When we wake up in the morning as the brilliant shaft of sunlight caresses our faces; when we travel thousands of miles and reach our destinations safely; when we endure great pains and sorrows of life; when provisions knock on our doors to relieve us of starvation; when we retire at night after the day’s work, can we remain so imperceptive to the One who gives us everything out of mercy?
Can we allow our egotistic lifestyles to keep us oblivious to the Divine Calling: “Remember Me in prosperity and I will Remember You in adversity.”?
Now let us analogize our spiritual life with a cellular phone that may give us an insightful viewpoint. Without prayers, we are like cellular phones equipped with fully-charged batteries and abundant network loads, but we struggle with weak signal or grapple with total system disconnection.
Prayers has been enjoined on us. Showing gratitude to our Creator by performing our ritual prayers with sincerity must become part of our daily life. Physically, it activates our brain cells and improves our blood circulation.
As we stand sincerely on our prayer carpets, which is symbolic of getting one step closer to the Beloved’s Heart, our fervent prayers metamorphose our distance into intimacy with Him, for every quantum particle of our bodies glorifies Him and becomes one with Him.
But laziness often blocks our pathways to progress along the promenade of His Nearness. And our pathetic excuses pop up when it is time to converse with the Beloved: “I am not yet ready,” “I am very busy,” “I will find time soon,” or anyway “God is in my heart.”
But there’s no more strength to get ready when we are ill; no more ability to do our religious duties when we are aged; and no more time to grab when our final departures come. How can we claim that God is in our hearts if we are not sure to be in God’s Heart?
To convince us of the importance of prayers, Imam Ghazzali teaches us one reason: The Beloved blesses us with five senses such as smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing, and in return we should offer gratitude to Him.
Through our sense of smell we learn to know the sweet fragrance and foul odor, and we perform the two cycles of dawn prayer (fajr) to thank Him.
As we enjoy the sense of taste that identifies the sweetness, sourness, bitterness and astringence of things, we offer four cycles of the noon prayer (zuhr).
To response to the sense of touch such as hot, cold, hard and soft, we offer the four cycles of the afternoon prayer (asar).
As we delight in the knowledge of sight with the three directions: front, left and right, we perform the three cycles of the sunset prayer (magrib).
And the knowledge we take pleasure through the sense of hearing in four directions, we offer four cyles of the night prayer (isha).
But there are times we fall into the snare of heedlessness when affluence, prestigiousness, good health (and even misfortune) chain our hearts, which deprive us of perception.
We love to rejoice in gifts and ignore the Giver. But when the moment these fortunes are taken away from us, we begin to groan in pain and call His Name. Then why can we not remember Him in times of comfort since He promised to remember us in trouble? Perhaps we want to travel a long and exhausting journey.
To perform our daily ritual prayers is one way to acknowledge our Creator and remain grateful to Him for everything He gives us and even what He withholds from us. Since our Creator is Self-Sufficient, He does not need our prayers at all, for He has thousands of angels who glorify Him all night and day.
The beloved Messenger (pbuh) says:
“Nothing can change the Divine decree except prayers.”
So, there is no reason to abandon our prayers if our impotent or helpless souls are the ones who need it, for we are totally dependent of Him.
Anyway, prayers are not only being steadfast in our religious obligation. To love and care; to help; to share knowledge; to smile; and to have good intentions are all forms of prayers.
Albeit, there is no compulsion neither in religion nor in love, one is free to bask in the direction he may desire: to soar up high or to crawl down.