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I say truly that if crying before God Almighty is in the utmost humility, it moves His grace and mercy and draws them. I can say it out of my own experience that I have felt and seen the grace and mercy of God, which come in the shape of the acceptance of prayer, pulling towards themselves. If the dark-minded philosophers of this age cannot feel it or see it, this verity cannot disappear from the world, especially as I am ready at all times to demonstrate the acceptance of prayer (AlHakam, Vol 5No. 28-34 July 31, September 17, 1901 reprinted in Malfoozat, V ol.I, p. 198).

CALLED Prayer and its Acceptanc AND
The Principle of Interpretation

Syed Sahib sets forth his belief that the acceptance of prayer does not mean that the supplicant should be bestowed what he asks for. If this should be the meaning of the acceptance of prayer two difficulties would be encountered. The first difficulty is that thousands of supplications that are made most humbly and earnestly are not fulfilled which means that the prayer has not been accepted, while God has promised acceptance of prayer. The second difficulty is that that which is to happen is determined and also that which is not to happen. Nothing can happen contrary to that determination. If acceptance of prayer means granting the request made, then the Divine promise: Call on Me, I shall respond to you (40: 6 I), is not fulfilled concerning supplications the granting of which is not determined. According to this interpretation, the general promise of acceptance of prayer will be falsified inasmuch as only those requests are granted the fulfillment of which is determined, and yet the promise of acceptance of prayer is general and is not subject to any exception. Some verses indicate that those things which are not determined will not be granted and some verses indicate that no supplication is rejected and that all are accepted. The verse: Call on Me, I shall respond to you, shows that God has promised the acceptance of all prayers. Thus, the only way of reconciling this contradiction between the verses is that the acceptance of prayer should be interpreted as meaning the acceptance of an act of worship, that is to say, that prayer should be interpreted as a type of worship concerning which there is a Divine promise of acceptance when it is offered in the sincerity and earnestness of the heart. The acceptance of prayer is, therefore, no more than that it earns merit by being regarded as a type of worship. If the bestowal of something has been determined and it is also prayed for, it is bestowed not because of the prayer, but because it had been determined upon. The great benefit of prayer is that when at the time of prayer the heart is fixed upon the greatness of God and His limitless power that idea overcomes all the apprehensions which were the cause of restlessness and the supplicant experiences patience and steadfastness. This condition of the heart is produced by worship and this is the acceptance of prayer. Syed Sahib observes that those people who are unaware of the reality of prayer and of the wisdom that is inherent in it can say that-if that which is not determined cannot happen, then prayer is of no use. That is to say, that that which is determined will happen in any case whether one offers a prayer in respect of it or not and that a thousand prayers will not help where the matter has not been determined, thus prayer is vain and useless. In answer to this Syed Sahib says that to supplicate for help in a time of distress is a characteristic of human nature and a person supplicates on account of his natural characteristic without thinking whether what is being supplicated for will happen or not. On account of this characteristic of his nature he has been told to supplicate God for whatever he desires.

This summary of the view held by Syed Sahib indicates that his belief is that prayer cannot be the means of achieving one's goal, nor has it any effect on such achievement. If by prayer the only purpose of the supplicant is that through his supplication his request should be granted his purpose is vain, inasmuch as no prayer is needed for that which has been determined and for that which has not been determined, humility and earnestness are without avail. He believes that prayer is only a form of worship and it is vain to adopt it as a means of achieving a specific purpose.

We shall show later that Syed Sahib has woefully misunderstood the verses of the Holy Quran. At this stage we would observe with regret that if Syed Sahib's intellect had fallen short of the meaning of the Holy Quran, had he at the time of writing these booklets overlooked the law of nature which he claims to follow and which he regards as the intepreter of Divine guidance and of the hidden mysteries of the Holy Quran? Is Syed Sahib not aware that though nothing good or ill in this world is free from determination, yet nature has appointed such means for the achieving of the good or the ill, the true and correct effect of which is not questioned by any wise person? For instance, though keeping in mind determination, to have recourse to a remedy in case of illness is the same as praying or not praying for an object, yet would Syed Sahib affirm that the science of medicine is altogether without any basis and that remedies have no effect whatever? If, despite his belief in determination, he is persuaded that remedies are not without effect, then why does he create a distinction between this law and a similar and parallel law? Does he believe that God had power to invest certain medicines with such powerful effects that their full dose should immediately move the stomach, or that certain poisons should have such powerful effect that a full dose of them should dispatch the consumer from this world within a matter of minutes, yet He should leave as dead and without effect the supplications of His elect which are full of resolve and attention and earnestness? Is it possible that there should be a contradiction in the Divine system and that the Divine design which works for the welfare of His servants through medicines should not operate in the case of prayer? That is not so. Syed Sahib himself is unaware of the true philosophy of prayer and has no personal experience of its high effectiveness. His case is like that of a person who over a period uses a stale medicine which has lost all its effectiveness and then concludes, as a general rule, that that medicine is ineffective. Syed Sahib has reached an advanced age, but the natural system, that determination is closely related to means, has eluded him. That is why he has fallen into the error that anything can happen without the intervention of the means which nature has appointed spiritually and physically. As a general rule, nothing is free from determination. A person who derives advantage from fire, or water, or air, or clay, or corn, or vegetables, or animals, or minerals, does so under the rule of determination, but if a stupid one should imagine that without the help of the means which God Almighty has appointed, and without treading the paths that have been fixed by nature, something might be acquired without the mediation of physical or spiritual means, such a one seeks to falsify the wisdom of God Almighty. The meaning of all that Syed Sahib has put forth is that he does not regard prayer as one of the effective means, the existence of which he admits, and that he has in this matter gone beyond the limit. For instance, if someone mentions the effect of fire to him, he will not deny it and will not affirm that if anyone's being burnt has been determined he would be burnt without the intervention of fire, then I am surprised that despite being a Muslim he denies the effectiveness of prayer which sometimes lights up the darkness like fire and sometimes burns the hand of an impertinent intervenor. Does he remember determination at the time of prayer and forget it when fire or the like is mentioned? Does not the same determination comprehend both? When, despite determination, he adheres so strongly to effective means that he has acquired an ill reputation in his exaggeration, then what is the reason that the system of nature which he acknowledges is forgotten by him in the matter of prayer, so much so that while in his view a fly has some effect, yet prayer has none? The truth is that he is unaware of the effect of prayer and has no personal experience of it, nor has he had the advantage of keeping company with those who have such experience.

Miracles Are Wrought By Prayer

The subject of the acceptance of prayer is a branch of the subject of prayer. A person who does not comprehend the principle encounters difficulty in comprehending a branch. This is at the bottom of the misunderstanding of Syed Sahib. The principle of prayer is that there is a mutually attractive relationship between a pious servant and his Lord. To begin with, the Rahmaniyyat of God Almighty draws a servant to itself. Then through his sincerity the servant approaches close to God Almighty and in prayer that relationship, when it arrives at a certain stage, manifests its wonderful qualities. When a servant being confronted with a great difficulty leans towards God Almighty with perfect certainty, perfect hope, perfect love, perfect fidelity and perfect resolve, and becoming extremely alert and tearing aside the veils of heedlessness advances far into the fields of the discarding of self, he beholds in front of him the court of the Divine and perceives that He has no associate. Then the soul prostrates itself at that threshold and the power of attraction that is invested in him draws the bounty of God Almighty towards itself. Then God, the Glorious, addresses Himself towards fulfilling the purpose of the supplication and casts the effect of prayer on all those preliminary means which give rise to the means that are necessary for the achievement of the purpose of the prayer. For instance, if the prayer is for rain then on its acceptance the natural means that are needed for rain are created by the effect of the prayer. If the prayer is for famine the All-Powerful One creates the contrary means. It has been proved to the satisfaction of those who have frequent experience of visions that in the prayer of a perfect person a power of fashioning is created. That is to say, by the command of God the prayer exercises control in the lower and higher world and turns the elements and heavenly bodies and the hearts of people to the direction that is desired.

