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The Rights of Prayer

The Fiqh of Islam, Vol 9

Ramadan Series 2013

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

18 July 2013 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Suhbah after Fajr

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`alaa azheem fee haadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)

Ita`tullah waajibatun `alaa kulli insaan laysa `alaa kulli muslim faqad, “Obedience to Allah is a must on every person, not only for Muslims, but for everyone,” and to do what He ordered us to do. We mentioned yesterday in the previous session about salaat, how much the prayer is a very delicate matter, that it is not something that you don’t give any attention because you must remember. Anyone who wants to go to pray must prepare all his ammunition to fight Shaytan, because Shaytan is not going to let us pray correctly. When you pray you pray, but there are differences between what you have done between one and another, like the differences between Heavens and Earth there are differences. Someone whose heart Shaytan cannot enter is not like the one whose heart Shaytan enters. The one whose heart Shaytan does not enter compared to the one whose heart Shaytan enters is like the difference between Heavens and Earth. That is why prayers are so important, as we mentioned before in the hadith of Prophet (s):

بَيْنَ الْكُفْرِ وَالْإِيمَانِ تَرْكُ الصَّلَاةِ

Maa bayn al-kufr wa 'l-imaan tarku ’s-salaat.

What is between disbelief and belief is the leaving of prayers. (Tirmidhi)

“Between kufr and faith, non-believers and believers, are those who leave their prayers; they are unbelievers.” May Allah (swt) protect us as there is no protection except from Allah (swt)! For this reason, as soon as you say “Allahu Akbar” and begin to recite Fatihah, Shaytan enters. Try and check what comes to your heart: all kinds of gossips and different matters come in the mind as if he is speaking in your ears, “Do you remember that day when I showed you my love, I took care of you?” Yes, the Cursed One! You took care of us, you brought us from Heavens to Earth! He enters, as Allah lets him to enter for some and for others stops him from entering. This does not mean that He lets Shaytan take revenge from others, no! It means Allah does not protect the one whose heart is weak and so He lets Shaytan enter, whereas the one who tries his best with with full ammunition, making wudu and praying the prayer as it should be, will have a struggle between him and Shaytan and he will win, because he is focusing on Allah (swt)!

I heard a story, an athar, not a hadith, from Grandshaykh `AbdAllah, may Allah bless his soul, that one day the Prophet (s) was sitting with the Sahaabah (r), as he always used to sit with them as a family in suhbat, companionship; they were Ashaab, Companions to him. He (s) said, “Whoever can pray two raka`ats without distraction, I will give him my jubba, cloak.” And as I said, this is a story; sometimes stories are correct and sometimes things in them have been changed, but because it has wisdom we will mention it, no problem. So everyone was trying to pray two raka`ats and none of them were successful in preventing distraction as something happened at that time and distracted them.

Then Sayyidina `Ali (r) said, “I will pray two raka`ats and I will not be distracted.” He said “Allahu Akbar...” and prayed with complete presence to the Prophet (s) and to Allah (swt). When he finished his prayer and wanted to say, “As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaah,” immediately a distraction came (when he thought), “Which cloak is the Prophet (s) going to give me? The red one, the black one or the green one?” Prophet (s) said, “It is finished, you lost.”

That is a story, what we call lateefa, with humor; it is a teaching for us to know that we have to struggle, but the only thing is not to go along with the distraction. When Shaytan tries to distract you stop him by moving your focus, because sometimes when you are distracted your focus is on the distraction and you move it quickly back to normal. Sometimes it goes away if you blink your eyes, but don’t go along with the distraction as that’s where it is not accepted. You have to remember that your heart is owned by Allah (swt) and Allah does not like partnership, so if you listen to Shaytan you are partnering with him, you are putting Shaytan as the focus and Allah (swt) does not like that!

As you all know the story of Sayyidina Ya`qoob (a), when his children took Sayyidina Yusuf (a) with them for a sayd, shooting deer, hunting with their bows and arrows. They took Yusuf (a) although the father didn’t want that, but in any case, they took him and threw him in the well. Some scholars say it was from when he was young that some merchants took him from the well and sold him to the governor of Egypt, where he remained for thirty years. Sayyidina Yusuf’s (a) father was crying and crying, until he became blind. He never found Yusuf (a), but he felt he was there and told his sons to go and find him until finally they did. The wisdom of that is Allah doesn’t like anyone to share their heart with anyone except Him! Sayyidina Ya`qoob (a) used to have too much love to his son Yusuf (a); Allah doesn’t like anyone’s heart, especially a prophet, to be other than a house for Allah (swt), to share the heart with other than Him. So that’s why when we pray, we must not share our heart with the enemy of Allah; our hearts must be khaalisan li wajhillah, pure and sincere to Allah (swt).

