Monday, 27 June 2011




Can you really do it? Forget about all of the day's activities and distractions, the memories of a lost yesterday, the plans for tomorrow and beyond-and then concentrate fully on the issue at hand?

A rather difficult thing to do in this fast-paced, multi-tasking, worldly oriented life of ours today. And particularly difficult in matters of worship. Specifically speaking of prayer.

But to attain a true sense of sincerity, and achieve the fulfilling sensation of having offered the prayer in the best possible form-that is exactly what we must do: put all the worldly cares truly behind, and concentrate whole-heartedly and quite sincerely on the issue at hand-that of worshipping the Creator as He deserves to be worshipped-associating no partners with Him by not being distracted by our worries or cares of the moment or this worldly life.

Although my days and nights are most generally taken up by other activities, once in a while I get the chance to see a glimpse of TV or hear one of the various programs on the radio broadcast. As I keep my bedroom clock-radio tuned to the Saudi broadcast of the Quran, I many times at night or early morning catch some of the radio talk shows where people call in for live fatwa (religious rulings) answers from the scholars.

It was on one of these broadcasts that I heard a woman ask the scholar about the 'takbirat-al-ihram' (i.e. the statement of 'Allahu akbar' as the official commencement of the prayer)-it's validity, importance, and relation to the prayer. As she was on the line, she made mention that although she knew of the 'takbirat al-ihram', still for some reason she had been forgetfully and mis-mindedly ignoring it's implementation for years. In other words, she had been performing her prayers without beinning by the announcement: 'Allahu akbar.'

The scholar's answer was that all of her prayers that were offered without the commencing statement of 'Allahu akbar' were invalid, thus most likely unaccepted by Allah (Allah knows best). He based this answer on the ruling that the 'takbirat al-ihram' is one of the basic cornerstones of the prayer. Without it, the prayer is not valid. Secondly, he based his answer also on the fact that although this woman had previous knowledge of the 'takbirat al-ihram', still she chose to ignore it's importance, perhaps out of haste to get the prayer started and then finished.

Another locally well-known Saudi scholar, in speaking on the basic points of the validity of the prayer-mentioned how this statement in and of itself (Allahu akbar), coupled with the action of raising the hands at about ear-level (i.e. above the shoulders)-fingers brought in close to one another, palms facing forward as the face, signifies the similitude of putting all of our worldly cares and thoughts of the moment behind us, clearing the path to the front for clear contemplation on Allah, His creation, and our relation to Him and His creation-in order that we may apply ourselves fully in body, spirit, and soul-to the most important task of worshipping Him.

What a beautifully exacting description of the opening commencement of the prayer-the 'takbirat al-ihram'! Put all of your cares and worries behind you, and direct your mind, body, and soul, to the worship of your Creator!

Do not be among the lost-those who have lost their prayers, and therefore have lost out on all the benefits which they may have reaped otherwise.

As for the woman who asked about the validity of her prayers which she offered void of the 'takbirat al-ihram', not only did the sheikh tell her that her prayers she offered in such manner were invalid. He also mentioned that these prayers were a duty she owed unto Allah, seeing as how they were of the obligatory prayers. Hence, she had fallen into debt with Allah. And the only way to now clear that debt would be for her to once again offer all those prayers from all those years-this time in proper prescribed manner-by commencing with the statement 'Allahu akbar'.

It is interesting how so many people in this life are anxious to repay their debts with the banks or other institutions or individuals from whom they have obtained loans. Yet when they fall into debt with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe-they put it off so non-chalantly. And yet, the possible penalties pending from the second scenario are so much more devastating and everlasting!

Beware, oh my brethren Muslims, from the debt you m ay encrue upon yourself with the Creator! Do what you must to either avoid it or pull yourself out of it! This is not the type of debt where you may borrow from others to pull yourself out. You must do what is expected and commanded of you in order to pull yourself out.

Put your cares and worries behind you, and direct your attention fully towards worshipping your Creator as He deserves to be worshipped!

As it is said in the prayer call: 'come to the prayer, come to success.'

Put your cares behind you, concentrate fully and sincerely, and you too shall find success in your prayers and your reward with Allah.


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