled with the sparks of irrelevant thoughts.
No one returns empty-handed from His court. In fact, those people who pour out their deepest needs and desires and present such personal grievances about themselves only to Him, are drawn closer to Him.
Loyal servants frequently filter their thoughts and supplications through their intentions and sincerity, for they strive to keep their expressions and feelings free of any disturbance. They become like mute people so that no one can hear them, to such a degree that they may even become jealous of their own voice and words.Searching for a Heartbeat
In addition to being sincere while praying, servants should search for moments during which their pulses beat with the remembrance of Allah. They should make full use of holy days and nights, for these are the times when divine blessings pour forth. Especially when it is time to pray and to break the fast, all prostrations and bows should be performed in such a way that not even one second is wasted.
Loyal and sincere servants are expected to fulfill these obligations, for doing so is essential for the prayer to be accepted. As all such servants know, a prayer may be answered either positively or negatively, or circumstances may become favorable or unfavorable.
Believers in Allah do not mind if summer is as cold as winter, if spring seems to resemble autumn, or if days become as dark as blind graves. Who cares about darkness when Allah reminds us of His all-encompassing power?(Say: Who is it that delivers you from the dangers of the land and the sea (when) you call upon Him [i.e. Allah] (openly) humiliating yourselves, and in secret, "If He delivers us from this, we should certainly be of the grateful ones."?) (Al-An`am 6:63)
Who cares about such things when Allah makes His existence known in their conscience?(Or who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil?) (An-Naml 27:62)
The Qur'an is the divine book that guides us, interprets events, and explains both the macro- and micro-worlds. It is the language of the World of the Unseen in this life, a contract of divine blessings for humanity, and the essence, essential nature, glory, and light of Islam.
As if that were not enough, it is also the map of the worlds of the afterlife, a means of happiness for believers, and a book of prayer.Reading Qur'an With Your Heart
The Qur'an introduces a prayer by glorifying Allah, and then it asks to be set on the straight path, sprinkling its most brilliant jewels with Surat Al-Fatihah. Next comes Surat Al-Baqarah, which calls us to pray by means of implicit expressions of prayer, raising its voice with the tune of its explicitness, and teaches us what to ask from Allah,(Our Lord, grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of the Fire.) (Al-Baqarah 2:201)
After a few pages, it shows us the greenhouses and shelters in which we can take refuge while facing difficult conditions and asking for help,(Our Lord, pour down upon us patience and make our steps firm and assist us against the unbelieving people.) (Al-Baqarah 2:250)
The last verse of this surah points to the following prayer, which is a gift from Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) Ascension, and which should be repeated constantly reads,(Our Lord, do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake; Our Lord, do not lay on us a burden as You did lay on those before us; Our Lord do not impose upon us that which we have not the strength to bear, and pardon us and grant us protection and have mercy on us; You are our Patron, so help us against the unbelieving people.) (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
The next surah, Surat Aal `Imran, also starts with and reminds all believers of a very significant prayer,(Our Lord, make not our hearts to deviate after You have guided us aright, and grant us from Your mercy; surely, You are the the Grantor of bounties without measure.) ( Aal `Imran 3:8
A few verses later on, we are invited again with an allusion to the prayers of the pious, who supplicate with the following cries,(Our Lord, surely we believe, therefore forgive us our faults and save us from the chastisement of the Fire.) (Aal `Imran 3:16)
and(Our Lord, we believe in what You have revealed and we follow the Messenger (i.e. Prophet Muhammad), so write us down with those who bear witness.) (Aal `Imran 3:53)
Right after this comes a gift of prayer from the mouths of the devout ones, the scholars who gathered around the Messengers and Prophets and strived,(Our Lord, forgive us our faults and our extravagance in our affair, and make firm our feet, and help us against the unbelieving people.) (Aal `Imran 3:147)
The section of contemplation toward the last part of the surah finishes with a wish for a good end,(Our Lord, surely we have heard a preacher calling to the faith, saying, "Believe in your Lord," so we did believe; our Lord, forgive us therefore our faults, and remit our evil deeds, and make us die with the righteous.) (Aal `Imran 3:193).
In accordance with the context, the Qur'an frequently presents examples of the Prophet's supplications, sighs, and pleas for help,(You [i.e. Allah] are our Guardian, therefore forgive us and have mercy on us, and You are the best of the forgivers.) (Al-A`raf 7:155)
and(On Allah we rely. Our Lord, make us not subject to the persecution of the unjust people, and deliver us by Your mercy from the unbelieving people.) (Yunus 10:85-86)
Hundreds of Qur'anic verses call us to interrogate ourselves, plea, and complain about our evil features.
Such verses reveal that prayer is a source of strength, a fountain of absolution for those who committed sins, a solution for the needy, a hand extended to help those struck by disaster, a key to a treasure for the poor, a doctor for the sick, a breeze of hope for the desperate, and a dispatch order of a gift for the oppressed and the victim.
The Qur'an always points out that prayer and humble supplications lead to salvation from worldly problems and concerns with the Hereafter, and that those who see it (i.e. the Qur'an) with the heart and murmur with the soul are traveling toward and praying to Allah. * This article has been taken with modifications and with kind permission from the author’s website HarunYahya.com.
Harun Yahya was born in Ankara in 1956. He studied fine arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, faith-related, and scientific issues.http://www.onislam.net/content/english/ramadan/heart_softening/reflections/33.shtml