A Gem from Al-Fatihah

Now, let’s resume our discussion of the Quranic chapter Al-Fatihah. Such a large number of gems of wisdom are contained in it that if they are put to paper, it would become impossible to fit the pages in even an entire office. For example, consider only this prayer in Al-Fatihah: “Guide us on the right path”. In a nutshell, this prayer contains such comprehensive connotations that it would be fair to say that just this one prayer is the key to pursuing all religious and worldly objectives. More specifically, we can neither get to know the actual reality of an objective nor benefit from it unless we also perceive an appropriate approach—that is, “the right path”—to attain that objective.

Consider a sampling of the various complicated human ventures that are to be found around us: the complex affairs and protocols of governance and rulership; the elaborate logistics associated with the management of troops, infantry, and warfare; the recondite issues explored under the rubric of astronomy and the other natural sciences; the multifaceted approaches to the practice of medical diagnosis and treatment; the intricate study of human physiology; and the sophisticated operations native to the practice of commerce, trade, and industry. All these undertakings are non-trivial, and it would be naïve to imagine that success can be achieved in any of these endeavors without a preliminary assessment to identify a suitable approach to them. Thus, when faced with a difficult problem, every intelligent man considers it his duty to devote a considerable amount of time to conduct a thorough analysis so as to arrive at a solution. And for each complex problem—whether it be an industrial problem, an endeavor of invention, or one of the various circuitous human enterprises—for which a solution is sought, a thorough, preliminary analysis is crucial. In general, regarding this enterprise of seeking solutions, the indispensable prayer is the one that has the explicit goal of discerning the right approach to a solution whereby the objective—worldly or religious—can be attained; when one becomes fully aware of the correct approach, that is, the right path, the attainment of the objective, with God’s blessings, is sure to follow.

God, in His Omnipotence and Wisdom, has designated an approach, respectively, for the attainment of every conceivable objective. For example, a patient can be treated properly only when a suitable approach is discerned—so that one’s heart and mind are spontaneously convinced that this approach, this path, will lead to success—whereby the ailment is diagnosed correctly, and a favorable remedy formulated as well. Likewise, any task in the world can be accomplished only if the seeker is able to discern a path for its accomplishment. Accordingly, it’s incumbent upon the seeker to pray to God in seeking the right path. And, just as a path—in whose direction one should march forth—is the first requirement in man’s quest to achieve any worldly objective, so too has a path existed, since ancient times, for becoming a friend of God, for becoming an object of His affection, and for receiving blessings from Him. That’s why God has said the following at the very outset of Al-Baqarah, which is the Quranic chapter immediately following Al-Fatihah16:

… a guide to those who keep their duty (Al-Baqarah, Ch:2, Verse:2).

Thus, God says in the preceding verse that this is the path which He has made clear and that should be pursued to receive blessings.

So the prayer (“Guide us on the right path.”) in Al-Fatihah, whose discussion has led us to this point, is a comprehensive prayer that draws man’s attention, whenever he faces a worldly or religious difficulty, to his first obligation: Man should seek a straight and smooth path that leads him easily to the attainment of his objective. And the act of becoming aware of this unambiguous path should serve to relieve man’s mind of all misgivings and fill his heart—to overflowing—with faith. But the man who prays for the daily bread in accordance with the teachings of the New Testament won’t follow the path of godliness; his objective is to be granted the daily bread. Once he has acquired the daily bread, he is no longer concerned with God. And that’s why Christians have digressed from the path of righteousness. What’s more, an extremely shameful belief—that they began worshipping a human—has fallen into their share.

We’re at a loss to understand what is so remarkable about Jesus, son of Mary, in comparison with other prophets that they selected him as the object of their worship. In particular, the majority of the other prophets are superior to Jesus in terms of miracles: The miracles of Moses, Elisha, and Elias, for example, are superior to those of Jesus. And I swear solemnly upon the name of God—in whose hand lies my very life—in affirming that if Jesus, son of Mary, were to have lived in my times, he would’ve been absolutely unable to accomplish the tasks that I’m accomplishing; he would have been unable to manifest divine signs like those that God is manifesting through me17; and he would have realized that God was conferring blessings on me to a degree greater than him. Therefore, if this is my standing in comparison with Jesus, can you even imagine the exalted status of the Holy Prophet—Prophet Muhammad—who is my master and I his slave? In the blessed words of the Holy Quran, I affirm that “This is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases….” (Al-Jumu’ah, Ch:62, Verse:4). I’ll add that the intent of my preceding affirmation is not motivated by envy or distrust in any way; God marshalls human affairs as He deems fit. And the man who opposes God’s will ensures that he himself will fail in all his objectives. Such a man also places himself on the path to hell after death. Hence, those who worshipped a humble mortal brought about their own downfall. Similarly, those who didn’t embrace an exalted prophet—Prophet Muhammad—brought about their own ruin.

