Islam and its Prayer

The Light (Pakistan), 16th April 1923 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 8, p. 4)

الَّذِیۡنَ یَذۡکُرُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ قِیٰمًا وَّ قُعُوۡدًا وَّ عَلٰی جُنُوۡبِہِمۡ وَ یَتَفَکَّرُوۡنَ فِیۡ خَلۡقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ ہٰذَا بَاطِلًا ۚ سُبۡحٰنَکَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿۱۹۱﴾

“Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee! Save us then from the chastisement of the fire” (The Holy Quran, 3:191).

ISLAM — “with submission” as its literal meaning is — demands absolute obedience to Divine Control and implicit resignation to His Will. In other words, complete devotion to God, which means absolute divorcement from anything besides Him.

To wean a mind engrossed in worldly concerns from its average occupation is not an easy task, for it must needs [necessarily] pass through various psychological stages before such a change can be accomplished. Complete devotion demands complete subordination of heart and soul to the object of our devotion. It means disowning our own entity and merging it into that of the Other; prostrating our own will before the will of our Beloved before we can attain to this stage of devotion.

But we cannot do that unless our hearts are fully inclined in that direction. If our hands are engaged in other things, how can our hearts fully incline to one object? It means, therefore, that we must, as it were, fold our hands and refrain from every other thing — for every other thing must tend to distract us from our one object. This stage can be attained only when we have determined to renounce all other things, and wash our hands of them.

Consider the mentality that is engrossed in worldly concerns. Can it divorce itself from them by lip-service, by the recitation of prayer and formula, and cut itself clear from its ordinary occupations and elevate it to that stage of devotion which means complete divorcement from the former things? It needs the regular inuring of the mind to a consistent course of discipline. If certain physical postures and specified physical movements go a long way to create different conditions of mind, then the form of Muslim prayer has been framed on the principle of this psychological phenomenon.