>> Thursday, May 28, 2009
First of all I am sorry I have no updated in a month. I had final papers, final exams, computer problems and family stuff (well not really family stuff but I added it in there anyways). So in this post we go back to this blog's roots, Imam Ghazzali. Last we left Imam Ghazzali he was talking about the five pillars. I had posted what he said about declaration of faith and what he interjected inbetween the 1st pillar and 2nd pillar, wudu. This post will discuss the second pillar Salat. If you are friends with me on facebook you probably already read this but it is still good to reread once in awhile.
In the words of Imam Ghazzali
Prayer should be observed with humility of mind. God says: Pray to remember Me. Presence of mind is opposed to absence of mind or heedlessness. If one is heedless throughout his prayer, how can he say prayer with the purpose of remembering God? ,God says: Don't be of the heedless. He says: Prayer is modesty and humility. There in there is injunctions, prohibitions and blocks. The Prophet said: If a man does not refrain from thoughts of obscene and evil things, it does not add to it but distance'. There are two kinds of prayer of a heedless man The Prophet said: There are many praying men who do not gain anything it their prayer except fatigue and efforts. The prayer of a heedless man has been spoken here. The Prophet said: Nothing is written for a praying man except what he understands in his prayer. Its speciality is that there are entreaties and seekings to God in prayer. Munajat with Inattention is not considered as Munajat. There are God's remembrance in prayer, Quran reading, bow, prostration, standing and sitting. God's remembrance means prayer and Munajat to Him. Without them, it ends in voice and tongue.
The object of fasting is to bring under control belly and sexual passion, or else it ends in depriving this - body from food and drink. Body is tried by the troubles of pilgrimage. Troubles are given to mind if Zakat is paid out of wealth and thus mind is tried. There is no doubt that the object of these religious act is to remember God. If that object is not attained, there is no use in prayer, as it is very easy to move the tongue with inattention. The object of word is to talk and it does not occur exempt in mind. It does not exist in mind without humility of spirit and presence of mind. If you recite in prayer: 'Show us the right path', and if you are inattentive at that time, it is only the movement of your tongue and nothing else. The object of Quran reading and God's remembrance is to praise and glorify God and to entreat Him and invoke Him with humility of spirit, but if his mind remains absent at that time and does not know that He is present with whom he is speaking, it must be understood that his tongue moves only owing to habit but he is far away from the object of prayer to enliven God's remembrance and with that to make firm the tie of faith.
Sufyan Saori said: The prayer of one who has got no God-fear becomes void. Hasan Basri said: The prayer which is not said with attention hastens towards punishment. The Prophet said: There are many praying men whose prayers are written to the extent of one- sixth or one-tenth. In other words, the portion of prayer which is said with attention is only written. The sage Abdul Wahed said: The portion of prayer which is said with humility of mind is accepted. This is the consensus of opinion of the sages. In short, earnestness of mind is the life of prayer.
Life of Prayer and its Internal Condition
There are many works signifying the life of prayer, humility of mind, understanding what is said, honour, hope and shame. (1) The meaning of humility or presence of mind is that the action and word must be the same in mind and there should be no other thought therein. When there is no other thing in mind which is concentrated only to one thing, there is earnestness or presence of mind. (2) When mind is not present in prayer, it does not remain idle and is concentrated to the thoughts of the worldly affairs with which it is immediately concerned. So there must be firm belief that prayer is a stepping stone to the next world which is everlasting. Presence of mind is gained only when it is realised and the world is considered as a merely temporary abode and insignificant.
(3) To understand the meaning of words uttered and to engage intellect to understand their meanings. The medicine of removing various thoughts that come in mind in prayers is to cut the root or to remove the reasons which cause different thoughts. He who loves a thing remembers that thing. For this reason, he who loves things other than God is not free from diverse thoughts in prayer.
(4) Honour of God is a condition of mind. It rises out of acquaintance of two things. The first thing is the knowledge of the glory of God. This is the root of faith, because the mind of one who does not firmly believe in His glory, is not given encouragement to honour Him. The second thing is to think oneself helpless and insignificant. From the knowledge of these two things, helplessness, modesty and fear of God arise and as a result honour for God arises in mind.
(5) Fear of God is a condition of mind which arises out of knowledge of God's power and His rewards and punishments. You must have knowledge that if God would have destroyed all past and present, nothing of His sovereignty would have reduced. .It is to he seen along with that whatever dangers and difficulties God gave to His Prophet and friends, these are different from those on kings, rulers and emperors. The more the knowledge about God, the more would be the fear of God.
(6) Hope in God arises out of firm faith in the following matters- knowledge of God's mercy and gifts, knowledge of His creation and remembrance of Paradise through prayer.
(7) Shame arises out of knowledge of neglect in divine service and inability to fight for God. Human mind becomes humble in proportion of certainty of faith.
For this reason Hazrat Ayesha said: The Prophet talked with us and we also talked with him but when the time of prayer came, he could not recognise us and we did not recognise him. It is narrated that God said to Moses: 0 Moses, when you want to remember Me, remember Me in such a way that your limbs tremble and that you hold Me dear at the time of remembrance and rest satisfied.
When you remember Me, keep your tongue behind your mind. When you stand before Me, stand before Me with fearful mind like the meanest slave and speak with Me with the tongue of a truthful man. God revealed to him: Tell your disobedient followers to remember Me. I took oath upon Myself that I shall remember one who remembers Me. When Abraham stood for prayer, voice of his heart was heard from a distance of two miles. An individual will be forgiven in the next world according to the qualities of his mind and not of his body. Nobody will get salvation except one who comes with a sound mind.