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Prayer and Consciousness

Adnan Al-Adnani

ASK 10th International Conference in South Africa


The Power of Devotion, Prayer and Worship: Awareness of the
Unseen

.ِ‫وَاْلإِنسَ إِلّا ِليَ ْعبُدُون‬ ّ‫جن‬


ِ ْ‫وَمَا خَلَقْتُ ال‬
I have not created the jinn and humankind only that they should worship Me.
[51:56]

Levels of worship correspond to levels of consciousness from the gross to the


subtle.

Worship is means and an end for creation to ultimate knowledge that is


synonymous with the pure state if worship/submission/ surrender to truth
(ubudiya).

Worship – Adoration – Knowledge.

Quintessential prayer in islam (Surat alFatiha): Recognition (Bism) – Praise


(Hamd) – Humility (Mulk) – Annihilation (Na’bud) – Subsistence (Nasta’een) –
Guidance (Ihdina)

Modes: petition – refuge – praise – humility – sacrifice – intercession –


devotion – remembrance – surrender – meditation - contemplation.

Prayer is communication between the temporal and the eternal domains. The
outer meaning implies a petition of the individual before the creator.

Meditation is a deepening and continuation of prayer, where individual


interests are superseded by a focusing of attention upon divine qualities for
their intrinsic worth and pre-eminent reality.

Contemplation could be called the act where the higher communes with
himself across our intellectual centre, the heart, the juncture between pure
consciousness of the soul and the conditioned individual conditioned. In truth
it is not we who contemplate God, but it is God Himself who contemplates
himself in his qualities for which the human being is the support for their
manifestation.

The perfect human becomes the prayer, the meeting place of earth and
heaven, his consciousness thus contains the universe, and the universe prays
with him.
Prayer is a secret call exchanged between God and the adorer; it is,
then also an invocation (dhikr). But whoever invokes God finds himself
in the presence of God.. andhe who finds himself in the presence of He
whom he invokes, contemplates him, if he is endowed with intellectual
vision. Ibn Arabi

For us as creatures the, the divine creative prayer or desire to be known is an


emergence out of non-existence, into the infinite multiplicity of the cosmos.
Kalima or word in Arabic also means wound, a split from the unity of pre-
manifestation to the duality of temporal existence through the divine
command Be (Kn). Prayer is a two-way process: He prays over us as well as
us praying to Him.

God’s generosity is not in abrogation of his wisdom. From that it follows


that he does not grant every request. Imam Ali

Let not thy requesting be a seeking for his giving, lest thy
understanding of him should diminish. Let thy requesting be for
manifesting thy servitude and establishing the rights of sovereignty.
How can thy subsequent seeking be a cause of his prior giving? A
predestined decree is exalted above being referred to causes. Ibn
‘Ata’illah

O Lord, bring me close to Youwith the closeness of those who truly


know You. Ibn Arabi

The re-creative prayer on the other hand, is the conscious return to non-
existence as self-annihilation (fana’), so that in longer existing we might
contemplate Him again.

Prayer is then a rehearsal of the currents of creation and re-creation, the


coming forth (Mabda’) and the holy return to God (Ma’ad).

O Friend! we are near you in friendship,


Wherever you set foot, we prostrate ourselves like earth.
How is it permissible, in the religion of love,
That we should see your creation and neglect to see You?
That Friend brought me up with great care and attention;
He sewed me a garment from skin and veins.
The body is like a cloak and my heart in it like a mystic,
The world is like a monastery and He is my Guide.
Seek knowledge which unravels mysteries
Before your life comes to close
Give up that non-existence which looks like existence,
Seek that Existence which looks like non-existence!
There is a world outside Islam and disbelief,
We are enamoured of the atmosphere therein.
The mystic lays down his head when he reaches there.
There is neither Islam nor disbelief in this place.
Whenever I prostrate my head He is the one to whom I bow;
In six directions or outside the six, he is the one I worship.
The garden, the rose, the nightingale, music and the beauteous maiden
Are a mere excuse and He alone is the real object.
- Rumi

I died as a mineral and became a plant,


I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?


Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind ever conceived.

Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence


Proclaims in organ tones, 'To Him we shall return.'

- Rumi

Consciousness
The essential source of existence that is prior, within, and beyond everything
is both immanent and the transcendent at one and the same time. Being
Infinite and Absolute, containing the totality of possibilities, It must include
the possibility of negation and bringing the relative into being. Therefore the
world exists because the source is infinite. Absolute in unity, and Infinite in
multiplicity This is the root of all opposites.

Creation begins with the One at the point when it has singleness. From this
point arise Knowledge of Self within the One as It moves toward
manifestation. At this moment the Divine Names or Qualities appear in pure
Consciousness. This marks the birth of multiplicity. Subsequent to this, there
arises the Will, based on knowledge, to bring all from non-existence to
phenomenal existence. On the basis of the Will, the Command ?Be!? is issued
and the universe is created.
At the absolute point of truth, there are infinite degrees of freedom.
Everything is possible (infinite potentiality). The further away from that
essential source the more limited and specific things become.