The Effect Of Prayer Is Greater Than The Effect Of Fire

There are many instances of this in the holy Books of God Almighty. Some types of miracles are in reality the acceptance of prayer. The source of thousands of miracles that were manifested by the Prophets and the wonders that have been exhibited throughout by the saints was prayer, and it is through the effect of prayer that extraordinary events display the power of the All-Powerful. Are you aware what was the wonderful event that happened in the deserts of Arabia, that hundreds of thousands of the dead came alive within a few days, and those who had been corrupted through generations took on Divine color, and the blind began to see, and the tongues of the dumb began to flow with Divine insights, and such a revolution took place in the world which no eye had seen and no ear had heard before? It was the prayers during dark nights of one who had been wholly lost in God which created an uproar in the world and manifested such wonders as had appeared impossible in the case of that unlearned helpless one. O Allah send down blessings and peace on him and on his people according to the number of his griefs and sorrows for the Muslims and send down upon him the lights of Thy mercy for ever. I have experience that the effect of prayers is greater than the effect of fire and water. Indeed in the systems of natural means nothing has greater effect than prayer.

Physical And Spiritual Means Are Not Outside Determination

If a question is raised that some prayers are not heard and no effect of theirs becomes visible, I would say that the same is the case with medical remedies. Have medicines shut the door of death, or is it not possible for them to fail of their purpose? Yet, despite this, can anyone deny their effect? It is true that determination comprehends everything, but determination has not wasted or disgraced knowledge, nor has it rendered means unreliable. Careful consideration would show that physical and spiritual means are not outside determination. For instance, if the fate of a patient should be good, the means of a proper remedy become available and the body becomes ready to take advantage of them. In such a case the remedy becomes most effective. The same is the case with prayer. All means and conditions of the acceptance of prayer come together where the Divine design is of acceptance. God Almighty has tied together His physical and spiritual systems in the same chain of causes and effects. It is a great mistake on the part of Syed Sahib that he acknowledges the physical system but denies the spiritual system.

I deem it necessary to add that if Syed Sahib does not repent of his wrong assumption and should require proof of the acceptance of prayer, I would be ready to disabuse his mind. I promise that I shall inform Syed Sahib in advance of the acceptance of some of my prayers and will also publish the fact, provided Syed Sahib promises that on my claim being established he will repent of his wrong assumption.

Must All Prayers Be Accepted?

Syed Sahib says that in the Holy Quran God Almighty has promised acceptance of all prayers while the fact is that some prayers are not accepted. This is a misunderstanding on his part and the verse: Call on Me, I shall respond to you (40: 6 1), does not help his purpose. The prayer that is prescribed in this verse as a command is not any ordinary prayer, but is the worship that has been made obligatory. Not all prayers are obligatory. At some places God, the Glorious, has praised those who are steadfast and at a time of trial confine themselves to committing themselves to God. In this verse prayer has not only been commanded but the verse goes on to describe it as worship and in case of disobedience warns of the torment of hell. It is obvious that in the case of other prayers this warning is not added. Indeed in some cases Prophets were admonished in respect of their prayers. The verse: I advise thee not to act like the ignorant ones (11:47); is an instance. This shows that if every prayer had been worship Noah would not have been rebuked about his prayer. In some situations Prophets and saints have considered it disrespectful to supplicate and the righteous have followed the dictate of their hearts in respect of such prayers; that is to say, if at a time of distress the heart suggested prayer they turned to prayer and if the heart suggested steadfastness, they were steadfast and turned away from prayer. Besides, God has not promised acceptance of prayer in all cases, but has clearly said that He would accept if He so wills and would reject if He so wills. The verse: In such an event you will call on Him alone, then will He remove that which you call on Him to remove, if He please (6:42); clearly indicates this.

Conditions Of Acceptance Of Prayer

Even if we were to concede that the phrase 'Call on Me' means prayer, we would have to affirm that by prayer is meant such prayer as complies with all required conditions and that is not within the power of man unless he is helped by God. Humility alone is not enough for prayer, but righteousness, purity, truthfulness, perfect certainty, perfect love and perfect attention are all needed, and it is also necessary that the object prayed for should not be opposed to the Divine design for the welfare in this world and in the hereafter of the supplicant, or of the one on whose behalf supplication is made. Very often, despite all other conditions being fulfilled, the object for which supplication is made is opposed to the Divine design and there is no good in its fulfillment. For instance, if a child should cry that his mother should hand over to him a burning brand, or a serpent, or should feed him a poison, which appears agreeable, the mother would not comply with his wish. Were she to do so, and though the child might escape with his life some limb of his should become useless, then arriving at years of discretion the child would have a grievance against his foolish mother. There are many other conditions in the absence of which prayer does not deserve that name and so long as a prayer is not inspired by full spirituality and there is not a close connection between him who supplicates and him on whose behalf supplication is made, there is little hope of the acceptance of prayer. Unless there is Divine willingness for the acceptance of prayer all these conditions are not fulfilled and full attention remains lacking. Syed Sahib acknowledges that the good fortune of the hereafter and its bounties and delights and comforts which constitute salvation, are the result of faith and sincere prayers. That being so, Syed Sahib would be compelled to acknowledge that a believer's prayers have effect and become the cause of the removal of calamities and the achievement of objectives. If that were not so, then how would they be of help on the Judgment Day? If prayer is truly a vain thing and cannot be the cause of removal of any calamity in this life, then how will it become a cause for their removal on the Judgment Day?

If our prayers truly possess the effect of safeguarding us against calamities that effect should be manifested in this world also, so that our faith and hope might be fostered and we should pray more earnestly for our salvation in the hereafter. But if prayer amounts to nothing and that which is written is bound to happen, then as, according to Syed Sahib, prayer is vain for the calamities of this world, it will be vain for the hereafter also and no hope could be placed in it (Barakatud Dua pp 5-14).

To Supplicate Is Human And To Respond Is Divine

When a child being driven by hunger cries for milk, then milk is generated in the mother's breasts. The child does not know what prayer is, but his cries draw the milk. This is a universal experience. Sometimes when the mother does not perceive the presence of milk in her breasts, the child's cries help to draw it. Then can our cries before God Almighty draw nothing? They certainly draw everything, but the learned ones and philosophers, who are blind, cannot see it. If a person were to reflect on the philosophy of prayer, keeping in mind the connection and relationship which a child has with its mother, it would be quite easy. The second type of mercy comes into operation after supplication. Go on asking and it will be given to you. Call on Me, I shall respond to you, is not mere words, but is a characteristic of human nature. It is human to supplicate and it is a Divine characteristic to respond. He who does not understand and does not believe is false. The illustration of the child that I have set forth expounds the philosophy of prayer in an excellent way. {Report Jalsa salana compiled by Shiekh Yaqub Ali Irfani, reprinted in Malfoozat, Vol. 1, p, p. 129-130}

A Supplicant Should Not Get Tired Or Feel Frustrated

It is at a time of trial that the wonderful and rare qualities and effects of prayer are manifested. The truth is that God is recognized only through prayer (Malfoozat, Vol. 111, p. 30I).

