Keep Praying by iMuslim
As Muslims, we believe in the power of prayer. That Allah hears our silent whispers; our pain-filled cries. Night or day. In public or in private. He hears us, and He helps us.
But sometimes we forget. Not even out of a sense of despair, but rather, due to a misunderstanding of the manner in which prayers are answered. Sometimes, we expect it all to be very black and white: you pray for a promotion, you get the promotion. You pray for a child, you’re granted a child.
But what happens when you don’t get what you want?
How many of us pray for peace in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Palestine? We pray to an end to the torture of our brothers and sisters; an end to their suffering. But the news doesn’t change. We still witness the horror. Our inbox is regularly bombarded with images that scar our eyes, hearts and minds. When will this end? How can we stop all this?
We pray, but we don’t see an improvement. We demonstrate, but the governments ignore us. We send our money, but it never seems to be enough. Eventually, the prayers become a little less frequent. The candlelit street vigils become a thing of the past. Our fists become a little tighter. We may even go as far as to think: what’s the point?
I’m here to tell you, that there is a point; a real and tangible point. But one that you may not expect.
On Friday evening, I attended an event, at the end of which a representative of Islamic Relief was allowed to say a few words. He mentioned that he had just returned from Gaza, and spoke of the problems that the residents were facing – problems of which we are all well aware.
While delivering food parcels, he came across an old lady, who was looking after her five grandchildren, one of whom was disabled; their parents had both been killed in an air raid. She had not eaten for two days. When he asked her why, she responded: “The children, they must eat”. He knew that the food they had donated would not last very long, and in a moment of deep concern, he again questioned her: “How do you keep going?”.
She simply replied: “With the help of our Lord, everything is easy“.
Tell me, if this old lady who hadn’t eaten in two days can retain her faith in the help of Allah, why should we find it so difficult?
He continued to speak, and by this point, my heart had already begun to soften, but soon it was about to break, as he shared with us what another Palestinian had told him:
“When our brothers and sisters around the World pray for us, wallahi, we feel it… we feel different inside“.
Subhanallah, they feel our prayers. They feel us. Can prayers really be felt? Could our words truly have such an effect on the hearts of those thousands of miles away?
Indeed, Allah has bound together the hearts of the believers. He made this Ummah as one body – but it is not just pain that we share: as the suffering of the oppressed is our suffering, our strength is their strength, of which the greatest of strengths comes from the faith that we have in Ar-Rabb, and the firm knowledge that He will answer our prayers:
Abu Hurairah quotes the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa salam) as saying: “The supplication of any servant of Allah continues to be answered unless he prays for something sinful, or for the severance of a tie of kinship, and unless he is hasty.” The question was asked: “What constitutes hastiness?”. The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa salam) answered: “He says: ‘I have prayed often but I have not seen my prayers answered.’ He then feels aggrieved and stops his supplication.” (Related by Muslim and At-Tirmithi)
Let us not allow impatience to stand in the way; let us keep praying, keep demonstrating, keep donating our wealth – the results may not be what we asked for, but they are real, and they are so desperately needed.
May Allah make it easy for us, and liberate the souls from oppression, wherever they may be. Ameen.