That is why a group of people called al-Muhiboon said, yaquloona nusalli fa nastareeh, “When prayers come we take wudu and run to pray quickly, because we feel relaxed in our prayer.” On the contrary to us, we are lazy to pray. We feel in our self all kinds of negativity and laziness that will dress us at the time of prayer in order to keep delaying and delaying. I don’t say, “You are missing it,” but “delaying,” and some people even miss it. That group of people who delayed it are the lazy ones, those who do not really love Allah and love the Prophet (s)!

Al-Muhiboon, the Lovers, wait for the prayer from time to time and for them the time between the two prayers is so long! They feel, “When is it going to come, when is it going to come because we feel relaxed between the Hands of Allah (swt)!” So, qaala Rasoolullaahi (s), one day he said, “Yaa Bilaal, arihnaa bis-salaat, relieve us with the prayers, call the adhaan, let us pray, we want to be relieved.” And the Prophet (s) said:

قرة عيني في الصلاة

Qurrati `aynee fi 's-salaat.

The coolness of my eyes is in the prayers. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)

Qarrat `aynee fi 's-salaat,“The thing most dear for my eyes is prayer, because I am there between the Hands of Allah (swt).” Prayers are the mi`raaj of mu’min and as it is said, only the Prophet (s) has Mi`raaj that he went to Allah (swt), and not only went, but is still going in Ascension, physically and spiritually! The only mi`raaj for Muslims is when they pray, as they ascend spiritually depending on how much power or ammunition they have against Shaytan. Allah will protect them and their salaat is like an ascension to Allah.

The Prophet (s) said, “salaat is the dearest thing to me,” so how was he feeling between the two prayers? His patience was so strong, wanting for the second prayer to come as soon as possible in order that he will be relaxed another time. Wa amma salaatu ‘l-mufritu ‘l-mudayyi`u ‘l-hukookiya hudoodiyaa, fa taqool dayya`aqallah kamaa dayya`atih, “The one who doesn’t care for his salaat, who is lazy, at the end of his prayer the prayer will say to him, ‘May Allah make you lost, as you lost me.’” So it means our prayers have to be perfectly done, not like roosters (pecking) their heads up and down! One time the Prophet (s) saw one of the Sahaabah (r) praying, standing and moving quickly, and said to him, “Don’t be like a rooster, picking the food quickly, raising and lowering your head. Repeat that prayer as it is not accepted.”

And it is said in a hadith of Prophet (s):

ما من مؤمن يتم الوضوء إلى أمكانه ثم يقوم إلى الصلاة في وقتها فيؤديها لله عز و جل لم ينقص من وقتها وركوعها وسجودها ومعالمها شيئا إلا رفعت له إلى الله عز و جل بيضاء مسفرة يستضيء بنورها ما بين الخافقين حتى ينتهي بها إلى الرحمن عز و جل ومن قام إلى الصلاة فلم يكمل وضوءها واخرها عن وقتها واسترق ركوعها وسجودها ومعالمها رفعت عنه سوداء مظلمة ثم لا تجاوز شعر رأسه تقول : ضيعك الله كما ضيعتني ضيعك كما ضيعتني

Maa min mu’minin yutimmu ‘l-wudoo’ ilaa imkaanihi thumma yuqoomu illaa ‘s-salaati fee waqtihaa fa yu’addeeha lillaahi `azza wa jall lam yanqus min waqtihaa wa rukoo`ihaa wa sujoodihaa wa ma`aalimihaa shayy’an illaa rufi`at lahu illa ’Llahi `azza wa jall baydaa’a musfiratun yastadee’ bi-noorihaa maa bayna ‘l-khaafiqayni hattaa yantahiyy bihaa ila ‘r-rahmaani `azza wa jalla. wa man qaama ila ‘s-salaati falam yakmil wudoo’ihaa wa akharrahaa `an waqtihaa wa ‘staraqa rukoo`ihaa wa sujoodihaa wa ma`aalimihaa rufi`at `anhu sawdaa’u muzhlimatun thumma laa tajaawaz sha`ru raassihi taqool: day`aka’Llaahu kamaa day`atanee day`aka kamaa day`atanee.

