After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta'uz, and Sura Fatihah Hazrat Ameer-ul-Mu'mineen (aba) said:
Today, by the Grace of Allah, the Annual Ijtema of Majlis Ansarullah UK is commencing. In this respect, I wish to draw the attention of the ansar to an extremely important but fundamental matter. And that is salat [prayer]. Salat is obligatory upon every believer. However, after the age of 40, one should have developed an increased sense of awareness [of the fact] that with the passing of each day, one's life is decreasing. Thus, every believer; everyone, who believes in the life after death and the Last Day, should be fully focussed on fulfilling the rights of Allah the Almighty as well as the rights of His servants.
Allah the Almighty has emphasised on regularity in salat, timely observance of all the prayers in congregation. The commandment is of qiyam-us salat [observing the prayer] and 'qiyam-us salat literally means to observe salat on time and in congregation. Thus, Ansarullah should pay the most attention towards this, that each member is regular in congregational prayers. Rather, every nasir should himself analyse his state and endeavour to become regular in congregational prayers. One should undertake the utmost effort to observe prayers in congregation mainly in the mosque, salat centre or if this is not possible, then with the members of the household. This will also develop an awareness regarding congregational prayers amongst the children and the youth.
The Promised Messiah (as) has stated that the weapon, which shall lead us to victory is prayer. Thus, in order to become Ansarullah, it is necessary to use this weapon of prayer. The Promised Messiah (as) says: 'If you fail to heed to my words and do not infuse a pious reformation in you, it is worthless entering into my Bai'at (oath of allegiance). '
The Promised Messiah (as) has repeatedly and at numerous occasions, drawn our attention towards the subject of prayer and it being binding, its wisdom, the method it should be performed and the philosophy behind prayer and its timings. In one gathering, the Promised Messiah (as) explained why prayers must be offered regularly and punctually, by saying: 'Offer your prayers with proper regularity. There are some who only offer one of the prayers. They should remember that prayers are not exempt and this even applies to the Messengers. It is narrated in a Hadith that a new group visited the Prophet who wanted concession for the prayers. The Holy Prophet (sa) replied that a religion without actions is a worthless religion. Therefore, remember this point thoroughly and fashion your actions according to the commands of Allah the Almighty. .. However if the Will of Allah the Almighty is present, then anything can be completely transformed aright. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop a relationship with Allah the Almighty. The best way for this is worship and in worship it is to offer the Namaz.
On another occasion the Promised Messiah (as) explains the importance and reality of prayer, its need and the state one should pray in, and says: 'What is prayer? It is a special type of supplication yet people consider it to be a tax imposed by a king. … I am greatly saddened to see that today there is no love towards worship, righteousness and devoutness to religion. ..People do not take enjoyment and delight from worship as they should. Everything Allah the Almighty has made in this world has in it something to give us pleasure, gratification and for man to derive special satisfaction from it. … Similarly, those who derive no pleasure in worshipping the Divine, should be concerned for their illness. One who finds no delight in prayers is also considered ill because as I have mentioned, everything in the world has been infused with some kind of pleasure and delight by Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty created mankind for worship so what is the reason that man fails to find pleasure and satisfaction from worship? .. Allah the Almighty states: 'I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.' (51:57). This therefore necessitates that the highest and utmost form of pleasure and enjoyment should be found in worship (the extreme point of pleasure must be within worship). … Certainly, we enjoy and take delight in seeing these things. Does one's ears not find joy in listening to melodious and harmonious sounds? Then what more reasons does one require to demonstrate that there is pleasure in worship?'
The Promised Messiah (as) says: 'Understand this well that worship is not a burden and nor a tax, rather there is pleasure and enjoyment in it. And the delight found in worship is much greater than all the delights and satisfactions found in the world.'
Further, elaborating on what a real prayer consists of and how it should be performed, the Promised Messiah (as) says: 'Remember that prayer is something that adorns and improves one's worldly life as well as faith. .. Also a person must pray and supplicate constantly and committedly and only then can he or she develop a state of humility and pray with intense devotion and weep in their prayers.