Prayer is a wonderful thing. It is a pity that those who pray are not aware of the true manner of prayer, nor are they acquainted with the ways of the acceptance of prayer. The truth is that the very reality of prayer has become strange. There are some who deny the effectiveness of prayer altogether and there are others who do not deny it, but as their prayers are not accepted on account of their lack of knowledge of the manner of prayer and are not prayers in the true sense, their condition is worse than that of those who deny the effectiveness of prayer. Their practical condition has pushed many others to the verge of atheism. The first condition for prayer is that a supplicant should not get tired and become a prey to despair that nothing will happen. Sometimes it is seen that a prayer is carried on till it is about to be accepted and then the supplicant gets tired and the result is failure and frustration. Frustration results in the denial and effectiveness of prayer and gradually culminates in the denial of God. It is said if there is God Who accepts prayer why have not those prayers been accepted which were offered over a long period? If those who think thus and stumble were to reflect upon their lack of perseverance, they would come to know that all their frustration is the result of their own haste and impatience which generated an ill concept of the powers of God and resulted in despair. So one should never get tired.

Praying is like the sowing of a seed by a cultivator. By carrying out sowing over a field, he places underground the seed corn. Who can expect at that time that every grain of seed will be nurtured like a good plant and will bring a harvest? Outsiders and even the cultivator himself cannot see that the grain is assuming the form of a plant inside the earth. But the reality is that within a few days the grain undergoes a change and begins to assume the shape of a plant till its shoot emerges from the earth and becomes visible to everyone. From the moment when the grain was placed in the earth it had started its preparation to become a plant, but an eye that can only perceive the visible was not aware of it till its shoot emerged from the earth and became visible. An ignorant child cannot understand at that stage that it will bear fruit only at its due time. He desires to see it bearing fruit immediately, but an intelligent cultivator will know what is the time of its bearing fruit. He looks after it steadfastly and nurtures it till the time comes when it bears fruit and that fruit ripens.

Be Sincere And Possess High Resolve

The same is the case with prayer, which is nurtured in the same way and brings forth fruit. Those who are in haste get tired quickly and give up, and those who are steadfast persevere and arrive at their objective. It is true that there are many stages in prayer, ignorance of which deprives the supplicants ,f the fruits of their prayers. They are in a hurry and cannot wait, whereas there is progression in the works of the Almighty. It never happens that a man should marry today and a child might be born to him tomorrow. Though God is All Powerful and can do whatever He wills, yet compliance with the law and the system that He has appointed is necessary. In the first stages of child bearing nothing is known, like the nurture of vegetation. For four months there is no certainty. Then a movement begins to be felt and after the expiry of the full period the child is born after great travail. The birth of the child is also the birth of the mother. It is difficult for a man to form a concept of the troubles and travails which a woman has to endure during her pregnancy, but it is true that the coming of a child is a new life for the mother. She has to accept death so as to have the joy of bearing a child. In the same way, it is necessary for a supplicant that he should discard haste and endure all troubles and should never imagine that prayer is not accepted. At last the time arrives for the result of the prayer to be manifested; the child which is the objective is born. A prayer should be carried on to the limit until it produces a result. You will have observed that a piece of cloth is placed under a burning glass and the rays of the sun concentrate upon it and their heat arrives at the degree which sets the cloth on fire. In the same way, it is necessary that a prayer should be carried on to a stage where it should develop the power of burning up failures and frustrations and to fulfill the desired purpose. One has to be occupied with prayer for a long time and then God Almighty manifests the result. It is my experience, which is borne out by the experience of the righteous in the past, that if there is silence for a long time, there is hope of success, but if there is a quick reply the purpose is not likely to be achieved. When a beggar goes to someone and begs with humility and earnestness and does not move from his place, even after he is rebuked, and continues his supplication, then in the end the person supplicated is moved and bestows something on the beggar despite his miserliness. Then should not a supplicant have at least so much steadfastness as an ordinary beggar? When God Almighty Who is Benevolent and possesses Majesty sees that His humble servant has been prostrate at His threshold for a long time, He does not lead him to a bad end. If a pregnant woman should become impatient after four or five months and should take some abortive medicine, the child would not be born, but she herself would be involved in despair. In the same way, he who is in a hurry before the due time only suffers loss and puts his faith in danger. In this condition some people become atheists. There was a carpenter in our village whose wife fell ill and then died. He said that if there had been a God, his multiple prayers would have been accepted and his wife would not have died. In this way he became an atheist. If a serious person practices fidelity and sincerity, his faith is fostered and he achieves his purpose. The riches of this world have no value in the estimation of God Almighty. He can do everything in a single moment. Have you not seen that He bestowed sovereignty on a people who were entirely unknown and made great kingdoms obedient to them and made kings out of slaves? If a person is righteous and becomes wholly God's, he would lead an excellent life, but the condition is that he should be sincere and possess resolve. His heart should never be shaken and there should be no showing off and shirk in it. What was there in Abraham which made him the father of his people and the father of those who are devoted to God, and God Almighty bestowed numberless great blessings on him? It was his righteousness and his sincerity. Abraham had offered a prayer that a Prophet should appear in Arabia from among his progeny. Was it accepted at once? For a long time after Abraham no one paid any attention to that prayer, yet it was fulfilled in the advent of the Holy Prophet and how grand was its fulfillment (Malfoozat, Vol. IV, pp. 4I5--420).

Two Ways Of Acceptance Of Prayer

It should be remembered that the acceptance of prayer is in two ways; one as a trial and the other as exaltation. As a trial sometimes the prayer of sinners and disobedient ones and even disbelievers is accepted, but such acceptance does not indicate a real acceptance, it is by way of trial. The condition of acceptance of prayer by way of exaltation is that the supplicant should be one of the elect of God Almighty and the lights and signs of his being one of the elect should appear in him in all directions. God Almighty does not accept the prayer, as a true acceptance, of the disobedient ones. He accepts the prayer only of those who in His estimation are righteous and obedient to Him. The distinction between the two acceptances is that in the acceptance of the prayer which is as a trial, there is no condition that the supplicant should be righteous and a friend of God, nor is it necessary that on accepting such prayer God Almighty should intimate the acceptance through a special communication. Nor are those prayers of such high degree the acceptance of which is a wonderful and extraordinary event. Those prayers that are accepted by way of exaltation have the following signs:

First, that the supplicant is righteous and truthful and a perfect individual.

Secondly, that he is informed of the acceptance of his prayer through the word of God.

Thirdly, most of these prayers are of a high degree and relate to great affairs, the acceptance of which shows that it is not the work or planning of man, but is a special sample of Divine power which is manifested in the case of select servants.

