We should have recourse to prayer and should seek forgiveness from God Almighty for He is Self-Sufficient and is not subject to anyone’s authority. He has no regard for a person who does not come to Him humbly and in submission. If a person goes to another begging or seeking a favour and puts forward his helplessness and poverty, he would be shown some favour, but if a person comes riding a horse and seeks a favour and threatens that if it is not granted he would have recourse to force, he would only be met by force. To seek a favour from God Almighty obstinately, and to make one’s faith conditional, is a great mistake and is likely to prove a stumbling block. Perseverance and steadfastness in prayer is one thing, but obstinacy is quite another. To say that if one’s purpose is not fulfilled one would deny faith or would say this or that is great foolishness and betrays ignorance of the manner of prayer and amounts to shirk. Such people are not aware of the philosophy of prayer. Nowhere does the Holy Qur’an say that God would accept prayer according to the desire of the supplicant. It is true that it is said in the Holy Qur’an:
ٱدۡعُونِيٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡ
but it is also part of our faith, as the Holy Qur’an too says:
وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيۡءٍ مِّنَ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ وَٱلۡجُوعِ
If by virtue of:
ٱدۡعُونِيٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡ
God accepts your prayer, then by virtue of:
He enforces His own will. It is the benevolence and generosity of God Almighty that He accepts the supplications of His servants; otherwise, it would not be inconsistent with His Godhead and providence that He should always enforce His will. When He says:
وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيۡءٍ مِّنَ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ
at that time He desires to enforce His will. There is sometimes fear and sometimes hunger, and sometimes there is decline in wealth, or loss in trade, or poor harvest, or death of children or loss of fruits and harmful results. These are trials from God Almighty. At that time, God desires to display His authority and to enforce His will. At such times a sincere believer accepts the will of God cheerfully and gives it preference and is pleased with it and makes no complaint and thinks no ill. That is why Allah the Exalted says:
And give glad tidings to the steadfast.
God does not say that glad tidings should be conveyed to supplicants, but to those who persevere. It is necessary, therefore, that a supplicant should not lose heart if he meets with failure in his prayers, but should prefer the pleasure of God Almighty with steadfastness and perseverance. The men of God perceive the hopefulness of an enterprise and in that case they supplicate; otherwise, they are content with divine determination. When they perceive the signs of a calamity, they supplicate, but if they feel that such is divine determination, they are steadfast, as was the case with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) on the demise of his children, one of whom was Ibrahim.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Essence of Islam – Volume II (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2004), 223-225.
1. ‘Pray unto Me, I will answer your prayer.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 40:61.
2. ‘And We will try you with something of fear and hunger.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 2:156.
3. ‘Pray unto Me, I will answer your prayer.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 40:61.
4. ‘We will try you.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 2:156.
5. ‘And We will try you with something of fear.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 2:156.
6. The Holy Qur’an, 2:156.