I conclude this line of thought by noting that that person is blessed who identifies me as a man whom God has appointed. I’m the last of all the paths that lead to God. And I am the last of all His spiritual lights. Indeed, the person who leaves me is ill-fated, because everything else besides me is now sunk in spiritual darkness.

Holy Quran, Sunnah, and Hadith

Another source of guidance that has been granted to Muslims is the Sunnah, which is the name given to the actions performed by Prophet Muhammad to illustrate the commandments of the Holy Quran. For example, the details regarding the number of rakahs (a rakah is a unit of prayer) to perform for the five obligatory daily prayers, respectively, can apparently not be gleaned from the Holy Quran. But the Sunnah clarified all such matters.

Note, too, that one shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the Sunnah and Hadith is the same thing, because Hadith refers to the recorded sayings of Prophet Muhammad. These recorded sayings—the Hadith reports—were compiled approximately between 100 to 150 years after Prophet Muhammad’s demise. But the Sunnah existed alongside the Holy Quran.

After the Holy Quran, the next great favor of God to Muslims is the Sunnah. It may be said in this context that God and Prophet Muhammad each had a commitment: God informed man of His intentions through the Holy Quran. This fulfilled the responsibility of God’s divine law. And it was Prophet Muhammad’s commitment to clarify God’s Word through his own deeds. So he demonstrated the practical application of the Holy Quran’s commandments by way of his actions, and thereby removed the difficulty that Muslims were facing in the absence of the Sunnah. Accordingly, it would be inappropriate to assert that this solution was dependent on Hadith, because the reality is that the faith of Islam had already been established prior to the existence of Hadith18—did people not perform prayers, give zakat, perform the hajj, and weren’t they aware of both the permitted and forbidden things prior to the compilation of the Hadith reports? Indeed, one should note that Hadith represents the third means of guidance for Muslims, because this collection of Prophet Muhammad’s recorded sayings elucidates many matters of Islamic history, ethics, and jurisprudence.

Moreover, a major benefit of the institution of Hadith is that it’s the servant of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Those who are bereft of the proper reverence for the Holy Quran declare Hadith as the judge who presides over the Holy Quran. This is reminiscent of the status that the Jews conferred on their tradition (Talmud, which is the compendium of Jewish tradition). However, we declare Hadith as the servant of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Indeed, it’s evident that the master’s dignity and splendor is only elevated by the existence of servants. To sum up, the Holy Quran is God’s Word, the Sunnah represents the deeds of Prophet Muhammad, and Hadith symbolizes a supporting witness for the Sunnah. It is incorrect to say, though, that Hadith represents, God-forbid, the judge who presides over the Holy Quran. If there’s any judge who can preside over the Holy Quran, it is the Holy Quran itself. So Hadith—which, after all, exists only at the level of surmise—can never be the judge who presides over the Holy Quran.

In particular, Hadith reinforces the Holy Quran. As such, it can be considered as merely a secondary assistant. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah have accomplished the real work; Hadith merely symbolizes a supporting witness. How can Hadith possibly preside as the judge over the Holy Quran? After all, the Holy Quran and the Sunnah were providing guidance during the times when there didn’t even exist a vestige of this purported judge, the institution of Hadith. So don’t assert that hadith is the judge who presides over the Holy Quran. Rather, say that Hadith symbolizes the supporting witness that testifies in favor of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.

Indeed, the Sunnah has the distinction that it reveals the intent of the Holy Quran. Recall that the Sunnah refers to the path upon which Prophet Muhammad himself walked, and upon which path he then established the sahaba (companions of Prophet Muhammad). The Sunnah doesn’t refer to those sayings that were recorded, in written form, roughly between 100 to 150 years after Prophet Muhammad’s demise; the collection of those recorded sayings is given the name Hadith. And Sunnah is the name of Prophet Muhammad’s practice—which has existed as an integral part of the lives of virtuous Muslims for a long period of time—that he personally indoctrinated to thousands of sahaba.

