An Excellent Prayer

24 AN EXCELLENT PRAYER (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- – The Promised Messiah) The most excellent prayer which instructs us concerning the time and occasion of supplication and depicts before us the picture of spiritual zeal is the one that God, the Beneficent, has taught us in the opening chapter of the Holy Quran. It is as follows: All worthiness of praise belongs to Allah alone Who is the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds (1:2). He provides for us out of His mercy before any action proceeds from us, andafter we have actedHe rewards our action out of His mercy (1:3). He alone is the Master of the Day of Judgement and has not committed that day to anyone else. (1:4). 0 Thou Who dost comprehend all these attributes, we worship Thee alone and seek Thy help in aE our affairs (1:5). The use of the plural pronoun in this context indicates that all our faculties are occupied in His worship and are prostrate at His threshold. Every person by virtue of his inner faculties is a multiple entity and the prostration of all his faculties before God is the condition that is called Islam. Guide us along Thy straight path and establish us firmly on it (1:6); the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy bounties and favours, and not of those who have incurred Thy wrath, nor of those who went astray and did not reach Thee (1:7). Amen. These verses tell us that divine bounties and favours are bestowed only AN EXCELLENT PRAYER 25 upon those who offer up their lives as a sacrifice in the cause of God, and devoting themselves wholly to it and being occupied entirely with His pleasure continue to supplicate so that they might be bestowed all the spiritual bounties that a human being can receive by way of nearness to God, meeting Him and hearing His words. With this supplication they worship God through all their faculties, eschew sin and remain prostrate at His threshold. They safeguard themselves against all vice and shun the ways of God’s wrath. As they seek God with high resolve and perfect sincerity, they find Him and are given to drink their fill of their unders- tanding of God. The true and perfect grace that conveys a person to the spiritual world depends upon steadfastness, by which is meant that degree of sincerity and faithfulness which cannot be shaken by any trial. It means a strong relationship with the Divine which a sword cannot cut asunder and fire cannot consume, nor can any other calamity damage it. The death of dear ones or separation from them should not interfere with it, nor should fear of dishonour affect it, nor should a painful death move the heart away from it in the least degree. Thus this door is very narrow and this path is very hard. Alas how difficult it is ! This is indicated by Almighty God in the following verse: Tell them: If your fathers, mid your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your kinsfolk, and the wealth that you have acquired, and the trade the dullness of which you apprehend, and the dwellings that you fancy, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah declares His judgment. Allah guides not 26 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS the disobedient people (9:24). This verse clearly shows that those people who put aside the will of God and give preference to their relatives and their properties whom they love better, are evil-doers in the estimation of God and that they would surely be ruined because they preferred something else to God. This is the third stage in which that person becomes godly, who welcomes thousands of calamities for the sake of God, and leans towards Him with such sincerity and devotion as if he has no one related to him except God, and all others have died. The truth is that till we submit ourselves to death we cannot behold the Living God. The day our physical life undergoes death is the day of the manifestation of God. We are blind till we become blind to the sight of all besides God. We are dead till we become like a corpse in the hand of God. It is only when we face God completely that we acquire the steadfastness that overcomes all passions of self, and the steadfastness brings about the death of the life that is devoted to selfish purposes. This is described in the verse: This means that God requires that we should offer ourselves -to be sacrificed in His cause (2:113). We shall achieve steadfastness when all our faculties and powers are devoted to His cause and our life and our death are all for His sake, as He has said: Proclaim, O Prophet: My prayer and my sacrifices and my living and my dying are all for the sake of Allah (6:163). When a person’s love of God reaches a stage at which his living and his dying is not for his own sake but is entirely for God, then God, Who has always loved those who love Him, bestows His love upon him and by the meeting of these two loves a light js generated inside the person which the world cannot recognize or understand. Thousands of the righteous and the elect had to lay down their lives because the world did not recognize them. They were accounted selfish and deceitful as the world could not see their bright countenances, as is said: They look at thee, but they do not see thee(97:199). • AN EXCECCENT PRAYER 2 7 In short from the day when that light is generated in a person he ceases to be earthly and becomes heavenly. He Who is the Master of all beings speaks inside him and manifests the light of His Godhead and makes his heart, which is saturated with His love, His throne. As soon as such a one becomes a new person through His bright transformation, God becomes a new God for him and manifests new ways for him. It is not that God becomes another God, or that those ways are different from His ways, and yet they are distinct from His normal ways, of which worldly philosophy is not aware. He becomes one of those who are referred to in the verse: ; L Of the people there are those of high degree who dedicate themselves wholly to seeking the pleasure of Allah in return for their lives. These are the people towards whom Allah is Most Compassionate (2:208). Thus he who arrives at the stage of spiritual life becomes wholly devoted to the cause of Allah. In this verse God Almighty sets forth that only such a one is delivered from all suffering who sells his life in the cause of Allah in return for His pleasure and proves his devotion by laying down his life. He considers that he has been brought into being for obedience to his Creator and for service of his fellow beings. He performs all the virtues which are related to every one of his faculties with such eagerness and sincerity as if he beholds his True Beloved in the mirror of his obedience. His will is identified with the will of God and all his delight is centered in his obedience to God. Righteous conduct proceeds from him not as labour but as delight and pleasure. This is the paradise that is bestowed upon a spiritual person in this very life. The paradise that will be bestowed in the hereafter would be a reflection of this paradise which will, through Divine power, be manifested physically. (Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam). *************************