Fourthly, the prayers by way of trial are accepted rarely, but the prayers by way of exaltation are accepted in large numbers. Very often a supplicant by way of exaltation is involved in such difficulties that if any other person had been involved in them, he would have seen no way out of them except through suicide. It happens that when those who worship the world and are far away from God Almighty are involved in great griefs, and sorrows, and diseases, and disorders and trials from which there is no escape, they, on account of the weakness of their faith and their despair of God Almighty, take poison or jump into a well or kill themselves with a weapon. On such difficult occasions, the person who enjoys exaltation is helped by God Almighty in a wonderful manner on account of the strength of his faith and his special relationship with God. The favor of God takes hold of his hand in a wonderful manner so that the heart one who is aware of these mysteries testifies involuntarily that the person concerned enjoys the support of God.

Fifthly, a supplicant by way of exaltation is the recipient of Divine favors and God Almighty becomes his guardian in all matters and the light of the love of God and the signs of acceptance by God and of spiritual delight and favors are manifested in his countenance as is said by God, the Glorious: Thou wilt discern in their faces the freshness of bliss (83 :25); and: Hearken, there shall be no fear on the friends of Allah nor shall they grieve (IO:63): (Tasdeeqen Nabi, pp. 43-45).

When our soul in search for something extends its hand with great earnestness and weeping towards the Fountain- head of grace and, finding itself helpless, seeks light from somewhere through its reflection, that condition also is like a condition of prayer. All wisdoms have been manifested through such prayer and the key of every house of knowledge is prayer. No knowledge or insight is manifested without it. Our thinking, our reflection and our search for the hidden objective are all parts of prayer. The only difference is that the prayer of those who possess insight depends upon the manners of insight, and their soul recognizing the Fountain- head of grace extends its hand towards it with insight. The prayer of veiled ones is an effort which is manifested in reflection and thinking and the search for means. Those people who have not a connection of insight with God Almighty, nor do they believe in it, they too seek through reflection and thinking that some way of success might be indicated to their heart from the unseen, and a supplicant possessing insight also desires that God may open the way of success to him, but the veiled one who has no relationship with God Almighty does not know the Fountainhead of grace. He too, like one possessing insight, seeks help from another quarter and reflects on the means of obtaining such help, but a person possessing insight has an eye on the Fountainhead. The other one walks in darkness and does not know that whatever strikes the heart after reflection and cogitation is also from God Almighty, Who, treating the anxiety of the anxious one as a supplication, casts the necessary knowledge into the heart of one who cogitates. The point of wisdom and understanding that enters the heart through reflection also comes from God and, though the person himself may not realize it, yet God Almighty knows that he is supplicating Him. In the end he is bestowed his object by God. This method of seeing light, if it is pursued with insight and with the recognition of the true Guide, is the prayer of a person of understanding; but if light is sought from an unknown source, only through reflection and cogitation without fixing one's gaze on the true Illuminer, it is only veiled prayer.

Prayer And Planning Are Two Natural Demands

As the relationship between planning and prayer is proved by the law of nature, it is also proved by the testimony of the book of nature. It is often observed that as human temperaments at a time of distress incline towards planning and remedies, in the same way they incline by natural eagerness towards prayer and alms-giving and charity.... This is a spiritual argument that the inner law of man has, from the beginning, directed all peoples that they should not separate prayer from means and planning, but should search for plans with prayer. In short, prayer and planning are two natural demands of human nature which ever since the creation of man, have been the servants of human nature like two real brothers. Planning is the necessary consequence of prayer and prayer incites towards planning. The good fortune of man consists in this, that before entering upon planning he should seek help through prayer from the Fountainhead of grace so that being granted light from this ever-flowing spring good plans should be made available to him {Ayyamus solh ( Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14, pp. 2-3}.

He who supplicates God at the time of difficulty and distress and seeks the resolution of his difficulties from Him achieves satisfaction and true prosperity from God Almighty provided he carries his supplication to its limit. Even if he does not achieve the purpose of his supplication, he is bestowed some other kind of satisfaction and contentment by God Almighty and does not experience frustration. In addition his faith is strengthened and his certainty increases. But the one who in his supplication does not turn towards God Almighty remains blind all the time and dies blind.

He who supplicates with the sincerity of his soul is never truly frustrated. That prosperity which cannot be achieved through riches and authority and health, but which is in the hand of God and He bestows it in whatever shape He wills, is bestowed through perfect prayer. If God Almighty so wills, a sincere and righteous person in the midst of his distress achieves such delight after supplication which an emperor cannot enjoy on the imperial throne. This is true success which is bestowed in the end on those who pray Ayyamus solh {Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14, pp. 7-8}.

Divine Attention Is Drawn In Consequence Of Prayer

Is it not a satisfactory proof that from the beginning it has been the spiritual natural Divine law that, in consequence of prayer, Divine attention is attracted and satisfaction and contentment and true prosperity are bestowed? If in seeking an objective we are not in error, we achieve that objective, but if we are in error in our supplication, like the misguided child who demands from its mother a serpent or a burning brand, God Almighty bestows upon us that which is better for us. In either case He fosters our faith, and for true supplication we are bestowed knowledge by God Almighty in advance and our certainty increases as if we have seen God. There is a relationship between prayer and acceptance which has existed ever since man was created. When God Almighty addresses Himself towards the doing of a thing it is His way that some sincere servant of His occupies himself with prayer in restlessness and pain and distress and devotes the whole of his resolve and attention towards the accomplishment of that objective. Then the prayers of the mortal man draw Divine grace from heaven and God Almighty creates such new means through which the purpose is achieved.

Though such prayer is apparently offered by man, yet in truth that person is wholly lost in God and at the time of supplication he arrives in the presence of the One and Glorious with such a stamp of being lost in God that at that time his hand becomes the hand of God Almighty. Such is the prayer through which God is recognized and the existence of that Glorious One becomes known Who is hidden in thou- sands of veils (Ayyamus solh (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14, pp. 10-11).

A foolish one thinks that prayer is a vain and useless thing, but he does not know that it is prayer in consequence of which God, the Glorious, manifests Himself to His seekers and conveys to their hearts the revelation: I am the All Powerful One. Everyone who is hungry and thirsty for certainty should remember that for the seeker of spiritual light in this world, prayer is the only means which bestows certainty with regard to the existence of God Almighty and removes all doubts and suspicions (Ayyamus solh ( Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14 pp. 11).

Four Reasons For Obligatory Prayers

It is also worthy of note that the prayer which has been made obligatory upon Muslims in the Holy Word of God has been prescribed for four reasons. The first is, so that by turning to God Almighty at every time and in every condition, one should be firmly established on the Unity of God, inasmuch as supplicating Him is to acknowledge that God alone bestows one's objective upon one. The second is, that faith might be strengthened by the acceptance of prayer and the achievement of the objective. The third is, that if Divine favor is bestowed in any other way, knowledge and wisdom might he increased. The fourth is, that if one is informed of the acceptance of prayer through a vision or revelation which is fulfilled, the understanding of the Divine might be promoted and understanding might grow into certainty and certainty into love and through love there might be deliverance from every sin and a cutting asunder from everything beside God, which is the fruit of true salvation {Ayyamus solh ( Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14, pp. 14)}.

Acceptance Of Prayer Is a True Means Of God's Recognition

As we have stated already, Muslims have been urged in the Surah Fatihah to occupy themselves with prayer and have been taught the prayer: Guide us along the straight path (I :6); and it is assumed that this prayer would be offered on five occasions every day. It would therefore be a great mistake to deny the spirituality of prayer. The Holy Quran has decided that prayer comprises a spirituality and that in consequence of prayer a grace descends which bestows the fruit of success in diverse forms.

