Saturday, January 14, 2017

Journeys of Life: A Qur'anic Prayer

      “O my Lord, make my entry a good entry,
       and make me go forth a good going forth. 
       And grant me from Yourself a helping power.” 
                    ---(Al-Isra, 17: 81).

This prayer was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) before his migration from Mecca to Medina. Within it lies a prophecy about his eventual return as well as his migration. It also contains a much wider meaning. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was persecuted for thirteen years in Mecca and it was for this reason that he migrated to Medina. He would depart with the truth and return with the truth.

The question arises as to why his return has been mentioned before his departure. God in His wisdom, did not want the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to suffer for a moment the thought that he might have to leave Mecca permanently. His re-entry has been mentioned first to make it more definite and to assure him that he would return and so have no reason to grieve and worry. This prayer also reveals the circumstances under which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would have to leave Mecca. His opponents had branded him as a liar, fabricator and a false prophet. The welcome he received in Medina bore witness to his truth. With reference to Medina the verse implies that the people would bear witness to his truth and so would the people of Mecca on his return. This would result from his prayers and the exclusive help of God. 

This prayer should also be offered with regard to all journeys. The Quranic prayers have a wide meaning and may be offered in connection with various matters. Whatever prayer the Quran relates, a particular event or situation may also be applied to more or less similar kinds of situations which occur in daily life. This was the practice of the Holy Prophet and his companions.

Another aspect of this prayer relates to the continuing changing conditions in a person's life. These changes can move from bad to good or vice-versa. Also in the previous verses God has revealed prayerful guidance by which means the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) may rise to great spiritual height:

“Establish regular prayers -
at the decline of the sun till the darkness of the night, 
and the morning prayer and reading: 
for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. 
And pray in the small watches of the morning: 
(it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for you: 
soon will your Lord raise you to a Station of Praise and Glory!”
 ----(Al-Isra 17: 79-80).

Everyone who wants to fly high spiritually should offer the prayer regularly and understand its meaning properly otherwise he would be liable to go astray as was the case with Balam son of Baura who was a righteous man and who was lured away from piety by worldly attractions and subsequently suffered disgrace.

“Relate to them the story of the man to whom We gave Our revelations, but he stripped himself out of them: so Satan followed him up, and he became of the misguided. And had We willed We could have raised him therewith, but he clung to the earth and followed his own lust. So the likeness of him is like the likeness of a dog: if you attack him he lolls out his tongue; and if you leave him alone he lolls out his tongue; this is the parable of the people who reject Our revelations. So relate the stories that they may reflect.” (Al-Araf 7: 176-177).

Often a person desires to attain a spiritual rank based on selfish motives for recognition in the eyes of the world. They may even have experiences similar to spiritual experiences which they think have come from God whereas they were from Satan.

I urge all my disciples, truth seekers, Muslims and all mankind to advance constantly along the righteous path and seek help from God. The prayer which is perfect and comprehensive has deep meanings pertaining to various conditions and situations. It covers both spiritual and physical journeys.

One should never lose hope under trials and afflictions. If one submits oneself to God with patience He will remove one's distress and replace it with the reward of His pleasure.

May Allah count you among those who forebear and obtain His pleasure. Be it in good and bad times, always surrender your will to that of Allah. You shall never be a loser. All that which you apparently “lose” in world for the pleasure of Allah, the eternal reward which Allah has kept hidden from you for the moment shall be of extraordinary dimension and taste. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

---Friday Sermon on 13 January 2017(13 Rabi'ul Aakhir 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.