Pure consciousness is the eternal essential being, ever-present One life


beyond the myriad of forms of life that are subject to birth and death. Being
is also deep within every form as its unseen indestructible essence. You can
know it only when your mind is still, when you are present, in the now. Being
can be felt, but can never be understood mentally.
Consciousness may cover a variety of meanings. Awake, Thoughtful, Self-
awareness, and the capacity for inner experience. The faculty of
consciousness can be likened to the light from a film projector. The projector
shines the light onto a screen, modifying the light so as to produce any one of
infinity of images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams,
memories, thoughts, and feelings that we experience, they are the forms of
consciousness. We know all the images are composed of this light, but we are
not usually aware of the light itself. Our attention is caught up in the images
and the patterns they form. In the same way we are usually aware of the
various sensations feelings, and thoughts that appear in the mind, but not
aware of consciousness itself.

Identification with the body and mind creates a veil of concepts, images,
words, judgments, and definitions that block all true relationships. It comes
between you and your self, between you and people, between you and
nature. The veil of thoughts creates the illusion of separation that leads to the
loss of feeling oneness as self-evident reality. You may believe it to be true,
but no longer know it to be true. Only through experience it becomes
liberating.

The faculty of consciousness can vary in various creatures; animals may have
various degrees consciousness but may not have the same degree of self-
awareness as humans.

Consciousness as a fundamental quality of nature does not arise from some


particular arrangement of nerve cells or processes going on between them, or
from any other physical phenomenal; it is always present. The nervous
system is like a lens of a projector that localizes, and sharpens the image
displayed on the screen. The faculty of consciousness must be present all the
way down the evolutionary tree, and manifested at various degrees
culminating with the human experience.

The earliest living organisms had the most basic sensory organs that
detected general changes in the environment. Specific sense organs emerged
with complex multi-cellular organisms, detecting energies at various level of
quality from light, sound, and pressure. Nervous systems evolved to form a
more coherent image of the world integrating the different sensory modalities
into a single conscious image (common sense).

Brains evolved to add new features to the image appearing in consciousness,


like the ones associated with feelings of fear and desire. Other features
emerged such as memory, imagination, and speech. Speech meant
communicating experiences which lead to the accumulation of knowledge
about the world.

A newborn child emerges from pure consciousness not aware of a separate


self. The self is like a clean sheet with the potential to accept a wide variety
of imprints that needs guidance so that not to overload and cause imbalance
and confusion. The self then is at its highest sensitivity because there are no
memories, no thoughts, and no concepts to block the flow from the soul. Its
just needs the right stimulation through relationships with the outer
environment for creativity, and other attributes in the soul to express itself.
The soul manifests through the colour of the vessel, the clearer the vessel the
brighter the soul shines through.

Manifestation of absolute qualities of the soul in the domain of multiplicity,


the limited self also gives rise to their opposites. It is like manifesting an
object by shining light on it, which also produces a shadow. So the absolute
qualities are accompanied by their opposites in the energy field of the self.
That is why creation or existence can only be experienced or rooted in
opposites. However the opposite of divine qualities/virtues have no objective
realty, they states of lack, like a shadow that can be seen but has no physical
existence. Confusion results when the shadows are mistaken for realities and
are given value and identified with.

The soul is gathered, whole. When the part exists in the whole everything is
harmonious. When the part starts existing on its own, there is discord,
conflict, and confusion. When the self is not fused with the whole there is
confusion. If the fusion is not happening with the whole there is bound to be
confusion. Whenever the self is not with the whole, its essence, there is
unhappiness.

Consciousness? Multilayered hierarchy of awareness; in its wider sense that


very sense of existence, or awareness of simply being — that which is
constant in us, whatever the events and changes of life.

With primates the cortex grew into the larger, more complex neo-cortex,
adding yet more features to consciousness. The most significant of these was
the ability to use symbols. Not only did this ability enable simple reasoning, it
also led to a new form of communication -- symbolic language.
This new ability of speech/language has expanded our consciousness in
several ways. Our experience of space expanded as we learnt of events
beyond our immediate sensory environment. And as we learnt of events that
had happened before our own lives, our experience of time expanded. As
well as using speech to communicate with each other, we can also use it to
communicate with ourselves, inside our own minds. We can think to
ourselves in words. Of all the developments that came from language, this
has probably been the most significant.
Thinking allows us to conjure up associations to past experiences. In a similar
way, thinking expanded our appreciation of the future. Thinking in words
opened our minds to reason. We could ask questions: Why do stars move?
How do our bodies function? What is matter? A whole new dimension had
been added to our consciousness -- understanding. We could form
hypotheses and beliefs about the world in which we found ourselves.
We could also begin to understand ourselves. We could think about our own
conscious experience. We became aware not only of the many aspects and
qualities of our consciousness, but also of the faculty of consciousness. We
are aware that we are aware -- conscious of the fact that we are conscious.
Consciousness could now reflect not only upon the nature of the world it
experienced, but also on the nature of consciousness itself. Self-reflective
consciousness had emerged.
Our consciousness is at its root a maverick, ever moving, jumping from one
perception, feeling, one thought, to another. We can never hold it still or
focus it at a point for long. Like the quantum nature of matter, the more we
try to hold our consciousness to a fixed point, the greater the uncertainty in
its energy will become. So when we focus and narrow our consciousness to a
fixed centre, it is all the more likely to suddenly jump with a great rush of
energy to some seemingly unrelated aspect of our inner life. We all have such
experiences each moment of the day. As in our daily work we try to focus our
mind upon some problem only to suddenly experience a shift to some other
domain in ourselves, another image or emotional current intrudes then
vanishes again, like an ephemeral virtual particle in quantum theory.