Thus every just person can understand that as despite the admission of determination, it is the way of Allah that in hundreds of matters effort and endeavor produce results, in the same way, the effort that is put forth in the form of prayer is not wasted. At one place in the Holy Quran, God Almighty has appointed it as a sign of His recognition that He hears the supplication of distressed ones, as it is said: Who responds to the afflicted person when he calls upon Him (27:63)? As God Almighty has appointed the acceptance of prayer as a sign of His existence, how can any sensible person imagine that prayer does not result in visible signs of acceptance and that it is only a formal matter which has no spirituality in it? I consider that no one having true faith can be guilty of such disrespect. God, the Glorious, says that as by the contemplation of the creation of heaven and earth, the true God is recognized, in the same way, by observing the acceptance of prayer, faith is created in God Almighty. Then if here is no spirituality in prayer and no obvious grace truly and in fact descends in consequence of prayer, how can prayer be such a means of the recognition of God Almighty s are heaven and earth and heavenly bodies? Indeed the Holy Quran shows that the best means of the recognition of God is prayer and that it is only through prayer that the complete and perfect understanding of the existence of God and His perfect attributes is obtained and that it cannot be obtained in any other way. It is prayer which, like a flash of lightning, pulls a person out of the pit of darkness and brings him into the open atmosphere of light and makes him stand before God Almighty. Through prayer thousands of the wicked are reformed and thousands of the corrupt are purified {Ayyamus solh ( Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1899) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 14, pp. 30-31).

When the grace of God Almighty approaches, He provides the means of the acceptance of prayer, and a melting and a burning is created in the heart, but when it is not the time for the acceptance of prayer a sense of satisfaction and a turning to God are not generated in the heart. Whatever effort one might make one's mind pays no attention. The reason is that sometimes God Almighty accepts prayer and sometimes desires to enforce His determination. For this reason, till I see the signs of Divine command I have little hope of acceptance of prayer and reconcile myself to His determination with greater pleasure than I derive from the acceptance of prayer inasmuch as the fruits and blessings of being pleased with His determination are much greater (Malfoozat, Vol. 1, p. 460)

It is a truth that he who does not work for the acceptance of his prayer does not pray, but tries God Almighty. Therefore, before making supplication it is necessary to put forth every effort and that is the meaning of prayer. First a supplicant should check up on his beliefs and actions for it is the way of God Almighty that reform comes in the shape of means which he makes available in some form or another (Malfoozat, Vol. 1, p. 124).

Prayer Is A Form Of Death

There is a proverb in Punjabi: He who asks dies a death, so die and then ask. The meaning is that it is an afflicted one who prays and that prayer is a form of death. If a person drinks a drop of water and claims that his great thirst has been slaked, he utters a falsehood. His claim would be established if he were to drink a bowl full of water. When prayer is offered in great tribulation so that the soul melts and flows at the threshold of the Divine, that is true prayer and it is God's way that when such a prayer is offered, He accepts it or responds to it in some other manner (Malfoozat, Vol. IV, p. 340).

When you stand up in prayer, you should know it for certain that your God has the power to do all that He wills. Then your prayer will be accepted and you will behold the wonders of God's power that we have beheld. Our testimony is based on seeing and is not a mere tale. How should the supplication of a person be accepted and how should he have the courage to pray at the time of great difficulties when according to him he is opposed by the law of nature, unless he believes that God has power over everything? You should not be like that. Your God is One Who has suspended numberless stars without any support and Who has created heaven and earth from nothing. Then would you think so ill of Him as to imagine that your objective is beyond His power? Such thinking will frustrate you. Our God possesses numberless wonders, but only those observe them who become wholly His with sincerity and fidelity. He does not disclose His wonders to those who do not believe in His powers and are not faithful to Him (Kishti Nuh, p. 19).

Three Conditions For Acceptance Of Prayer

So far as God Almighty has bestowed upon me the knowledge of prayer I conceive that there are three conditions for the acceptance of prayer.

First, a supplicant should be perfectly righteous, for only that one is acceptable to God Almighty who makes righteousness his habit and adheres firmly to all the paths of righteousness and who is trustworthy and pious and true in his promises and is filled with the personal love of God.

Secondly, his resolve and attention should be so firm and strong that he should be ready to lay down his own life for the revival of another and should be ready to enter himself into the grave to pull another out of it. His accepted servants are dearer to God Almighty than an only child, who is also handsome, is dear to its mother. When God, the Merciful and Benevolent, sees that one who is accepted of Him and is true to Him has, for the sake of saving the life of another, subjected himself to spiritual labors and disciplines to a degree that his own life is in danger, He finds it disagreeable that He should let him perish in that condition. Then for his sake He forgives the sin in respect of which the other person had been seized. If he is afflicted with a fatal disease or is in the grip of some other calamity, then by His power He creates means for his deliverance. Very often it happens that He is determined to ruin or destroy a person, but through the latter's good luck someone who has a good standing before God intervenes with his earnest supplications so that the record that had been prepared and completed for his chastisement has to be destroyed, for the matter now is transferred from being concerned with a stranger to being concerned with a friend. It cannot happen that God would put His friend to trouble.

Thirdly, there is a condition which is more difficult to comply with than all other conditions, inasmuch as compliance with it is not in the hands of those who are accepted of God, but is in the hands of the person who desires to have a supplication made on his behalf. That condition is that he should be desirous of supplication being made for him with the utmost sincerity and in perfect trust and certainty and perfect goodwill and submission. He should decide in his heart that even if the supplication is not accepted this would not affect his trust and goodwill. His request for supplication should not be as a trial but should be made in full trust. He should fall most humbly at the door of the person from whom he is seeking supplication and, so far as it is possible for him, he should establish a close relationship with him by spending his money and rendering service and every obedience whereby he should enter his heart. Along with all this he should think well of him and should regard him as possessing righteousness of the highest degree and should regard it as disbelief to entertain a single thought inconsistent with his holy estate. He should prove his full belief in him through every kind of sacrifice. He should not regard any other in the world as his equal and should be devoted to him so much as to be ready to lay down his life and his property and his honour for him and should neither utter nor let his heart entertain anything derogatory of him from any point of view. He should establish it to his satisfaction that he believes fully in him and is his follower. With all this he should wait with patience and even if he should be frustrated fifty times in achieving his objective, he should not let his belief and goodwill be affected in any manner. Such people have very delicate sensibilities and they can conclude from a person's countenance the degree of his sincerity. They are tenderhearted, yet they are self- sufficient. They have no regard for any arrogant, selfish and hypocritical person. Only those people can derive any benefit from them who obey them to a degree where they are ready to lay down their lives for them. A person who thinks ill of them at every step and entertains objections in his heart and lacks full love and goodwill derives no benefit from them and only ruins himself (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah Volume V , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 21., pp. 66-68).

God Treats Favorites As Friends

It is true that most of the prayers of those who are accepted of God are accepted. Their great miracle is the acceptance of their prayers. When their hearts are sorely distressed at a time of misfortune and in their distress they turn to God, at that time their hand becomes, as it were, the hand of God. God is a hidden treasure. Through His perfect favorites He displays His countenance. God's signs are displayed when His favorites are persecuted. When they are persecuted to the extreme that is an indication that the sign of God is near and indeed it is at the door. No one loves his son so much as God loves those who become wholly His. He displays His wonders for them and manifests such power on their behalf as if a sleeping tiger wakes up. God is hidden and these are the people who make Him manifest. He is behind a thousand veils and these are the people who display His countenance.

