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The Philosophy of Islamic Prayer

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as)
Ahmadiyya Gazette, September 1994

Acceptance of prayer is proved by valid instances as part of the law of nature and God sets up living models in every age. That is why He has taught the prayer: Guide us along the straight path, the path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy favors. This is the design and law of God and no one can alter it. Guide us along the straight path is a supplication for perfection in conduct. In form this is a direction to seek guidance to the straight path, but it is preceded by: We worship Thee alone and beg Thy help. This indicates that we must use our natural capacities for treading along the straight path and seek Divine help in the process. Therefore, appropriate available means must be employed. On who neglects this is guilty of ingratitude in respect of God’s bounties.

Consider, if the tongue that God the Sublime has bestowed on us, made up of nerves and muscles, was not equipped with its capacities, we would not have been capable of speech. He granted us a tongue that can express the thoughts and designs of the mind for the purposes of prayer. If we do not employ the tongue for supplication, it would be our great misfortune. There are so many ailments any of which could instantly stop its functioning.

Similarly, He has equipped the mind with the qualities of humility and lowliness and the faculties of contemplation and reflection. Be mindful, then, that if we fail to use these powers and faculties, our prayer is vain. If we do not use the gifts we possess, how can we supplicate for more? That is why: We worship Thee alone, precedes: Guide us along the straight path. This is an affirmation that we have not left unemployed and stultified the gifts and faculties that Allah has granted us. (Al-Hakam, Dec. 10, 1901)