We all know the power of prayer but do we realise it?
BY MISBAH MOMIN
Almost all of us are familiar with our obligatory prayers and optional (zikr) but do we really understand the power of prayer? Prayers may only consist of words but do we realise how powerful words become when they connect with the Creator/Allah?
I was always fascinated by the concept of prayer and my curiosity peaked when I heard people around me saying to each other “Dua’on mein yaad rakhna aur dua karna.” I began to believe that there had to be some secret behind this act of prayer or dua and wondered why I didn’t have this gift, this gift of connecting with a Higher Being. I never could find the right words to make my prayer sound royal, so I told myself that I needed to practice and gain some knowledge.
I would pray here and there but I suppose I never invested my heart in it whether it was praying for myself or others as my prayers consisted of only a few quick words and then I’d just move on in my day.
Then one day I remembered Rumi’s line, “what you seek is seeking you.” I decided to follow the philosophy by trusting the Universe to deliver the end result without stress by adopting a positive attitude and focusing on building energy to just let it flow.
Soon after, I was travelling from Karachi to Lahore when this lady sitting next to me showed up as a kind of Mary Poppins in that moment. I was lost in my thoughts when she asked me what was I thinking about. Upon disclosing my thoughts especially on the concept of dua, she and I started a conversation on the 5 W’s of prayer.
WHO DO WE PRAY TO?
“Who” is Allah. The Khaliq, The Bari, The Musawwir, The Rahman, The Raheem, Alhamdulillahi RabbilAlamin (all praise belongs to Allah), the Lord of the universe; “And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.” (Al-Quran: 7:180)
With these Majestic attributes, He is the Master of “Kun Faya Kun” whose mercy is greater than our mistakes and prayer is the opportunity to create a strong communication with our Allah. Once we make this connection, it’s only a matter of time that prayers are answered.
Allah is “Al-Haq” (the truthful) Allah promises that prayer is a conversation between Him and the worshipper.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him (PBUH) said that Allah Almighty has said: “I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant in two halves and My servant shall have what he has asked for.” When my servant says in his prayer, “All praise is for Allah, The Lord of the worlds”, I say; “My servant has praised Me”. When he says, “The Merciful, The Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment” I say; “My servant has glorified Me and submitted to Me”. When he says; “You alone we worship and Your aid we seek”, I say: “This is between Me and My servant, and My servant will have what he has asked for.” When he says, “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favoured, not those who went astray,” Allah says, this is for My servant and My servant will have what he has asked for.” (Sahih-Muslim).
Something had struck my heart. I realised that when we say a dua, we are immediately connecting to the Most Powerful, the Owner of the Universe, to Him we belong and to Him we return; then there is no doubt that when we invoke Him, He will answer us. He is the King and when you are in His presence ask yourself, will you not be crowned with blessings and favors on your return? The answer lies in our personal journeys.
There is no one human who is perfect. We all have our trials and tribulations to face but when it comes to seeking help, I am sure we will all agree that except for Allah’s help, everything else is conditional.
Then why not understand The Power of The One who we are praying to? God loves us and is always showing us the way out to easiness, through His love and mercy. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication), He becomes Shy to return them empty.” (Abu Dawood).
Who can pray?
Anyone! Allah created us all from nothing to something, the entire created universe be it the angels, humankind, sun, moon, stars, trees, birds, mountains, water, all are invoking to praise The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them for His Name and Glory is Exalted.
“Do you not see that Allah is Glorified by all those in the heavens and the earth, even the birds as they soar, each “instinctively” knows their manner of prayer and glorification and Allah has Perfect knowledge of all they do.” (Al-Quran, 24:41)
WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY ABOUT?
There is nothing that can come between the Creator and the created. Prayer is another way of remembering Allah.
We can pray for ourselves and for others. We should start our prayer with praise to Allah, then send salutations on Prophet (PBUH) and then ask from our heart with certainty (tawakkul).At other times we can just talk to the Almighty about everything as He has said: “And indeed, We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein”. (Al-Quran-50:16)
We can pray to God about anything, even the things we can’t share with others, we can confidently share with Him because we know He will keep our secrets and we will always find Him by our side. We can even pray for miracles to happen, if we believe and have ‘Yaqeen’, as nothing is impossible for The One.
We need that Divine connection. We need to be more grateful and find our peace in our own prayer and what we make for others the universe gives it back to us multifold.
WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY?
The obligatory prayers are to be said at specified timings but we can also pray anytime to The Lord. When we pray, it means we trust and thank Him for giving us the confidence, strength, help, mercy and peace in our hearts which we need all the time.
