I watched a lecture today by Nouman Ali Khan about working towards our future. He said very many good points but I wanted to share one with you. This one is about prayer. Now those who are reading and don’t see the importance of prayer maybe this will give you some sort of clue why those who are spiritual/religious pray.
In the Quran, there are verses which talk about the changing of the Qiblah (direction of prayer). Muslims, back in the day, used to pray towards the direction of Jerusalem, because of the great importance that it held. It was their way of linking themselves to former prophets such as Abraham and Jesus. Also, the Prophet wanted to include the Jews and Christians by adopting certain Jewish or Christian practices such as fasting, purification rites, dietary restrictions etc. The reason for this being, he wanted to prove to them that he was the true prophet like the prophets of the bible.
Anyhow, the qiblah was changed by God from Jerusalem to Makkah, where the Ka’bah (that cube box that you may have seen on the tv with thousands of people circling it) is. Here’s the verse that explains it (bare with me, it’s quite long):
The fools among the people will say: “What has turned them from the Qibla to which they were used?” Say: To God belong both east and West: He guideth whom He will to a Way that is straight. Thus, have We made of you a nation justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Apostle from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by God. And never would God make your faith of no effect. For God is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful. We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now Shall We turn thee to a Qibla that shall please thee. Turn then Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque: Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction. The people of the Book know well that that is the truth from their Lord. Nor is God unmindful of what they do. Even if thou wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow Thy Qibla; nor art thou going to follow their Qibla; nor indeed will they follow each other’s Qibla. If thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their (vain) desires, – then wert thou Indeed (clearly) in the wrong. S. 2:142-145 Y. Ali
I put faith in bold because I learnt today, from this lecture I was listening to, that this sentence is quite amazing. When you read a holy book like the Quran and it tells us of it’s inimitability (basically the perfectness of the Quran) then you’ll just know that it has very many layers. When you read it and are studying it, most scholars look into why God had decided to use that one specific word and not thousands of others. So, that bit I made bold, notice that God says he would never make our faith of no effect. The Jews had questioned that all those years of praying towards Jerusalem must mean that the Muslim’s prayer has gone to waste. What sort of God would do that? Well this is God’s answer. God could had said ‘and never would God make your prayer of no effect.’ But he used faith. Why? Because without prayer you don’t have faith. Without faith there is no prayer. Prayer has been given that much of an importance, put on such a pedestal that without it the very core of your religion won’t be there.
If your prayer is good, your faith is good. That piece of information I listened to today answered so many of my questions. I might sound all mystical saying this but, there are days where I feel like crap because I question everything I believe. My faith shakes a little and today I realised it’s because my prayer hasn’t been all there. It all just clicked. Faith = prayer. Prayer = faith. How simple.
When people rush to pray their teraweeh or just bang out any prayer because they know it’s obligatory and missing it would be wrong, you kind of miss the point in prayer. We don’t pray because God needs us to pray. God don’t need our prayer. He’s cool without it. We’re not doing God a favour by worshipping him. I’m praying because I need it. It’s for me, it’s my personal one on one time with God. It’s my time to reflect and ponder. My time to refocus. My time to ask for help and forgiveness. My time to fix my faith. When I think of it like that, it’s hard to rush prayer.
This blog post was heavily focused on Islam. If you’re not Muslim, I do apologise if it was a bit full on. If you have any questions on anything I said, do let me know. I really wanted to write about it because it was just the eureka moment that I wanted to share. Oh and I realise that I’ve missed like 2 days in a row of my daily blog. Hopefully, my next few blogs will make up for that.