Prayer is a fact emitting from man’s outward and inward. It aims at purifying man materially and morally. It controls man’s conduct when he is about to shake before the desires and incitements of this life and it creates a special feeling inside him making him think and behave in an exalted way.
The holy Qur’an in some verses invites people to offer the prayers as a divine obligation determined by Allah on man.
“And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and whatever good you send before for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah; surely Allah sees what you do.” Qur’an, 2:110
The Qur’an invites people to resort to prayers and patience to face great problems and distresses and to feel that doing good and benevolence is something easy and has no high cost.
“And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones.” Qur’an, 2:45
The prayer that can bring man back to the right pathis the prayer that has its legal and moral conditions.
The prayer, in which man follows the conditions of the permiss ibility of his cloths, of the place in which he offers the prayer, the water of wudu’and ghusl, the soil of tayammu m and the prayer which is offered with tranquility and in its time the prayer that man offers with activeness and away from laziness and indifference the prayer that is offered with sincere intention and full attention it is this prayer that can help man to face all his problems and distresses and it is this prayer that encourages man not to submit to the desires and incitements.
The holy Qur’an has mentioned in some verses the prayer as a sign of spiritual wealth and sincere faith: “Those only are believers whose hearts become full of fear when Allah is mentioned, and when His communications are recited to them they increase them in faith, and in their Lord do they trust. Those who keep up prayer and spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.” Qur’an, 8:2-3
The Qur’an strongly prohibits people tooffer the prayer while being sleepy, lazy, indifferent or inattentive. The Qur’an asks the believers to offer the prayer at time with activity, purity, tranquility, sincerity, attentiveness and all other conditions.
“O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated until you know (well) what you say.” Qur’an, 4:43
The Qur’an shows that inviting one’s family and children to offer the prayer is of the prophets morals. For example it talks about Prophet Isma’eel (Ishmael) (as) when inviting his family to that: “And he enjoined on his family prayer and almsgiving, and was one in whom his Lord was well pleased.” Qur’an, 19:55
The holy Qur’an declares that the prayer makes one refrain from indecency and evil. It has been proved by experiments that the real prayer has a power that prevents man from committing sins and indecencies and purifies the inners of man from impermissible lusts and desires and strengthens his organs to worship Allah and follow His orders.
“And keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil.” Qur’an, 29:45
The holy Qur’an declares that those who do not offer obligatory prayers, who are stingy and who deny the day of resurrection will be among the people of hell on that day.
“They shall say: We were not of those who prayed and we used not to feed the poor and we used to enter into vain discourse with those who entered into vain discourses and we used to deny the day of judgment.” Qur’an, 74:43-46
The Qur’an also declares that one, who diss embles in his prayers and is inattentive to the essence of prayer, denies religion itself.
“So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers, who do (good) to be seen and withhold the necessaries of life.” Qur’an, 107:4-7
Concerning the relation between the prayer and the moral and jurisprudential conditions many traditions have been narrated. Here we mention some of them.
Imam al-Baqir (as) say in one of his recommendations, “Do not make little of your prayers because the Messenger of Allah (S) has said before his death, “He, who makes little of his prayers, is not from me and he will not come to me at the pond (in paradise). By Allah, he is not from me whoever drinks any intoxicating drink and by Allah he will not come to me at the pond57.”
It is mentioned that Prophet Moses (as) has said to Allah, “My Lord, what is the reward of one who offers his prayers at time?” Allah said to him, “I will give him what he asks me for and I will reward him with paradise58.”
Imam as-Sadiq (as) has said, “The most beloved one to Allah is one who is truthful in his sayings, who offers his prayers at time, carries out the obligations Allah has imposed on him and gives deposits back to their owners59.”
Once Ibn Mass’ood asked the Prophet (S), “What is the best of deeds near Allah?” The Prophet (S) said, “The prayer at its time60.”
The Prophet (S) has also said, “Do not waste your prayers! Whoever wastes his prayer will be resurrected with Qaroon (Croesus) and Haman and Allah will throw him into hell with the hypocrites. Woe unto one who does not keep up prayers and does not imitate his Prophet61!”
