The Essence of Mindful Prayers
A reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’wwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated: Today, by the Grace of Allah the Exalted, Jalsa Salana [the Annual Convention] of Qadian has commenced. Pray to Allah the Exalted that the three days of Jalsa there, may conclude safely and the sincere members of the Community may achieve the goal, which they have set for themselves by coming to attend this Jalsa. That goal is to make supplications to Allah the Exalted (for oneself, for the progress of the community and failure of the foes of the community), to endeavour to improve the state of our knowledge and the state of our practical conduct, to strengthen our relationship with Allah the Exalted and derive benefit from them and from the spiritual atmosphere.
Likewise, it is also incumbent upon us to pray for the Muslim world, some of whom are committing atrocities in the name of Allah the Exalted and our Master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). Due to such atrocities, allegations are being raised against Islam and the Holy Prophet (sa) in the non-Muslim world. We should also remember to pray for the [fulfilment of the] purpose, for which the Promised Messiah (as) was sent; that purpose is to guide the Muslims, as well as making the non-Muslims aware of the truth of Islam and bringing them into the fold of Islam by proving its superiority to them, bringing. Likewise, we should also pray for the general condition of the world. May Allah grant wisdom to all humans, so that they may be saved from the pit of destruction. Today, the world is in dire need of the supplications of the followers of the Promised Messiah (as). We should pray that Allah the Exalted may grant wisdom to the world. He may grant wisdom to the Muslim ummah and these people may come to understand this reality that without believing in the one, sent by Allah the Exalted, they can neither survive, nor attain salvation. May they enter the new year, while having understood this. May Allah so ordain that they come to their senses.
Today, I will present some extracts of the Promised Messiah (as) regarding the philosophy, methods and etiquettes of supplication. Mentioning a fundamental and central aspect for the acceptance of prayers, the Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘Until the heart is pure, prayer is not accepted. If your heart is filled with grudges regarding a person even in relation to a certain worldly matter, your prayer cannot be accepted.’ Thus, it is of utmost importance for the acceptance of prayers that all personal grudges and malice is forsaken and heart-felt supplications are carried out seek the help of Allah the Exalted to attain a permanent purification of the heart.
When a person is distressed and bows before Allah the Exalted in a state of helplessness and beseeches Him, it is then that Allah the Exalted comes forward for his help. Hence, this principle should always be remembered. To develop a state of distress and helplessness in prayer, which is a fundamental condition for the the acceptance of prayers, the Promised Messiah (as) explained that it is essential to purify one’s heart from am malice. The Promised Messiah (as) [further] says, ‘Distress is a condition for the acceptance of prayers.’ One condition is to purify the hearts and the second condition is distress. ‘As God says,’ (27:63) That is, ‘Or, Who answers the distressed person when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil.’ Thus, distress is necessary for prayers and it is also important to be have firm faith in the fact that it is only the Being of Allah the Exalted, Who can avail you in this state of distress and helplessness. It is only He, Who answers prayers and helps His servants. Thus, today I am addressing the Ahmadis in Qadian and the entire Jama’at should pay attention towards this, spend most of your time in prayers and in the remembrance of God. They should helplessly bow before Allah the Exalted, so that Allah the Exalted, through His grace, may improve the situation of Ahmadis wherever they are facing hardships and so that He may prove the opponents unsuccessful.
Mentioning the state of distress and the reality of prayer, the Promised Messiah (as) states at one place, ‘Do not believe that prayers are merely a meaningless verbal declaration. Rather, prayer is a form of death, following which a person acquires [a new] life, as we find in a Punjabi couplet that is, the state of the person who asks is such as if he has died and has lost everything. He completely uproots his self, his ego and absolutely annihilates his being and presents himself before Allah the Exalted in such a state, then his prayers are accepted.
The Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘Prayer has a magnetic affect in that it attracts the grace and blessings [of God].’ The Promised Messiah (as) states, ‘We say that the one, who submits before God the Exalted … and looks upon His restrictions and commandments with great esteem…. who reforms himself as a result of being awestruck by His glory.’ The Promised Messiah (as) says, ‘Such a person will most certainly partake of the blessings of God.
Our Jama’at must make the Tahajjud prayer (predawn voluntary prayer) obligatory upon themselves, even if only two Rak’as, as he will at least most certainly find an opportunity to supplicate.’ The Promised Messiah (as) says, ‘The prayers at that time have a unique impact (i.e. at the time of Tahajjud), as they are offered with true pathos and passion.’
The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘There is another matter which is necessary for our Jamaat to adopt, which is that members should refrain from uttering verbal obscenities and useless things (keep your tongue cleansed from making absurd statements). Do not inflict emotional injury upon anyone and nor say anything inappropriate or wrongful.’ The Promised Messiah (as) says: The tongue is the doorstep of our being and purifying our tongues brings God the Almighty to come to our doorstep.’