But it needs to be remembered that it is a wrong notion that every prayer of those who are God's favorites is accepted. The truth is that the dealing of God Almighty with them is like that of a friend; sometimes He accepts their prayers and sometimes He imposes His will upon them. That is what happens in friendship. At one time a friend accepts what his friend proposes and acts accordingly and at another time makes him accept what he himself wishes. At one place in the Holy Quran God promises acceptance of the prayers of believers saying: Call on Me, I shall respond to you (40:6I); and at another place instructs them to accept His determination with pleasure. It is said:

We will surely try you with somewhat of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, then give glad tidings to the steadfast, who, when a misfortune overtakes them do not lose heart, but say: Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return (2: 156--157)

By reading these two verses together one would know what is the way of Allah in respect of prayers and what is the relationship between the Lord and a servant Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22., pp. 18--19).

Why Prayers Of Even Perfect People Are Not Always Accepted

Some ignorant people ask why some of the prayers of those who are perfect are not accepted. The answer is that God Almighty has under His control the manifestation of their beauty. When this great manifestation takes place and their beauty shines forth in respect of any matter, then the particles of the universe are drawn to it and the impossible happens which, in other words, is called a miracle. But this spiritual manifestation does not appear always and at every place and depends upon external elements. This is because, as God is Self- Sufficient, He has invested His elect also with the quality of self- sufficiency. Like God they are also self-sufficient and till someone puts in motion their mercy with full humility and sincerity that quality of theirs is not activated. These people possess the quality of mercy to a greater degree than the rest of the world, but it is a matter of wonder that it is not within their own power to activate it. They often wish that it should be manifested, but it is not manifested without the Divine will. They have no regard for those who deny them and for the hypocrites and for the weak in faith and consider them like dead insects. Their self-sufficiency is of the type which is possessed by a beloved person who conceals his face behind a beautiful veil. One aspect of this self-sufficiency is that when a wicked person thinks ill of them they often foster this ill thinking, for they take on Divine qualities. With regard to their ill-wishers, God Almighty has said: In their hearts there is a disease and God causes their disease to grow worse (2: I I). When God desires that they should display a miracle, He creates an eagerness in their hearts and they become restless and disturbed for the achievement of a particular purpose. Then they put aside the veil of self-sufficiency and their beauty, which is not visible to any except God Almighty, is disclosed to the angels of heaven and to every particle. The removal of their veil means that with their perfect sincerity and fidelity, and with the spiritual beauty on account of which they have become the beloved of God, they turn to God in such an extraordinary manner and such a condition of welcoming God is produced in their hearts which draws the extraordinary mercy of God Almighty to itself and along with it every particle of this universe is drawn to them, and the heat of their loving warmth collects in heaven and discloses its countenance to the angels like the clouds. Their pains, which have the quality of thunder in them, create a turmoil in heaven. Then, by the power of God Almighty, those qualities are created which send down the rain of achieving the mercy that they desire. When their spirituality with its full yearning attends to the resolution of any difficulty, it draws God's attention to itself, inasmuch as they are counted among those who are beloved of God on account of the personal love that they entertain for God. Then everything which is under the command of God Almighty becomes eager for their help and Divine mercy gets ready for a new creation in order to fulfill their purpose, and those matters are manifested which appear impossible to the worldly and which are unknown to the pursuers of lower knowledge. These people cannot be called God, but their relationship of love and closeness to God is so sincere and faithful that God appears to descend into them and the Divine Spirit is breathed into them as it was breathed into Adam. They are not God, but their relationship to God is such as a piece of iron has to fire when it is heated in the fire to such a degree that it assumes the color of the fire. When this happens, all that is under the command of God Almighty comes under their command, and the stars of heaven. and the sun and the moon, and the oceans and air and fire hear their voice and recognize them and serve them. Everything loves them naturally and is drawn to them like a true lover, except the wicked who are the reflections of Satan. Worldly love is ill-omened. It arises on one side and dies on the other, and also it is based upon beauty that is subject to decline and there are few people who come under its influence. But how wonderful is that spiritual beauty which is generated in a person by good behavior and purity and righteousness and, after the manifestation of Divine love, possesses a universal attraction, and draws eager hearts to itself as honey draws ants and not only men but every particle of the universe is affected by its attraction. A person who has true love for God Almighty is the Joseph for whom every particle of this universe has the quality of Zulaikha. His beauty is not manifested in this world for this world cannot endure it. God Almighty says in His Holy Book, the Quran, that the light of the believers is displayed in their countenances and a believer is recognized by the beauty, the name of which in other words is light (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah Volume V , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 21. pp.62- 64).

Why The Acceptance Of Supplications Is Delayed At Times

Sometimes it happens that a seeker supplicates with great yearning and pain, but he observes that the result of his prayers is being postponed and delayed. In this connection it is necessary to remember that there is a gradualness in the affairs of the world. How many stages has a child to pass through before becoming a full grown person. How much time is taken by a seed to become a tree. In the same way, Divine matters are also completed gradually. There is also this Divine purpose in such a delay that the supplicant should become confirmed in his resolve and courage and his understanding should be strengthened. To the degree to which a person desires to acquire high rank and gradations to that degree he is called upon to work hard and to wait. Perseverance and resolve are such excellent qualities that without them a person cannot traverse the stages of success. It is necessary, therefore, that he should first pass through difficulties. That is why it is said: After hardship there is ease (94.7)(Malfoozat, Vol. 111, pp. 202-203).

Sometimes it happens that a person supplicates for something, but his supplication is the result of his ignorance and stupidity. He desires something from God Almighty which under no circumstances can be useful or beneficial for him. In such case, God Almighty does not reject his prayer, but fulfills it in some other form. For instance, a cultivator who needs a bullock for his plough goes to a ruler and asks him for a camel. The ruler knows that a bullock would be useful for him and he directs that he should be given a bullock. If that person should say that his request has not been granted, it would be foolish on his part, for if he were to reflect, that which happened was the best for him. In the same way, if a child beholding red burning brands should ask its mother for them, would a kind and compassionate mother hand them over to it? Thus, sometimes, circumstances arise in connection with the acceptance of prayer that people who are impatient and lack goodwill become the cause of the rejection of their prayer (Malfoozat, Vol. IV, p. 435).

Do Not Be Impatient And Restless

During the interval between a supplication and its acceptance one is often subjected to trial after trial, some of which are back-breaking. A persevering and good-natured supplicant smells the perfume of the favors of his Lord in these trials and difficulties and his intelligence informs him that they will be followed by help. One aspect of these trials is that they foster eagerness for prayer. The greater the distress of the supplicant, the more his soul will be melted. This is one of the factors in the acceptance of prayer. So one should not lose heart and should not think ill of God through impatience and restlessness. One should never think that one's prayer is not accepted or will not be accepted. Such a notion is a denial of the attribute of God that He accepts prayers (Malfoozat, Vol. IV, p. 434)

Prayer is very valuable and a person who is given to prayer succeeds in the end. It is foolishness and disrespect that a person should seek to avoid the design of God Almighty. For instance, to pray that the sun should appear in the early part of the night is impertinence. A person who loses hope or desires fulfillment before it is time, suffers loss. For instance, if after ten days of marriage the husband and wife should desire that a child should be born to them, it would be foolish on their part. In the same way, he who does not allow time for a plant to grow does not let the stage of the ripening of the grain to come....