Furthermore, mentioning the reason and solution for why a person does not experience delight in prayers, the Promised Messiah (as) says: "I observe that people are heedless and slack in prayers as they are unaware of the delight and pleasure which Allah the Exalted has placed therein. .. Upon this, the question arises why they are unaware of this pleasure and have neither experienced it."
The Promised Messiah (as) said, "At times, it so happens that we are engrossed in our engagements and the Mu'adhin [person who gives the call to prayer] gives the Adhan [call for prayer] and they do not wish to even listen to it, as if by doing so their hearts ache. The Promised Messiah (as) said, "Thus, I wish to say that you should supplicate to God the Exalted with utmost fervour and passion by saying that 'just as You [O Allah] bestowed us with the various pleasures of fruits and other items, do also endow us once with the pleasure of prayer and worship!"
The Promised Messiah (as) said, "Similarly, prayer in the eyes of those who do not offer prayers, is a penalty in that they unjustly have to wake up in the morning, perform ablution in the cold, leave their blissful sleep as well as various other comforts and offer it." The Promised Messiah (as) said, "The fact of the matter is that he is .. unable to comprehend it. He is unaware of the pleasure and comfort, which is experienced in prayer."
The Promised Messiah (as) said, "How then can he attain pleasure in prayer?" He says, "I observe that when a drunkard and alcoholic does not attain the pleasure [of intoxication], he drinks one glass after the other until he feels some kind of intoxication. A wise and saintly person can derive benefit from this [example] and he can do so by being steadfast and regular in prayers and continue to pray until he experiences a delight. He should continue to pray to Allah the Exalted that o Allah, endow me with the pleasure and delight in prayers, which You have placed in other things."
The Promised Messiah (as) further says: "Prayer is not the name of sitting down and standing up." Prayer does not imply merely sitting down and standing up. "The essence and the spirit of prayer is a supplication, which is offered with pleasure and delight."
With regards to how to attain the spirit and objective of prayer, the Promised Messiah (as) says that the pillars of prayer i.e. Qiyam, Ruku', Sajdah and Qa'dah [various postures of the formal prayer], all of these postures have been made a part of the prayer in order to attain and acquire this objective and spirit. The Promised Messiah (as) says, "The pillars of prayer are in fact spiritual forms of sitting down and standing up. A person has to stand before God the exalted and the Qiyam [standing posture] is also amongst the etiquettes to be displayed by a servant." When servants meet a person of higher rank, they stand in their presence out of respect. Hence, the Qiyam in prayer is a sign of respect. "The Ruku' [bowing posture], which is the second stage, indicates a person's readiness as to how low he is willing to bow in obedience to the command. The Sajdah [prostrating posture] indicates absolute respect and utmost meekness and humility, which manifests the objective of worship."
The Promised Messiah (as) said, "This can only be attained when the soul enters a state of nonexistence and absolute humility and falls upon the Divine threshold. It is then that a pleasure, a light and a comfort is attained The Promised Messiah (as) said, "Hence, the objective of experiencing a pleasure and delight in prayer can only be acquired when a relationship between one's servitude and God's Providence is developed. The Promised Messiah (as)said, "At this stage, when the soul of a person is completely humbled, it flows towards God in the likeness of a fountain and he breaks every tie with whatever exists besides Allah." i.e. he severs all ties with everything that exists besides Allah. "At that time, the love of God the Exalted descends upon him. At the time of this bond, a unique state is brought about as a result of these two passions; the passion of God's Providence from above and the passion of a person's servitude from below. This stateis called Salat [prayer]." The Promised Messiah (as) said, "Thus, this is the prayer which removes evil works.., it leaves in its place a light and an illumination, which serves as a beacon of light and helps him forsake evil."