The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘You should act upon this as has been said in: “Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help.” However, bear in mind that true purity rests in what has been stated in: “He indeed truly prospers who purifies it.” Every person should consider it their responsibility to reform themselves.” The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘Only they can hope for the Grace of Allah whom never discontinues praying, seeking forgiveness from Allah from their sins and repenting and refrains from transgression.”
The Promised Messiah (as) then says: ‘Sin is a poison which destroys a person and instigates Divine chastisement. Sin removes the fear and love of Allah the Almighty within one (the Promised Messiah (as) explains that one can only desist from sin if they hold Allah in love and fear and is aware that Allah watches over at all times).
Explaining the reality of prayer, the Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘There are two types of prayer. The first is the ordinary prayer (the normal supplications one does) and secondly is when a person elevates his or her prayer to the pinnacle. That is the real type of prayer (when a person develops a state of restlessness in prayer and it reaches a climax).’ The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘It is necessary for a person to continue to pray even when not faced by any hardships or difficulties. At times, trials and tribulations overtake a person in a way that they do not even have the chance to pray.’ Thus, if a person prays from before, that prayer will benefit them later at such times.
The Promised Messiah (as) then explains that the Quran begins with a prayer and concludes with a prayer and says: ‘Allah the Almighty starts and ends the Holy Quran with a prayer. Surah Fatihah is a prayer and Surah Al-Nas is also a prayer. This infers that man is weak and without the blessings of Allah can never become pure. Until man receives the help and succour of Allah he or she cannot progress in piety. Only those are saved from the lure of this world, upon whom, God Almighty bestows His grace. However, one must bear in mind that the grace of God Almighty begins with supplications so one must also pray for this.
Whilst describing the attributes of the believers, the Promised Messiah (as) states that it is clearly stated in the Holy Quran that [Arabic] ‘Surely, success does come to the believers, Who are humble in their Prayers, ‘ (23:2-3) . That is to say that those believers are successful who display humility in their prayers. They submit with utmost humility and meekness and are overwhelmed with the state helplessness. Only then is the door to success opened to them through which the love of the world subsides, as two loves cannot coexist in one place. The Promised Messiah (as) writes: [Persian] That is to say you desire God and you desire this base world too, but this is a mere thought which is impossible to attain and foolishness. You cannot have both. Of course, if you desire God, then God has the capacity to grant you the blessings of this world; but if you only pursue the desires of this world, then you cannot find God.
Acceptance of prayer is obtained only by making your desires and wishes in line with the pleasure of God Almighty. Whilst explaining this point the Promised Messiah (as) states ‘One must lose his being in Allah and by forsaking all desires and wishes he should adhere only to the desires and commandments of Allah and become a source of blessings to himself, his children, his spouse, his kith and kin and also for me.’ The Promised Messiah (as) states that one should never give the opposition a chance to raise allegations. God Almighty states [Arabic] ‘And of them are some who are breaking down their own selves by suppressing their desires, and of them are some who keep to the right course, and of them are some who excel others in acts of goodness‘ (35:33). The Promised Messiah (as) states that the first two characteristics are inferior, and we should become sabiqun bil khairat i.e. those who excel in good deeds. It is not a good quality to remain stationary in one position. Observe how stagnant water eventually becomes dirty and due to the mixing of mud it becomes foul and unsavoury. On the other hand, flowing water is always good, clean and pleasant. Even though there is mud beneath, it does not have an effect on the water. This is the case with man that he should not remain still in the same position. This state of affairs is dangerous. So, for the acceptance of prayer, it is necessary that man makes progress in carrying out good deeds on a daily basis. On this continued progress, leads to a good ending. The Promised Messiah (as) then states that God Almighty has taught the following prayer in the Holy Quran [Arabic] ‘And make my seed righteous for me. ‘ (46:16). Whilst making pure changes in one’s own state, one must also continue to pray for his children and wife because often man’s tribulations are as a result of his children and his wife. Hence, many of man’s troubles and difficulties are due to children and the wife. Therefore, we should give full attention to their training and reformation and constantly pray for them.
In one place the Promised Messiah (as) states ‘there is mention of saint that he was aboard a ship. There came a storm in the sea and the ship was close to sinking but it was saved as a result of his prayers. Whilst praying he was told via revelation that we have saved everyone for your sake. However, this is not attained through mere verbal utterings, one must make great efforts in achieving this. Our advice is to continue to make efforts in making yourself a good example. ‘They do what they are commanded. (16:51). The Promised Messiah (as) turns our attention to the importance of prayer when he states ‘Blessed are the prisoners who never tire of supplication, for they shall one day be freed. Blessed are the blind who are not listless in their prayers, for they shall one day see. Blessed are those lying in graves who supplicate to God for help and succour, for one day they shall be taken out of their graves.’
