Are you close enough to Allah, the One Who created you and placed you
in this world, endowing you with wisdom and a body? When was the last
time you prayed to Him? Do you plead to Allah only when you are in trouble,
or do you always keep your mind occupied with His remembrance?
Are you aware that Allah is very close to you, that He knows everything
you think about or whisper? Do you think of Him as your Lord, just as
He is the Lord of all people? Or that He is your most intimate friend
and provider and that you should ask for anything from Him?
Whatever your answer to these questions , you will benefit from reading
this book, for it seeks to explain how close Allah is to His servants
and the kind of prayer He asks from them. Allah stresses the importance
of prayer with the verse, "... Say: 'What has My
Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?'" (Surat al-Furqan: 77).
Our Prophet (saas) also reminded Muslims of prayer with the words "There
is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant praying to Him." (Tirmidhi)
There are no limits to praying to Allah and drawing close to Him, which
explains why understanding prayer and being dedicated to it benefits everyone.
Prayer is the bond between Allah and people. Humankind inherently possesses
the need to establish a bond with Allah: this is their very nature. Praying
is an essential and natural part of a believer's life, though the majority
of people only think of praying during times of insurmountable distress.
Allah prefers that we pray to Him during times of ease as well as in times
of severe hardship. For this reason, the Qur'an gives a detailed account
of how to pray to Allah sincerely.
In the Qur'an, 209 verses refer to praying directly or indirectly, which
indicates how important prayer is. As one reads these verses, he or she
can better understand the essential nature of this form of worship.
Prayer Described in the Qur'an
Prayer means "calling on, addressing, making a fervent request, asking
for help." In the Qur'an, prayer is also described as "turning to Allah
with all one's soul" or the "acknowledgement of one's weaknesses and limited
power before Allah's infinite might, and asking for help from Him."
Anyone who has faith in Allah prays to Him in one way or another. However,
the majority of people turn to prayer as a last resort, after having exhausted
all possible alternatives during times of trouble or stress. Once the
hardship is over, they forget about remembering Allah and imploring Him,
until the next time they experience trouble.
There are other people who misunderstand prayer completely. For them,
prayer is some incomprehensible ritual taught by the family's elderly
members. They do not think about Allah's existence, greatness and might
while praying. They scarcely remember that Allah always sees and hears
people, and that He answers prayers. They repeat memorized words without
giving any thought to them. However, the form of prayer that Allah describes
in the Qur'an, which is the subject of this book, is quite different.
According to the Qur'an, praying is the simplest way to reach Allah.
Now let's remind ourselves of some of the attributes of Allah. He is the
One Who is closer to people than their jugular vein, the One Who knows
and hears everything… Not even a single inner thought of human beings
remains hidden to Allah. This being the case, only thinking suffices to
ask for something from Him. This shows how easy it is to get in contact
Allah is pleased as long as people retain the consciousness of being
Allah's servant. For this reason, turning to Allah, confessing one's mistakes
to Him and asking for help only from Him are essentials of being Allah's
servant. A contrary attitude means growing arrogant towards Allah, which,
according to the Qur'an, leads to an eternal torment in Hell.
In our day, as is the case with some other forms of worship, prayer is
perceived by many as an obsolete tradition. This notion has been reinforced
by the idea that the world is self-contained and independent of Allah.
Some people assume that they, or the people around them, have control
over the events they encounter throughout their lives, so they do not
feel the need to pray to Allah until they encounter a disaster or come
close to death. This is a delusion, which in some cases drags people to
the point of perceiving prayer as a kind of sorcery that has survived
to our day. The fact is that prayer is a form of worship that permeates
every aspect of one's life.
All people, without exception, are in need of prayer. It is only flawed
thinking to assume that a poor person trying to survive under harsh living
conditions needs prayer more than a well-off person. It is erroneous to
think that someone who has attained everything he or she desired does
not need prayer, for such a conviction limits the meaning of prayer to
satisfaction of worldly desires. Believers pray both for their life in
this world and the next. Prayer is accompanied by putting one's trust
in Allah, for which reason a person who prays acquires the consciousness
that the Creator and Judge of the universe is in charge of the events
they encounter, whether minor or significant. Awareness that all the methods
to cope with or prevent a problem rests with Allah, the All-Mighty, and
thus putting one's trust in Him and praying to Him alone, instills a sense
of relief and security in a believer.