Presentation on theme: "1 Barakaat-ud-Do’aa (Blessings of Prayer) by The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi (a.s.) Presentation at the 14 th National Ta’alim-ul Qur’an Class at Toronto,"— Presentation transcript:
1 Barakaat-ud-Do’aa (Blessings of Prayer) by The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi (a.s.) Presentation at the 14 th National Ta’alim-ul Qur’an Class at Toronto, Canada (5-7 August, 2005) Prepared and Delivered by: Dr. Saleem Rahman Ottawa
2 Background of Writing this Book Barakaat-ud-Do’aa (Blessings of Prayer) Published: 1310 Hijra [April 1893 A.D.] A rebuttal of two books written by Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan [KCSI = Knight Commander Star of India] 1. Ad-Do’aa wal Istijaabah [Prayer and the Acceptance of Prayer] 2. Tahreer fee Osool-it- Tafseer [A Treatise on the Principles of Exegesis (i.e., the Commentary of the Holy Qur’an)]
3 Background Sir Sayyed negated the Islamic beliefs in: –Revelation: (God as the) External Source of Revelation Revelation in the form of Specific Words –Angels: as the medium, who “carry” Revelation from God to a human Sir Sayyed’s writings helped formulate a Naturist school of thought in India. The Naturists were influenced by the Western Philosophy of that time
4 Background They tried to reconcile Islamic Principles with Western Philosophy, by presenting interpretations of the Holy Qur’an that were usually quite distorted The Naturists were — without their realizing it — causing a lot of damage to the perception of Islam and were misleading the Muslims and turning them away from Islam The Promised Messiah defended, and clarified, the beliefs regarding: – The Angels and their many tasks, in his book Aa’eena-e- Kamaalaat-e-Islam (A Mirror of the Excellences of Islam) and, –The reality of Prayer to God and the Acceptance of Prayer by God, in his book Barakaat-ud-Do’aa [The Blessings of Prayer]
5 Background In this book, Barakaat-ud-Do’aa, the Promised Messiah also laid out the principles that must be followed in any commentary of the Holy Qur’an Sir Sayyed had demanded, from a rival, to produce a description of such principles. The Promised Messiah (a.s.) responded, instead. The Promised Messiah described seven guiding principles to be kept in mind in evaluating any commentary of the Holy Qur’an.
6 What did the Book, Barakaat-ud-Do’aa, Accomplish? A Warning, A Challenge, A Defence –Warned the self-appointed “friends” of Islam that they were, in fact, hurting the cause of Islam –Challenged the opponents of Islam to come to the Promised Messiah and witness Signs from God in support of Islam –Defended Islamic beliefs, that were under attack, by presenting logical and rational arguments
7 Sir Sayyed’s Ideas about Prayer and the Meaning of its Acceptance 1. God promises that He will accept prayers (40:61) Your Lord says, Pray to Me; I will answer your prayer (40:61) But, in practice, many prayers are humbly presented to God, yet nothing is gained as a result This can only mean that: –The acceptance of prayer does not mean that God will simply grant someone the “thing” which one has prayed for
8 Pre-destination is supreme — Prayer is of no help 2. It is, in fact, the Pre-destination that determines all events that will happen and those that will not happen Thus, God’s promise to accept prayers cannot be taken as a “general promise”, because events pre- destined to “not happen” will surely not happen — regardless of your prayers for them to happen Therefore, the notion of Acceptance of Prayer can only mean the Acceptance of Prayer as an Act of Worship – that is all!
9 Pre-destination is supreme — Prayer is simply redundant However, if something is pre-destined to happen and, by chance, you also prayed for it to happen, then it will happen — though not due to the (acceptance of) prayer, but due to its pre-destiny
10 Prayer as a tool of “Distraction” from One’s Problems When you pray, and call to your mind: How Great is God, and how Majestic and Powerful is He – then this idea “occupies” your mind and distracts your attention from your worries – this is Sabr, or patience to persevere in the face of your hardships
11 Summary: Sir Sayyed’s Ideas about Prayer and the Meaning of its Acceptance In short: –What’s going to happen is going to happen — whether you pray for it or not –Prayer is utterly useless as a means of “getting something” from God. –Prayer is “accepted” only as “an act of worship”. –It is not “accepted” in the sense of God answering you, or actually giving you what you prayed for
12 Summary: Sir Sayyed’s Ideas about Prayer and the Meaning of its Acceptance –Prayer is, at best, a distraction from your problems and worries, and it can give you an illusion of patience — just to get you through hard times It is man’s nature to expect “someone” to help him in his desperate moments So — to satisfy man’s nature — man has been taught: You must ask God, for whatever you need help with