Drawing our attention to this, the Promised Messiah (as) states: ‘Blessed are you who do not get tired in your prayers and your souls melt while you pray, and your eyes shed tears, and a fire is lit in your breasts and you are driven into dark chambers and desolated jungles seeking solitude, and you are rendered restless and mad and unconscious of self, for in the end you will become the recipients of grace. The God to Whom we call is very Benevolent, Merciful, Modest, True, Faithful and Compassionate to those who are humble. You should also become faithful and supplicate with full sincerity and loyalty so that He should have mercy on you. Withdraw from the tumult of the world and do not make your faith a matter of personal contentions. Accept defeat for the sake of God so that you might become heirs to great victories. God will show a miracle to those who pray and will bestow extraordinary favour upon those who beg. Prayer comes from God and returns to Him.’
The Promised Messiah (as) warns the members of the Jama’at: ‘If one leads the same unholy and filthy life as he did before the Bai’at and also one who counts himself in our Jama’at and yet displays a poor example, and shows weakness in his conduct and beliefs, then such a person is guilty of committing a great cruelty. This is because he brings the name of the Jama’at into disrepute and also gives others the opportunity to point fingers towards me. People loathe a bad example while an excellent example encourages others.
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: One’s today and tomorrow should not be the same. If one’s today and tomorrow in respect to one’s progress in piety remain the same, then such a person faces ruin. However, if one believes in God and has complete faith in Him then he shall never perish, in fact because of him alone hundreds of thousands of souls are saved.’ An example of this was given where God Almighty saved everyone aboard on a ship due to one saint. Thus, God Almighty has great regard for His servants.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: ‘Our weapon is prayer; therefore, we should draw our focus on prayers. ..All of the tasks which we seek to accomplish can only be achieved through prayer. Prayer contains many powers.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: ‘It is said that once a king set out to launch an attack on a country. On the way, a poor man grabbed hold of the reins of the horse…” (This is a fable) “…and said that if you refrain from advancing forward I will not fight against you.’ The king was astounded by this and asked: “You are a mere beggar, poor and bereft of any provisions. How can you fight against me?” He replied: “I will wage war against you through the weapon of prayer that I offer in the early part of the morning”, i.e. through prayers offered in tahajjud [pre-dawn voluntary prayer]. The king replied: “I cannot fight against this” and turned back. Thus, this is the power of prayers and is what the Promised Messiah (as) has explained.
The Promised Messiah (as) continues by saying: “In short, it has been decreed by God Almighty that prayer yields great power. God Almighty has repeatedly informed me through divine revelation that everything will take place with the help of prayers. Our weapon is prayer and I hold no other weapon other than prayer…When our prayers reach their pinnacle, the impostors will automatically be annihilated.” Thus, this point that has been mentioned by the Promised Messiah (as) is crucial and should be understood, that if our prayers reach a certain standard, the likes of which is required from us by God Almighty, our enemies will be destroyed. The Promised Messiah (as) states: “In our view, there is no better weapon other than prayer. Fortunate is the one who understands this reality of which path God Almighty now wants to give progress to the religion.”
In the end there is a prayer that the Promised Messiah (as) offered for the Muslim Ummah [the wider Muslim community] and also for our non-Ahmadi Muslim brothers in general. The Promised Messiah (as) says: “O my Lord! Hearken unto my prayer about my people and to my anguish and fervency as I supplicate for my brothers. I implore from You through the Seal of the Prophets, the intercessor for the sinful, whose intercession will be accepted. O my Lord! Remove them from darkness and bring them to your light. Bring them from their distance into your presence. O my Lord! Have mercy on those who curse me and make attempts to hinder me. Save these people from destruction and instil Your guidance in their hearts. Overlook their mistakes and vices and forgive them. Grant them security, guide them and purify them. Bestow them with eyes that enable them to see, bestow them with ears such that they can hear, bestow them hearts with which they can comprehend and such radiance that enables them to understand [the truth]. Have be mercy on them and pardon them for what they say, for they are a people who know not.
O my Lord! [I implore] For sake of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (sa) and his lofty status, in which he would spend the nights in prostration and the day in the battlefield, and also on account of those cavaliers who would ride swiftly in the night as well as all those journeys undertaken to the mother of all towns, and them a means of reconciliation between us and our fellow brethren. Open their eyes and illuminate their hearts. Enable them to understand the verities that you have explained to me. Show them the paths of righteousness and forgive all that which has passed. Our final prayer is that all praise is due to God Almighty, the Lord of the high heavens.”
May Allah the Almighty open the eyes of the Muslim Ummah so they refrain from opposing the appointed one of God, and instead become the helpers of the Promised Messiah (as). May Allah enable us to become those who fulfil the rights of prayers. Those that are present at the Qadian Jalsa should pay particular attention to this and their participation at the Jalsa should become a means of a revolutionary change within themselves. May Allah the Almighty enable all of us to do so.