“Anyone who perfects his wudu,” and there are conditions for wudu, as well. Some people put water only part way up their arms. No, it must come up past the elbow and as much as it is high up where the water reaches, there will be noor coming on the Day of Judgment from wherever that water reached. That is why you will be known from the light of wudu coming from your body parts that you are mu'min, from Ummat an-Nabi (s). So when you do your face, you make sure you do your whole face; when you do your hands, when you do your feet, not just a little bit of water and finish! So, perfect the wudu up to its amkaanihaa, where it is assigned for the water to reach and even beyond, up on the arm. “Then he stands up going to pray and then, fa yu’addeeha lillaahi `azza wa jall lam yanqus min waqtihaa wa rukoo`ihaa wa sujoodihaa, “Nothing will be less, he will give it its full conditions, its full rights for the prayer.” You pray slowly and give the prayer its time. “Give the prayer its ruku`, its sujood, and at this time the prayer will be raised to Allah (swt) by angels, white, shining with light,” yastadee’u bi-noorihaa maa bayna ‘l-khaafiqayn, “With its light it will fill the universe until it reaches the Presence of Allah (swt).

On the contrary, if someone went to pray and he did not perfect his wudu and delayed it from its time, and you steal from the prayer by not giving the qiyaam, ruku` and sujood its right; you are stealing, as if stealing something from someone, you are stealing something from your prayer and it will be raised black, darkened in darkness and does not reach up to the hair on your head,” that is the maximum that it reaches. The other one goes white with a lot of light when you perfect it and it goes all the way between the Hands of Allah (swt). This one will not raise above your head and will say to you, day`aka’Llaahu kamaa day`atanee, “May Allah leave you as you left me! May Allah (swt) punish you because you didn’t give me my right!”

The salaat that is accepted by Allah (swt) is a salaat that is like someone, tuleequ li-rabbihi ta`alaa, that is fit for Allah’s (swt) right, like you go to meet someone and you wear the best dress. Also, when you go to your prayer you must know that you are between the Hands of your Lord, so you must give the best perfection in your salaat. What is accepted from people are two kinds of `amal: one an yusalli ‘l-`abdi ya`amal saa’irat ta`aat, “For the servant of Allah (swt) to pray and to do all kind of orders,” to be obedient to Allah and his heart has to be always in Divine Presence. And second, dhaakiran lillahi `azza wa jalla `alaa ‘d-dawaam, “Always he must remember Allah (swt), doing dhikrullah non-stop.” This person, this servant of Allah (swt), Allah will receive his `amal and accept it and He will protect him and bring him near to Him, as Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur'an:

أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Alaa inna awliyaaullaahi laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon.

Behold! Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Surah Yunus, 10:62)

So Allah (swt) will protect those people and open for them in every salaat you pray in the right way, that salaat is the key for one Paradise. That key has its own code; it will not open anyone else’s Paradise, only yours. That has a code and you put the key inside and that Paradise will open specially for you. On the other hand, the one who prays with heedlessness is praying with his body, but his mind is somewhere else; you are praying, you are Muslim, but you are not reaching the level that Allah accepts your prayer.

Why was there a fight between Cain and Abel, Qaabeel wa Haabeel? Because Allah (swt) accepted from one of them his sacrifice and not from the other. When Allah asked them to offer a sacrifice, Haabeel offered the best ram that he had and put it on the altar. At that time, the fire would come down and take the animal; that was a sign that it is accepted, that was in their time and that was the situation. So Habeel got the best one and put it on the altar, then Qaabeel came and found an animal that had no eye, no ear, deaf, the worst of them and was sick, and that one he put on the altar. Then the fire came and took Haabeel's sacrifice. So Allah (swt) accepted from one and did not accept from the other:

فَتُقُبِّلَ مِن أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الآخَرِ

Fa tuqubbila min ahadihimaa wa lam yutaqabbal min al-aakhari.