Early in physical development, learning accumulates and conditioned


response patterns begin to dominate the brain-mind's behavior
(conditioned consciousness), despite the fact that the versatility of the
unconditioned pure consciousness (soul) is always available for new
creative experiences of 'primary awareness'. When the creative
potency of the soul is not engaged, when the primary awareness
events are not attended, the 'secondary-awareness' processes of
memory-replay dominate ; the tangled hierarchy (supreme
consciousness) of the systems of the brain-mind, in effect, becomes a
simple hierarchy (self) of the learned programs--the representations of
past experiences. At this stage, the creative uncertainty as to "who the
chooser is" of a conscious experience involving the soul diminishes.
Then we begin to identify with a separate, individual self, the ego, that
perceives apparent continuity in the form of a stream of consciousness,
that thinks it chooses on the basis of its past experiences, that
presumably has "free will." But in truth, this so-called free will of the
ego-identity exists only to the extent that the conditioning can only
approach 100%, never reach it.
The agent of supreme consciousness is the Soul (Ruh) that transcends time
and space and is also immanent within all of time and space. This is a non-
dual mode of consciousness that transcends rational reasoning because its
origin is unmanifest (ghayb) and at the same time contains infinite qualities
in potentia that manifests as creation.

Physical boundaries are an artifact of sense perception. It is a manifestation


of measurement.
The products of perception are mental artifacts. Perception is invariably
selective. Perception is selective according to value, attributing meaning
according to need. The physical body/mind's need is survival.
What drives evolution beyond mere survival of the body-mind? Spiritual
evolution according to gnostic's, the need for transcendence of the body-
mind. Evolution of consciousness.
Human consciousness necessarily evolves in the direction of
transcendence of duality. This is driven by a deep intuitive drive for the
elimination of the illusion of the self.
Sufi work aims to create a vision of an evolved human being, the complete
human being. A living model of growth and balance.

Our experience of the world is a result of sense perceptual selectivity


and filtering. This is referred to as distortion of consciousness. This
shapes and influences the structure of the mind/brain creating the
state of conditioned consciousness. Conditioned consciousness is
bound while pure consciousness or awareness is free or unbound

The spiritual seeker is driven by an evolutionary impulse from the core


of his being, his heart. This hidden dynamic is termed the soul, the
unconditioned essential reality within.

The conditioned self sustains itself through a cycle of desire, grasping,


possessing. And the mind ends up going deeper and deeper into a
quagmire of sorrow, suffering, fear, conflict, desire, and malice.

Our conditioning is deep and old. It requires relentless self observation,


knowledge, insight, and practice to alter the deep rooted patterns of
desire, and automatic responses of one's own mind and body.

Pure unbounded consciousness, like energy itself, is a universal


phenomena. When it is trapped within an individual brain, it becomes
personal (conditioned consciousness). It identifies with the mind/body.
Enlightenment is the liberation of consciousness from this
identification.

Pure soul consciousness is the underlying ever present reality, it


continuous to create the necessary impulse for conditioned
consciousness to break free. Spiritual growth is a measure of the sifting
of point of balance toward realising the essential reality of soul
consciousness.
Our consciousnesses begins with the subtle division between the self
and the outside world. A process of thinking is going on. A process of
analysis and synthesis that is making distinctions, which is a
separation of 'out there' from the 'in here'. This is called subject-object
distinction.

Consciousness begins with the awareness of 'I am'. That 'in here'
experience is necessary before any real observation can take place.

Nature knows nothing of imperfection; imperfection is a human


perception. Inasmuch as we are part of nature we are perfect; it is our
humanity-worldview that is imperfect. And ironically, because of this
capacity for imperfection and error we are free beings.

The human being is a dynamic living organism of consciousness, an


ever-changing, open, multidimensional field whose experience can
come to know and actualize all dimensions of being.

Inner realisation requires not only an external supportive environment


but also the development of an inner vessel, the internal context for
the journey. This totality of the personal field of experience is what we
consider as the soul. Soul awareness is awareness of the actual
medium of experience rather than merely the contents of experience.

We are meaning seeking creatures and unlike other animals, fall very
easily into despair if we cannot find significance and value in our lives.
From all eternity the beloved unveiled his beauty in the solitude of the
unseen;
He held up the mirror to his own face, he displayed his loveliness to himself.
He was both the spectator and the spectacle; no eye but his had surveyed
the universe.
All was one, there was no duality, no pretence of ‘mine’ or ‘thine’.
The vast orb of heaven, with its myriad of incomings and outgoings, was
concealed in a single point.
The creation lay cradled in the sleep of non-existence, like a child before it
had breathed.
The eye of the beloved, seeing what was not, regarded nonentity as existent.
Although he beheld his attributes and qualities as a perfect whole in his own
essence, yet he desired that they be displayed to him in another mirror, and
that each one of his eternal attributes should become manifest accordingly in
a diverse form.
Therefore he created the verdant fields of time and space and the life giving
garden of the world, that every branch and leaf and fruit might show forth his
various perfections.
The cypress gave a hint of his comely stature, the rose gave tidings of his
beauteous countenance.
Wherever beauty peeped out, love appeared beside it; wherever beauty
shone in a rosy cheek, love lit its torch from that flame. Wherever beauty
dwelt in dark tresses, love came and found a heart entangled in their coils.
Beauty and love are as body and soul beauty is the mine and love the
precious stone. They have always been together from the very first; never
have they travelled but in each others company.

