The Light of Our Eyes, The Bliss of Our Hearts

Author : Erol DEMİRYÜREK

Translator : Necmeddin Bera ÇALIK

Anas narrated: "My comfort has been provided in prayer"[1]

Prayer is a demonstration of love! It is the best sign of loving Allah and showing the servanthood. That is Almighty Allah's most beloved Messenger's most beloved mission in the world.

My Comfort is in Prayer

Our Beloved Prophet loved and protected the prayer which is the demonstration of his divine love to Allah. In the Prophet's opinion, prayer was the utmost occasion of demonstration of incomparable love to the Almighty Allah and gaining His moral compliments. We need to know that there is ‘cause and effect’ relations among the love of Allah and prayer. It would be helpful to analyze the truth and signs of love in order to better understand this relationship. The signs which appear in humane and divine loves aren't fundamentally different. For instance, while Ibn Hazm(1064) talks about signs of love, he mentions of rushing towards the beloved and striving to be close to Him as well. Plus, to him, reaching to the Beloved is the most pleasing and permanent happiness. Ibn Hazm qualifies that as a heart festival. So that heart festival can be described best as The Messenger (PBUH) said "apple of my eyes". Because, the prayer is a meeting with Almighty Allah, and especially, finding peace with the moral pleasure of being close to Allah during prostration. 
Allah says in The Qur'an, “No! Do not obey him. But prostrate and draw near [to Allah ].”.[2] Plus, The Beloved Messenger said, “The closest that a person can be to his Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, is when he is prostrating, so increase in supplication then."[3] The best moments that lovers had is when they are close to those they loved. So, those who can perform prayer by feeling prayer as closeness to Almighty Allah would achieve the biggest pleasure that could be gained. 

The Protector, Prayer

Almighty Allah said, "Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.".[4] So that succeeding by the help of prayer is related to being humbly submissive while praying. There are some essentials of praying humbly submissive which are inner and outer essentials. Outer essentials refer to a believer's spiritual preparation. We emphasized that the most important thing in the prayer is love. All believers, as The Messenger, should reach godly peace with a heart which is replete with a love to Allah. That is already a must to be a believer.[5] Even if each believer says that they love Allah very much, in fact, their levels are different in the presence of Allah. So, every believer should search for a way to enhance his love for Allah.

Knowing Allah Leads to Loving Allah

Whenever a servant recognizes his Lord, his love will be enhanced. So that, first thing to do should be proceeding to know Allah. Almighty Allah has encouraged us to know Him[6]; He introduced Himself in many verses[7]. The Messenger encouraged his followers to know Allah, and said, "Allah has ninety-nine names, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.".[8] By saying "I know Allah the Almighty better  than all of you do."[9], our Prophet described the main factor of being the utmost servant. Recognition of Allah's sense in the heart will arouse a feeling of Allah's greatness, and mankind's neediness. Those two feelings can be counted as the main idea and summary of Prayer. Consideration and observation of signs in nature is an effective and practical way of feeling Allah's greatness. Allah draws attention to proofs in both mankind and nature many times. In addition, he wanted us to consider the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the order of the universe.[10] Likewise, the Prophet said, "Think about what Allah created; think about creatures which are created by Allah. Do not think about the Creator. For, you cannot deservedly know Him".[11] Indeed, thinking about the art forms an opinion about the artist. Consideration and observation of the universe's perfect creation and unique order form the feeling of admiration and glorification to the Greatest Artist.

Prayer is the Utmost Praise

The feeling of thankfulness, praise and love in person to Allah is formed by thinking and realizing about Allah's blessings on him/her. The Prophet said, "Love Allah for what He nourishes you with of His Blessings."[12] If mankind think about the blessings which were sent by Allah to him/her from birth till death, he/she will see that he/she is surrounded by His blessings all around his/her life. Isn't the life His gift to us? So, that awareness directs people with the feeling of praise to be a servant to Allah. This kind of servanthood results in flinging oneself into worship and taking a big pleasure from his worship. Almighty Allah said, "Rather, worship [only] Allah and be among the grateful."[13]. Aisha (Prophet's wife) narrated as follows: "The Prophet would offer prayer at night (for such a long time) that his feet would crack. I said, "O Allah's Messenger! Why do you do it since Allah has forgiven you your faults of the past and those to follow?" He said, "Shouldn't I love to be a thankful slave (of Allah)?'".[14]

Prayer is the Utmost Invocation

Almighty Allah said in The Qur'an, "Indeed, I am Allah. There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.".[15] So, every believer has remembered Allah who created him and the universe out of nothing by worshipping to Allah. One of the foremost qualifications of those who love is to remember their loved ones and never forget them. Our Lord said, "Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.".[16] By praying, the servant feels the glory of Allah and his own helplessness over and over and by using body language in the most appropriate way.
The word “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) repeated at the beginning of prayer and during almost every movement is like the key of the prayer. Reading the prayer of subhâneke, Al-Fatihah, and Qur'an; in addition tahiyyah, praise, salavât and repeated invocations, makes a prayer like an invocation palace whose each room has hidden lots of diverse treasures. A servant's remembrance of Allah five times a day will take him away from evil and keep his awareness of worship fresh at every point in his life as it is said: "Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.".[17]

Thus, standing in prayer with the feelings of love, thankfulness and remembrance of Allah mean fulfilling the necessary moral preparation and external conditions for prayer.

Now it is time to mention internal conditions which are crucial to feel the awe of the prayer.