Then whilst elaborating on the point that a true dignified believer never prostrates to anyone but Allah the Almighty – as one should – and also refrain from making anyone other than Allah the focal point of our attention, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "Another aspect that I wish to elaborate is that Salat – the likes of that can be truly deemed to be Salat – can only be attained through prayer. To pray to anyone other than God is completely against the honour of a dignified believer because this honour of prayer is only for God.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: "One reason for not inclining to prayer and for laziness is that when a person inclines to beings other than Allah, his soul and heart incline towards them also." A tree that grows facing a certain way, get inclined that way. People who turn away from God, get inclined to those others than God. This hardens his hearts and soul. The Promised Messiah (as) states" Thus this is a grave matter and something that makes the heart tremble that a person should beg before anyone other than God. This is why it is very important to establish and make the Salat a constant feature of one's life. Then, gradually that time approaches when a person inherits a light and a pleasure in the state of complete self-annihilation. He then becomes distant from everything else and servers all ties only submitting towards God almighty. At this stage man is bestowed with a light and attains tranquillity."
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: "I would like to emphasise this matter once again that I regret that I have not found words in which I should set out the evils of inclining towards anyone except God. People prostrate before others and flatter them, which kindles the honour of God Almighty as this is the prayers of [worldly] people. Thus, God Almighty withdraws from such a person and casts him aside.."
Then with regards to one developing distracting thoughts in prayers, as one occasionally develops other inclinations during prayer, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "Those people who do not focus their attention completely on God Almighty in prayers are the ones who develop many other thoughts. Observe how when criminal stands before a judge, does he develop any other thoughts in his mind?"
These days, due to the influence of atheism people have certain questions on their minds, such as why one should pray or whether God is in need of our prayers. Elaborating on these the Promised Messiah (as) states: "God Almighty is Self Sufficient and is in no need for our prayers, rather, we are the ones who require prayer."
Then the Promised Messiah (as) also states: "There is a hidden secret in the fact that man is always in search for things that would benefit him. That is why he seeks help from God Almighty as it is an undeniable fact that forging a connection with God Almighty is equivalent to gaining something that is truly beneficial. Even if the entire world becomes the enemy of such an individual and sets out to destroy him, even then nothing can harm him. For the sake of such an individual, even if God Almighty has to destroy hundreds of thousands of people, He would do so.."
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: 'If you wish to seek the delight and pleasure in your Salat then it is necessary that you offer some supplications in your own language. However, it is often observed that Salat is offered by merely going through the physical postures and thereafter one begins to supplicate.'
The Promised Messiah (as) states: God Almighty does not benefit but it is man himself who benefits from it as he has the opportunity to present himself in the presence/Divine court of God. … I impart a very important piece of advice to you and I wish that it enters the hearts of people. Life is quickly passing by therefore do away with indolence and occupy yourself in earnest supplication. Supplicate to God in seclusion so that God Almighty protects your faith and becomes pleased with you.'
Granting us advice on another occasion on the reality of Salat, the Promised Messiah (as) states: [Arabic text - And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.]
'One should strive to their utmost and they shall reach their ultimate destination.'
There are many people who say that can you tell us a specific prayer or a particular practise that we should adopt, however the main thing is Salat. Every Ahmadi should completely focus on Salat.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'The proper method as stated in Islam is that one should read the Holy Quran and carefully ponder over its meaning and to adhere to whatever it states. Moreover, it is to observe Salat with complete attentiveness and to continue supplicating with concertation and penitence. Thus, it is only Salat which enables one to reach the spiritual apex.'
Alongside the obligatory Salat, the Promised Messiah (as) also drew our attention towards offering the Tahajjud [pre-dawn supererogatory prayer]. The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'If all the efforts of this life are exhausted on worldly pursuits then what have you amassed for the hereafter?' If you're every breath and your entire life is spent in pursuit of your worldly affairs, then what have you amassed for the hereafter?
The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'Make special efforts to wake up for the Tahajjud prayer and observe it with great delight and eagerness.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'It is a great blessing of God Almighty that through His Prophet (sa), He has revealed to us the path that leads to the perfect and complete doctrines without us having to toil or make any effort.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'I tell you again that if you wish to establish a true relationship with God, hold fast to Salaat in such a way that your body and your tongue and the intentions of your soul and emotions should all become a true embodiment of Salat.'
May God Almighty enable every one of us to remain firm on true Tauhid and to safeguard our Salat and experience its delight. Instead of making others our idol, it should only be God Almighty who we believe to be truly worthy of worship.
May God Almighty grant them a successful Ijtema and may we become true worshipers of God.