- Jami

SFH

All acts of worship are attempts to move from outer events towards
realizing inner meanings and purpose. Worship is a culmination of
adoration and love, which are all engrained within the soul. The
worshipper is unifying mind and limbs and actions to express and
synergize with the divine qualities that are adored. All religious
activities are attempts to be in unison with divine consciousness. SFH

Acts of worship are essentially plans and programs to regulate my way


of life and thinking and improve my skills of different levels of
awareness and therefore consciousness. So, it’s a program of
reconstruction, rekindling in order to discover the gaps in between of
forgetfulness, and to see the gaps that show me the disconnectedness
between my inner and the light within me. SFH

Salaat stops you from forgetfulness, so in itself it has nothing positive.


It doesn’t lead you to the higher; it stops you from the lower. So when
you have neutralized yourself because you are now in salaat, you are
no longer worried with the world and cursing or blaming this and that. I
am delimiting my consciousness of the worldly affairs, and increasing
my consciousness of the spiritual affairs. All disciplines, skills,
developments and evolvements begin their program in the outer and
are driven by the call of the inner.

All acts of worship, their meanings and the effects on the individual,
are not separable. The path of Islam relates to the seen and the
unseen, intention and action, and the inseparable relationship between
the creator and the creation.

The same thing applies to all other acts of worship, where there is an
outer specified ritual with numerous levels of inner meanings, until the
practitioner finds there is an inseparable link between the outer
worship and the inner effect of it upon the heart.
When individual practices of worship are performed collectively, then a
foundation for a community is laid down. Also the effect of
companionship, of mirroring and witnessing two individuals who are on
the path, becomes a habit. Then a community with solidarity and other
strengthening factors begins to grow. Collective worship enhances
personal benefits from worship and vice versa.

So, Islam is submitting to the truth of all the situations that you are in.
Iman is the knowledge that none of these are anything other than the
shadows of the original template of your inner pure consciousness.
Ihsan is the knowledge that it can not be better. Therefore, you can not
do better than anything that you are doing.

The essence of human nature is an eternal light within the inner heart -
a super consciousness called spirit, or soul. But this intangible soul also
gives rise to its shadow companion, the individual self or ego, which
grows and evolves towards the recognition and knowledge of the soul
and eventually to union with it. Personal individual consciousness is
conditioned and is derived from the soul’s consciousness which
replicates pure or supreme consciousness.

Consciousness has numerous levels and spheres. Lower consciousness


is basic and life giving. This gives rise to a local, conditioned and
personal awareness to animated creatures. Higher consciousness,
however, is exclusive to human beings. This is often called pure
consciousness. Lower consciousness is an aspect of higher
consciousness and is dependent upon it.

The basic level of consciousness appears as separate from higher


consciousness due to the self delusion of its independence and
willfulness. However, human beings have the potential to transcend to
a higher soul consciousness where self and soul are in unison and end
the illusion of separation and confinement of space to time. This
breakthrough leads to the realisation of cosmic unity and eternal
oneness in essence, which permeates the universe.

Consciousness is the foundation of life that connects the unseen with


the seen through light. Without light there would be no energy or the
physical world.

Prayer realizes our vulnerability which creates transparency leading to


experience of the totality of all possibilities of the divine attributes at
all levels of consciousness. This is needed for awareness and
objectivity for objective consciousness, seeing things as they are.
Evil eye and consciousness

‫( السراء‬ ‫(ويدع النسان بالشر دعاءه بالخير وكان النسان عجول‬


Human beings pray and call for evil to himself as he ought to pray and
call for good. Human being is ever hasty (XVII).

The “evil eye” is a metaphor for the duality consciousness. The “single eye”
is a metaphor for the unified vision of the soul, through which you see
yourself as being unified with the higher. Only then can you be in unison with
the truth of every situation.

Although there is an ultimate limit, there is a long way that a soul can
descend into these self-created illusions of duality. In reality, Hell is a state of
consciousness, a place in consciousness, that is the ultimate creation of the
duality consciousness. Yet many people in physical embodiment have
descended so far into the duality consciousness that they are essentially
creating their own private Hell right here.

When you are trapped in duality, you become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The
material universe functions as a mirror. Whatever human beings send into the
universe, the cosmic mirror reflects back to them.

The self which has become trapped in the duality consciousness. Such a self
thinks it is the doer and that it can actually create something without God
and without using God’s energy. The self thinks it is creating by using matter
and the laws governing matter, and it fails to see that matter is simply an
expression of God’s energy. This illusion of being the doer is the core effect of
the consciousness of separation.

Because the self no longer sees itself as part of the whole, and therefore
affected by the laws that govern the whole, the self might begin to believe
that it is a law unto itself. It might think that it is affected only by the laws
that visibly affect matter. In other words, if it does not see an immediate
negative consequence of its actions, it begins to think that it can get away
with anything.

Suddenly, the self goes through a rude awakening in which it realizes that the
matter universe will no longer conform to its desires and beliefs. Yet because
of the duality consciousness, the self fails to draw a cause-effect connection
between its current attitude, its past actions and what is happening to it right
now. And because of the duality consciousness, the soul cannot accept that it
has sown what it is now reaping. Consequently, someone or something else
must be to blame.
How can a self break this downward spiral? Through the faculties of higher
reasoning, that most people call intuition but which is really your higher self.

