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The Ritual Prayer of the Spiritual Elite

November 19, 2009 by  


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

The traditional report (hadith) of Abu Hazim al-Araj (R)…

One day, while I was at the seashore, one of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) came up to me and said: “O Abu Hazim, do you know how to perform the ritual prayer?”

“How could I not know how to perform the ritual prayer”, said I, “since I am thoroughly familiar with its strictly obligatory elements, as well as with the customary observances [ma 'stanna] established by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace)?”

….

“He said: ‘With what do you mark the opening of the ritual prayer’
“I said: ‘With the affirmation of Allah’s Supreme Greatness [bi't'takblr].’
“He said: ‘And what [element of the prayer] is its manifest proof [burhan]?”
“I said: ‘Its Qur’anic recitation [qira'a].’
“He said: ‘And what is its jewel, its very essence [jawhar]?’
“1 said: ‘Its glorification [of the Lord] [tasbih].’
“He said: ‘And what is its animation [ihya]
“I said: ‘Its humble submission [khushu ].’
“He said: ‘And what is its humble submission [khushu']?’
“I said: ‘Fixing one’s gaze on the spot where the act of prostration [sujud] is to be performed.’
‘He said: ‘And what is its solemn dignity [waqar]
“I said: ‘Its state of calm tranquility [sukun].’
“He said: ‘And what is its consecration [tahrim]?’
“I said: ‘The [initial] declaration of Allah’s Supreme Greatness takbir].’
“He said: ‘And what is its deconsecration [tahlil].’
“I said: ‘The [concluding] salutation [taslim].’
“He said: ‘And what is its emblem [shi ar]?
“I said: ‘The glorification [of the Lord] [tasbih] when its performance has been duly completed.’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to all of that, O Abu Hazim?’
“I said: ‘The ritual ablution [wudu].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to the ritual ablution [miftah al-wudu]?”
“I said: The invocation of Allah’s Name [tasmiya (Bismillah)].
“He said: ‘And what is the key to the invocation of Allah’s Name [miftah at-tasmiya]‘!’
“I said: The intention [niyya].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to the intention [miftah an-niyyaj]?
“I said: ‘Certitude [yaqin].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to certitude [miftah al-yaqin]?.’
“I said: ‘Absolute trust [in the Lord] [tawakkul].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to absolute trust [miftah at-tawakkul]”
“I said: ‘Fear [khawf]”
“He said: ‘And what is the key to fear [miftah al-khawf]?
“I said: ‘Hope [raja'].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to hope [miftah ar-raja]?
“I said: ‘Patience [sabr].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to patience [miftah as-sabr]?’
“I said: ‘Contentment [rida].’
“He said: ‘And what is the key to contentment [miftah ar-rida]‘!’
“I said: ‘Worshipful obedience [ta'a]
“He said: ‘And what is the key to worshipful obedience [miftah at-ta'a]?”
“I said: ‘Acknowledgment [of truth and reality] [i'tiraf]‘
“He said: ‘And what is the key to acknowledgment [of truth and reality] [miftah al-i'tiraf]?
“I said: ‘Acknowledgment of the Divine Oneness and Lordship [at-i'tiraf bi'l-wahdaniyya wa r-rububiyya]‘
“He said: ‘And by what means did you become acquainted with all of that?’
“I said: Through knowledge [ilm].’
“He said: ‘And by what means did you acquire knowledge [ilm]?
“I said: Through the process of learning [ta allum].’
“He said: ‘And by what means did you pursue the process of le [ta allum].’
“I said: Through intelligence [aql]
“He said: “And by what means did you acquire intelligence [aql]?”
“I said: There are two kinds of intelligence. For the making of one kind of intelligence, Allah is solely responsible, to the exclusion of His creatures. The other kind of intelligence is one that human beings can develop, through the discipline of training and education. When the two kinds are combined together as a team, each of them assists and supports the other.”
“He said: ‘And by what means did you accomplish all of that?”
I said: “Through the enabling grace of Allah. May Allah enable us, and you, to succeed in achieving that which is worthy of love and approval’

Excerpted from Al Ghunya li Talibi Tariq al-Haqq Vol 4

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