Prayer is the Revival of an Ancient and Timeless Truth
[Just to let you know, the text below is a transcription of what I've said in this video. So please excuse any words or phrases that don't quite look right.]
Prayer is an ancient phenomenon. Let's go back in time.
Look at these very famous verses, the last few verses of Surat Al-Aʿlā, oft-recited by the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, in the Witr prayer, in the Eid prayer, at Jummah, etc. [Qur’an, 87:14-19]
<< قَد أَفلَحَ مَن تَزَكّىٰ >>
qad ʾaflaḥa man tazakkā
Prosperous are those who purify themselves (tazakkā),
Tazkiyah is the name of my second daughter. Prosperous are those who purify themselves.
<< وَذَكَرَ اسمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلّىٰ >>
wa-dhakara sma rabbihī fa-ṣallā
Remember the Name of the Lord and pray.
<< بَل تُؤثِرونَ الحَياةَ الدُّنيا >>
bal tuʾthirūna l-ḥayāta d-dunyā
Rather you prefer the life of this world,
Allah gives us the formula for success. And then He tells us what gets in our way: the life of this world. “But you prefer the life of this world.”
Aspects of the life of this world get in the way of your self-purification and focus on yourself. They get in the way of your remembrance of Him. They get in the way of your prayer.
We have all experienced that in different ways.
<< وَالآخِرَةُ خَيرٌ وَأَبقىٰ >>
wa-l-ʾākhiratu khayrun wa-ʾabqā
While the Hereafter is better and more lasting.
He reminds us simply that the hereafter is better and more long-lasting. Then look what He says. This is the pertinent point:
<< إِنَّ هٰذا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الأولىٰ >>
ʾinna hādhā la-fī ṣ-ṣuḥufi l-ʾūlā ṣuḥufi ʾibrāhīma wa-mūsā
All of this is in the earliest scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses.
This formula, and the fact that certain things get in the way of our success, that's old school stuff. It's always been going on, this is nothing new.
We know, as Muslims, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, wasn't initiating as much as he was restoring.
He wasn't coming up with something new. He was reviving an ancient and timeless truth.
Notice how prayer is part of this ancient formula. This is in the Scrolls and in the scriptures of Abraham and Moses, peace be upon them both.