The Key to Paradise

By Ayesha Nasrullah

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“Successful indeed are the believers.” (surah al-Mominoon, Verse 1)

A place no eye has ever seen, a place no heart can ever perceive, shouldn’t we all long for such a place? It is indeed a place worth yearning for, the eternal abode of Jannah.

So who are these Mumineen destined for success? and not just any success – falah: never ending success. Those worthy of owning mansions and gardens beneath which rivers flow. Allah (swt) mentions all those qualities characteristic to these believers, the dwellers of Paradise, in the opening verses of Surah Al-Mumenoon. The foremost of them being Salah. Allah says:

“Those who are humble in their prayers. “ (Al-Mumenoon, Verse :2)

The ayah mentions those believers who have khushoo’ in their prayers. But we are living in unfortunate times where most people don’t even pray let alone having khushoo’ in salah.

Salah is the second fundamental of Islam. It is something we are being reminded of since childhood. A numerous amount of times we have been taught about the merits of salah. The fact that it is a distinguishing factor between a believer and a disbeliever. The key to paradise is prayer, and so on. But the irony of the matter is, we find it very cute for a three-year old praying beside his father, but the sight of an eighteen year old praying in the masjid only earns him the title ‘Maulvi’. We think of salah as more of a burden whereas, it was the coolness of the Prophet’s (s) eyes.

For a minute let’s imagine a dinner party arranged at the Buckingham Palace by the Queen and that too exclusively for you. Think of all the preparations you would make: the hours you would spend shopping for just the right dress to wear at the party, the money you would spend to buy a gift for the queen,the rehearsals you would do just so that you don’t stutter while talking to the Queen, the number of phone calls you would make to make the news reach everyone’s ears, the fancy statuses you would put up on Facebook, the honour and self-worth you would feel.

Now compare all of that to your enthusiasm and preparation for meeting Allah (swt), The Lord of the Worlds. Do we feel the same way when the muaezzin calls upon us, calls us towards as-salat, towards al-falah? And if we pay heed to the call, do we make it a point to pray our salah on the level of excellence or do we rush through the ruku and sujood? Do we pay attention to the words we’re uttering or are we making plans for tomorrow during salah?

How fortunate are we that Al-Kareem (The Most Honourable) honours us with a chance to converse with Him five times a day and descends upon the lowest Heaven to answer the prayers of some fortunate ones waking up for tahajjud. Allah (swt) actually talks to His slave when he is praying as mentioned in a hadith qudsi, Abu-Hurairah (R.A) reports that the Prophet(s) said:

“Allah the Blessed and Exalted has said: “I have divided the prayer betweeen Myself and My slave,into two halves and My slave shall have what he has asked for.”[from Surah al-Fatiha] when the slave says, Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.”Allah says, “My slave has praised me.” when the slave says,”The abundantly Merciful, the constantly Merciful.” Allah says,” My slave has layered praise upon Me.”,when the slave says,”Master of the Day of judgement, ” Allah says,”My slave has glorified me,” when the slave says, “It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,” Allah says,” This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.” when the slave says, ” Guide us to the straight path,the path of those whom You have favoured, not the path of those who receive Your anger,nor those who go astray,” Allah says, ” All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.” [Muslim]

This is the prestige that a Muslim enjoys, on the contrary, for those who think of them as self-suficient and leave their prayers either out of ignorance or heedlessness, the Holy Prophet(s) said:

“He who misses a salah purposely, Allah takes away His responsibility from him.”

May Allah give us all the opportunity to establish salah and attain khushoo’ in it. To hold fast to the key to paradise. Ameen.

 

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