The Effect of Prayer is Greater than the Effect of Fire
“And I have not created the Jinn and Man but that they may worship me.” (51:56)
Sooner or later in one’s life, we ask ourselves a fundamental question that defines us as humans. This question is the root from which I believe the human race has developed and flourished over the ages. It is a question which is rooted in the deep crevice of our nature of being, driven by either fear or love; and a man comes to this question either by suffering a trauma in his life or experiencing the Greatness of God and in awe comes to it. This question is; “what is my purpose?”
For me as an Ahmadi Muslim, and for others I’m sure, the answer is written in the Holy Qur’an and its practical application should be lived out in our daily lives. Allah the Exalted has mentioned that the purpose of our existence is to become righteous through worship; and one way to worship is through observing the five obligatory daily prayers. But for me, being concerned with my living relationship with God, how can merely observing the five daily prayers have an effect on moral grounding and spiritual transformation? It is not possible for one who truly desires to seek a pure relationship with God to offer the lip service of prayers and when he is not praying, to be involved in sin. One must turn ones whole life into an act of worship by living with the Word of Allah in our minds and hearts. How can this be done?
Hadhrat Ayesha was asked about our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) character, who aptly replied by saying- ‘His whole life/morals are the practical application of the Qur’an.’ This shows that The Prophet (PBUH) did not only worship his Lord by praying five times a day, but outside of that, he lived the teachings and physically gave shape to Islamic morality and righteousness. This is something I strive towards and in doing so will come closer to living the following verse.
“O ye men, worship your Lord Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become righteous.” (Q2:22)**
This verse of The Holy Qur’an is one of my favourite because it contains so much guidance for us in achieving the purpose of our life. It is the crux, for me, of moral and spiritual reform and to fully understand this verse is to lay the foundations of spiritual progress. I will try to expound some of the gems I have found and what corresponds to my religious belief as an Ahmedi Muslim.
I understand that the words ‘O ye men’ calls upon the whole of mankind, which shows me that Islam, from its very beginning brings a universal message. This universal calling is important for me because it abolishes the idea of national religion and conceives mankind as one brotherhood, one Ummah.
When one actively seeks to get closer to God, He in turn becomes closer to us. In a famous Hadith Qudsi and also mentioned with variation in Bukhari, Our beloved Prophet (saw) said:
“If the servant draws near to Me a hand span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.”
I will end this by a short excerpt from the founder of the Ahmadiyya community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad on the effect of prayer.
The Effect of Prayer is Greater than the Effect of Fire.
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 became alive within a few days, and those who had been corrupted through generations took on divine colour, 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 totally 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.
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.
(Essence of Islam, Vol 2, pg 193-194)
* The author is an Ahmadi blogger and uses the pen name Sufi Sage in his work.
** The reference of (2:22) stand correct as per Ahmadi Tarteel-ul-Qur’an interpretation, however the standard commonly used reference is (2:21)