A Discussion of Hadith

Even though a major portion of Hadith exists at the level of surmise, it is nevertheless worthy of acceptance, provided there isn’t any disagreement with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah; and, of course, Hadith symbolizes a supporting witness for the Sunnah. Besides, Hadith constitutes a vast repository of Islamic issues and their deliberations. So the action of undervaluing Hadith is equivalent to severing an organ of Islam. Nonetheless, a Hadith report should be discarded if it’s contrary to the teachings of the Holy Quran; or if it is contrary to a Hadith report which, in turn, is compliant with the Holy Quran. For example, a Hadith report that’s contrary to Sahih Bukhari will not be worthy of acceptance (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are the most authoritative books of Hadith). Otherwise, the act of accepting such a Hadith report will imply the rejection of all those Hadith reports that are in conformance with the Holy Quran. And I know that any pious man won’t have the audacity to believe in a Hadith report that is contrary to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah, and other Hadith reports that are in conformance with the Holy Quran. Nevertheless, I advise you to value Hadith and to derive benefit from them, because they’re ascribed to Prophet Muhammad. You shouldn’t reject those Hadith reports until the Holy Quran and the Sunnah reject them too.

Moreover, I counsel you to conduct your life in such a way that your deeds—your every deed, whether it relates to activity or reprieve, or to rendering an action or abstaining from that action—are in compliance with supporting Hadith reports. But if you come across a Hadith report whose intent diverges distinctly from the teachings of the Holy Quran, you should compare the two conscientiously; perhaps the perceived divergence in teachings is a result of your own faulty interpretation. But if the discrepancy simply cannot be resolved, despite your best effort, you should discard that particular Hadith report, because it couldn’t be attributed to Prophet Muhammad. Similarly, if you come across a weak Hadith report that’s nevertheless in conformance with the Holy Quran, you should accept that weak Hadith report, because the Holy Quran is its verifier.

Likewise, if you notice a Hadith report that consists of a prophecy—and if the prophecy has already been fulfilled, or is fulfilled in your lifetime—you ought to regard it as true, and deem as wrongdoers and sinners those experts and narrators who declared that particular Hadith report as weak and damaged.

Note that there are hundreds of Hadith reports that contain prophecies, but experts consider the majority of such Hadith reports as damaged, weak, or inauthentic. And if any of those Hadith reports gets fulfilled, but you brush it aside, saying that you won’t accept such a Hadith report because it’s been declared weak by the experts or because no narrator supports its genuineness, then you’ll have demonstrated your faithlessness—after all, God has proved its authenticity, yet you refuse to accept that Hadith report. Imagine that there exist thousands of Hadith reports of this kind which experts have nevertheless deemed as weak. Yet, thousands of prophecies contained in those Hadith reports have been fulfilled. Will you still declare those Hadith reports as weak, effectively nullifying thousands of signs that God has manifested in support of Islam? If you do, you’ll be considered an adversary of Islam. Recall that Allah has said:

… so He makes His secrets known to none. Except a messenger whom He chooses…. (Al-Jinn, Ch:72, Verse:26, 27).

Hence, a true prophecy can only be attributed to the True Prophet, Prophet Muhammad.

Accordingly, in situations such as the preceding one, isn’t it in keeping with the principles of faithfulness to affirm that, surely, some expert must have mistakenly proclaimed the Hadith report as weak? Or do you really think it’s in keeping with the ideals of faithfulness to assert that God must have erred in upholding a certain Hadith report—through the fulfillment of the prophecy in that Hadith report—even though it was inauthentic? Thus, if a Hadith report is not contrary to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah, and other Hadith reports that are, in turn, in conformance with the Holy Quran, then you should act upon the teachings of that Hadith report, even though it is considered a weak Hadith report.

At the same time, exercise great caution in acting upon such Hadith reports, because many of them have created dissension within Islam. In particular, every Islamic sect bases its practices on its own interpretation of Hadith. This custom has advanced to the extent that even as basic a practice as the obligatory daily prayers has assumed various forms. And its cause is this very divergence in the interpretation of Hadith. For example, one worshipper pronounces amen audibly during prayer while another utters it mutedly; one worshipper synchronously recites Al-Fatihah mutedly when performing the prayer in the leadership of an imam while another view this as reeking of transgression; and one worshipper performs his prayer with hands folded across the chest while another folds his hands across the navel. And the real cause of such divergence is Hadith:

… each party rejoicing in that which was with them. (Al-Mu’minun, Ch:23, Verse:53).

