In order for man to come close to God, to gain spiritual peace of mind, to attain ethical values, to stay away from sins, to cleanse mental disturbances, to avoid Satan’s temptations, to strengthen his intelligence and cognitive powers, and to satisfy his physical and mental needs, he needs to worship God. For this very reason, the major part of the Prophet’s educational programs in general and the Prophet of Islam’s program in particular consists of teaching people to carry out prayers.
But in today’s world more than ninety percent of people suffer from some sort of nervous and mental disturbance. Every day we witness millions of crimes in the world. A lot of people, due to distresses and worries and because of their indecisions, resort to narcotics and drugs and tranquilizers and alcohol and pornographic films. Most of them, towards the middle part of life, give up their education, jobs and families to engage in suicides or live a parasitic life. It seems as if Alexis Carrel’s prediction had come true when he said, “This is the price we pay for the industrial civilization and for the changes of life we are receiving.”1
At such a time, we even need more prayers and supplication. Dale Carnegie presents the following statistics for the American community: “In the United States, in general, every thirty five minutes one person commits suicide and every two minutes a person goes mad.” He then adds: “If people went after the peace which is contained in religious supplications, most of these suicides and mental diseases could be avoided”2
Elsewhere Alexis Carrel is reported to have said, “The greatest power man can produce is through supplication and worship. Such a power acts like gravity whose existence is real and touchable. In our medical life we have come across patients who were not treated through medicines but were cured through supplication and worship. The secret behind this is the fact that man uses his meager power and strength and extends it into an immense power. When we are worshipping or are engaged in supplication we are connecting ourselves with an eternal power that is in charge of all creation. We beg that power to look for our needs. Such a pleading removes our difficulties and magnifies our power”3
It is for this reason that the Prophet (S) has described supplication as the believer’s weapon, the pillar of the religion, the light of the skies and the earth:
“الدُّعاءُ سِلاحُ المُؤمِنِ وَعَمُودُ الدِّينِ ونُورُ السَّمواتِ والاَرضِ” 490
And Imam ‘Ali (as) calls supplication as the key to victory and salvation:
In the Du’a Kumayl he introduces supplication as a means for the strengthening of the body and mind and as an agent to serve both God and people and a means for a journey towards Heaven.
“قَوِّ على خِدمَتِكَ جَوارِحِي وَاشْدُد عَلى العَزِيمَةِ جَوانِحِي وهَب لِيَ الجِدَّ في خَشْيَتِكَ وَالدَوامَ في الاتِصالِ بِخِدمَتِكَ حَتّى اَسرَحَ اِلَيكَ في مَيادِينِ السَّابِقِينَ واُسرِعَ اِلَيكَ في البارِزِينَ واشتَاقَ اِلَيكَ في المُشتَاقِينَ واَدنُوَ مِنكَ دُنوَّ المُخلِصِينَ واَخافَكَ مَخافَةَ المُوقِنِينَ واجتَمِعَ في جِوارِكَ مَعَ المُؤمِنِينَ”
“Strengthen my limbs for Your service and fortify my determination. Grant me earnestness in fear of You and continuity in attachment to Your service, until I move towards You in the racing fields of the foremost ones, hasten to you among those who strive in hastening (towards You), yearn for Your nearness among the ardently desirous, draw near to you with the nearness of the sincere ones, and fear You with the fear of those possessed of certainty, and gather in Your Proximity together with the believers”.4
1. Man, the Unknown, p.150.
2. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, p.227.
3. Man, the Unknown, p.229.
4. Mafatih al-Jinan, p.89.
Adapted from: “Imam ‘Ali’s First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education” by: “Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji”