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INNER DIMENSIONS OF THE PRAYER – PART 1

INNER DIMENSIONS OF THE PRAYER – PART 1

SALAH IS TRANQUILITY FOR THE BELIEVERS:

The Salah is Tranquility for Worshippers and Allah’s Gift to the Believers

It is imperative for you to know that salah is, without any doubt, the domain of tranquility for devotees, the enjoyment of the souls of monotheists, the garden of the worshippers, the essence of enjoyment of the humble ones, the rest of the sincere ones, and the scale measuring the mettle of those embarking the right path. It is truly divine Mercy that Allah has gifted His believing servants that He has Guided them to, and acquainted them with. He delegated His truthful and honest Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to deliver this gift to His believing servants in order that they may attain a noble status with Him. Through its means He dignifies, honours and showers them with His Mercy, and allows them to win His nearness. He bestows upon His believing servants all this although He is in no need of them, He just wants to lavish them with his gracious gift to show His Favour upon them and bring their hearts and bodies altogether in His servitude.

He, the Most Exalted, endows the heart of the knower of Allah [the one who recognises the true status of Allah, hence acts upon this knowledge by living as His real slave] by enabling him to reap the best of its harvest; turning to Him, Exalted be He, rejoicing in His closeness, basking in His love, enjoying standing before Him [in salah], dismissing everything except Him from his heart as soon as he commences worship, and fulfilling the rights of his servitude to Him, inwardly and outwardly, in order for his worship to be in a manner that pleases Allah.

Even as Allah tested His servants by creating them with innate lusts and desires and exposing them to external temptations, His Mercy and Kindness mandated that Allah, the Most High, give His servants a feast [Ibn Masud used to say: “Indeed, this Quran is the banquet of Allah; so take from it as much as you can…”] comprising of several kinds of delicacies, nourishments, gift and grants [a metaphor for the actions of salah] to help them reply these desires and temptations. And He did invite them to attend this banquet on a daily basis not once, but five times a day – and He distinguished each served course of this banquet with a unique flavour and a special benefit to perfect the pleasures and complement the benefits they attain, and help them to perfect their ubudiyah [servitude] to Allah. Thus not only did He make every act of worship performed in salah a means of remedy to atone for the (minor) sins they have committed, but rewarded them with a special light for praying. In fact, salah brings forth light and strength into the heart, increases the share of one’s provision in this life, inspires others to love the one who prays, and lets Angels and also the earth with its mountains, trees and rivers rejoice. Furthermore, on the Day of Judgement, when the believing servants meet their Lord, their salah shall turn into light and transform into reward.

Before attending the feast their hearts endured starvation, thirst and nakedness but as soon as they commence the worship, all that shall change to become the opposite, hence they shall leave the feast with stomachs full, throats moistened and bodies attired.

LIKENESS OF THE HEART TO THE EARTH:

Due to the sterility and poverty [of indolence, disaffection, idleness etc] that the hearts and souls endure time and time after, the invitation [to salah] is renewed five times a day. However, the Mercy of Allah necessitated that a gap of time pass between each invitation so that the invitee is constantly calling for the rain from the One in Whose Hand is the water to quench the hearts, and beseeching the clouds of His Mercy to have their water descend upon his heart in order that the trees of man and the harvest of insane, growing from this divine Mercy [of the prayer], do not dry out. The essence of these plants maintains their survival in his heart and in his soul; therefore the heart of the slave of Allah continues to implore in humility for the rain to fall upon his heart from his Lord to invoke Him to relieve his heart from drought and thrust. This truly for the slave of Allah is the way of life.

Indeed, the drought of hearts is heedlessness, but as long as the slave is indulged in the remembrance of Allah and constantly turning to Him, the rains of His Mercy will shower his heart abundantly. As soon as he becomes heedless however, drought shall strike his heart and the damage caused will be according to the degree of his heedlessness. This is because when inadvertency dominates and overwhelmed the heart, its land becomes lifeless; it shall produce no harvest for reaping, and the fire of desires will scorch it from every side, leaving the land bare after it had once been rich with every different kind of vegetation. Nonetheless, as soon as the rains of Mercy fall upon the heart of the slave of Allah, the land of his iman and deeds quivers, and turns fertile, causing every lovely kind to grow thereon, sustained and nourished by the life-giving water. When the land is deprived of water, the branches and leaves of its flora wither away, becoming fruitless; even the branches are bereft of benefit as they become rigid and fragile.

At this juncture, the wisdom of the One overseeing this garden dictates having these dried trees cut and making its wood a fuel for fire.

THE HEART IS DRY WHEN DEVOID OF TAWHID:

The heart of the slave of Allah becomes dried whenever it is devoid of:

Love for Allah
Knowledge about Him
His remembrance (dhikr)
Supplication and invocation
Most importantly, Tawhid

This is because the heart of desire (nafs) and the fires of lust infiltrating the heart cause the branches (limbs) to become unresponsive, inflexible and inert (whenever the slave of Allah intends to employ them in good deeds). Under these circumstances, the tree including its branches is rendered useless; its only fitting use as fuel for (Hell) fire.

Allah said, “Then woe unto those who hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah. Such are in plain error” (Surah al-Zumar 39:22)

When the heart is watered with the rains of Mercy, the branches will be soft, moist, pliable and responsive; if you call them for the worship of Allah, they submit and hasten to obey, letting you reap from each branch the fruits of (true) enslavement to Allah, whose essence is the irrigation of the heart, which influences (the functioning of) the heart and the limbs. On the other hand, when the heart is parched and dried (rigid and hardened), the branches do not perform any good deeds because the essence of life is missing from the heart, thus the limbs are cut off from life accordingly. And even though each limb has been created and prepared to render a unique act of worship demonstrating an aspect of mankind’s servitude to Allah, the limbs cannot produce their anticipated harvest due to incapacity and hinderance in their functioning.