The Misfortune of Misinterpretation

Otherwise, the Sunnah had demonstrated only one technique for performing prayers. But the intrusion of traditions led to various modifications. Likewise, the misinterpretation of Hadith report has brought about the downfall of many people. For example, the downfall of the Shiites was caused by such misinterpretations; if only they had designated the Holy Quran as their arbiter (hakam) and decisive guide, the Quranic chapter Al-Nur alone would have sufficed to bless them with spiritual light. Similarly, the Jews—those of them who followed their tradition (Talmud)—who lived during Jesus’ time also brought about their own destruction19.

They had forsaken the Torah for quite some time and instead believed, just as they believe to this day, that their tradition was the judge that presided over the Torah. Indeed, a large number of reports were present in their tradition which indicated that their Promised Messiah would appear only after the physical return of Elias to the world. Hence, their tradition caused them to stumble dreadfully. The Jews, in relying on the reports of their tradition, rejected Jesus’ explanation, which was by way of parables, that the mention of Elias was actually a reference to John. In other words, John had actually already appeared in the likeness—in terms of temperament and characteristics—of Elias. And it was the reliance on their tradition that, above all, caused them to lurch, eventually leading to their faithlessness. In summary, reflecting on the preceding affair impels one to surmise that they either misinterpreted the meaning of their reports of their tradition or else they interpolated their own words into their tradition.

Perhaps Muslims are not aware of the foregoing affair in that it was the group of Jewish followers of tradition that rejected Jesus. They raised a storm of opposition to him, formulating the verdict that Jesus was an unbeliever. Then they issued a decree of unbelief against Jesus. They spurned him, alleging that he didn’t believe in God’s revealed books. And, as for their cherished belief about the prophecy that the arrival of their Promised Messiah would follow the physical return of Elias, those Jews yelled that Jesus was resorting to parables, and that he was trying to distort the meaning of that prophecy entirely out of context20. Not only did they brand Jesus as an unbeliever, they also labeled him a heretic. They added that if Jesus were righteous, then their Mosaic faith would, by implication, get labeled as a false religion.

So it was for them a time marked by the overabundance of bad people; their inaccurate reports of tradition caused them to stumble.

In summary, when you study Hadith reports, do keep in mind that a nation before you—by the act of giving precedence to their tradition over the Torah—has debased itself by rejecting a true prophet of God. And they sank to the depth wherein they branded him as an unbeliever and Anti-Christ (dajjal). Nevertheless, Sahih Bukhari is exceptionally blessed and beneficial for Muslims (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are the most authoritative books of Hadith). This is the same book in which it’s clearly stated that Jesus died. Likewise, Sahih Muslim and the other collections of Hadith reports constitute a vast repository of knowledge, as well as issues and their deliberations. It is proper to act upon Hadith, exercising great care, though, to ensure that you don’t follow any teachings that are contrary to the Holy Quran, the Sunnah, and other Hadith reports that are in conformance with the Holy Quran.

Faith is a Wonderful Quality

O truth-seekers, listen carefully and mark my words that faith in God is an exquisite quality! It is faith that enables man to shun wickedness; it empowers him to do good deeds; and it enables him to become a true lover of God. Can you really eschew the state of sin unless faith permeates your soul? Can you control your lower desires without a strong faith? Can you achieve any comfort without a vigorous faith? And can you bring about a real transformation without a strong faith? Just as the answer to these questions is in the negative, know that you cannot attain true prosperity without a powerful faith in God.

Likewise, is there any means of atonement or expiation under the skies that can rid you of your sins? Will the blood of Jesus actually liberate you from your sins? O Christians, don’t tell such a dreadful untruth as will rend asunder the world! Jesus himself was in need of this crucial quality—faith in God —for his salvation. So he believed in God and received salvation. Woe unto those Christians who mislead the populace by claiming that they’ve received salvation through the blood of Jesus, even though they are steeped in sin. They don’t even know their true God; they spend their lives in ignorance of the true life. The sordid intoxication of alcohol permeates their brains; they are entirely unaware of the pure spiritual intoxication that alights from the heavens. And they remain wretchedly deprived of divine blessings and the pure, spiritual life that is spent in the company of God.

So I urge you to remember that, without a strong faith, neither can you emerge from the gloom of the benighted life nor receive divine blessings through Gabriel. Indeed, blessed is the man who harbors a strong faith, because he’s the one who will find God; blessed is the man who achieved liberation from doubts and conjectures, because he will surely receive salvation; and blessed are you when you obtain this vital quality—faith in God—because you’ll henceforth be rid of your sins.