Muslims are ignorant of the principles of prayer, and some of them are such who had the opportunity to pray but as they did not exercise patience and perseverance they were frustrated and adopted the view of Syed Ahmed Khan that prayer is nothing. They fall into such error as they are unaware of the reality of prayer and do not know its effects. Seeing that their hopes of wealth are not fulfilled, they announce that prayer is nothing and they draw away from it. Prayer is a perfect relationship between Providence and servitude. If prayer had no effect, to have recourse to it or not would be equal (Malfoozat, Vol. 111, pp. 203-204).

We should have recourse to prayer and should seek forgiveness from God Almighty for He is Self-Sufficient and is not subject to anyone's authority. He has no regard for a person who does not come to Him humbly and in submission. If a person goes to another begging or seeking a favor and puts forward his helplessness and poverty, he would be shown some favor, but if a person comes riding a horse and seeks a favor and threatens that if it is not granted he would have recourse to force, he would only be met by force. To seek a favor from God Almighty obstinately, and to make one's faith conditional, is a great mistake and is likely to prove a stumbling block. Perseverance and steadfastness in prayer is one thing, but obstinacy is quite another. To say that if one's purpose is not fulfilled one would deny faith or would say this or that is great foolishness and betrays ignorance of the manner of prayer and amounts to shirk. Such people are not aware of the philosophy of prayer. Nowhere does the Holy Quran say that God would accept prayer according to the desire of the supplicant. It is true that it is said: Call on Me, I shall respond to you (40: 6 I); but the Holy Quran also says: We shall surely try you with somewhat of fear and hunger (2: 156).

If by virtue of: Call on Me, I shall respond to you; God accepts your prayer, then by virtue of: We shall surely try you; He enforces His Own will. It is the Benevolence of God Almighty that He accepts the supplications of His servants; otherwise, it would not be inconsistent with His Godhead and Providence that He should always enforce His will. When He says: We shall surely try you with somewhat of fear; at that time He desires to enforce His will. There is sometimes fear and sometimes hunger, and sometimes there is decline in wealth, or loss in trade, or poor harvest, or death of children or loss of fruits and harmful results. These are trials from God Almighty. At that time God desires to display His authority and to enforce His will. At such times a sincere believer accepts the will of God cheerfully and gives it preference and is pleased with it and makes no complaint and thinks no ill. The verse goes on to say: Give glad tidings to the steadfast (2: 157); it does not say that glad tidings should be conveyed to supplicants. It is necessary, therefore, that a supplicant should not lose heart if he meets with failure in his prayers, but should prefer the pleasure of God Almighty with steadfastness and perseverance. The men of God perceive the hopefulness of an enterprise and in that case they supplicate; otherwise, they are content with Divine determination. When they perceive the signs of a calamity, they supplicate, but if they feel that such is Divine determination, they are steadfast, as was the case with the Holy Prophet on the demise of his children, one of whom was Ibrahim (Malfoozat, Vol.Ill, pp. 385-386).

It is my frequent experience that God is so Benevolent and Merciful that when in His Wisdom He does not accept a prayer, He accepts some other prayer in place of it which is like it. As He has said: Whatever sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring in its place one better or the like .thereof. Know you not that Allah has full power to do all that He wills (2: I07)? (Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22., p. 327)

Be not content with thinking that you pray every day and that the whole of Salat is prayer, for the prayer which issues after understanding and through grace is of a different type altogether. It is something that destroys, it is a fire that melts, it is a magnetic power that draws mercy, it is death which in the end revives, it is a fierce inundation which becomes a vessel, every frustration is remedied by it and every poison becomes an antidote through it.

God Is Brought Close Through Prayer

Blessed are the prisoners who supplicate and do not get tired for they shall one day be released; blessed are the blind ones who persevere in their prayers for one day they shall see. Blessed are those who are in the graves and seek the help of God through supplication for one day they shall be taken out of their graves.

Blessed are you who do not get tired in your prayers and your souls melt while you pray, and your eyes shed tears, and a fire is lit in your breasts and you are driven into dark chambers and wild forests seeking solitude, and you are rendered restless and mad and unconscious of self, for in the end you will become the recipients of grace. The God on Whom we call is very Benevolent and Merciful and Modest and True and Faithful and Compassionate to those who are humble. You should also become faithful and supplicate with full sincerity and loyalty so that He should have mercy on you. Withdraw from the tumult of the world and do not make your faith a matter of personal contentions. Accept defeat for the sake of God so that you might become heirs to great victories. G1od will show a miracle to those who pray and will bestow extraordinary favor upon those who beg. Prayer comes from God and returns to Him. Through prayer God comes close to you as your life is close to you. The first bounty of prayer is that it creates a holy change in the supplicant and in consequence of this change God makes a change in His attributes. His attributes are unchangeable, but for a person who has changed himself, He has a special manifestation of which the world does not know, as if He were another God. He does not become another God, but a new manifestation displays Him in a new light. In that special manifestation He does that for His changed servant which He does not do for others. In short, prayer is that sovereign remedy which converts a handful of dust into precious metal. It is the water which washes out inner impurities. With prayer the soul melts and, flowing like water, falls at the threshold of the Divine. It stands before God and bows down before Him and prostrates itself before Him so that the Salat that Islam teaches becomes its reflection. The standing of the soul in prayer is that it is prepared to endure every misfortune for the sake of God and is eager to carry out His commands, and its bowing down means that discarding all other loves and relationships it leans towards God and becomes His; and its prostration is that falling at the threshold of God, it loses itself altogether and wipes out its own being. This is the Salat which brings about a meeting between God and the worshipper. The Islamic law prescribes a picture of it in the Salat so that the physical Salat should urge a worshipper towards the spiritual Salat. God Almighty has so constituted man that the soul and the body act and react upon each other. When the soul is sad tears start from the eyes and when the soul is happy the countenance displays cheerfulness so that sometimes the person begins to laugh. In the same way when the body is hurt and feels pain, the soul also partakes of pain, and when the body is pleased with a breeze, the soul is also affected by it. Thus the purpose of physical worship is that on account of the relationship between the soul and body, the soul should be moved towards God and should occupy itself in spiritual bowing and prostration Lecture Sialkoat entitled Islam ( Sialkoat, Mufid Aam Press, 1904) Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 20, pp. 26-29).

To think that seeking help from God is sometimes without result and wondering that the Rahmaniyyat and Rahimiyyat of God do not manifest themselves in the shape of help, is the result of misunderstanding. God Almighty surely hears the prayers that are offered in sincerity and helps the seekers of help as He considers proper. But sometimes it happens that the prayer and request for help of a person are not inspired by sincerity and lack the humility of the heart, and his spiritual condition is not up to the mark, so that while his lips utter the words of supplication his heart is inattentive or is only making a show. It also happens sometimes that God hears the supplication and bestows whatever He considers proper and most appropriate in His perfect Wisdom, but the foolish supplicant does not recognize the hidden favor that God does to him and begins to complain on account of his ignorance and unawareness. He does not appreciate the verse: It may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may also be that you prefer a thing and it may be the worse for you. Allah knows the reality of all things and you know not (2:217) (Braheen Ahmadiyyah Volume V , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 21. pp. 361, footnote 11).

