Discovering Prayer and the Love of God in Islam

When the fire of love for the All-Merciful has stricken one’s being, one wishes to become intimate with Him. One yearns constantly to communicate. This most profound of all loves, the love of God, will transport one to the level of real friendship with Him. In this state, one wishes to express constantly one’s love, admiration, and longing towards the Only One. It is the desire to get close to Him, the longing to see, hear and talk with Him. This is the crucial point where real worship starts, Where the door of divine communication and contemplation from the believer to his Creator begins, and where the flame of the true realization of the nature of the human being in relation to his greatest Lord becomes enlightened.

In fact, the worship modes in the Christian religion that I belonged to, have degenerated in everyday life. There is plenty of moral education, plenty of advice and great philosophies, but no practical way to translate the theories into daily behavior. On the other hand, the Shariah is either missing or diminished, like praying, fasting, pilgrimage and giving alms. Every human being needs a balance: one wing is worship, and the other is good conduct and action.

At first, when I entered the path, nothing helped me so much as praying to God, because worshipping helps to establish a relationship with the Only One. Comparing my old life, to my new one, this is exactly what was missing; and comparing my new life to my old one, this is exactly what was enriching. In my present Me, I can say with conviction that praying changed my life!

Praying is like a divine infusion in the blood veins of the body. Praying is food for the soul! Those who turn themselves every day to their Creator with love and submission will attain the wisdom of how things really are. They will discover the divine realities, and they will see and taste paradise within themselves.

The benefit of prayers is immeasurable. When we pray to God with sincerity, we strengthen our relationship with him and increase our desire for Him. When we turn towards Him, He always answers! His response covers everything. As we desire Him, He desires us. This is the secret of the mutual relationship because as far as we are in Him, He is in us. The substance of prayers is the greatest power generated in the universe. If a perfect man’s heart prays, it can change the destiny of all mankind.

All worship-modes, the ritual prayer, pilgrimage, and activities like remembrance and the whirling (Sama), and so on, have pre-described patterns, which the worshipper has to follow, with the exception of the personal supplication, the dua. Here, the believer expresses his profound wishes and exposes his most private needs in front of his supreme Lord. The height of divine communication with one’s Beloved is experienced in its fullest sense. It is true love-talk or Mohabbat. The worshipper is alone, in deepest intimacy. It is only him and Him. He raises his hands in utter humility to be completely receptive towards the infinity of God’s outpouring of grace and blessings. Nowhere else than in our most private moments of conversing with the Only One is true creativity and inspiration is needed because within the personal supplication, there is the total freedom of our soul. What is in our hearts? What will we plead for? What do we wish to be changed? What do we have to offer? What do we ask from Him? What do we hope to be forgiven for?

We live at the end of times. It is more virtuous to pray for our fellow beings than for ourselves; that is to say, we have to pray for each other. For this reason, the personal supplication is an excellent opportunity to think, to feel, and to plead for other people and when we learn the art of living for others, we learn the art of giving!

As I mentioned, for a believer, there is nothing more desirable than to arrive at the door of intimacy with one’s Lord. Having traveled all the channels to God the Merciful, the door will open and pure love will extend from Him to us. In offering ourselves with sincerity within the dua, we will enter into the Circle of His irresistible power of attraction. Our Creator will respond in loving friendship and embrace. There is a verse in the Holy Quran about offering dua, where God has told us:

Therefore, when you are free (flow one task), resume (another task); resume (another task); And seek and strive to please your Lord. (94: 7-8)

Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani interprets:

As soon as you have finished performing the ritual act of worship,
ibada, you must set to work on the prayer of supplication, the dua.

And the Prophet himself, God bless him and give him peace, is reported as having said:

As soon as the prayer leader, the imam, is standing at his niche, and the ranks of the congregation are properly aligned, the merciful blessing of God will descend upon the assembled worshipers.

An angel will then call out: “So-and-so has gained a benefit, and so-and-so has suffered a loss!” The beneficiary will be anyone who lifts up his hands in offering the supplication to God, as soon he has finished performing his prescribed ritual prayer. The loser will be anyone who leaves the mosque without having offered a prayer of supplication. If someone does leave without having offered a prayer of supplication, the angels will say: “0, so-and-so, how can you manage without God? Do you have no need of anything that Goal has at His' disposal?”

Excerpted from "From the Stage to the prayer mat" by Rabia Christine Brodbeck.

Rabia Christine Brodbeck is a world-famous dancer, born in Switzerland. She continued to dance and perform until 1998, when she retired. Following her conversion to Islam in 1986, Ms. Brodbeck began to write books with a focus on spirituality.

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