A Time to Pray and A Time to Act

Apr 3, 2005

44. The way God Almighty designed and ordained it for human beings, life on earth is responsibility. It is taking responsibility for oneself and for others. It is being responsible for one’s actions and then caring and being responsible for others to be able to reach out and help them.

45. The way God Almighty designed and ordained it for human beings, life on earth is action. It is meaningful, effective, timely and well-planned and well-thought out action – at the individual level as well as at the social, collective, cooperative and collaborative levels.

46. The way God Almighty designed and ordained it for human beings, life on earth is not mere contemplation. And it is not mere prayer or chanting and uttering of God’s blessed name to the exclusion of effective individual and collective action.

47. The way God Almighty designed and ordained it for human beings, life on earth is not an escape into the realm of the sublime and the spiritual, or the exotic and the abstruse, to the exclusion of the physical, social, economic, political, cultural, personal and other mundane aspects, demands, requirements and obligations of everyday life in society.

To Pray also Is to Act

48. That means prayers must be followed and preceded and accompanied and supported by effective and responsible individual and collective social action.

49. That means action is ultimately an act of faith – Iman. In the Islamic scheme of things, it is worship.

50. And so is prayer. Your prayers are a fruit and function of your Iman. Where there is no Iman, there can be no real prayer – only imitations and parodies of it.

51. And in the Islamic scheme of things, action also is prayer – well-intentioned, well-thought-out, effective, responsible, God-conscious and God-fearing action is the heart of prayer.

52. That is because in Islam work is worship – provided your belief is right; provided your intentions are good; and provided your actions are right, good and lawful.

53. Prayer – Du’a – without action is a mockery. It means you are playing games with God Almighty. It is nothing short of blasphemy, for you are refusing to take God seriously.

54. God Almighty provided you with your senses – sight, hearing, touch and the rest – whose job it is to scan the environment and provide you all the information you need to be able to achieve your goals and objects in this world – the things for which you are now praying to God.

55. God Almighty fitted you with a brain, whose function it is to think and to be able to identify your needs and figure our ways of getting those needs met in this world using lawful, moral and ethical means – the very same things for which you are now praying to God.

56. God Almighty fitted you with a mouth and other abilities and apparatus of communication, such as your whole body, with which you can make your legitimate needs known to your fellow human beings and ask them for their help in meeting and fulfilling those needs – the things for which you are now praying to God.

57. So, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to set about systematically working to achieve in real life all those lawful and legitimate things you are now praying to God for.

Right and Wrong: Halaal and Haraam

58. In doing all this, use only means, methods, tools and ingredients God has made lawful – Halaal.

59. For, they are right and good for you and they are blessed by God.

60. And scrupulously stay away from means, methods, tools and ingredients God has made unlawful – Haraam.

61. For, they are bad for you and they are harmful to you and God dislikes them.

62. For, he is a loving, caring, doting, solicitous and compassionate God. He likes what is good for you and has made it lawful. And he dislikes what is bad for you and has made it unlawful.

63. Begin everything you do with Bismillah – in God’s glorious and wondrous name. Because Bismillah confers legitimacy upon your actions and blesses them – provided they are lawful to begin with.

64. End everything you do with Alhamdulillah – unqualified praise for God’s limitless blessings and bounties upon you and upon the rest of his creation. For, Alhamdulillah is the best way of thanking Allah for all that he has given you.

65. Allah’s promise to people in the Qur’an is: “Thank me and I will give you more!”

Fear and Love God!

66. Fear Allah the way he should be feared – or to the best of your ability.

67. Love Allah’s creation and his people the way you want everyone and everything to love you.

68. Throw yourself upon the infinite mercy of Allah at every stage of your work.

69. And then even as you are busy working diligently and conscientiously to achieve your goals and objectives in this world, pray to him every step of the way.

70. Keep him before you every moment and be mindful of his presence every second.

71. Say and do nothing that will displease him and cause him to turn away from you.

72. Now, write your own ticket, for as you pray, so shall it come to pass.

73. That is a prayer worth praying, and that is a prayer that will not fail.

74. Except that when you reach that stage of closeness to God Almighty, you may discover that you really do not have much to pray for – except to utter his praises all the time, and to glorify his holy name, and to beg him to have mercy on you and to grant you his pleasure and grace.

75. So, these are some of the reasons why many of our prayers don’t seem to produce visible effect. In our uncaring hands, and in our cold, cruel and hardened hearts, they have become imitations, mockeries and parodies of the real thing.

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