Faith and wickedness cannot be gathered in one place. For example, will you reach inside a hole in which you see poisonous snake? Will you remain standing at a spot that’s being pelted by fiery stones from an erupting volcano? Will you stand idly at a location that’s repeatedly being struck by lightning, or at a place where a ferocious lion is poised to attack? And will you tarry indolently in a locale that is being ravaged by a plague? Obviously, you’ll try your utmost to avoid any of these scenarios, because you believe strongly that the consequences are terrible, probably fatal. So if the strength of your faith in God is similarly strong, it’s impossible that you will ever disobey God or sever the bond of sincerity and faithfulness.

O people who are beckoned to righteousness and piety, know verily that your souls will be attracted to God—and you’ll be purified of the revolting smear of sin—only when your hearts are filled with faith!

In response to my aforesaid pronouncement, perhaps you’ll proclaim that your hearts are already filled with faith. But this just isn’t true, because you haven’t yet satisfied its requirements. And the indications of this are plentiful: You do not abstain from sinfulness; you don’t exert yourselves in the way of God as you really ought to; and you do not fear God as you really should. So I invite you to reflect on this matter once again: For instance, the man who believes that a venomous snake seethes inside a hole will never place his hand in that hole; the man who believes that his food is poisoned won’t touch that food; and the man who sees scores of incensed lions pacing feverishly in a lair will never be reckless enough to approach the lair. Hence, if you truly believe in God, as you profess you do, what emboldens your hands, feet, ears, and eyes that they’re always willing to sin? Remember that sin cannot dominate faith. Consider too that if you witness a fearsome blaze before you, surely you’d never submit yourself to its deadly flames. Also remember that the unassailable walls of faith tower upwards into the heavens, and the devil cannot scale them.

And every man who attained spiritual purity did so through a strong faith in God. It is faith that gives man the strength to bear sorrows; and it is faith that impels a king to descend from his royal throne, enrobing him in the garb of humility. Likewise, faith eases the burden of every sort of distress, and it enables one to gain nearness to God.

Do realize that all forms of atonement are untrue, and every type of expiation false. Furthermore, every aspect of spiritual purity is attained by way of faith—it is faith in God that untangles man from wickedness, spiritually raising him toward God, and enabling him to surpass even the angels in sincerity and steadfastness. Every religion that doesn’t furnish man with a living faith is untrue; every religion that is unable to equip man to attain nearness to God on the basis of faith is untrue; and every religion that consists merely of antiquated fables is untrue. God undoubtedly exists today, just as He existed in the earliest times; the wonders of His dominion are just as integral and undiminished today as they were during the earliest times; and His absolute sovereignty to manifest divine signs is just as unabridged today as it was in the earliest times. Yet, you allow yourself to be satisfied by mere tales.

Don’t forget that that religion is barren whose miracles consist of mere myths, and whose prophecies are nothing more than yarns. And that religious organization is lifeless which doesn’t receive divine revelations, and which has not been spiritually cleansed by God’s hands through the aegis of faith. Just as man is allured toward sensual pleasures when he perceives them, so too is man pulled toward God when he’s able to discern spiritual pleasures through the conditioning influence of faith. In fact, this spiritual attraction is so strong, and God’s indescribable beauty so overwhelming, that man subsequently begins to view all other things as garbage. Similarly, man gets riddance from sinfulness only when he wholeheartedly embraces the belief in God’s majesty and the divine law of qazaa-wa-qadar (refers to the doctrine of predestination and God’s absolute decree of good and evil; in particular, qazaa refers to the ordering of a thing to come to pass, while qadar signifies the creating of things subject to certain laws) and is consequently enlightened by its nuances. Moreover, ignorance—which is really the lack of this aforesaid type of enlightenment—is the root cause of every sort of moral heedlessness.

But the man who partakes of divine faith can no longer remain heedless. For example, if the owner of a house believes that an unendurable flood is surging toward his house, or if he learns that a fiery blaze is quickly engulfing his house, surely he will take evasive action instead of lingering there. Yet, despite your self-professed belief in the divine law of qazaa-wa-qadar, you persist heedlessly in your dangerous moral state rather than taking evasive action.

