Paradise: the prize of prayers
June 07 2019 01:30 AM

Allah Almighty Says  (what means): “And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [Qur’an 4:103]
For forty consecutive years, Sa`eed Ibn Al-Musayyib, may Allah have mercy upon him, was to be found in the mosque before the Athaan (call to prayer) was made. `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, became unconscious after he was stabbed, and according to Al-Miswar Ibn Makhramah, may Allah have mercy upon him, it was said: “Nothing would wake him up except the call to prayer, if he is still alive.” So people said to him: “The prayer has finished, O Chief of the Believers!” He therefore awoke and said: “The prayer! I swear by Allah that there is no share of Islam for whoever abandons the prayer.” He then performed the prayer while his wound was bleeding.
 After Ar-Rabee` Ibn Khaytham, may Allah have mercy upon him, became partially paralysed, he would go to the mosque helped by two men. He was told: “O Abu Yazeed! You have been given permission to pray at home.” He replied: “You have said the truth, but I heard the caller say: ‘Hayya `ala al-falah’ (rush to success), and so I thought that whoever hears this call should answer it, even by crawling.”
‘Uday Ibn Haatim, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Every time the time for prayer arrives, it finds me eager and ready to perform it (i.e. in the state of ablution).”
Abu Bakr Ibn ‘Abdullaah al-Muzani, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Who is like you, O son of Aadam? Whenever you desire, you use water and make ablution, go to the place of worship and thus enter the presence of your Lord (i.e. start praying) without a translator or barrier between you and Him!”
Abu Rajaa’ al-’Ataaridi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said on his deathbed: “I am not grieved by leaving anything behind, except that I used to bow down on my face five times a day before my Lord, the Exalted and most Honoured.”
Abul-’Aaliyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I would travel for days to meet a man and the first thing I would note about him would be his prayer. If he was one who established the prayer perfectly and on time, I would stay with him and hear the knowledge he had to impart. If I found him to be careless concerning the prayer, I would leave him and say to myself that for things other than the prayer, he would be even more careless.”
When ‘Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, may Allah have mercy upon him, would perform ablution, the colour of his face would change. His family asked him why this would always happen and he would reply: “Do you know before Whom I am about to stand (in prayer)?”
Yazeed Ibn ‘Abdullaah, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked: “Should we make a roof for our mosque?” He replied: “Purify your hearts and your mosque (in its current state) will suffice you.”
‘Uday Ibn Haatim, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Ever since I became a Muslim, I always made sure to have ablution when the Athaan is called.”
‘Ubayd Ibn Ja’far, may Allah have mercy upon, him said: “I never saw my uncle Bishr Ibn Mansoor miss the first Takbeer (that commences the congregational prayer in the mosque), and whenever any person stood up in our mosque to ask people for help, he would always give him something.”
Ibn Sam’ah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “For 40 years, I only missed the first Takbeer once, and that was when my mother died. If you know of a man’s disinterest in being present in the mosque for the first Takbeer, then wash your hands of him (i.e. know that there is no good in him).”
Sufyaan Ibn ‘Uyaynah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Honouring the prayer includes arriving before the Iqaamah (the call that establishes the prayer) is called.”
Maymoon Ibn Mahraan, may Allah have mercy upon him, was once delayed from coming to the mosque on time. When he did eventually arrive, he was told that the people had already concluded the prayer: “We all belong to Allah and to Him shall be our return! I value the congregational prayer more than being made governor of Iraq,” he lamented.
Yoonus Ibn ‘Abdullaah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “What is the matter with me? If I lose a mere chicken I feel concerned, but when I miss a prayer in congregation it does not grieve me!”
‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, once said while standing on the pulpit: “A man may have white hair in Islam (i.e. reach old age while being Muslim), but has not yet completed even a single prayer for Allah the Exalted!” He was asked: “Why is that?” He replied: “Because he does not perfect the prayer’s required Khushoo` (solemness) and fails to be attentive to Allah with his heart.”
Hammaad Ibn Salamah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I have never stood up for prayer without imagining that the Hellfire is before my eyes.”
Mu`aath Ibn Jabal, may Allah be pleased with him, advised his son saying: “My son! Pray the prayer of he who is just about to leave this world, and imagine that you may never be able to pray again. Know that the believer dies between two good deeds: one that he has just performed, and the other that he intended to perform next.”
Bakr Al-Muzani, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “If you want your prayer to be of benefit to you then say to yourself prior to it that you may not have the chance to perform another prayer.’”
Shubrumah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “We once accompanied Qarz al-Harithi on a journey; whenever we would camp down in an area, he would scan it with his eyes and when he found a good piece of land that he liked, he would go to it and pray there until it was time for us to leave.”
