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Tuesday, July 13, 2004  

On the Meaning of Ritual Worship and Inner Worship Five times a day, at specific times, prayer is ordained for every adult and able Muslim. This is ordered by Allah: Guard the prayers, especially the middle prayer… (Sura Baqara, 238) Ritual worship consists of standing, reciting from the Qur'an, bowing, prostrating, kneeling and audibly repeating certain prayers. These movements and actions involving the members of the body, recitations spelled out and heard involving the senses, are the worship of the material self. Because these actions of the material self are multiple and are repeated many times in each of the five prayers during the day, the first part of the order of Allah, Guard the prayers, is in the plural. The second part of Allah's order, especially the middle prayer, refers to the prayer of the heart, because the heart is in the middle, in the centre of the being. The purpose of that worship is to obtain peace of heart. The heart is in the middle between the right and left, between the front and back, between the upper and lower, and between righteousness and rebellion. The heart is the centre, the point of balance, the median. Our Master the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) said, 'The hearts of the children of Adam are between the two fingers of the All-Merciful. He turns them whichever way He wills.' The two fingers of Allah are His attributes of the irresistible power of punishment and the loving and delicate beauty of beneficence. True worship is the worship of the heart. If one's heart is heedless of true worship, the ritual prayer of the material self is in disorder. When this happens, the peace of the material self that one hopes to obtain from ritual prayer is not realized. That is why the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) says, 'Ritual worship is only possible with a quiet heart'. Prayer is the supplication of the created to the Creator. It is a meeting of the servant and the Lord. The place of this meeting is the heart. If the heart is closed, heedless, and dead, so is the meaning of worship. No good comes to the material being from such a prayer. For the heart is the essence of the body; the rest is dependent upon it. As the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) says, 'There is a piece of meat in man's body—when it is in a good state, the whole being improves, and when it is in a bad state, the whole being falls apart. Beware, that piece of meat is the heart.' Prayer prescribed by the religion is to be performed at specific times. Within a day and a night there are five such specific times of prayer. The best way of doing them is to perform them in a mosque, in congregation, turning toward the direction of the city of Makka, following the one who leads the prayer without hypocrisy, not for the approval of others, and without ostentation. The time for inner worship is timeless and endless, for the whole life here and in the hereafter. The mosque for this prayer is the heart. The congregation is the inner faculties, which remember and recite the Names of the unity of Allah in the language of the inner world. The leader of this prayer is the irresistible wish. The direction of prayer is toward the oneness of Allah—which is everywhere—and His eternal nature and His beauty. The true heart is the one which can perform such a prayer. A heart like this neither sleeps nor dies. A heart and soul like this are in continuous worship, and a being with such a heart, whatever he appear awake or asleep, is in constant service. The inner worship of the heart is his whole life. There is no longer the sound of recitation nor standing, bowing, prostrating or sitting. His guide, the leader of his prayer, is the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him) himself. He speaks with Allah Most High, saying, Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help. (Sura Fatiha, 4) These divine words are interpreted as a sign of the state of the perfect man, who passes from being nothing, being lost to material things, into a state of oneness. Such a perfect heart receives great blessings from the divine. One of these blessings is mentioned by our Master the Prophet (may blessings and peace be upon him): 'The prophets and those who are beloved by Allah continue their worship in their graves as they did in their houses while they were of this world.' In other words, the eternal life of the heart continues its supplications to Allah Most High. When the ritual worship of the material being and the inner worship of the heart unite, the prayer is complete. It is perfect worship, and its rewards are great. It brings one spiritually to the realms of the proximity of Allah, and physically to the highest level of one's possibility. In the world of appearances one becomes the devout servant of Allah. Inwardly one becomes the wise one who has attained the true knowledge of Allah. If ritual worship does not unite with the inner worship of the heart, it is lacking. Its reward is only advancing in rank. It will not bring one any closer to the realm of the divine. -Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, The Secret of Secrets (Sirr al-Asrar)



posted by Abubak'r | 7/13/2004 05:52:00 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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