So open your eyes. Behold the divine law that prevails throughout the world. Be not like the rats that scurry downward into the grimy bowels of the earth; be like the dove that has chosen the serene heavens for itself, and soars skyward. And I urge you to refrain from abiding any longer in a state of sin, especially because you’ve professed the religious pledge; be not like the serpent that sheds its skin but still remains a serpent. Be mindful of your mortality, because the moment of your death draws closer relentlessly, though you are unaware of it. Try hard to purify your soul, because the impure man cannot reach God. More specifically, the question to ask is this: How can one reach God? And the answer has been provided thus by God:

… seek assistance through patience and prayer…. (Al-Baqarah, Ch:2, Verse:153)

The Essence of Prayer

So what is the essence of prayer? Prayer is the supplication that’s performed with profound humility. You praise and glorify God, seeking His forgiveness, and sending blessings upon Prophet Muhammad. When you beseech God through your prayers, don’t be like those who limit themselves to mindlessly reciting the prescribed Arabic words alone; their prayers and their seeking God’s forgiveness are merely ceremonious, carrying no significance. Instead, perform your supplications such that you entreat God humbly in your own language too—wherefore your submissiveness and meekness in your prayers might influence you positively—in addition, of course, to the prescribed Quranic verses, as well as the verses mentioned in Prophet Muhammad’s tradition.

Let’s continue with the exploration of the essence of prayer, and ask: What’s the fundamental nature of the obligatory prayers that we perform five times daily? The answer is that they’re a faithful reflection of the various spiritual states that you experience during the span of a 24-hour-day. Hence, during the passage of each 24-hour-day, the five prayers correspond faithfully to the five stages of change that arise—and their taking place is in harmony with human nature—in that timeframe, in response to the calamity that afflicts you:

  • You undergo the first stage of change, and thereby experience the first spiritual state, when you’re informed that a calamity is about to befall. Hence, you learn that a warrant for your arrest has been issued by the court. This is the first stage wherein you feel an intrusion in your peace of mind and prosperity. So this state can be likened to the condition of decline, because your felicity has begun to wane. And the daily prayer that corresponds to this spiritual state is known as zuhr, whose time begins with the decline in the sun’s circadian rhythm.
  • Next, you undergo the second stage of change, and thereby experience the second spiritual state, when you’re brought into a close encounter with the calamity. Hence, in accordance with the warrant’s directive you are presented before the judge. This is the time when you experience mortal dread, and you feel that your very security and welfare are in jeopardy. As such, this state can be equated to the condition when the glow of the sun has waned markedly, and you realize that this glimmer will soon be extinguished for the remainder of the day. And the daily prayer that corresponds to this spiritual state is known as asr.
  • Then, you undergo the third stage of change, and thereby experience the third spiritual state, when no hope remains whatsoever of achieving liberation from the calamity. Hence, legal witnesses provide damning evidence against you, and the sentence is subsequently chronicled. You are thoroughly demoralized and begin to think of yourself as an abject prisoner. So this state can be compared to the condition when the sun is setting, and all hopes of seeing daylight have been shattered. And the daily prayer that corresponds to this spiritual state is known as maghrib.
  • After that, you undergo the fourth stage of change, and thereby experience the fourth spiritual state, when the calamity envelops you wholly in its bitter darkness. Hence, the judge pronounces the sentence, having heard the testimony against you. Presently, a guard escorts you to the prison where you’ll serve your sentence. As such, this state can be likened to the condition when the sun has set completely, and the pitch dark of the night is upon you. And the daily prayer that corresponds to this spiritual state is known as ishaa.
  • Finally, you undergo the fifth stage of change, and thereby experience the fifth spiritual state, when you are made to emerge from that suffocating darkness—you have served your sentence in the murkiness of the calamity, and, presently, God deals with you mercifully. Hence, the day finally begins to dawn anew with hope. So this state can be identified with the condition when the sun begins to sparkle once again. And the daily prayer that corresponds to this spiritual state is known as fajr. To sum up, God prescribed the five daily obligatory prayers in view of the changes that take place in human nature. Accordingly, you can now understand that they’re especially aimed at benefiting your soul. So if you wish to remain sheltered from spiritual calamities, you must perform the obligatory prayers unfailingly, because they reflect the various states of your soul. Moreover, they embody the remedy for future calamities—you don’t know what the new, dawning day will bring for you in terms of the divine law of qazaa-wa-qadar. Therefore, prior to the rise of each morning, humbly implore God to make the day blessed and prosperous for you.

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