It was accepted from one, but not from the other. (Surat al-Maidah, 5:27)

So he accepted from the one who showed more love and respect for Allah (swt), and so the prayer is like the ram: you have to have the best that you can give for sadaqa, charity, or the best that you give as a gift. Just like when some people collect for the masaajid, they put pennies in the charity box for the mosque, for what? Are you bargaining with Allah (swt)? Give the best you have, not pennies! When you put charity, you are going to get Paradise so put whatever you have, the best you have give from that. How many pennies they count? Many. So what will happen? In that prayer the body is praying, but the mind is not there, it will not be raised, but it will be put on the side until the Day of Judgment and then Allah will look at it at that time if it is okay or it is not good. The one whose heart is present, Allah will accept immediately and then give him one key for Paradise, key after key, until it becomes from “the friends of Allah, on them there is no fear, nor shall they grieve.”

Allah supports them.

This is why from the Principles of Prayers, it is said that prayer is on five levels:

1. The first level is, martabat azh-zhalim fi ’s-salaati li nafsihi al-mufrid, the Level of the Oppressor, li nafsihi al-mufrid, that he went so far from his prayer that he did not give it its full rights, he wasted his prayer. The one that did not complete the wudu and did not pray in time and did not respect its limits and principles, that one is called martabat azh-zhaalim, the Level of an Oppressor, “The one who oppressed himself with his prayer.” And spiritually if you want to advance you cannot oppress your prayer! Some people think they are awliyaullah and their prayers are not completed as it should be; their prayer must not be like a rooster, it has to be respectfully done that Allah (swt) will accept.

2. The second level is, man yuhaafizh `alaa mawaqitiha wa hudoodihaa wa arkaaniha wa zhaarihaa wa wudoo`iha, “The one who has kept the limits and the principles of the prayer and perfected his wudu, but...” wa laakin dayyi`aa mujaahadata nafsihi fi ’l-waswasa, “...lost his prayer time with an absent mind by always listening to and going along deeper and deeper with the gossips, whispers and wishes of Shaytan.” Therefore, when such whispers come don’t follow them, focus on your prayer. Therefore, I believe that where one school of thought says, “Don’t recite after the imam, as the imam recites,” that is one school of thought, but sometimes you like to recite along with the imam, as when you are saying nothing Shaytan comes quickly and whispers, whereas if you are reciting along with the imam and focusing on what you are saying, that diminishes the power of Shaytan. So that second one is going along with the whispers of Shaytan and his heart is not present, although his prayers follow the principles of wudu and prayer.

3. The third level is the one who keeps and perfects the limits and principles of prayer and wudu and is struggling, mujaahadah, against himself in order to throw away the whispers of Shaytan when they come to his ear. So he is busy with his ammunition to attack on Shaytan in order for him not to steal his prayers. This prayer will be considered fa huwa salaati fi ‘l-jihaad, “He is in a situation of doing prayers and struggling against himself,” Jihad an-Nafs.

4. The fourth level is the one who prays on time, perfects the rights and principles of prayer and wudu, and goes deeply into istighraaq, fully present in Allah’s Divine Presence, and does not let Shaytan steal anything and all his care is how to perfect his salaat. He is the real `abd and will enter into the Level of `Uboodiyya to Allah (swt).

5. The fifth level is the one who does all the prayer with its perfection and does not struggle with ammunition against Shaytan, as he is now free from the whispers of Shaytan. He in fact takes his heart from his body and puts it at the threshold of the Divine Presence! This is your door, by entering the Divine Presence. He looks through his heart, focusing on Allah’s Beautiful Names and Attributes and filling his heart with the Love and Greatness of Allah (swt). Anyone who looks at him will understand that all these whispers and gossips have been taken away and Allah has prevented it to attack him through Shaytan, Allah will protect that person. It is said that his salaat is better than all the four previous kinds, like the difference between Heavens and Earth!

These are the five levels of salaat, and inshaa-Allah we will continue later. So the first level fi’l-qismu awwal mu`aqqab, will be punished. The second group is not punished, but judged by Allah, “Why did you do that?” he will still be okay. For the third level, Allah will mukaffir `anhu, erase his sins. The fourth level will be granted rewards and Heavens from Allah (swt). The fifth level, al-muqarrab min rabbihi li-annahu ja`ala rabbahu qurrata `aynahu fi 's-salaat, will be brought very near to the Divine Presence, as he is following in the footsteps of Prophet (s) where he said, “The best of my time is when I am in prayer, because I am between the Hands of Allah (swt).” May Allah forgive us and bless us. We will continue inshaa-Allah in the next session.

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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