Acceptance Of Prayer Demands Eagerness

God Almighty has taught a method of prayer in the Surah Fatihah than which nothing better is possible and which comprises all those matters which are necessary for inspiring the heart with eagerness in prayer. For the acceptance of prayer it is necessary that there should be eagerness in it for the prayer that lacks eagerness is mere words and is not true prayer. It is obvious, however, that it is not the choice of a person that his prayer should be inspired by eagerness at all times. It is necessary that at the time of prayer the matters that inspire eagerness should be present in the mind of the supplicant. Every sensible person knows that the heart is inspired with eagerness in consequence of two feelings. First, that the worshipper should contemplate God as Perfect and Powerful and possessing all perfect attributes, and to consider His mercies and His benevolence as essential from the beginning to the end for his own existence and preservation, and to consider Him as the Fountainhead of all grace. Secondly, to consider himself and all his fellow beings helpless and poor and dependent upon God's help. These are two matters that inspire eagerness in prayer. Eagerness is inspired when the supplicant finds himself altogether weak and without strength and dependent upon Divine help, and believes firmly that God is All Powerful and Lord of the worlds and Gracious and Merciful and Master of Judgment and that the fulfillment of all human needs lies in His hands. The Surah Fatihah sets out in the very beginning that God is the Being Who is worthy of all praise and comprises all excellencies and is the Lord of the worlds and is the Fountainhead of all mercies and bestows upon everyone the reward of their actions. By setting out these attributes God Almighty has proclaimed that all power is in His hands and that all grace proceeds from Him. He has proclaimed His greatness to the degree that He is the fulfiller of all needs in this world and the hereafter, that He is the Cause of all causes and that He is the Source of all grace. He has also indicated that without Him and His mercy the life and comfort and ease of an animate is not possible. Then the supplicant has been taught humility in the words: Thee alone do we worship, and Thee alone do we implore for help (1: 5). This means that we are helpless and can achieve nothing ourselves unless we are bestowed strength and support by Thee. Thus God Almighty has set forth two matters that inspire eagerness in prayer; one, His Greatness and Mercy and the other the helplessness and humility of His servants. These are two matters which it is necessary for supplicants to keep in their minds at the time of prayer. Thus those who have some experience of prayer know that without the presence of these two inspirers of prayers there can be no prayer, and that without these the fire of the love of God does not raise its flames in prayer. It is obvious that a person who does not keep in mind the Greatness and Mercy and perfect power of God cannot turn to God, and that the soul of a person who does not acknowledge his own helplessness and poverty cannot incline towards the Benevolent Master. This is a verity which needs no deep philosophy for its appreciation. When the Greatness of God and one's own humility and helplessness are truly reflected in the heart, that condition itself instructs the worshipper that that is the means of offering true prayer. True worshippers know well that a concept of these two matters is essential for prayer: first, that God Almighty has the power to foster and to develop and to bestow mercy and reward and that these perfect attributes of His are always in operation; and secondly, that man can achieve nothing without the help and support of the Divine. These two concepts are such that when they are established in the heart at the time of prayer they work such a change in the condition of the worshipper that, being affected by them, an arrogant one falls on the earth and tears start running from the eyes of a haughty hard-hearted one. This is the machine that puts life in a heedless dead person. Through these two concepts every heart is drawn towards prayer. This is the spiritual means through which the soul of a person turns towards God and observes its own weakness and the need of the help of God. Through it a person arrives at such a stage of selflessness in which no sign of his own opaque existence remains and the glory of a Great Being shines forth and that Being appears as All Merciful and the Support of every being and the Remedy of every ill and the Source of every grace. At last a condition of being lost in God manifests itself in consequence of which a person is left with no inclination towards any part of creation, or towards his own self, or towards his own designs, and is wholly lost in the love of God. By the manifestation of that reality one's own existence and the existence of the rest of creation appear as naught. This condition is called the straight path by God which a servant has been instructed to seek through the supplication: Guide us along the straight path (I :6); that is to say: Bestow upon us that path of losing of self and Unity of God and love of God which has been indicated in the previous verses and cut us asunder altogether from everything beside Thee. In short, God Almighty has bestowed such true means upon man for creating eagerness in prayer that through their adoption a supplicant is transported from the consciousness of self to the world of non- existence. It should be borne in mind that the Surah Fatihah is not merely one of the many means for seeking guidance, but as has been established by the arguments that have been already set forth, it is the only means by the adoption of which prayer is offered with the eagerness of the heart and which the nature of man desires to follow under the urge of a natural demand. The truth is that as God has appointed rules for other matters, there is a particular rule for prayer and that rule is set out in the Surah Fatihah. It is not possible that there should be eagerness in prayer unless the factors that inspire the heart with eagerness are present to the mind. Thus the natural way of prayer is that which is set out in the Surah Fatihah. It is one of the excellencies of that Surah that it sets out prayer along with those factors that inspire it (Braheen Ahmadiyyah Volume V , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 21., pp. 476-483, footnote 11).

A Humble Prayer

Most Merciful One, a humble servant of Thine, useless and full of errors and without any merit, Ghulam Ahmad, who dwells in India supplicates: Most Merciful One, be Thou pleased with me and forgive my mistakes and sins for Thou art most Forgiving and Merciful. Cause me to do that which should please Thee greatly. Put away my ego from me as far as the east is from the west and make my life and my death and every faculty that I have, devoted to Thee. Keep me alive in Thy love and cause me to die in Thy love and raise me up among Thy perfect lovers.

Most Merciful One, do Thou, by Thy grace, carry to its conclusion the task for which Thou hast appointed me and the service for which Thou hast created eagerness in my heart. Establish conclusively the truth of Islam through the hand of this humble one in the eyes of the opponents of Islam and in the eyes of all those who are unaware of the excellencies of Islam. Keep this humble one and his friends and sincere companions in the shade and support of Thy forgiveness and Graciousness. Be Thou the Provider for them in matters of faith and in matters of the world and transport all of them to the house of Thy pleasure and send down peace and blessings to the utmost degree upon Thy Messenger and his companions and followers. Amen (Qadian Alfazal, October 11, 1942).

[Note: This prayer was sent by the Promised Messiah in a letter to Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan Sahib of Ludhiana and he was instructed It is your duty that you should pray in these very words, without any change, on my behalf in the House of Allah, before the Most Merciful One. Keep this letter with you to help your memory. Accordingly, Sufi Sahib, on the day of the great pilgrimage in the year I302 A.H. offered this prayer in the House of Allah in a loud voice while his companions continued to respond with Amen.]

My Powerful God, hear my humble prayers and open the ears and hearts of this people. Show us the time when the worship of false deities should disappear from the world and Thou shouldst be worshipped sincerely in the earth. The earth might be filled with Thy righteous servants who believe in Thy Unity as the ocean is filled with water and the greatness and truth of Thy Messenger Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, might be established in the hearts of people. Amen. My Powerful God, show me this change in this world and accept my prayers for Thou hast all power and strength. Amen, O Powerful God. Our last call is that all praise belongs to God the Lord of the worlds Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22. Tatimah, p. I64).

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