13 The Rebuttal of Sir Sayyed’s Naturist Ideas by The Promised Messiah (a.s.)
14 Pre-destination: Cause Effect Everything in the world, whether good or evil, is governed by the laws of destiny determined by God Almighty Such laws are in terms of Cause and Effect CAUSE EFFECT
15 Means Ends (or Objectives) God has established the operation of these laws by providing “means” that may be used in order to achieve the desired “ends” (or, objectives) MEANS ENDS
16 An Example: Using Medicine vs. Using Prayer A medicine has certain properties due to which it is used (as a “means”) when needed by a patient, so that he is cured (i.e., gets the “end” result) The patient does not avoid using medicine, due to his belief in the power of “pre-destination” (“What is going to happen is going to happen; so why use medicine?”)
17 Similarly, Do’aa (Prayer) is a humble supplication in the form of an earnest request to God (i.e. a “means”) to grant a person something he needs (i.e., he wants to get a desired “end” result) So, how can a person, in need, avoid using the means of Prayer (which has God-given properties) due to his belief in the power of “pre-destination” (“What is going to happen is going to happen; so why resort to Prayer?”)
18 The system of Pre-destination (or, “effects”) has been linked by God to the system of causes (or, “means”) Nothing, that is pre-destined, happens without a cause-and-effect relation. The error of Sir Sayyed is that he fails to recognize that Prayer is also among the God-created effective “means”, for the benefit of human beings to achieve desirable “ends”, under God’s laws
19 Sir Sayyed believes that fire has a specific quality — it burns. Now, although he believes in the reality of pre-destination, yet he would not say that: “If someone is pre-destined to get burnt, he would get burnt even without fire.” Sir Sayyed seems to think that although fire has an effective quality but prayer has no effective qualities He fails to recognize that the same pre-destination that rules (the quality of) fire also governs (the qualities of) Prayer.
20 The Root and the Branch: An Analogy Prayer is the “Root” (i.e., the main fact) Acceptance of Prayer is its “Branch” (i.e., a subsidiary of the main fact) PRINCIPLE: One who is confused about the “Root”, always has difficulties in understanding the “Branch” (as does Sir Sayyed)
21 The Promised Messiah (a.s.) Explains the Nature of Prayer and the Process of the Acceptance of Prayer There is an existing force of attraction between a righteous man and God, at all times. First, God’s “Rahman” attribute pulls man towards Him God Righteous Man Secondly, due to the pull of a righteous man’s truthful sincerity with God, God gets closer to him God Righteous Man
22 At the time of Prayer, this ongoing attraction between God and a righteous Man, reaches a Special Height Then, at that level, it produces strange and wonderful attributes of power
23 What are the components that take one to “that level”? When a person is facing some hardship and turns to God with the following attributes of his prayer: Perfect certainty (of belief in God’s powers) Perfect hope Perfect love Perfect f aithfulness Perfect courage
24 Then, becoming exceedingly vigilant (and awakened) he pierces through the coverings of oblivion (unawareness) and advances on and on in the fields of self-negation (and self-annihilation) Then, eventually, he perceives that he is in the presence of the Divine Court of Allah — to the total exclusion of everything and everyone Then his spirit obediently places itself, in submission, at the threshold of God’s presence
25 Now, the existing force of mutual attraction that is (already) within him, attracts the favors of God Almighty At this point, Allah the Glorious, the Exalted, turns His attention toward granting this man’s wish (who has been praying) Now, God diverts the full impact of that Prayer onto all those initial causes that give birth to another set of causes (or “means”) that are necessary to achieve the desired objective
26 Example: If the prayer was for the rain to come, then — after the acceptance of this prayer — those physical factors that are essential for rain are created (i.e., provided) The saints believe that a “power of creativity” is born within the prayer of a perfectly righteous person — it can “do” something (under God’s permission) i.e., under God’s permission, that prayer powerfully diffuses into the Physical Realm as well as the Spiritual Realm, and brings together the physical elements, the heavenly bodies, and the minds of other human beings towards the favorable direction
27 An Excerpt from A Book of Hadhrat Sayyed Abdul Qaadir Jeelani (r.a.), presented by the Promised Messiah (a.s.) If you want to become one accepted by God then believe that your hands and feet, your eyes, tongue and your entire body, and all its elements are idols [lying] in your way. So also are your children and wife, and everything you wish for in the world… these are all idols lying in your way. So, therefore, you should not obey any of these idols by devoting yourself wholly to it—except to fulfill your obligations according to the Shariah. If you do that, you will rise in rank [in God’s estimation] until your “self” will not be visible anymore…
28 An Excerpt from A Book of Hadhrat Sayyed Abdul Qaadir Jeelani (r.a.), presented by the Promised Messiah (a.s.) Cont’d. [Then] through your prayers and your blessings, acute sufferings of other people will be removed… Whatever will find expression through your tongue will, in fact, originate from God… And the operation of pre-destiny will be nullified in your case, i.e., your prayer and your attention will creatively permeate the world. And then, should you wish to cause what is extinct to become present and what is present to become extinct, the same will transpire. And matters that transcend the normal operations would find expression through you … [From: Fotooh-ul-Ghayeb]
29 “What did the Prophets have in their hands, except Prayer?” [The Promised Messiah (a.s.)] Several kinds of Miracles are, in fact, the result of the Acceptance of Prayer Various Revealed Books of God contain many such examples
30 The strange and wondrous spectacle that transpired in the desolate country of Arabia — when hundreds of thousands of the [spiritually] dead were revived to life within a very short span of time; and those who had had crooked ways for generations, they acquired the Divine color; and those who were blind of sight became people of vision; and the mute started giving expression to the God-inspired words of wisdom. And all of a sudden such a Revolution took place in the world that was totally unseen and unheard of before that time. Do you know what it was? It was the nightly Prayers —supplicated in pitch darkness — by the one who had totally annihilated himself in (the cause of) Allah, that raised a clamor in the world, and wrought such amazing feats that would seem impossible to be accomplished by that unlettered man who was without any human support.
