The Only Thing That Matters Is the Heart -Baizid Ibnay Jahid
Muslims worldwide engage in prayer to Allah, involving acts of devotion, virtuous deeds, and standing against injustice. Human beings have an inherent tendency to measure everything in numbers. A child may express boundless love for their parents, comparing it to the vastness of the ocean, while another may measure affection in the expanse of the sky. This tendency extends even to our prayers to Allah, where the focus often lies on the number of rak’ahs or the frequency of reciting Allahu Akbar, Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah. Similarly, when reading the Quran, our mindset is often centered around reciting a specific number of pages.
But the question arises: Is this what Allah truly desires from us? Undoubtedly, the answer is “no.” The 37th verse of Surah Hajj clarifies this point: “Not their flesh nor their blood reaches Allah, but it is the intention from you that reaches Him.”
In times of loss or challenges, people often turn to specific supplications, such as the dua in Chapter 1, Verse 156. However, the true meaning behind these supplications is to remind us that one day we will meet Allah. It is not about finding lost items or seeking assistance for the deceased; rather, it serves as a reminder to remember Allah in our lives.
“Surely to Allah we belong, and to Him we will return.”
Conversely, when faced with challenges, some may turn to the supplication of Yunus, repeating it a thousand times. In the depths of the whale’s stomach, Yunus (a.s.) uttered a profound dua: “There is no god but you; glorified be you! Truly, I have been one of the wrongdoers.”
Yunus (a.s.) exemplified unwavering trust in Allah, placing his complete reliance on Him without entertaining alternative thoughts or actions. Allah rescued him because of this sincere trust.
Once, there was a Bosnian-Israeli guy in a village. His presence irritated the entire village, making it impossible for women to go outside because of his harassment. Children suffered severe beatings from him. Eventually, the village collectively decided to exile him to the forest. Alone, with no sustenance or companionship, he neared death. In his final moments, he gazed at the sky and uttered, “Oh Allah, if Your honor ascends through granting forgiveness, forgive me. Should Your Majesty rise through just punishment, then chasten me.” Indisputably, that individual’s sins were higher than the peaks of majestic mountains. Uttering mere words, Allah, pleased beyond measure, proclaimed him as His friend. It’s because each word resonated from the depths of his heart.
Praying Nafal Salah, reciting the Quran abundantly, and maintaining constant remembrance of Allah are commendable practices. However, every prayer is not meant to solve problems, show off, or boast. Allah cares about the depth of our immersion in prayer, as explicitly mentioned in the Quran: “Is it not time for believers to humble their hearts to the remembrance of Allah?” (57:16)
Dedicating our hearts to prayer goes beyond fulfilling responsibilities; it leads to discovering tranquility. This connection with Allah creates a strong bond that protects us from the temptations and illusions of the material world.
Let us nurture our spirits in prayer, envisioning Allah’s gaze upon us. In Salah, let us absorb each Arabic word delicately, as if it were unfolding exclusively for us. When reciting the Quran, remember the favors of Allah with each Alhamdulillah. In times of calamity, weave supplications, focusing on their meaning, so that these words resonate authentically from the depths of our souls.
One of Allah’s fascinating and profound names is Al-Wadud (the Loving). Undoubtedly, Allah loves us the most, even if we may not realize or remember Him only for our own interests. Can we not love Him from our hearts without expecting anything in return?