Friday Sermon 17 October 1997
Be watchful over prayers and the Middle Prayer, and stand before Allah submissively. ('The Holy Quran'. al-Baqarah [The Heifer]: 239). From this verse it is apparent that as far as watchfulness is concerned one must watch over all the prayers but being watchful over the Middle Prayer has been particularly emphasised. There is a Hadith in which the Noble Messenger ﷺ whilst giving general guidance about the Prayers compared the 5 Prayers to a stream asking whether a person who has a stream of pure and clear water in front of their house and bathes in it 5 times daily would have any filth remaining on their body? My residence in London is within the encircles of the mosque however the custom before would be that the ladies would benefit from the facility of a Loudspeaker and offer congregational prayers in a room of the house designated for the prayers. After pondering over the aforementioned Hadith this practice has been changed because this home is one in front of which the stream flows. Ladies comes from far off places to offer the Prayers in the mosque so it is incumbent upon those who have the stream flowing next to their home to come downstairs and offer the prayers in the mosque. Secondly if there is the facility to offer congregational prayers in a place then the people of the household have no right to permit some to offer prayers and to refuse others. So if you are organising congregational prayers in your houses then you cannot forbid that place to others. People can gather in the homes in which congregational prayers are held because the local mosque cannot be easily reached but then everyone should be admitted there but if that house is not a replacement for the mosque but a place to pray in congregation when there is no mosque [or] due to domestic difficulties then you are free to arrange as you see fit. It is commanded to uplift the Prayers which means that one should bring back the concentration which is diverted here and there. This is the struggle you have to undertake all your life. In one way you uplift the Prayers but the Prayers are simultaneously uplifting you. So be ready and pay more attention to your Prayers and pay more attention to your childrens' Prayers. Also explain the wisdom of the prayers to them. If the wisdom behind something is understood [and] if one knows its benefits then one's attention is automatically drawn to it. If you begin to ponder over the words of the Prayer then it would result in your being graced with astonishing insights. In this relation ponder over the Prophetic Ahadith concerning the Prayers. If you are to attach your heart to the Prayer then it is important to enjoy it. In this regard in the Urdu Class on MTA I have started a class on the Prayers and given a few lessons. So in future watch the Urdu Class so as to increase your religious knowledge and so that the reality of the prayer is elucidated to you in many different ways. To be interested in the Prayer it is important to receive the gnosis of the Prayer and it is this gnosis which can turn your attention away from the world. This gnosis io ipso is a power which can never be beaten by worldly powers. Regarding the various aspects of the upkeeping of the Prayers the ability to take measures to uplift your Prayers courageously is something we possess but we have no power to uplift it wholly. So the final part of it is to pray for it. If you do not pray then you will not be interested in the [formal] Prayers either. The reality of prayer is a very deep subject. The prayer that rises from the heart leaves a mark of its fulfillment even as it rises and that mark increases your trust and your certitude. Such prayers would reform your life in this world and in the hereafter. Offer prayers that Allah may enable us to offer [formal] Prayers only for his sake. That they be devoted to Him alone. Sometimes physical needs and distractions can also disturb the Prayer. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has also pointed this out and instructed about it. For example to lay the table at the time of the Prayer is something that ruins its order. So mealtimes should not clash with the Prayer timings. This habit should also be instilled in children so that their eating and drinking habits do not clash with the Prayer.  Bukhari & Muslim.  'Tadris e Namaz', (1997, 2003). The text http://www.alislam.org/urdu/sermon/FST19971017-UR.pdf © The Tahir Archive / MTA International, 2016.
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