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The Philosophy and Secrets of Prayer (Part 4)

the philosophy and secrets of prayer

The Consideration in the Address

After the heart of the worshipper turns to the greatness of the Divinity and Lordship, and to His Beneficence, Compassion, Favour and Justice, he perceives that other than Allah is not worthy of worship. Thus, he transfers from speaking in third person to second person and says: Thee do we worship.

As worship requires guidance, power and strength, so the worshipper says: And Thee do we seek for help. Thus, in the word: we worship, he sees that worship is from him and in the words: we seek help; he sees that that is from Allah, the Exalted, as there is no strength and no power except with Allah.

With the words: We only worship You, the worshipper negates compulsion. With the words: We only seek help from You, he negates surrender.

When the worshipper speaks in plural tense: We worship, he connects himself to all the Muslims. Thus, the word of unity and unification of word are practically ascertained.

Once the worshipper carries out the rituals of worship, he enters the stage of supplication and the stage of seeking from the Master. Hence, he says: Keep us on the Right Path. With these words he seeks the essentials that will benefit him in all stages of life, because the peak of human courage and the honour of the status of the divinity demands that the worshipper ask for something which is great. That is the essence of the guidance to the Right Path, which is secure from all extremes.

The straight path is one. It has no multiplicity. Therefore, Allah is One and His path is one. It is a path that begins with the point of human insufficiency, which Allah, the Exalted, explains as: And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers””you did not know anything;15 and ends at the point of absolute perfection: And that to your Lord is the goal.16 O my Lord, what has he who has You not? And what has he not who has You?17

When a Muslim asks his Lord for guidance in his prayers: The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours. That is the path which Allah, the Exalted, has made distinct in His Word: And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they.18

Thus, the worshipper is asking to be granted the company of the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the virtuous. He also seeks to be kept away from those upon whom wrath is brought down and from those who go astray. Thus, it would make it necessary for him to adapt the morals of the prophets and the guardians, and it would make him refrain from the path of those upon whom wrath is brought down and those who have gone astray.

In conformity with the Word of the Exalted: Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; 19 The worshipper must turn his full attention to the Holy One, Who is the light of the heavens and the earth.20

He must look at the greatness of the Glorified with the eyes of his heart and the reality of his faith. The worshipper then bows down for Allah’s reverence in compliance with His Word: Therefore glorify the name of your Lord, the Great.21

Hence, he says: Glory be to my Lord, the Great and praise be to Him.

With these words, he takes his share of the secrets of the bowing [ruku’] and prepares for the closest position to his Lord, which is prostration. He then performs prostration upon earth in compliance with the Word of the Exalted: Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High.22

He places his forehead on the earth. He remembers the might of his Lord, Who enlightened the light of his wisdom with darkened clay so that the man sees in his prostration on clay the secret of this verse: And certainly We created man of an extract of clay.23

Hence, he says: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High and praise be to Him.

Then he raises his head and perceives the secret of the verse: Then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.24

Here perceives his worldly life. Then he says: Allah is the Greatest. He returns to prostration upon the clay and remembers the day he will face death after his life and take it as an abode. Then he perceives the life after death, so he raises his head and remembers the life after death. From his two prostrations he understands the meaning of the Word of the Exalted: From it We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time.25

Thus, he understands the phases of his existence.

Certainly, what we have mentioned is only a glimpse or a sparkle from the rays of the sun of the wisdom and guidance of the prayers. We cannot enumerate here the secrets of the chapter to be read after the Opening chapter. Likewise, we will leave out the secrets of the remembrance in prayers, the standing, the sitting, the qunut, the tasbihat, the tashhhud, the taslim, the recommendations of the prayers and their manners.

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


15. Holy Qur’an, 16: 78.

16. Holy Qur’an, 53: 42.

17. Iqbal al-A’mal: pp 349, supplication of Imam Husayn (A) on the Day of ‘Arafah.

18. Holy Qur’an, 4: 69.

19. Holy Qur’an, 2: 257.

20. Holy Qur’an, 24: 35.

21. Holy Qur’an, 56: 74.

22. Holy Qur’an, 87: 1.

23. Holy Qur’an, 23: 12.

24. Holy Qur’an, 23: 14.

25. Holy Qur’an, 20: 55.

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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