Jalal al-Din Rumi calls to the praying person:


“You pray standing as a candle in the niche of a mosque indicating the
direction of Mecca. Be wise and know the meaning of the first recitation while
beginning prayer as “Allah is Great.” It means: “O our Lord! We sacrifice
ourselves in your presence! And by putting our hands to our ears we put
everything behind us, and we direct ourselves to You!”
The recitation of ‘Allah is Great’ while beginning prayer is like the recitation of
‘Allah is Great’ while slaughtering a sacrifice. By saying ‘Allah is Great’ while
beginning prayer you are supposed to slaughter your sensuality.”
“At that moment your body is like Ishmael and your soul is like Abraham.
When your soul says ‘Allah is Great’ your body gets rid of all sensuality and
passions. And when you say ‘In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficient, and
the Most Merciful’, they get sacrificed.”
“Those who pray stand in line as they would do on the Day of Judgment; they
begin to account for their actions and appeal to Allah.”
“Standing in prayer while weeping corresponds to standing before Allah on
the Day of Judgment after arising from the grave. Allah will question you and
ask: ‘What have you done in your worldly life? What have you earned and
what have you brought to Me?’”
“Such questions come to mind in Allah’s presence in prayer.”
“While standing in prayer the servant feels ashamed, and then bows down as
he cannot manage to stand because of the shame he feels. While bowing
down he glorifies Allah by saying ‘Glory to my Lord, the Great’.”
“Then Allah orders the servant: ‘raise your head and answer the questions!’”
“The servant raises his head ashamedly, but he cannot bear that condition
and this time he prostrates.”
“Then he raises his head again, but he cannot bear that condition and he
prostrates again.”
“Then Allah says: ‘Raise your head and answer. I will question you about what
you have done in your earthly life.’”
“Allah’s Word to him is so forceful that he cannot bear to stand. And therefore
he sits with his knees bent. Allah says: ‘I provided you with favor and
benefaction, how did you make use of them? Did you return thanks for them?
I provided you with material and spiritual wealth; what did you earn with
them?
“Then the servant turns his face right; and greets the soul of the Prophet
(pbuh) and the angels. And tells them: ‘O masters of the spiritual world!
Please intercede with Allah for this poor servant; this poor servant’s feet and
dress are.’”
“The Prophet (pbuh) answers to the greeting person: ‘The time for help and
comfort is over. It should all have been done in worldly life. You have not
performed good deeds there, you have not worshipped, you have wasted
your time!’”
“Then the servant turns his face left. He asks for help from his relatives. They
answer: ‘Do not ask help from us. Who are we? You are supposed to answer
your Lord on your own!’”
“The servant who cannot find help from any side gets disappointed. Having
abandoned all hope to find help he resorts to Allah, to seek refuge in Him and
opening his hands for prayer.he says: ‘O my Lord! I have abandoned any
hope from anybody. You are the First, the Last, and the Unique for the
servants to appeal to, and the last to turn to. I seek refuge in Your Eternal
Mercy and Compassion.’”
Rumi goes on:
“See these pleasant signs of prayer and be aware of what you would be
facing. Gather yourselves together and try to benefit from your prayer both
physically and spiritually! Do not put your head like a bird collecting grain on
the ground!.. Take heed of the saying of the Prophet: ‘The most wicked thief is
the one who steals from prayer.’” (Hakim, Mustadrak, I, 353).
“If one prays in pious reverence and beseeches Allah in awareness of His
Love, Allah pays him a compliment saying that ‘I am at your service.’”
The Prophet (pbuh) says about the degrees of prayer in terms of pious
reverence:
“Two people pray separately at the same place and at the same time.
However, there is so huge a difference between them as between the sky and
the earth.” (Ihya).
Therefore, the Qur’an points out that true believers are those who justly do
their prayer in pious reverence: “And those who guard (the sacredness(
of their worship.” (Al-Maarij 70: 34).
It is again said in the same chapter of the Qur’an:
“Those who remain steadfast to their prayer.” (Al-Maarij 70: 23).
Those who spiritually experienced think that:
“The intent of this verse is to express the spirit of prayer as only an outward
manifestation of prayer cannot remain permanently. But it is the spirit that
bows down and prostrates. Permanent prayer means remembering Allah all
the time.”
Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, also, interprets this verse metaphorically:
“The servant keeps his state at prayer and also afterwards. In this way he
spends all his life in pious reverence and decency; and also watches his
mouth and soul. This is the way of the lovers of Allah.”
Rumi goes on: “The prayer that keeps us away from evil acts is done five
times a day. Whereas the lovers of Allah always remain in prayer for the love
in their soul and the Divine fondness that kindles their lungs does not calm
down with praying five-times a day.”