Al-Qaasim Ibn Muhammad, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Whenever I went out in the morning, I would visit (my aunt) ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and greet her. One day, I found her performing the Al-Dhuha prayer (two unit of supererogatory prayer performs in between sunrise and forenoon) while crying and invoking Allah by reciting one verse from the Qur’an repeatedly. The verse of the Qur’an was (which means): “So Allah conferred favour upon us and protected us from the punishment of the Scorching Fire.” [Qur’an 52:27] I stood there until I felt weary, then I left and went to the marketplace, telling myself that I would return to her when I finish. Later, when I did return to her, I found her still standing in prayer, reciting the same verse, and crying and invoking Allah.’”
Maymoon Ibn Hayyan, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I never saw Muslim Ibn Yasar turn his head while praying, whether the prayer was short or long. Once, a part of the mosque collapsed while he was praying in the mosque and the noise caused people who were as far away as the market to be terrified, but he felt no fear whatsoever and continued praying without even moving his head.” He may Allah have mercy upon him also said: “I accompanied ‘Ataa’ Ibn Rabah for 18 years. When he became old and weak, he would stand in prayer and read close to two hundred verses from Chapter Al-Baqarah while standing so firmly that no part of him would move.”
Abu Bakr Ibn ‘Ayyash, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “If you saw Habeeb Ibn Abu Thabit while in prostration, you would think that he was dead due to its extended length.”
‘Ali Ibn al-Fudhayl, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I saw Ath-Thawri go into prostration while praying, and I performed Tawaaf (circumambulation) around the House (i.e., the Ka’aba) seven times before he raised his head from prostration.”
‘Uthmaan Ibn Abi Dahrash may Allah have mercy upon him said: “I never performed a prayer without invoking Allah afterwards to forgive me for falling into shortcomings in the way I performed it.”
Mu’aawiyah Ibn Murrah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “I lived among seventy of the companions of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and had they lived among you today, they would not recognise any of your acts except the Athan!” He may Allah have mercy upon him also said: “If a man from our predecessors was resurrected among you today, the only thing he would recognise would be your Qiblah (prayer direction).”
When Haatim Al-Asamm, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked about his prayer, he replied: “When the time for prayer draws near, I perform a perfect ablution, go to where I will pray and sit there until I am fully cognisant of what I am about to do. Then, I stand up and pray, imagining that the Ka`aba is in front of my eyes, Paradise to my right, Hell to my left and the Angel of Death behind me. I imagine that it is the last prayer I will ever perform; I stand up in hope of Allah, His Paradise and His rewards, and in fear of Allah’s torment in the Hellfire. I then say the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar – Allah is the Greatest) while having full attention. I recite the Qur’an calmly, bow humbly, prostrate with humility and attentiveness and then sit on my left leg, with my left foot laid on the floor and the right foot raised up - all the while praying with sincerity. Afterwards, I have no certainty about whether that prayer was accepted from me or not.”
One of our pious predecessors may Allah have mercy upon him said: “O son of Aadam! You need your share of this life, but your need of the Hereafter is far greater. If you take care of your share of this life then you will lose your share of the Hereafter, and you will very soon lose your share of this life, too. But if you take care of your share of the Hereafter then you will also win your full share of this life with ease.”
Talq Ibn Habeeb, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Allah’s rights are greater than the slave’s capacity and ability to fulfil them. Therefore, reach every morning in a state of repentance and every night also in a state of repentance.”
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What after Ramadan?

Ramadan is a level playing field wherein people compete with each other in good deeds and benevolence. During the blessed month, souls are trained in virtue and accustomed to dignity, they learn to disdain vices, sins and acquire all good attributes.
Whoever witnesses this month without gaining any of its rewards is indeed poor, and nothing cripples him other than negligence, laziness, procrastination, and false hopes.
However, what is appalling is to see some of those who were guided to do good deeds and take provisions from virtues during the month hastily destroying what they had built, and replacing good with evil. This is a gross mistake and shameful act in the true sense of the word and no remorse or apology will revoke it when you stand in front of your One Lord.
Bishr, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked about people who only become diligent during the month of Ramadan and he said: “They are abominable people, because they only know Allah The Almighty during the month of Ramadan. The truly righteous people are those who worship Allah The Almighty diligently throughout the whole year.”
Ash-Shibli, may Allah have mercy upon him, was asked, “Which is better: Sha‘ban or Rajab?” His answer was, “Be a worshipper of Allah The Almighty rather than a worshipper of Sha‘ban.”
‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked, “Did the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, choose some special days (for fasting)?” She replied, “No, but he used to be regular (constant) (in his service of worshipping).” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also never performed more than 11 Rak‘ahs (units of prayer) whether in Ramadan or at any other time of the year.
