Quarterly: Issue No 47
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FIVE LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE DURING SALAAH
When it comes to Salaah, people are at FIVE levels.
The first is the l bevel of the one who wrongs himself and is negligent. He does not do wudoo properly, or pray at the right time or make sure he does all the necessary postures of prayer properly. This first type of experience is liable for punishment.
The second is one who observes the outward essentials of prayer, prays on time and does wudoo, but he has lost the battle against his own self and is overwhelmed with waswaas (evil whisperings). This second type of experience is accountable to Allah.
The third is one who observes the outward essentials of prayer, prays on time and does the wudoo, and also strives against his own self and against waswaas, but he is preoccupied with his struggle against his enemy (i.e. the Shaytaan), lest he steal from his prayer, so he is engaged in Salaah and Jihaad at the same time. This third type of experience is known as striving, and therefore the person is not counted as a sinner.
The fourth is one who when he stands up to pray, he fulfils all the requirements of the prayer, and his heart is fully focused and alert lest he omit anything, and his concern is to do the prayer properly and perfectly. His heart is deeply immersed in his prayer and worship of his Lord. This fourth type of experience is fully rewarded by Allah.
The fifth is one who does all of the above, but he takes his heart and places it before his Lord, looking at his Lord with his heart and focusing on Him, filled with love and adoration, as if he is actually seeing Him. Those waswaas and those thoughts diminish, and the barriers between him and his Lord are lifted. The difference between the prayer of this person and the prayer of anyone is else is greater than the difference between heaven and earth. When this person prays, he is preoccupied with his Lord and content with Him. This fifth type of experience is to draw close to one’s Rabb, because the person is one of those for whom Salaah is a source of joy. Whoever finds their joy in Salaah in this life, will find their joy in being close to Allah in both this world and the Hereafter. Whoever finds his joy in Allah will be content with everything, and whoever does not find his joy in Allah, will be destroyed by his feelings of grief and regret for worldly matters.
A FEW GREAT BENEFITS OF RECITING THE NOBLE QUR’AN
Indeed to reflect on Allah’s verses is a form of worship that will draw one close to Allah, Glorified be His Name. This reflection on Allah’s Kalaam should not a reckless one; rather it includes a study of the classical commentaries (tafaaseer) of the verses being pondered over.
Indeed the Book of Allah is not a book like any other. It is the timeless Speech of Allah - not a created thing (ghair-ul-makhlooq), our guide for life and death and what comes thereafter. Therefore it deserves a more careful study than anyone else’s speech. It necessitates that its reader return to the early narrations of those who witnessed its revelation and heard its explanation by the one deputed by Allah i.e. our beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), to rehearse and explain His Words to humanity. For if one would try to ponder over the meanings of the verses without having done this study, then surely the filth of the time that he lives in and his ignorance of the correct application and understanding that the early Muslims had would cause him to understand some things not intended by Allah Most High. Therefore he would go astray, thinking that he is serving Allah. Every sincere Muslim who hopes to earn Allah’s Love by reciting and reflecting over Allah’s Book, then let him hold tight to the meanings explained by the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), and those taught by the companions and their immediate followers, and the early scholars of Islam.
My dear brother and sister! Know very well that reciting and pondering over the Book of Allah, devoting your time regularly to its study and implementation has tremendous benefits in this life and the next. So let us now look to just a few of them to attach ourselves more firmly to Allah’s Majestic Words. Each of the benefits explained below is enough of an encouragement to shun any laziness on our part and dedicate ourselves to the Noble Qur’an.
1 - Reading and reflecting over the Qur’an fulfils an Islamic duty.
Indeed our Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) summarised this Religion with his statement. It is narrated on the authority of Tamim ad-Dari that the Apostle of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: Al-Din is a name of sincerity and well wishing. Upon this we said: For whom? He replied: For Allah, His Book, His Messenger and for the leaders and the general Muslims. (Muslim: Book 1, Hadith 98). The sincerity that is due to the Book of Allah includes its regular recitation; learning the rules of tajweed and reciting it in a beautiful voice; learning about its tafseer and the reasons for its revelation; affirming that it is the Truth - the perfect Speech of Allah - and not part of His creation; honouring and defending it; abiding by the orders and prohibitions found in it; teaching it and calling people towards it. (See Jaami-ul-Uloom wal-Hikam of Ibn Rajab Al-Hambali). So by reading and reflecting over the Qur’an, one fulfils an obligation and is rewarded for that. Upon fulfilling this obligation, the Qur’an then becomes a proof for him on the Day of Judgment. And that is our second benefit we will take by embracing this Kalaam of Allah.