“The prayer of the lover of Allah is like the condition of a fish in water. As a
fish cannot live without water, the soul of a lover of Allah cannot find peace
without constant prayer. Therefore, the expression that “visit me not much!”
is not for the lovers of Allah. The soul of the true lovers always remains
thirsty.”
“If a lover stands apart from his desire even for a moment, it feels like
thousands of years to him. And if he spends thousands of years with his
dearest one it feels like just a moment to him. That is why a lover of Allah
always remains in prayer and it is by this that he meets Allah. If he misses
even a unit of prayer, it feels to him like missing thousands of units of
prayer.”
“O wise and smart ones! It is beyond the reach of the intellect to understand
the union with Allah in prayer. It can only be understood by sacrificing the
intellect for the Dearest and reviving the heart.”
And reviving the heart depends on to which direction the servant goes.
Rumi says about this direction as follows:
“The direction for kings is the crown and the belt; and the direction for the
worldly-minded is gold and silver; and the direction for those who love
material beings is idols; and the direction for lovers of spirit is the heart and
the soul; and the direction for ascetics is the niche of a mosque; and the
direction for the careless is unnecessary works; and the direction for the lazy
is to sleep and eat; and the direction for humans is knowledge and wisdom.
The direction for the lover is eternal union; and the direction for the wise
person is the Face of Allah; and the direction for the worldly-minded is
possessions and rank; and the direction for dervishes is the provisions of
religious orders; and the direction for passion is worldly desires; and the
direction for the people of confinement is putting trust in Allah.
We must be aware that the direction we face for prayer is not the building of
the Ka’bah, but it is the place where the Ka’bah is located. If the Ka’bah is
moved to another place it cannot be the direction for prayer there.”
So one is supposed to direct his heart to Allah while directing his body
towards the Ka’bah. Because the direction for the heart is Allah.
On the other hand, in order to accomplish pious reverence in prayer one is
supposed to have a perfect intention to perform his prayer in accordance with
the following saying of the Prophet (pbuh), “acts are judged by intentions.”
This means being conscious of whose presence we are in as we pray. This
requires examining the desires of the heart and also divorcing all aims except
the approval of Allah.
One is supposed to feel the Grandeur of Allah as soon as he begins prayer
with the words “Allah is Great!” When the person raises his hands to his ears
to begin prayer he is supposed to put everything behind him. The praying
person should feel the delight of being in Allah’s presence in his heart. He
should feel as if he has left this transitory world for the Hereafter when he
begins prayer.
The praying person is supposed while standing to set his eyes on where he
puts his head for prostration. He should always feel that he is in Allah’s
presence, and that s/he is an impotent being and therefore s/he always needs
Allah. He should try to be among those servants whom Allah praises with the
words “What a nice servant!”
While reciting from the Qur’an he is supposed to read properly, and also to
try to understand and to contemplate the meaning of the verses as well as
putting them into practice in life. The Prophet (pbuh) says that “Recitation of
the Qur’an means speaking to Allah.” (Abu Nuaim, Hilya, 7, 99). Therefore,
one’s soul should be vigilant while reading the Qur’an.
One is supposed to say the words “Glory to my Lord, the Great” by
contemplating its meaning and feeling the Grandeur of Allah while bowing
down.
And while saying the words “Glory to my Lord, the Highest” in the position of
prostration one is supposed to feel, again, the Grandeur of Allah. Being aware
of the fact that the servant comes closest to Allah in the position of
prostration, we should get our soul to prostrate as well as our body. Only by
doing so can we attain that blessing from the secret of the verse “Bow down
in adoration, and bring yourself the closer (to Allah(!” (Al-Alaq 96: 19).
Thus, the servant should enjoy his union with Allah and try to be among those
lovers of Allah who long for receiving the love of Allah.
While sitting upright after every two units of prayer the servant should sit in
reverence and feel how impotent he is and, therefore, he should call down
Allah’s mercy.
When it comes to the act of turning one’s face to the right and to the left to
complete prayer with the words said to the two angels “peace and mercy of
Allah be upon you”, this should be done feeling the joy of union with Allah
through prayer and sharing this feeling by greeting the two angels on one’s
right and left shoulders.
If a prayer is performed in a way that pleases Allah, the greeting said to the
two angels is returned by them. And Allah rewards this kind of prayer in the
Hereafter as said in the Qur’an:
“Peace unto you for that you persevered in patience! Now how
excellent is the final Home!” (Ar-Rad 13: 24).