We sincerely invite such people out of fear for them to reconsider their lifestyle and to review themselves and think about their condition before it is too late. We advise them not to allow appearances, their strength, health and youth to deceive them. That is because all of this is nothing but a mirage that one may see as water, but once he reaches it, he finds nothing. Health will be followed by sickness, youth will be followed by old age, and strength will eventually turn into weakness.
So, wake up and pay attention! Life is short even if it seems long, and happiness will end no matter how long it lasts.
Such people should know that perseverance and adherence to the right path as well as obedience to Allah The Almighty is one of the greatest signs of acceptance of one’s good deeds. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).} [Qur’an 15:99]
Consequently, the souls should remain adherent to the right and guided path just as they were during the month of Ramadan. Guidance is not confined to certain times and acts of worship, and obedience to Allah The Almighty is not limited to the month of Ramadan.
Al-Hasan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Allah has not set an end for the believer’s work other than death.” Then he recited: {And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).}[Qur’an 15:99] 
Indeed, Ramadan has ended but you still have several renewed seasons for worship. The five daily prayers are among the highest and best good deeds and prayer is the first thing about which one would be asked on the Day of Judgment when he stands in front of Allah The Almighty.
If the fast of Ramadan has ended, then you have the voluntary fasts and occasions such as the six days of Shawwal, Mondays and Thursdays, the White Days, the tenth day of Muharram, the Day of ‘Arafah, and so on.
If the night prayer of Ramadan has ended, you should know that the night prayer can be offered every night: {They used to sleep but little of the night} [Qur’an 51:17]
If the time of Zakat al-Fitr has ended, then there is the obligatory Zakah in addition to the countless ways of giving voluntary charity.
Dear Muslim brother, you should know that one of the attributes of the slaves of Allah The Almighty is that they perform their good deeds constantly, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Those who are constant in their prayer} [Qur’an 70:23]
{And they who carefully maintain their prayers -} [Qur’an 23:9]
If you aspire to know how to save yourself from this trap and how to perform good deeds regularly, you have to do the following:
1-   You must be sincerely and strongly determined to do good deeds constantly under all circumstances and conditions. This requires keeping away from weakness and laziness. That is why the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to seek refuge with Allah The Almighty from inability and laziness, given their dire consequences. Hence, you should seek the help of Allah The Almighty and move ahead.
2-   Moderation is very important, and you should never overburden yourself, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Do such deeds as you can do easily, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) until you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
You should remember that there are blessings in perseverance. For example, whoever reads a Juz’ (portion) of the Qur’an every day will read the whole Qur’an in one month, and whoever observes fast for three days every month will be rewarded as if he had observed fast throughout the whole year. Likewise, whoever observes 12 voluntary Rak‘ahs every day, Allah The Almighty will build a house for him in Paradise, and so on.
3-   You should know that it is unacceptable for whoever observes a good deed to abandon it. It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas may Allah be pleased with him said, “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to me: ‘O ‘Abdullah! Do not be like so-and-so; he used to get up at night (for voluntary prayer) but abandoned it later.’’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
4-   Dear brother, remember what our righteous predecessors used to do. ‘Aa’ishah may Allah be pleased with her said that whenever our beloved Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, missed the night prayer because of illness or sleep, he would pray 12 Rak’ahs the next day.[Muslim]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also once missed ‘Itikaaf (staying in seclusion) and he made up for it in Shawwal. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said to Bilaal, may Allah be pleased with him: “O Bilal, tell me about the most hopeful act (i.e., one which you deem the most rewarding with Allah) you have done since you accepted Islam because I heard the sound of the steps of your shoes in front of me in Paradise.” Bilaal, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘I do not consider any act more hopeful than that whenever I make ablution (or take a bath) in any hour of the night or day, I would immediately perform prayer for as long as was destined for me to pray.’’’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
However, the most amazing thing is what ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, used to do in response to the advice of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, when he once visited him and found him sleeping with his wife Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, (daughter of the Prophet). ‘Ali said, “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, placed his leg between me and Fatimah and taught us what to say when we go to bed, saying: ‘When you go to your bed recite 33 times Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah), 33 times Alhamdulillaah (All praise is for Allah), and 34 times Allah-u-Akbar (Allah is The Greatest).’ ‘Ali added ‘By Allah, I never left this practice for the rest of my life.’ A man asked him, ‘Even on the night of the Battle of Siffeen?’ He said, ‘Yes, I observed this even on the night of Siffeen.’”[Al-Hakim: Saheeh]
If you contemplate over this narration, you will be amazed at the keenness and persistence on doing good deeds even at times of war and bloodshed. None of these distracted him from implementing the advice of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, regarding what he should say upon going to bed. Such stories and narrations should make you persist in doing good deeds and attempting to imitate the righteous predecessors and following their path.

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