32 In my personal experience, too, the effectiveness of Prayer far exceeds the (effective) attributes of water and fire. Rather, in the entire Physical Realm, there is nothing, by comparison, that is as superbly effective as the Prayer
33 Prayers and Medicines DOUBT: Some prayers do not seem to hit the target and they seem to produce no result REPLY: Various medicines are no different, in this regard, either. So, would you stop medical treatment as such? Although pre-destination governs everything, but it has neither wasted nor discredited various branches of human knowledge If you observe carefully, the Physical Means and the Spiritual Means, neither are outside the purview of pre-destination
34 Both Physical Means and Spiritual Means are within the Pre-destination Example: If the pre-destination is favourable to a patient, then: (A) The (pre-destined) suitable means of treatment will become fully available (B) The condition of the patient’s body will be such as to be fully receptive to that treatment When (A) + (B) occurs, the medicine hits the target and the patient is cured
35 Medicine and Prayer: The Same Principle of Success The Prayer acts on the same principle: –The suitable means and –The favourable conditions come together only in such cases where it is God’s intention to accept the Prayer God has tied the Physical Realm and the Spiritual Realm in the same chain of Cause and Effect relations It is an error of Sir Sayyed that he accepts only the Physical Realm, and rejects the Spiritual Realm
36 Proof of the Acceptance of Prayers: An Offer by the Promised Messiah (a.s.) If you persist in your beliefs against the acceptance of prayers, I promise that I will inform you about some of my prayers about you—well in advance of their acceptance. If you permit me,I will even publish them in advance,for the benefit of general public. But, in return, you must also promise to give up your false ideas, after witnessing the truth of my claim
37 Another Offer to Sir Sayyed by the Promised Messiah (a.s.) [Sir] Sayyed should try to imagine his last day of life and, in view of that, I think it is better for him to come and stay in my company for a few months. Since I am Divinely Appointed, and I am [commissioned to be] a Giver of Good News, therefore, I promise that I will prayerfully focus my attention for achieving satisfaction for [Sir] Sayyed. I am hopeful that God will show some Sign to bring to naught the “Law of Nature” as theorized by [Sir] Sayyed.
38 Sir Sayyed misunderstood the meaning of the verse (40:61) he quoted The command “Pray unto Me” is not about all kinds of ordinary prayers. It is only about the Act of Worship (or Prayer) that is obligatory for mankind. That is why, disobeying this command is stated to be punishable by Hell (unlike the case of ordinary prayers).
39 Even if we accept (for the sake of argument) that it refers to all ordinary prayers, the fact remains that the Acceptance of Prayer requires that all the necessary conditions of its success are met at the same time. And only God can cause them all to happen at the same time (when He intends to accept a prayer)
40 Favorable Conditions for the Acceptance of a Prayer Humble submission is not the only pre- condition. Others include: –Taqwa (Fear + Love of God) –Purity (physical + spiritual) –Truthfulness –Perfect Belief –Perfect Love –What is prayed for is not contrary to wisdom underlying a Divine Purpose
41 Favourable Conditions for the Acceptance of a Prayer Cont’d. Success in acceptance of prayer further requires: –A full measure of spirituality must enter into the prayer, and –An affinity (closeness) between the person who prays and that what is prayed for must be firmly established
42 Favourable Conditions for the Acceptance of a Prayer Cont’d. Until the Divine Intent moves favourably towards the acceptance of a prayer: –The simultaneous occurrence of these “favourable conditions” does not occur, and … –One falls short of the full measure of persistence and attentiveness needed for a successful prayer
43 Salvation in the Hereafter—A Result of Acceptance of Prayers: So, Why Not in This Life? If Sir Sayyed believes that a true believer’s prayers for getting salvation in the Hereafter are accepted, then it must be also accepted that his prayers are accepted for achieving what he prays for in this world, too! Alternatively: –If prayers for needs arising in this world simply go waste: Then the prayers for achieving salvation in the Hereafter will go waste, too! (So, what does now remain of the Belief in the Hereafter?)