2 - The Qur’an will be a proof for us on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Malik at-Ash'ari reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: “... and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you.” (Muslim: Book 2, Hadith 432). One of two things will occur with this proof i.e. the Book of Allah. It will either be in your favour, a proof for you on the Day when you will need every single good deed, or it will be something standing against you, the very Speech of your Creator, a proof against you. Who could be saved from the terrors of that Day if Allah’s own Speech is against him? Think carefully about your position with regard to the Qur’an. Are you neglecting it, contradicting it, being heedless of its orders and prohibitions, are you thinking deeply over it? Will it be on your side on the Day of Judgment? O Allah! We ask you, by Your Glorious Speech and the rest of your beautiful Names and Attributes, to make the Noble Qur’an a proof for us. O Allah! Don’t make the Qur’an a proof against us on that Day, and save us from the Hellfire! For if Allah makes the Qur’an a proof in our favour on that Day, then it would also be an intercessor for us by Allah’s Permission.
3 - The Qur’an will intercede for us on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Umama said he heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) say: “Recite the Qur'an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite it. Recite the two bright ones, al-Baqara and Surah Al 'Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them.” (Muslim Book 4, Hadith 1757)
4 - Your status in this life will be raised.
In Saheeh Muslim (Book 4 Hadith 1780), we find a lovely story, about how a man from the people of Jannah, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, understood this principle. Some men came to question him during his khilaafah about the leadership of Makkah, they asked, “Who do you use to govern Makkah?” He said, “Ibn Abzaa.” They asked, “And who is Ibn Abzaa?” Umar replied, “A freed slave from those we freed.” They remarked, “You left a freed slave in charge of the people of the Valley (the noble tribes of the Quraysh)?” So he answered them, “He is well versed in the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Great; and he is well versed in the commandments and injunctions (of the Shari'ah). Umar said: So the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: By this Book, Allah would exalt some people and degrade others.”
5 - You will be from the best of the people.
Caliph Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Narrated Uthman: The Prophet said, "The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur'an and teach it." (Bukhari Book 61, Hadith 545)
6 - There are ten rewards for each letter you recite from the Qur’an.
We must have heard a very famous and authentic Hadith in Tirmidhi: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” So let us increase our recitation of the Qur’an to gain these merits and rewards.
7 - The reciters of the Qur’an will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels.
A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, relates that the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Such a person as recites the Quran and masters it by heart, will be with the noble righteous scribes (i.e. angels in Heaven). And such a person who exerts himself to learn the Quran by heart, and recites it with great difficulty, will have a double reward." (Bukhari Book 60, Hadith 459).
Let not the Shaytaan give us false excuses, such as “I am not an ‘Arab,” or “It’s not my language.” This Hadith is a firm proof against these whisperings. Dedicate yourself to the Book of Allah, whether you are an Arab or not. The excuses have been eliminated and the pathway has been cleared for you to embrace the Book of Allah without holding back or offering excuses. And surely you will not hesitate to seek a teacher or a study circle for the Qur’an once you hear the last and perhaps greatest benefits of reading and contemplating over the Qur’an.
8 - Your position in Paradise is determined by the amount of Qur’an you memorize in this world.
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas heard the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) saying: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’aan: ‘Recite and rise in status as you used to recite in the world, and your position will be at the last verse you recite.’” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1646; al-Tirmidhi, 2914; classed as Saheeh in Abu Dawood. ”
9 - The Qur’an will lead you to Paradise.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “The Qur'an is an intercessor (which by Allah's permission) intercedes, and an opponent (which is) truthful. He who appoints it as his leader, (then it) will lead him to Paradise. And he who puts it behind him, (then it) will lead him to the Fire." (Ibn Hibban, Al-Bayhaqi, At-Tabarani - Sahih on the authority of Abdullah ibn Mas’ood).
Remember very well that these nine benefits from the many benefits available can only be attained by a sincere commitment to the Book of Allah, not by a person’s mere statement, “I love the Qur’an. It is a great miracle etc.” Rather the heart must be sincerely attached to Allah’s Book (Kitabullah) and the limbs and tongue will follow in this attachment. We have recounted only a few of the numerous benefits of reading and reflecting upon the Noble Qur’an. There are many benefits that await your reading of the Noble Qur’an in the various books of Hadith, like the chapter of the Qur’an that will argue on your behalf in the grave; and that it is a physical healing also; a source of rest and relaxation for your heart; among many other things.
May Allah guide us all in understanding Islam in its pristine purity! Ameen!
Requesting your humble duas!
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir,
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN,