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Saturday, June 26, 2004  

On Prayer in Congregation When you pray behind an imam you must follow him properly, for 'the imam was appointed only so that people would be led by him.' Do not precede him in performing any of the prayer's components, nor perform them simultaneously with him; you should rather follow him step by step. The Prophet has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'The forelock of the one who bows and rises before the imam is in the Devil's hand.' Try to reach the first row and compete for it without offending anyone. Beware of staying back when it is possible to advance, for he has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: 'Some people will persist in staying back, that is, from the first row, until God will hold them back.' And: 'God and His angels bless the foremost row.' And he used to ask forgiveness for those in the first rows thrice, and for those in the second row once only. Assist in making the rows even and straight. If you are the imam then this becomes doubly incumbent upon you. This is an important thing in the Law but most people are unaware of it. The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, was very concerned with this matter, and used to do it himself and say: 'You will straighten your rows or God will certainly cause disagreement to come between your hearts.' He ordered them to close the gaps by saying: 'By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, I see the Devil penetrating from gaps in the row just as a small lamb might do.' Take care to perform the five prayers with a congregation and persevere in this, for the collective prayer is twenty-seven times better than an individual one, as is stated in a sound hadith. Beware of missing the collective prayer for no good reason or for an unacceptable one. If, when you arrive, you find that they have already finished praying, or if you are keeping to your house in order to safeguard your religion, you must find someone to pray with so that you may obtain the reward for the collective prayer and escape the threats made in the texts against those who abandon it. The Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: 'Certain people must stop neglecting the collective prayer, or else I shall burn their houses with them inside.' And: 'For the one who hears the Call, is healthy and unoccupied, and does not answer it, there is no other acceptable prayer.' And Ibn Mas'ud, may God be pleased with him, said: 'We have seen [a time] when no-one stayed back [from the collective prayer] except hypocrites whose hypocrisy was well known.' In the days of the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, they used to bring men [who had to be] supported between two men until they were stood in the row. This is how severely those who neglect the obligatory collective prayers are regarded. As for the Friday prayers, the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, said: 'The heart of the man who neglects three Friday prayers because he holds them in light estimation will be sealed by God.' When you feel that you have an excuse not to attend the Friday or any other collective prayer, imagine that in the place where the prayer is held a man will distribute money to all those present. If you then find the energy and the desire to go, then your excuse is unsound. Feel shame before God that worldly affairs are dearer to you than what He, Exalted is He, has in store for you. Know that an honest excuse will only prevent you from being called to account, while the reward can only be obtained by actually performing the deed. However, the reward can be accorded to some who find it totally impossible to attend, as for instance someone with continuous diarrhea, or who is forcibly prevented from going. It can also be given to some who, although not finding it altogether impossible to go would, by attending, cause undue hardship to another Muslim. An example of this is the one caring for a very sick person. People with such excuses, provided they feel sad and aggrieved at losing the prayer, will receive the reward. A perfect believer never abandons any act that would take him nearer to God, even though he may have a million excuses. He would only do so if he knew that not acting was more pleasing to God, and this is very rare. Thus the perfect ones among the people of God, in doing what takes them nearer to Him, endure that which firmly set mountains would be unable to carry. As for those whose faith and certainty are weak, and whose knowledge of God is inadequate, they are, when faced with having to miss an obligatory act, concerned only with avoiding reproach. For each of them will be degrees from what they do, that He may pay them for their deeds, and they will not be wronged. (XLVI:19) You should charge all those for whom you are responsible, whether child, wife, or slave, with performing the obligatory prayers. When any of them refuses to do so you should admonish and put fear into him. I he rebels and persists in refusing you may reprimand and physically chastise him; if he is then not rebuked and continues to refuse then turn away and cease to have anything to do with him. For the one who abandons the prayer is a devil, remote from God's mercy, exposed to His wrath and curses, and all Muslims are prohibited from befriending him and are obliged to oppose him. This must be so, for the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: 'The bond that is between us and them is [broken by] abandoning the prayer; thus whoever abandons it has committed idolatry.' And: 'The one who does not pray has no religion. The prayer is to religion what the head is to the body.' Free yourself every Friday from all worldly preoccupations and devote this noble day entirely to the hereafter. Occupy yourself with pure goodness and resolute movement toward God. Watch carefully for the hour in which requests are granted, which is a period of time in each Friday when a Muslim who asks God to grant him any kind of goodness or protect him from evil is granted it. Be early to the Friday prayer; get there before the sun reaches its zenith, sit near the pulpit and listen carefully to the sermon; beware of distracting yourself with invocation or reflection, not to mention trivial talk or aimless thought. Feel that all the admonition and counseling that you hear is addressed to you personally. Before you move your legs [after the end of the prayer] or talk, recite the Fatiha, surat al-Ikhlas, Qul a'udhu bi-rabbi'l-falaq and Qul a'udhu bi-rabbi'n-nas, seven times each, and say when you leave the prayer, Subhan Allahi wa-bi-hamdih one hundred times, for there are hadiths which indicate the merit of this act. And success is by God. - Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi al-Haddad, Book of Assistance (Risalat u’l Mu’awana)



posted by Abubak'r | 6/26/2004 04:55:00 AM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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