Triple Harmony that Leads to Awe

Just as it is unthinkable for a slave who appears before the sovereign to forget that he is in peace, to plunge into his own memory, and to turn away by not listening to the sovereign, a servant who comes before Allah who is the Lord of lords, does not give his mind, heart and body to prayer. In order for the believer to catch the awe in his prayer, he must first give full attention to prayer. This means that the body carries out movements such as standing up, bowing and prostration in accordance with the sunnah (tradition of the Prophet); it requires that prayer shouldn't be violated in a way such as swinging, itching, playing with something, laughing, speaking and turning away from Qibla. In addition, it's necessary not to pray in a hurry, and to give importance to every movement. Beloved Prophet said, "Bow and prostrate properly when you bow and prostrate."[18] Once the Prophet entered the mosque, a man came in, offered the prayer and greeted the Prophet. The Prophet returned and said to him, "Go back and pray again, for you have not prayed." The man offered the prayer again, came back and greeted the Prophet. He said to him thrice, "Go back and pray again, for you have not prayed." The man said, "By Him Who has sent you with the truth! I do not know a better way of praying. Kindly teach me how to pray." He said, "When you stand for the prayer, say Takbir and then recite from the Qur'an what you know and then bow with calmness till you feel at ease, then rise from bowing till you stand straight. Afterwards, prostrate calmly till you feel at ease and then raise (your head) and sit with Calmness till you feel at ease and then prostrate with calmness till you feel at ease in prostration and do the same in the whole of your prayer."[19] It's asked to Allah's Messenger about looking hither and thither in prayer. He replied, "It is a way of stealing by which Satan takes away (a portion) from the prayer of a person."[20]

The human brain is like a riverbed through which thoughts flow. While standing in prayer, we should take a set in front of the river of thought and give our minds to prayer. We must first think of who we stand before, and realize the glory of Allah and our own weakness, and start to pray. In our prayer, we should not be unaware of takbirs, prayers, verses, and especially Al-Fatihah. For Al-Fatihah is counted as the summary of the Qur'an. Surah Al-Fatihah is the expression of the servant's dialogue with the Lord. The servant should know that he is whispering with his Lord in prayer. We should not forget that we cannot find the awe we want from our prayer and the spiritual taste we desire without knowing what we say in the verse and prayer we read. Allah has mentioned this as the qualification of the drunks.

Our heart is the centre of our emotions. We must turn our heart to our Lord in prayer. We must know our helplessness as a servant; we must turn to Allah with the humility and the supplication of a slave who supplies his needs to his Master. We must remember our sins and continue our prayers with feelings of regret and repentance. Again we should prostrate to the Lord with love and hope; we must perform our prayer with a sense of thankfulness by remembering the blessings that Allah gives.

When the body, mind, and heart turn to prayer in harmony with love and beauty, it will be awe. The Prophet said, "He who performed ablution like this ablution of mine and offered two raklahs of prayer without allowing his thoughts to be distracted, all his previous sins would be expiated."[21] By saying, "When you stand to pray, pray like a man bidding farewell."[22], the Prophet shows us a nice way of catching awe in prayer.

Puts out the Fire, Makes a Believer Comfortable

"The world is a prison-house for a believer and Paradise for a non-believer."[23] So, there is no comfort for believers in the world. The troubles, stresses and sins that a believer faced, almost burn him. In spite of everything, the prayer times when he turns to his Lord with his body and soul are the most important means that put out the fire of the believer and make him comfortable. The prophet said, "Indeed, in every prayer time of Almighty Allah, He has an angel calling out "O mankind! Get up and put out the fire that you burned against yourself."."[24] The Prophet uttered," Get up, Bilal, and give us comfort by the prayer."[25] When the Prophet was saddened or had problems, he would immediately start to pray. Although the hypocrites pray lazily, our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) informed us that the most beloved servants of Allah were those who observed the sun and the moon. These are the servants whose comfort has been provided to prayer. May our Lord make us one of them.

[1]: Sunan an-Nasa'i 3939.

[2]: Al-Alaq 96:19.

[3]: Sunan an-Nasa'i 1137.

[4]: Al-Mu’minun 23/1-2.

[5]: Al-Baqarah 2/165.

[6]: Muhammad 47/19; Az-Zumar 39/67.

[7]: Al-Baqarah 2/255, Al-Hashr 59/22-24, and The Chapter Ikhlas.

[8]: Sahih al-Bukhari 2736.

[9]: Sahih al-Bukhari, İman:13.

[10]: Fussilat 41/53, Ali 'İmran 3/190, At-Tur 52/35-36.

[11]: Suyûtî, el-Câmiu’s-Sağîr, No:3346.

[12]: Tirmidhi 3789.

[13]: Az-Zumar 39/66.

[14]: Sahih al-Bukhari 4837.

[15]: Taha 20:14.

[16]: Al-'Ankebut 29:45.

[17]: Al-'Ankebut 29:45.

[18]: Sunan an-Nasa'i 1054.

[19]: Sahih al-Bukhari 1055.

[20]: Sahih al-Bukhari 751.

[21]: Sahih Muslim 226b.

[22]: Sunan Ibn Majah 4171.

[23]: Sahih Muslim 2956.

[24]: Heysemî, Mecmeu’z-Zevâid, I/299; Rudânî, Cem’ul- Fevâid, No:933.

[25]: Sunan Abi Dawud 4660.

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