Imam as-Sadiq (as) has said, “One, who follows the Truth, is known with three aspects; who his companions are, how his prayer is offered and at what time and if he is wealthy, his wealth is observed how it is spent62.”
Imam as-Sadiq (as) has also said, “Try our followers with three things; how they keep up prayers on time, how they keep our secret from our enemies and how they spend their monies in helping their brothers63.”
From among the aspects of the believers is that they spend their monies in the way of Allah. Allah has said, “Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them.” Qur’an, 2:3
The true believers offer their wealth, knowledge, reputations, positions and social ranks to solve the problems of people. They offer all what they have for the sake of Allah without considering that as a favor on anyone and without being proud or pretentious.
The believers care for the zakat like their care for the prayer, the hajj and fasting. Their state when giving the zakat and other financial dues is the same as their state when offering the prayer.
The believers often and always act according to the mission and not according to their personalities. They do not think of stinginess at all when they give zakat, charity and spending on the poor and needy.
The holy Qur’an orders the people to spend from their wealth and insists on this matter strongly to a degree that it considers one, who refuses to spend, as if he throws himself into perdition.
“And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.” Qur’an, 2:195
The Qur’an considers abstaining from giving the zakat and charities as a cause that leads one to lose his afterlife and leads him to disbelieve and to be unjust. The Qur’an declares to people that those, who are stingy of their monies, will have no interc essor on the day of resurrection or anyone to have mercy on them.
“O you who believe! spend out of what We have given you before the day comes in which there is no bargaining, neither any friendship nor intercession, and the unbelievers, they are the unjust.” Qur’an, 2:254
The Qur’an declares that spending in fact is good to man himself and it keeps one from being stingy. It encourages man to be generous and then to gain success.
“Therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah as much as you can, and hear and obey and spend, it is better for your souls; and whoever is saved from the greediness of his soul, these are the successful.” Qur’an, 64:16
The Qur’an emphasizes on that whoever spends for the sake of Allah, Allah will reward him with seven hundred times as much as he spends. The Qur’an considers the matter of spending as one of the natural facts in the world of existence which is so clear for all the people. Allah has given an example so that people become certain about the reward.
“The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in everyear; and Allah multiplies for whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.” Qur’an, 2:261
The Qur’an has recommended the believers to spend from their wealth in the night and the day, secretly and openly and it has decla red that this doing is highly admired by Allah and it will have a great reward on the day of resurrection besides that it will keep man safe from fear and grieve at the moment of death and on the day of resurrection.
“(As for) those who spend their property by night and by day, secretly and openly, they shall have their reward from their Lord and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.” Qur’an, 2:274
The Qur’an also declares that reciting Qur’anic verses, offering prayers and spending in the way of Allah are considered as profitable trade that does never cause a loss.
“Surely they who recite the Book of Allah and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them secretly and openly, hope for again which will not perish.” Qur’an, 35:29
Imam as-Sadiq (as) has said, “On every piece of you there is an obligatory zakat for Allah. In fact on every root of a hair and on every moment of your life there is a zakat. The zakat of the eye is to get lessons when looking and to lower the sight before the lusts. The zakat of the ear is to listen to wisdom, the Qur’an, teachings of religion, preaches, advices, what leads to deliverance and not to listen to lying, backbiting and the like. The zakat of the tongue is to advise the Muslims, to wake the inattentive, to glorify Allah and the likes. The zakat of the hand is to give generously from what Allah has given, to move it to write knowledge and advantages that the Muslims make use of and to hold it back before evil. The zakat of the leg is to walk to carry out the rights of Allah like visiting the pious, attending religious meetings, reconciling between people, visiting the relatives, participating in jihad and what purifies the heart and saves the religion64.”
It is narrated that Imam al-Askari (as) has said when interpreting “and pay the poor-due (zakat)” that has been mentioned in too many Qur’anic verses, “from wealth, high rank and the power of body. To pay zakat from wealth is to help one’s Muslim brothers and from high rank is to get them to their needs that they cannot get because of their weakness and from the power is to help a brother who has lost his sumpters in the desert or on his way and who asks for help but no one helps him; to help him with asumpters that he can join the caravan. In all that you have to believe in Muhammad and his pure progeny. Allah will purify your deeds and multiply them for your guardianship to them (Muhammad and his progeny) and your rejecting their enemies65.”
