Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Prayer and God-glorification|
|09/18/01 at 01:33:07|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
[center]Prayer and God-glorification
By Dr Muhammad Kamal Al-Shareef[/center]
Man's ability to direct his thoughts beyond the present time and place, to look to the future imagining how things will be and his ability to remember past events is part of the grace God has bestowed on man. In fact it adds to his strength. However, continued thoughts of what lies beyond the present reality, or 'self-talk' as the Prophet has termed it, comes often at the expense of one's peace of mind and often deprives a person of the pleasure of enjoying whatever may give him happiness in his present circumstances.
As life becomes more and more complex, with increasing pressures, man has become more aware of the need to refrain from too much self-talk or daydreaming. He needs to live the present moment, aware of his surroundings, without letting his mind travel far into the future and its worries, or the past and its memories.
Recent studies emphasize the strong relationship between stress and various diseases. They establish that peace of mind and the absence of worry is closely related to both physical and psychological health. As man is increasingly aware that, despite all the means of comfort and luxury made available in modern civilization, freeing him from endless search for means of sustenance, he is much less happy than could have been expected. Hence, it is important that man should find a way to regain reassurance and peace of mind, even if it is only for a few minutes every day.
In his search for such reassurance, Western man looked to the Far East, going beyond Islam to consult Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. He imported Yoga and contemplation, so that he learns how to spend sometime, even a few minutes, without thinking, or rather without self-talk. Indeed, man cannot stop thinking altogether. But if he stops daydreaming, he will think about what lies ahead of him without realizing that he is thinking. Thus, his thoughts become spontaneous, in the same way as he looks at objects and listens to sounds.
From Yoga, Western people learnt how to sit still, focusing their eyes on a particular spot, repeating a word that is either meaningless or has a meaning for Buddhists. It may only mean 'the whole' or 'one' or something similar. Such words used in Yoga exercises and repeatedly articulated or made the focus of concentration are known as Mantra.
A believer, however, is in no need of anything like that. He does not need to borrow the mantra of anyone in the whole world. He looks around him to see the great work of God, testifying to His limitless power. He praises and glorifies Him, saying "Subhan Allah", which means 'Limitless is God in His glory.' In this word, a believer concentrates all the meanings of God's greatness. He seeks no meaningless Mantra to relax his tired mind.
When a believer says "subhan Allah", he testifies to God's greatness, power, wisdom, generosity, knowledge and the care He takes of His servants. More of God's attributes are also remembered when man glorifies Him in this way. He in fact acknowledges that absolute perfection in every sense belongs to God alone. He makes it clear that no weakness, shortcoming or imperfection could apply to God, the Creator of the universe.
A believer does not stop at mentally acknowledging God's greatness. He frequently repeats "subhan Allah wa bihamdihi, subhan Allah al-atheem", which translates as: 'Limitless is God in His glory; all praise belongs to Him. Limitless is God in His glory; He is indeed the Almighty.' As he repeats this, man's mind is full of God's greatness, praising Him and acknowledging that all greatness belongs solely to Him. This applies to all people, be they highly educated or totally unlettered.
A believer draws himself away from all preoccupations to spend sometime in glorifying God, repeating such glorification by word of mouth and feeling it by heart. He repeats different phrases which God's messenger has taught us. This gives us more faith, reassurance, and presence of mind. We are thus able to overcome daydreaming that takes us away from the present and the reality, and deprives us of the pleasure of contemplating the great universe around us.
Glorification constitutes an important part of prayers. It helps us to concentrate on prayer, whether we say it in one position or the other in our prayers. When it is repeated with humble acknowledgment of God's glory, it gives us very highly beneficial psychological reassurance. Great is God indeed, who has commanded us to attend to worship that enhances our faith in Him, so as to make it part of our lives. Thus, faith becomes free of all pressure and stress, interacting positively with our nature. After all, faith is ingrained in human nature.
[i]"Islam in Perspective" - Arab News - 16 April 2001[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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