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The Philosophy and Secrets of Prayer (Part 2)

the philosophy and secrets of prayer

The worshipper then begins his speech with Allah, the Exalted. The prayer is the word of man with Allah while the Qur’an is the Word of Allah with man. However, man starts his word with Allah, the Exalted, with the Word of Allah itself, because it is not possible for man to praise Allah except with what Allah has taught him of His praise. With the sacredness of the Word of Allah, the Exalted, the word of man becomes worthy enough to be heard by Allah. Therefore, the man says: Allah listens to whoever praises Him.

In accordance with the tradition: No prayer is acceptable without the Opening of the Book; 7 it is a must to read the Opening chapter of the Qur’an in the prayer. Just as the Qur’an, being the word of the Creator with the creation, begins with the Opening chapter, the prayer, being the word of the creation with the Creator, begins with the same.

The worshipper must perform the Opening chapter and another chapter of the Qur’an with the intention of the recitation [qir’at]. However, the attainment of the reality of the prayer is only through knowledge of the meanings, subtleties and elegance which are in the actions of the prayer and its words. Here we will indicate some of the qualities of the Opening chapter:

This holy chapter encompasses the summary of Islam. It describes the recognition of the Origin and the Return. It contains Allah’s names and His attributes. This chapter is man’s covenant with Allah and Allah’s covenant with man. According to some reports, the Greatest Name of Allah is carved in it.

The Opening chapter designates that Allah, the Exalted, has divided it between Himself and His servant. Thus, the half of the chapter which ends with Master of the Day of Judgment is for Allah, the Exalted. The other half of the chapter, which starts from Keep us on the Right Path till the end, is for man. The verse, Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help, is common between Allah, the Exalted, and His servants. The service is for Allah and the help is for man.8

This chapter begins with the name of Allah, the Exalted, with which the Messenger ship of Muhammad (PBUH) began. Thus, Allah, the Exalted, said to His Messenger (PBUH: Read in the name of your Lord, Who created.9

Amongst the qualities of Allah’s name is that it is the name of the essence that comprises all of the best names. And Allah’s are the best names, therefore call on Him thereby.10

It is reported from ‘Ali (A.S) that the meaning of the word Allah is: The One who is worshipped and the One who is taken and served as God.11

The limit of mankind in His recognition is that he should know that he does not have the ability to fully understand Him. Allah, the Exalted, has attributed Himself as the Beneficent, the Most Compassionate.

This concise book does not allow explanation of the difference between the two mercies. It is of significance that Allah, the Exalted, made In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Compassionate the beginning of His speech with man and the beginning of the speech of man with Him.

Thus, He made this heavenly sentence foremost among the speech and actions of a Muslim. Allah has made it mandatory to repeat this sentence in the daily five prayers. Thus, Allah teaches man that the system of the universe is established upon mercy and that the constitutional and legislative Book begins with mercy.

Even the Islamic legal punishments are a mercy for the ones who contemplate upon them and fully understand them. A clear example can be given from the stages of the obligation of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. If some people in a society avoid righteousness or turn towards corruption, then first they must be treated with kindness and moderation.

As we see in the story of the Prophet of Allah Musa (A.S), when Allah sends him and his brother with nine clear signs to a tyrant like the pharaoh, He says: Then speak to him a gentle word haply he may mind or fear.12

The purpose of sending Messengers is not supremacy and power; rather, it is guidance, reminder and fear of Allah.

As long as an injured part of the body can be treated with medicine, it is not permissible to perform surgery on it. In fact, it is obligatory to protect it. However, if it cannot be treated even with surgery, then it is removed for the betterment of the other parts of the body.

Likewise, if a corrupt person is incurable, legal punishment is a mercy for him to reduce his involvement in criminal offences that would corrupt his world and the hereafter. It is also a mercy for society, because it closes the door of spreading corruption to the rest of the people.

Taken from Branches of Faith (Furu’ al-Din) by Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Hussaein Vahid Khorasani


7. ‘Awali al-Liali: vol. 2, pp 218, hadith no. 13.

8. Al-Tibyan: vol. 1, pp 46; Majma’ al-Bayan: vol. 1, pp 48.

9. Holy Qur’an, 96: 1.

10. Holy Qur’an, 7: 180.

11. Shaykh Saduq, Divine Unity: pp 163, ch. 4, hadith no. 2.

12. Holy Qur’an, 20: 44.

Other links:

What is the manner of performing Wudhu?

What Is The Need To Face The Qiblah In The Prayers?

Prayer Protects You

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