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Happiness is a prayer away

 

 

Amal Al-Sibai
Saudi Gazette
 

MUSLIMS stand in the obligatory prayer (salah) five times a day, bending down, prostrating, and reading verses from the Holy Qur’an.

The prayer of course was not ordained merely for the physical movement of the limbs. The prayer is meant to touch and move the heart in a way so profound that the worshiper’s is soars; rising up above all the worries and troubles of the day with the communion with Allah as the only focus. And what more sublime meaningful company could one ask for?

Ibn Al-Jawzi, one of the early scholars of Islam described what prayer was like for him, he said, “We are in a garden, where our food is devotion and submission, and our drink is the tears that flow.”

The scholar who compiled a book of Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), Imam Al-Bukhari was once stung by a wasp 17 times while performing prayer yet he did not flinch. When he finished, he felt discomfort and asked if anyone was aware of what caused it!

As for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), he referred to the prayer as the apple of his eye or his source of joy and comfort. He (peace be upon him) said to Bilal, who was the caller for prayer, “Relieve us with it (the prayer), O Bilal!”

Through prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) sought relief from the hardships, trials, and aches he was enduring at the time.

The early teachers of Islam talked of the sweetness in prayer, which they experienced and which brought them contentment.

In prayer is our bliss, happiness, respite, serenity, a glow to our faces, and a remedy for the sadness, anxiety, and agitation we face on a daily basis from the pressures of life.

Devout followers of almost every religion pray to God; they meditate. And the benefits of meditation have been recognized by health practitioners worldwide.

“Researchers have documented immediate benefits (of meditation): lowered blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rate, increased blood flow, and other measurable signs of the relaxation response,” said Dr. Andrew Weil in his book, ‘Natural Health, Natural Medicine’.

In Islam, prayer safeguards the believer from committing wrong actions and help keep him/her on the right track.

If our prayers do not been soothing our worried minds, pacifying our melancholy hearts, and correcting our behavior and conduct, then something is missing.

Why has the beauty of prayer evaded us? Why have we not experienced this sweetness while bowing to our Lord just as those before of us did?

Something is wrong with the way we have been approaching our daily prayers. Viewing and performing the prayer as something to be done hastily, as an item to be ticked off on our to-do list for the day is robbing us of the spirituality and the connection with our Lord that we need so much.

“There are secret keys to prayer, and once you use them, you will start experiencing the magical effects and the blessings that prayer brings. People’s feelings in prayer can be transformed. When people pray unhurriedly, with concentration, humility, and devotion, prayer will start changing their lives,” said Mishari Al-Kharraz during one of his popular lectures on how to experienced the true beauty of prayer.

The first key is to keep your mind focused and to concentrate. Pray in a room free of distractions. It may take time, but you can learn to exercise control over your mind. When your thoughts drift to the next business meeting or your kids fighting in another room, bring your thoughts back to your prayer, which is in essence a meeting and a conversation between the worshiper and Allah.

Next, be sure that your recitation of the verses from the Holy Qur’an is not a mere absentminded recitation. Try to truly understand what you are saying; it will help strengthen the emotions that will keep you connected to Allah during your prayer.

Reflect on the first verse: {All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds}. This verse should resonate in our hearts with praise, thanks, love, and gratitude to Allah for all the blessings He has given us: health, wealth, eyesight, a home, children, and so much more.

Pray with sincerity and visualize that Allah will accept you, approve of you, cure your illness, forgive your sins, and give you what you asked for — and your prayer will be different from the monotonous motions it was before.

Another key to achieve a fruitful prayer is to keep your heart alive with a myriad of emotions, to be in a state of love and hope, but also awe, reverence, and fear of Allah.

When you love someone, you look forward to meeting him/her, you give your undivided attention, and you wish to stay with him/her for as long as possible. And Allah is the most worthy of our love and it is in our prayer that we are nearest to Him.

When you hear the call for prayer, spread out your prayer rug and keep these words in mind.

“The next time you proceed for prayer, go because you love Allah, because you miss Him, because you long to be with Him. Feel your heart flutter.  Only then will you be on your way to attaining that inner peace and comfort that the prayer was prescribed for,” said Al-Kharraz.

 

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