Meaningful Prayer – Meaningful Life: the approach:
Takbir: you enter into an intimate moment with your Lord by stating, “God is greater”.
The Opening: no matter what you’ve done, what’s happened to you, what difficulty or tragedy has been visited upon you, “All praise belongs to God”.
Intimacy: use of the word “Lord/Rabb” connotes an intimacy, a closeness with God. In fact, God has instructed us to declare His glory through a personal expression, “how amazing is my Lord the Exalted”.
- Allah is the owner of all the worlds;
- Allah is in charge of all the worlds;
- Allah has full authority;
- Allah has full prerogative: He guides whom He wills and misguides whom He wills. This should fact alone should spur us to never being complacent with the relationship we have with Allah;
- Allah has full maintenance of all the worlds;
God’s Chosen: there is a difference between hearing and listening. God hears all but God declares that He listens “to those that praise Him”. When we wonder if God is answering our prayers let us consider if we praise Him. Every unit of prayer we are reminded that “God listens to those that praise Him”. The question and the challenge is: do we earnestly mean it or do we harbor subtle and secret resentments about that while God decrees:
Be leary of harboring political thoughts about Allah;
God Is Greater: do not become self-congratulatory in your statement of, “O’ our Lord, to You belongs the praise”. Even if you conclude or concede that God is praiseworthy, “God Is greater” than that.
Bowing: an ancient gesture meant to acknowledge and revere;
وَإِذ بَوَّأنا لِإِبراهيمَ مَكانَ البَيتِ أَن لا تُشرِك بي شَيئًا وَطَهِّر بَيتِيَ لِلطّائِفينَ وَالقائِمينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجودِ
“And We located the position of the House for Ibrahim: ‘Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate.” Qur’an 22: 26
وَيلٌ يَومَئِذٍ لِلمُكَذِّبينَ
وَإِذا قيلَ لَهُمُ اركَعوا لا يَركَعونَ
“On that Day, woe to the deniers! When they are told to bow, they do not bow.” Qur’an, 77: 47-48
The Prostration: let the distractions of the world fall away:
- You cannot see God so sight is of no use here;
- Without our sight beguiling us, we come closer to understanding God by allowing the other senses to come into play;
- Open yourself up, expose yourself, put yourself in a vulnerable position so you may venerate God;
Sitting: a pause. A moment of silence. A reflection.
للَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَعَافِنِي وَاهْدِنِي وَارْزُقْنِي
“O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, heal me, and provide for me.” Sunan Abu Dawud, #849
Witnessing: every two raka’at (units of prayer) we testify to our faith again. We bear witness to the oneness of God.
How can we then live our lives outside of the salah (prayer) like we’re inside it.