Importance of Prayer

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إِنَّنیِ أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنیِ وَ أَقِمِ الصَّلَوهَ لِذِکْرِی
Lo! I, only I, am Allah. There is no god save me. So serve me and establish worship for my remembrance. (Sura Taha 20:14 )
In this verse, Allah points the way to His creatures for achieving His remembrance through prayer. If man wishes to see Allah, he should do it through the vision of the heart. Similarly he can hear Allah through the medium of his heart! The way to achieve both these faculties is through sincere prayer. Man should establish a strong rapport and link with his Lord. This is done through establishing prayer – that is Iqamat as Salah – this is what brings man closer to Allah quickly.
The mandatory prayers must be offered at the earliest, during the scheduled time for each prayer. I also fervently appeal to this knowledgeable gathering that in the ongoing month of Ramadan they should offer the optional Night Prayers (Salaat al-Layl). In this Holy month, prayer should be the source of communion with our Creator, Allah! Lucky is the person who establishes communication with Allah during this blessed month. It will be like conversing with Allah. How can one converse with Allah?! It is possible through recitation of the Holy Quran! Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
O servant of Allah! When you recite the Quran and reach where it says ‘ya ayyuhal ladheena aamanu,’ you should say ‘labbayk, labbayk’ [that means ‘Yes, O Lord! Yes, O Lord!’]
There are lots of people who, when they hear ‘ya ayyuhal ladheena…’ they hear only through their mortal ears and not the ears of their hearts. One who hears the word of Allah through the ears of his heart; verily he can say ‘labbayk!’ What is the purpose of dua? Dua is to establish close rapport with Allah, it is conversing with Allah! While offering prayer you, particularly I mean the youth, should not let your thoughts wander – whether you have had sufficient food or not, whether the prayer will be answered or not! The prayer should be offered with utmost sincerity, wanting Allah to say, ‘labbayk, labbayk!’ The Holy Quran, in many a place says, “call out to Allah and he will answer you.” One meaning of this statement is that if you call Allah, your prayer will be answered. But the fact is that Allah answers the prayers according to the abilities of the supplicant. If the supplicant has asked for something harmful, Allah gives him better than what he has asked for! ‘Ud-ooni astajib lakum’ – O My creature! Continue conversing with Me!
Prayer is definitely the best way of conversing with Allah. In the salah, reciting the Surahs is Allah talking to the supplicant. In the other parts of the salah the supplicant talks with his Lord. The greatest pleasure in this is for the lover of Allah. The persons whose hearts are ruled by Allah derive the maximum pleasure from their prayers!

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