Evil Eye

The evil eye belief is that a person -- otherwise not malific in any way --
can harm you, your children, your livestock, or your fruit trees, by
*looking at them* with envy and praising them. The word "evil" is
unfortunate in this context because it implies that someone has
"cursed" the victim, but such is not the case. A better understanding of
the term "evil eye" is gained if you know that the old British and
Scottish word for it is "overlooking," which implies merely that the gaze
has remained too long upon the coveted object, person, or animal. In
other words, the effect of the evil eye is misfortunate, but the person
who harbours jealousy and gives the evil eye is not necessarily an evil
person per se.
In the Middle East, turquoise blue faience beads ("donkey beads") are
used to protect livestock from the evil eye. These beads can be seen
dangling from a modern Egyptian luck-bringing and apotropaic blue
glazed wall plaque in the form of a horseshoe, made in Egypt.

In India, Israel, and the Arab countries the eye-in-hand charm is


common. It may be carved of bone or cast in metal, with an engraved
image of an eye in the palm or a cabachon-cut stone standing in for
the eye.
The Middle East is home to the hamsa hand or hamesh hand
charm(also known as the hand of Fatima among Arabs and the Hand
of Miriam among Jews). This hand-shaped apotropaic charm may be
cast in metal and worn as jewelry, but larger ones, inscribed with
prayers of magical protection are often made of blue-glazed
ceramics and hung on a wall.
A SUMMARY OF EVIL EYE BELIEFS WORLD-WIDE

PERPETRATORS
Envious people
Those who praise children
Those who suffer from covetousness
Those with blue eyes (xenophobia among brown-eyed racial groups)
Childless women
People born with the unfortunate propensity to inadvertently project
the eye
ETIOLOGY
Overlooking (old British term; means gazing too long upon coveted item or
child)
Praising without touching or spitting to void the damage
Projection from eye (Sicilian term for one who gives mal occhio is jettatura,
from the same root-word as ejaculation and projection)

VICTIMS (AND SYMPTOMS(


Nursing infants (they sicken and cry; their mother's milk may dry up)
Young children (they sicken and cry; they may vomit or become listless)
Milk cows and milk goats (they dry up)
Fruit trees (they wither and die or they do not bear fruit)
Fathers and sons (orphans or fathers who have lost sons envy them)
Adult men (they become impotent)

APOTROPAIC CHARMS and GESTURES


Refusal to accept praise on behalf of child
Spitting on child
Spot of soot or dirt on child so child will not look pretty
Formulaic phrases
Protective hand gestures
Eye amulets (e.g. wadjet eyes, blue-eye charms, ojo de venado)
Eye-in-hand amulets
Hand of power and powerful hand images
Hamsa hand or hand of Fatima / hand of Miriam
Eye-agate amulets or jewelry
Cat's-eye shells
Blue beads
Cord charms that decay and release a blue bead
Mirror charms
Fumigation with Aspand seeds burned on charcoal and recitation of spell
Amulets that replicate protective hand-gestures
Red thread or cord
Red coral horns and twigs
Buckle of Isis amulets
Horseshoes
Crescent-shaped objects

CURES
Olive oil dripped into water with prayer
Wax dripped into water with prayer
Coals or match heads dropped into water with prayer
Passing a whole raw egg over the face, then breaking it
Breaking an egg in a dark, shadowed place, unseen
Breaking an egg and drawing a cross on the victim's forehead
Throwing an egg into the bushes or against a tree (if tree is victim)
Placing a broken egg in dish beneath victim's bed
Piercing a lemon with iron nails
Victim drinks three sips of holy water
Victim is bathed in holy water
Victim spits at giver of evil eye three times
Inayat khan on prayer

The first aspect of prayer is giving thanks to God for all the numberless
blessings that are bestowed upon us at every moment of the day and
night, and of which we are mostly unconscious.

The second aspect of prayer is laying our shortcomings before the


unlimited perfection of the divine Being, and asking His forgiveness.
This makes man conscious of his smallness, of his limitation, and
therefore makes him humble before his God. And, by humbling himself
before God man does not lose any virtue. God alone has the right to
demand complete humility.
The third aspect of prayer is to tell God one's difficulties and troubles, and to
ask Him for what one needs and wants. And who else deserves this trust but
God? It is true that we have relations and friends who love us and wish to
help us; but they are only human beings, traveling in the same boat on the
same sea, subject to all the same difficulties and limitations. Man can only be
helped by man to a certain extent. The more one studies human nature, the
more one feels inclined to bring one's troubles, difficulties, and sorrows,
before God alone, and this is a part of what is taught in the form of prayer.

The fourth aspect of prayer is like the call of the lover to the beloved.
No doubt this is a higher form; and to be able to pray in this manner
man must rise above the ordinary level of life. Just as it is difficult for a
human being to love man, whom he sees, so it is more difficult to love
God, whom one has never seen. Loving one's fellow man, yes; but not
everyone is capable of loving the formless, the God-ideal, and of
evolving by the lesson of love. For in this love there is no
disappointment, and only the love of God can fulfill the desire of the
human soul, and all other forms of love are only steps that lead to the
love of God. But who can explain the love of God to one who has never
felt it? God is the perfect ideal. His love is the perfect love. There is
love of the mate, of parents of friends, of children, but in the love of
God all is found combined. Therefore its joy is perfect. The love of God
is living and everlasting and is the love of the true Beloved.

The fifth aspect of prayer is to know God, and in this way to draw
nearer to God. This is the real meaning of the expression at-one-ment,
which means complete union. It cannot be learned; it is a natural
tendency; it is the attraction of the soul to God. It is like the negative
pole of the electric wire, which is attracted, to the positive. It means
that the happiness of man depends on his nearness to God, and this
too has been taught in the form of prayer.

Worship is a resignation, an acknowledgement, a recognition. Worship


has many meanings. By worshipping we acquaint ourselves with a
certain power. Acquaintance is understanding; and understanding is a
great thing. We often suffer because we do not understand. Many
conditions and many people are difficult to tolerate because we do not
understand them, but once we understand we can tolerate almost
anything.

If one asks why God should create beings in order that they should sing His
own praise, the answer is that God does not wish to receive praise. The
praise of God is a prescription for man, in order that by this prescription man
can come to that understanding which brings him nearer to God. In other
words, by praising God man completes the action in which lies the fulfillment
of the soul's purpose in coming on earth.

After this comes the prayer of realization. This is the prayer of the
dervishes and the saints. They are ashamed of asking God for
anything; they are contented with whatever comes. If they have food,
whatever it is, it is all right. If they have no food it is all right too. If
they have nothing to cover themselves with it is all right. By this
contentment they become greater than kings. Sitting under a tree in
rags they are greater than the richest who own all the Earth and yet
are needy, for they have the kingdom of God. But about what they see
their lips are closed. They do not speak of it. They never tell.

