Suitable Timings of Prayers
It is appropriate that a supplicant should pay special attention about the timings of his prayer. Following are some of the most suitable timings for supplications:
A. Friday Day and Night
It has been narrated from Imam al-Baqir [a]:
"Every Thursday night till the end of Friday, Allah calls his believing servants from the Upper Heavens, inviting them towards Himself and announces: 'Is there any believing servant who before the day breaks asks forgiveness for his sins and I forgive him, is there any one who seeks anything from me and I grant his requirements, is there a believing servant, who cries for Me, and I respond?"'
Also, it has been narrated:
"Allah delays the grant of a supplicant's prayer and fulfilment of his needs until Friday."
Also, it has been narrated from the Holy Prophet [s]:
"The day of Friday is the most superior and exalted among all the days in the sight of Allah, even superior than the days of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. He continued and said: 'there is a special particular hour on Friday, that at that time there is no one who desires anything permissible and proper, but Allah grants his requirements."
The Holy Prophet [s] continued: "During Friday there are two hours which possess special merits; firstly, the hour when the Imam of the Friday congregational-prayer finishes his sermon until the lines of congregational-prayer get readied for the prayer, and the other hour is the end of the day."
B. The noon (dhor) and afternoon (asr) of Wednesday, especially, for prayer and cursing of infidels.
C. During night (isha) a), it has been narrated that such opportunity and preference were not given to the past nations.
D. The first hour of the first half of the Night, it has been narrated from Imam al-Sadiq [a]:
"There is a particular hour during, the night, in which if a believer would offer the prayer, it is impossible but it would be accepted (by Allah). He was asked: 'which hour is it?' The first hour of the first half of the night', replied the Imam
Also, it has been narrated from the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali [a]:
"It was at this hour that Prophet David [a] went out to fight against Goliath." Also he said: "Whoever prays during this hour, his prayer is granted but ...."
E. End portion of night till the dawn or the last one third of the night.
It has been narrated from the Holy Prophet [s]:
"Whenever the end portion of night arrives Allah looking at his servants says: 'Is there any supplicant so that I could grant his prayer? Is there any needy so that may I fulfil his needs? Is there any repentant so that I there could accept his repentance? Is there anyone offering apology so that I could accept it?"
In another tradition it has been narrated that Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted) says:
"O' righteous ones strive and o' sinners and transgressors stop doing it."
Also it has been narrated:
"Whoever sleeps in that portion of the night till the dawn, Satan urinates in his ears."
Response of Sayyid ibne Taoos to Divine Proclamation
The most celebrated learned scholar and jurisprudent Sayyid ibne Taoos (R.A.) who in the words of my own teacher - holds the highest rank in the community after the Sinless Imams [a] and no one else could be compared to him - has responded to this divine invitation with most elegant and sublime themes and sentences. And it would be most desirable if the wayfarer towards the spiritual journey, during this hour of the night should recite those sentences and contents from the book Uddat al-Da'i, in response to that divine proclamation.
Another Important Point from Sayyid ibne Taoos
It must be mentioned that this pious tradition of responding to divine proclamation, for the first time was established by ibne Taoos, similarly he was the pioneer of celebrating the first day of his becoming obliged for religious duties as the Day of Feast (Jashn-e-Taklif) for thanking Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), because of bestowing upon him this distinction (i.e., to perform religious obligations). And it was not heard that before him anyone has done so, therefore, in truth both of the above-mentioned initiatives are indicative of his sagacity, great spirit, and lively mind.
F. At the breaking of dawn, the duration between the real and false day-break, in my opinion this is the best time especially for prayer of sustenance.
G. From dawn till sunrise.
H. The Night of Power (Qadr), especially the night of twenty-third of the Holy Month of Ramadhan.
I. The Nights of Awakening (Shab-e-Ahya), i.e., the first night of the Holy Month of Rajab, the 15th night of the Holy Month of Sha'ban, the night of Eid-ul-Fitr and the night of Eid ul-Adha.
J. The Days of Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and the Day of 'Araf'a.
K. After finishing the daily mandatory prayers, the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali [a] has quoted from the Holy Prophet [s]:
"Whoever, after offering daily mandatory prayers supplicates - his supplications are granted."
Ibne Faham says:
I saw the Commander of the Faithful, Imam 'Ali, in my dream and asked him about this tradition, he replied that it is correct, and said after the mandatory prayer put your head in prostration and recite:
"O' Allah! By the one who has reported this tradition, by the one who has quoted this tradition from its narrator, send salutations upon all of them and grant my such and such needs."
It has been reported from Imam al-Sadiq [a]:
"Allah has made daily prayers mandatory upon you at times most liked by Him. You too should beseech Him for fulfilment of your needs at those times."
There are traditions regarding beseeching Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), after performance of recommended (nafilah) prayers and other recommended deeds.
L. During blowing wind, rain fall, at the day's end, when shadow disappears, and when the first drop of the blood of a martyr is spilled; during all of the above incidents the Gates of the Heaven are opened and the background for the grant of prayer is materialized.
Selection of suitable place like the Raas al-Hussein (the place where the head of Imam al-Hussein [a] is buried), or any other sacred place is another etiquette and manner of supplication, which has been mentioned in some of the traditions; supplication at such places undoubtedly possesses more distinction and is more nearer to be granted.
Important Thing about the Prayer
It will be sufficient to limit the description about the etiquette and codes of supplication to whatever already has been explained above, with the reminder that what constitute the most important thing in supplication are its esoteric codes and etiquette. Therefore, it is up to the supplicant that he should mobilize his best endeavours for their utilization, keeping in mind that all the profit and loss, good and evil lie in Allah's hand. He should never forget that all his good and welfare rest only in Allah's guardianship, nearness, and pleasure. Therefore from these considerations in his supplications, he should not think anything, or ask Allah anything, other than these, or whatever contains their background; that a true believer even likes Allah's bounties only from this consideration that he considers them from Him, rather in bounties too does not see anything except their relationship with Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted). It is because of this reason that all his existence, self, actions, and spirit became indifferent from world and worldliness and is continuously engaged in praise, adoration, and supplications.
Of course, being so is not easy and such state is not achieved without going through harsh rigorous asceticism, and only a small number of favourite gnostics have been able to attain such grace; but others even the good ones and the companions of right-hand (Ashab ul-yamin) look, towards the means (Musabeb al-Asbaab). And in their prayers instead of asking only Him, His-nearness, and His-pleasure present other requests and other wants. Therefore, it is for us that if we are not in the category of those special favourite gnostics who don't ask Him anything except Him, and do not ask anything from the beloved except the beloved himself, at least, together with worldly requests, we must beseech Him for bestowing upon us His pleasure and nearness.
And if we are not lucky to have access to such grace at least we must ask him for forgiveness and Paradise together with our worldly deeds. May we be among those whose prayer is:
"Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter which is good."
- Holy Qur'an (2:201)
And if we cannot ask this continuously in all the prayers, at least we must ask this in some of the prayers.
Apart from this, what is most important in prayer is humility, earthiness, humbleness, and shedding tears, and it is up to the supplicant that in addition to the heart-brokenness and heart's humility, should not forget the exoteric manifestations of prayer such as: sitting upon dirt, putting dirt upon the face, putting head upon the dirt, opening the head and hairs, putting hands around the neck (like the captives), pleading with tongue in a sweet pleasing manner, begging, and utilizing the most appropriate phrases and sentences relevant to your own needs and His Splendour and Majesty.
Spiritual Journey of the Mystics (Suluk-i Arifan)
Haj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (R.A.)