Ameerul Mo’mineen (as) narrated that the Prophet (S) had said, “Reciting the Qur’an in the prayer is better than reciting it in other than the prayer. Mentioning Allah is better than (giving) charity. Giving charity is better than fasting and fasting is protection (from the Fire)66.”
Imam Zaynol Aabideen (as) narrated that Ameerul Mo’mineen (as) had said, “In paradise there will be a tree of whose top jewels will come out and under which there will be piebald horses saddled and bridled and having wings. They do not urinate nor do they drop dung. The guardians of Allah will ride them and fly in paradise as they will like. Those, who will be below them, will say, “Our Lord, what has given all this dignity to these people?” Allah the Almighty will say, “They used to worship all the night without sleeping, fast all the day without eating, fight the enemy without being coward and give charity without being stingy67.”
The Prophet (S) has said, “He, who has given charity, will be rewarded from the bliss of paradise as much as the mountain of Uhod for each dirham (he has given)68.”
Imam as-Sadiq (as) narrated from his fathers that the Prophet (S) had said, “Every favor is considered as charity. One, who guides to good, is like the doer of good and Allah loves helping the needy69.”
A wonderful story on charity and spending
Imam al-Kadhim (as) has narrated, “One day (Imam) as-Sadiq (as) was in travel with some people who had monies with them. He said to them that there were robbers who attacked travelers. They became so frightened. He asked them what the matter was and they said to him, “We have a mounts of money with us and we fear that they will be extorted from us. Would you please keep them with you that when the robbers see that they are yours, they may leave us alone?” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said to them, “But they may have intended just to attack me and thus you cause me to face dangers because of your monies!” They said, “Then what should we do? Do we bury them?” He said, “This is worse. They may be taken by anyone or you can not find the way to them later on.” They said, “Would you please tell us whats hall we do?” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, “Entrust them with the one who will keep them, protect them, increase them and make the one (unit) of them greater than this world and then he will give them back to you when you are in out most need of them.” They said, “Who is he?” He said, “He is the Lord of the worlds.” They said, “How shall we entrust the monies to Him?” He said, “You spend them as charities on the poor Muslims.” They said, “How can we find poor Muslims in this situation?” He said, “Intend to spend one third so that Allah will protect the rest from what you fear from.” They said, “We have intended to do that.” He said to them, “Then you will be safe.”
They went on their way. The robbers appeared and they felt afraid. Imam as-Sadiq (as) said to them, “Why do you fear while you are under the protection of Allah?” The robbers came near. They got do wn of their horses, kissed the hand of Imam as-Sadiq (as) and said, “Last night we saw in our sleep that the messenger of Allah ordered us to offer o urselves to be at your service and here we are! We will accompany you and your companions to protect you from the robbers and enemies.” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, “We do not need you. He, Who has protected us from you, will protect us from the others.”
They went on their travel safely. They paid the third of their monies as charity. Allah blessed their trading and they got a profit of ten dirhams for each dirham. They said, “How great the blessing of as-Sadiq is!” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, “You have got the blessing because of your dealing with Allah. Keep on that70!”
Important letter from Imam ar-Redha to Imam al-Jawad (as)
Al-Bazanti, who is one of the famous narrators of traditions and has a great personality and high rank, says, “I have read the letter of Imam ar-Ridha’ (as) to his son Imam al-Jawad (as) which he had written from Marw to Medina saying in it: “O Abu Ja’far, I have been informed that when you ride your sumpter, the Mawali71 make you go out from the small gate of the garden. It is because of stinginess in them lest no one (of people) may get some goodness from you!
I ask you with my right upon you do not come in or go out except from the big gate.