There are three kinds of people among those who offer prayer. One
person in praying feels he is fulfilling a certain duty, which he considers
to be one among the other duties of life. He does not know to whom he
is praying; he thinks it is to some God. If he is in a congregation he
feels obliged to do as the others do. He is like one of a flock of sheep
which goes on not knowing where and why. Praying, to him, is
something that he must do because he is in a situation where he
cannot help it. In order to fall in with the custom of the family or
community, and in order to respect those around him, he does it like
everybody else. His prayer is mechanical and if it has any effect it is
very little.
The second kind of person who offers prayers is the one who prays
because he has been taught to do so, and yet is uncertain as to
whether there is any God and whether his prayers are really heard. He
may be praying, and yet at the same time his mind may be full of
uncertainty, so that he wonders whether he is doing right or wrong. If
he is a busy man, he may think, 'Am I giving my time to something
really profitable, or am I wasting it? I see no one before me. I hear no
answer to my prayer.' He does it because he was taught by someone
to do it, or because it might perhaps benefit him in some way. His
prayer is a prayer in the dark. The heart, which should be opened to
God, is closed in by his own doubt, and if he prayed in this way for a
thousand years, it would never be heard. It is this kind of soul who
loses his faith, in the end, especially when he meets with a
disappointment. He prays, and if his prayer is not answered, that puts
an end to his belief.

Then there is a third person who has imagination, which is


strengthened by faith. He not only prays to God, but he prays before
God, in the presence of God. Once imagination has helped a man to
bring the presence of God before him, God is awakened in his own
heart. Then before he utters a word, it is heard by God. When he is
praying in a room, he is not alone. He is there with God. Then to him
God is not in the highest heaven but close to him, before him, in him.
Then to him heaven is on earth and earth is heaven. No one is then so
living, so intelligible as God; and all names and forms disappear before
Him. Then every word of prayer he utters is a living word. It not only
brings blessing to him, but to all those around him. This manner of
prayer is the only right way of praying and in this way the object that is
to be fulfilled by prayer is accomplished.

The Whispered Prayer of the Knowers – Imam Zayn Alibideen

In the Name of God, the All-merciful,


the All-compassionate
1 Lord,
tongues fall short of attaining
praise of Thee proper to Thy majesty,
intellects are incapable of grasping
the core of Thy beauty,
eyes fail before gazing
upon the glories of Thy face,
and Thou hast assigned to Thy creatures
no way to know Thee
save incapacity to know Thee!
2 Lord,
place us among those
within the gardens of whose breasts
the trees of yearning for Thee have
taken firm root
and the assemblies of whose hearts
have been seized by the ardour of Thy
love!
They seek shelter
in the nests of meditation,
feed upon the gardens
of nearness and disclosure,
drink from the pools of love
with the cup of gentle favour,
and enter into the watering-places
of warm affection.
The covering has been lifted
from their eyes,
the darkness of disquiet has been dispelled
from their beliefs and their innermost minds,
the contention of doubt has been negated
from their hearts and their secret thoughts,
their breasts have expanded
through the verification of true knowledge,
their aspirations have ascended
through precedent good fortune in
renunciation,
their drinking is sweet
from the spring of devotion to good works,
their secret thoughts are delicious
in the sitting-place of intimacy,
their minds are secure
in the place of terror,
their souls are serene
through the return to the Lord of lords,
their spirits have reached certitude
through triumph and prosperity,
their eyes have been gladdened
through gazing upon their Beloved,
their settling place has been settled
through reaching the request and attaining
the expectation,
and their commerce has profited
through the sale of this world for the next!
3 Lord,
how agreeable for hearts are
the thoughts inspiring Thy remembrance,
how sweet
travelling to Thee through imagination
upon the roads of the unseen worlds,
how pleasant
the taste of Thy love,
how delightful
the drink of Thy nearness!
So give us refuge from Thy casting out and Thy
sending far,
and place us among
the most elect of Thy knowers,
the most righteous of Thy servants,
the most truthful of Thy obeyers,
the most sincere of Thy worshipers!
O All-mighty, O Majestic,
O Generous, O Endower!
By Thy mercy and kindness,
O Most Merciful of the merciful!

O God whatever punishment thou mayst inflict upon me, do not punish me
with the humiliation of being veiled from Thee, because if I am not veiled
from Thee my torment and affliction will be lightened by the recollection and
contemplation of Thee; but if I am veiled from Thee, even Thy bounty will be
deadly to me. There is no punishment in Hell more painful and hard to bear
than that of being veiled. If God were revealed in Hell, sinful believers would
never think of paradise, since the sight of God would so fill them with joy that
they would not feel bodily pain. And in paradise there is no pleasure more
perfect than unveiledness . If the people of there enjoyed all the pleasures of
that place and other pleasures a hundredfold, but were veiled from God, their
hearts would be utterly broken. Therefore it is the way of God to let the
hearts of those who love him have vision of him always, in order that the
delight thereof may enable them to endure every tribulation; and they say in
their visions; ‘We deem all torments more desirable that to veiled from thee.
When thy beauty is revealed to our hearts, we take no thought of affliction.’

– Sari al-Saqati