“Those who remember Allah while standing, sitting, (reclining) on their backs, and reflect in the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying): “Our Lord You have not created this in vain”. Glory to You! So protect us from the torment of the fire”. (Al-Quran, 3: 191)
“When prayers are over, remember Allah whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down”. (Al-Quran, 4: 103)
WHERE SHOULD WE PRAY?
Anywhere! The Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) said, “The entire earth has been made a place of prayer, except for graveyards and washrooms”. (Al-Tirmidhi)
Human beings have been honoured by God (Al-Quran, 17:70) and we have been created as God’s vice regents on earth. (Al-Quran, 2:30).
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
For love and mercy. “And whenever thy Sustainer brings forth their off spring from the loins of the children of Adam, He (thus) calls upon them to bear witness about themselves: “Am I not your Sustainer?” to which they answered: “Yea, indeed we do bear witness thereto!” (of this We remind you) lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, “Verily, we were unaware of this” (Al-Quran,7:172)
Before we came to this world,AllahAlmighty created all souls from Adam to the last man to come on earth, till the end of this universe and we have taken this oath of belief that there is no God but One.
After creating all souls Allah gathered them in a wide field to bear witness that they have seen Him as their RABB and all souls replied, “Yes”.
When we say a prayer, something instantly connects with a Higher Being. That connection develops into a lived experience that we refer to as our prayers being answered to. And yet sometimes even when our prayers are not answered, there are signs that something better is promised. While we may not understand such signals around us, there is a sense of belief that ‘blind trust’ that keeps us going — a feeling of belonging, homecoming and protection. It is like returning to where we come from, from where it all begins, our origin.
Why? Because God says “FAINNI QAREEB” — “I am near.” (Al-Quran, 2:186)
When He ‘is near’why shouldn’t we try to be as near, if He wills. Allah has 99 honourable names which makes it easier to understand and relate to His attributes.
“I realised that when we say a dua, we are immediately connecting to the Most Powerful, the Owner of the Universe, to Him we belong and to Him we return”
We cannot be in denial that no matter how competent we consider ourselves to be, we need Him in our lives all the time and cannot do without Him even for a blink of an eye.
If we pray to seek His Divine Help, we will never be able to realise all His abundance in the form of blessings and favours we receive from Him starting from the depths of the earth to the Throne.
We should pray to thank Himfor His favours, even though given His unlimited abundance, our words will never be enough and if we were to write to Him to express our gratitude, the pen will shiver and be helpless before its Lord.
If we pray to seek His forgiveness, our tears of repentance even if they form an ocean in fear and awe of His Divine Mercy, will never do justice to His unfathomable mercy. And if we pray to praise Him, we will forget our counting because our eyes will be amazed to see how many trees we plant every time we said ‘SubhanAllah’.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Let one of you ask his Lord for everything that he needs, even a lace for his shoe if it breaks”. (Al-Tirmidhi).
Every time a prayer is read in the heart, mind, soul or recited by the tongue we become one step closer to Allah, as He says, “Whoever comes to Me walking I will come to him running.” (Sahih-Muslim)
When we are remembering Allah we must try to immerse ourselves into the solace of, ZIKRULLAHI AKBAR. (Al-Quran, 29:45)
After all, when Allah loves us, the Messenger of Allah said, “When I love him, I become his hearing with which he hears and his sight with which he sees and his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge”. (Sahih Bukhari)
May Allah accept our prayers through His Rehmat and may He keep the door of love and friendship open for all His creations.
Don’t hesitate to say a dua for yourself, for others and all that you can think of. There is no limit as you pray to The Highness, The Magnificent, The Ever-living, The Most Merciful and Compassionate whose Grace and Beauty is unlimited. Every time you say a prayer say Aameen and be certain that it’s granted because there is power through prayer.
Allama Iqbal said, “Khudi ko kar Buland Itna, Ke Har taqdeer Se Pehle, Khuda Bande Se Khud Puchey, Bata Teri Raza kya hai.” “Raise yourself to such great heights! So before every destined act, God Himself asks you what it is, that you desire.”
At that point, the plane landed in Lahore. It had rained, everything looked clear, serene and beautiful and I knew what I needed to do – pray.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allahumma A’inni Ala Zikrika Wa Shukrika, Wa Husni Ibaadatika.” (Abu Dawood)
“Oh Allah! Help me to remember You, to be grateful to You and to worship You in the most excellent manner.”