When you ride your sumpter inshAllah, let some gold and silver be with you. No one asks you for something unless you give him. If one of your uncles asks you to be pious to him, do not give him less than fifty dinars and you may give him more if you want. If one of your aunts a sks you, do not give her less than fifty dinars and you may give her more if you want. If Someone of Quraysh72 asks you, do not give him less than twenty-five dinars and you may give him more if you want.
I just want Allah to make you succ eed, so fear Allah and give and do not fear stinginess from Allah.”
We must notice the fact that the Qur’an has prohibited people from giving charity or spending if they would remind the ones given charities with the favors which would harm them. Spending must be for the sake of Allah and to gain His content ment. Therefore the one, who is given charity, must be safe from being harmed or reminded of that favor by the one, who has given charity; otherwise spending will be impermissible and will not be rewarded by Allah.
“(As for) those who spend their property in the way of Allah, then do not follow up what they have spent with reproach or injury, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.” Qur’an, 2:262
“O you who believe! do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury.” Qur’an, 2:264
Anyhow offering prayers and paying zakat are among the good moral conducts Allah has granted to man out of His mercy and care. They are among the causes and deeds that lead to reform oneself out wardly and inwardly after repenting of sins and turning to Allah.
Believing in the Unseen, offering prayers, paying zakat, believing in the Qur’an and the other divine books, believing in the afterlife and the other things mentioned above are divine facts that guide man towards his Lord and make him successful in this life and the afterlife.
“These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.” Qur’an, 2:5
Success, as the scholars such as ar-Raghib al-Isfahani say, is the life after death, glory after meanness, knowledge without ignorance and wealth without poverty. All these things will be for man in the afterlife by virtue of believing in the Unseen (Allah, the angels, the barzakh, Resurrection, accounting, the scales, paradise and hell), offering prayers, paying zakat, charity and other spendings, believing in the Qur’an and the other divine books and believing in the afterlife.
It must be noticed that repentance does not mean cutting one’s relation with sins and disobedience only to be accepted and pleased with by Allah. According to the Qur’anic verses mentioned previously a repentant one must reform himself; his sayings and doings after his repentance. In other words a repentant one must exploit all his power in the way of good deeds and good morals to complete his repentance and recompense what he has committed before and to replace his bad deeds with good deeds.
“Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Qur’an, 25:70
Concerning good deeds and morals, which are the factors of reforming one’sinward and outward after repenting, and cutting one’s connection with sins and disobedience the holy Qur’an emphasizes on doing good and being kind to parents, relatives, orphans and the needy, talking politely and courteously with all people, offering prayers and paying zakat.
As I resort to the Qur’anic verses and holy traditions in my talks so I will talk about the moral beauty only; in other words the factors of reforming one’s morals and deeds and I will not repeat the previous matters mentioned in the verses and traditions above but I will talk about something else.
Let us pay attention toother practical facts about human morals included by the Qur’anic verses: “You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy, and you shall speak to men good words and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate.” Qur’an, 2:83
We have talked about the prayer and zakat as worships and obedience to the orders of Allah and now we shall talk about other subjects mentioned in this verse; being kind to the parents, relatives, orphans and the needy and speaking courteously with all people.
54. Al-Kafi, vol. 2 p.263.
55. Biharul Anwar, vol. 7 p.201.
56. Biharul Anwar, vol. 7 p.211.
57. Biharul Anwar, vol. 80 p.9.
59. Ibid., p.11.
60. Al-Khisaal, vol.2 p.78.
61. Uyoon Akhbar ar-Redha, vol.2 p.31.
62. Biharul Anwar, vol. 80 p.20.
63. Al-Khisaal, vol.1 p.103.
64. Misbah ash-Sharia, p.17-18, Biharul Anwar, vol. 93 p.7.
65. Biharul Anwar, vol. 96 p.9.
66. Ibid., p.114.
67. Biharul Anwar, vol. 96 p.115.
69. Ibid., p.119.
70. Biharul Anwar, vol. 96 p.120, Uyoon Akhbar ar-Redha, vo l.2 p.4-5.
71. Mawla is a freed slave and mawali is the plural for.
72. Quraysh was the greatest tribe in Mecca.
By: Allama Husayn Ansariyan