44 Seven Guiding Principles for Assessing a Commentary of the Holy Qur’an Internal supportive evidence (i.e., from within the Holy Qur’an) Support from the commentary by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) Support from the commentary by the Companions of the Holy Prophet(s.a.w) Pondering over the Holy Qur’an with the help of one’s own purified nature Digging into Arabic lexicons to add to the depth of perception in the meanings of the words of the Holy Qur’an Pondering over the Physical Phenomena to try to understand the nature of the Spiritual Phenomena (due to the parallelism, created by God, between the Physical Realm and the Spiritual Realm) [The evidence received through the] Revelation of a Saint, or of the Mohaddaseen [i.e., those who are blessed to be able to converse with God and receive response through receive Divine Revelation]
45 The Promised Messiah’s Narrative of his Personal Experience of Receiving the Revelation from God I affirm the truth of the fact, by swearing to it in the name of Allah, the Exalted in His Glory, that the Revelation descends upon my heart like a ray of light from the sun falls upon a wall. I experience every day that, whenever the moment of Divine Converse arrives then, initially, I suddenly experience a state of rapturous detachment [roboodgi] and I become like a transformed object: although my sense of feeling and cognizance do remain—nominally speaking—but, at that moment, I find myself as if my entire being has been powerfully secured within the grip of another— exceedingly powerful—being. At that moment, I perceive that every fibre of my being is in his hand, and whatever was mine is no longer mine but belongs to him.
46 While I am in that state, initially God the Exalted brings forth those thoughts of my heart [or, mind] upon which He wants to cast a ray of His Discourse. Then, amid a wondrous state, those thoughts are marshalled in front of my view, i.e., when a thought appears, e.g., for Zayed, as to whether or not he will be cured of a specific illness, then in a flash a piece of Divine Discourse falls on that [bit of thought] like a ray of light and, due to that, quite often my whole body quakes. Now, that matter having been resolved, another thought comes in view. The moment this thought is positioned in front of my view, immediately another piece of Divine Discourse falls upon it! This is analogous to a hunter-archer who keeps on shooting arrows as soon as the game successively comes right on the mark. Right at that time it is perceived that this continuum of thoughts is born out of my natural capacity, whereas the Divine Discourse that falls upon it descends from higher up… This narrative aids in clearly understanding as to what is the natural capability and what is it that descends from the heaven.
47 The Promised Messiah’s Narrative of his Personal Experience of Receiving the Revelation from God
48 The Promised Messiah’s Additional Narrative of his Personal Experience of Receiving the Revelation from God (page 26) This humble one has been blessed with the Divine Discourse almost for the last 11 years, and know this fact very well that Revelation indeed descends from the heaven… I have experienced that, at the time of Revelation— that descends on me in the nature of the Revelation granted to the Saints—an external and overwhelmingly strong control is felt. Sometimes this control is so overpowering—and engulfs me in its myriad luminescence in such a way that I feel being pulled toward it in a manner that none of my faculties can resist it.
49 The Promised Messiah’s Additional Narrative of his Personal Experience of Receiving the Revelation from God (page 26) During this state of being under Divine Control, I hear an openly flowing and luminous Discourse. I sometimes see the Angels and experience the [profound] impact and awe-inspiring quality, which characterizes the Truth. Such Discourse, quite often, comprises the matters pertaining to the Unseen. And such a Divine Control and its grip is external, which provides the proof of the existence of God the Exalted. Now, negating this would amount to killing a manifest truth.
50 The Promised Messiah’s Additional Narrative of his Personal Experience of Receiving the Revelation from God (page 26)
51 Conclusion A Persian Poem by the Promised Messiah (a.s.) Cure your Disease of Disbelief in Prayer, through [using the “medicine” of ] Prayer Just as the [habitual] drinker treats the [morbidly strong] urge to drink, by drinking even more wine. O ye who says that if a Prayer has any effect, where is it? Rush towards me! I will demonstrate it for you, as clearly as the bright Sun Listen up! Do not negate the mysteries of the Transcendent Power of God; Wrap up this issue: come and see through me the [living] example of an Accepted Prayer