The Advantages of Prayer
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
There are several benefits accruing from prayer. All the time spent in preparing for the nearness to Allah and supplication is a part of one’s prayer.
Dear reader! You must have observed that Allah attracts the ignorant creatures towards Himself by making innumerable promises. This can be explained by the simile of a king making the hawk sit on his arm with affection to train it to hunt. He gives a variety of food to the bird to befriend it. When the hawk is fully trained, he lets it go hunting and to return and perch on his arm. Another example is of parents training and educating their children and, in the process, informing them the myriad uses of learning and skills. When the child is not attentive, they give him pretty dresses and other goodies to attract him towards learning. When the child gets motivated, he himself tries to excel in the skills that the parents wanted him to acquire. Then, whatever comes in the way, the child continues making progress. Similar is the disposition of man.
Man doesn’t understand the pleasures and the successes of the Hereafter. Therefore, the Almighty, with His kindness and indulgence invites men towards Himself thus: “O my creatures! Come. Whatever you ask for, I shall give you! I have everything that can bring you closer to Me! They can thus accomplish their wants in the world and also in the Hereafter. What degree of Munificence that, notwithstanding the Omnipotence, I have, I am calling you closer to Me. But the ignorant creatures are worrying futilely that their prayers have remained unanswered!”
Therefore Allah says: Truly man manifests ungratefulness to his Creator (100:6)
Man wonders why his prayer remained unanswered. He doesn’t think that supplication is a part of the prayer required of him. When he made entreaty to Allah, he came closer to Him! He communicated his feelings and wishes to the Creator and the Sustainer! He heard Allah\'s labbaik (thy beck? and call)! O supplicant! If you realize the true happiness of prayer and supplication, and the eyes of your heart fathom the mysteries of the attention Allah gives to your lamentations, you would sacrifice your own self not to talk of your mundane wishes! Imagine, a person gets the opportunity with a man in authority, say, a king! And that monarch looks with some attention at the visitor. In his wonderment the man might forget to make his submission to the worthy!
What a pity that when people supplicate before the Almighty Allah, they forget that they have an opportunity to address Allah who has the control of everything in the Universe.
Allah says, “O My creature! Pray and trust Me for your welfare!” And man in his ignorance behaves stubbornly. If he hadn’t a screen of negligence over his mind, he could understand the truth. Allah says: O angels! Delay fulfilling his wishes! I like the voice in which he is supplicating. If man realizes this, he will submit himself totally to the wish of Allah and shun praying for mundane wishes.