We continue with one lecture that I heard yesterday evening. In Arabic, the general term for prayers suppose to be صلاة salaat. It terminologically means that we are in contact with our Creator and the Lord of the universe. But there is another term which we translate it into English as supplications. In Arabic, we call it as دُعَاء du'a. It terminologically means that we are calling and begging the God to listen to us, our prayers.
As to say, many of Muslim Chinese brothers and sisters in our university here are learning Arabic because they understand the importance of Arabic as compared to our compatriots. It brings us closer to the God and His revelation. It is also something that makes me wonder that we are so fond to teach our children English as international language but we left behind Arabic which is an international language for Muslims' communication purpose. We even have Malaysian version of English, Singaporean English, Indian English, or Chinese English which are pidgins of English in Asia apart of those in America, Australia, and New Zealand.
It's a good thing that Muslims involved in translation and interpretation field although I hate this field since it is not a famous thing in Malaysia and I think everybody in Malaysia is capable in English and Malay. So, my certificate (degree) would better end in dumpster as I do not know what is my specification? But I can't deny that I had learned many things from the course too such as the methodology and ideologies of translating documents. I tried to learn Arabic from mosques too but most of the times the budget in our mosque had limited the class and we must remember Arabic teachers and other sciences teachers in the mosque also coming from far. So, we must know our responsibility to support them. Don't let them ask us because it would degrade their position in society and not the manner of teachers. Teachers are people with dignity. I also try to polish up Arabic by joining lower level class again in UITM, and the class is so fun. However, fate is not so good to me, I have to stop before I go through other levels for higher language proficiency. I think it would be better if I could return to holy Mecca or going to some other Arabic speaking countries but sure need a lot of effort and money. I hate money, it enslaves people too :'(
From what I had learned from history, Christians are actually active translators of learning materials. It serves their evangelical purposes as well. I am not talking about Christians of Europe during imperialism era since 1500-1900 but about Oriental and Eastern Christians from Middle East under Byzantine Roman empire and Persia. Those materials that Muslim scholars learned were from their translations and those Christians are proficient in Syriac, Arabic and Greek. Now, we stop being ego but we learn to humble down ourselves. Knowledge and civilization does not belong to us, it belongs to the God. I mean this also to non-Muslims since some of them also believe in the God in general.
Now we come back to our topic, noble times for supplications. The lecture was delivered by Ustad Aminuddin 'Abdur-Rahim. This is not from me as I am learning this from the lecture too. If everyone have any question for particular topic please don't hesitate to call the radio Kedah FM and ask the ustad or try searching for the ustad contact at his office for consultation. If I put my thinking in the lecture, it would be in italic so that is my thinking. It does not always correct since I am a human not free from error, we must correct our errors through the light of Quran and Sunnah. Don't stay in the dark.
Among Good and Noble Times for Supplications
The good time from supplications is at Friday night and it begins just after 'Asar prayer service since for us Muslims the time change happens few minutes before Maghrib prayer service. Check our Islamic calender always regarding the time, it is very important so please pay attention at time. Then we may also supplicate at the pre-dawn time every night, those who fasts are always blessed with this good time. We must also grab the opportunity for supplications during noble situations such as during the rainy day, after we settle our five times obligatory prayer services, and the time between adzan and iqamah. Another good time is while we are fasting and while we are in prostration posture during salaat or prayer services.
Manners While Reciting Supplications
While reciting supplications, make sure that our face and chest facing Qiblah. Qiblah is the direction toward the Respected Mosque in Holy City, Mecca. When we read books and Quran, we may also face Qiblah. While we perform ablution also face the Qiblah. According to the lecture of Ihyaa, a noble ceremony is a ceremony which faces Qiblah. Everything noble that we perform by facing the direction of Qiblah is noble. While performing ablution, try to find the panchur (pipe) that when we scoup the water with our hand, our front side of body facing the Qiblah direction.
While reciting supplications, it is appraised to put together our hands with the palm facing the heaven. We do not look up the heaven while reciting supplications. Noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w recites supplications with his hands at the level of his face. The Qiblah direction for salaat is the Ka'abah in Respected Mosque of holy Mecca, while the Qiblah direction for supplications is the heaven. This is according to the books written by the ulamas of al-Azhar of Egypt. The reference for hands raised up to the level of face could be seen in Ihyaa' 'Ulumuddin.
Take into our notes too that while reciting supplications, make sure that our voice is in the middle tone between low and high voice. Abu Musa al-Ash'ari narrated that: "While we almost entering the Medinah, prophet Muhammad s.a.w saying the magnification of the Lord, his companions too magnifying the Lord but with loud voice. Thus prophet Muhammad s.a.w said to them: 'O human! The God who listens to prayers and supplications is not deaf and not blind.'" In a hadith the prophet Muhammad s.a.w said: "While in salaat services, don't recite supplications with voice too high or with voice too quietly but be modest." The word salaat in the hadith is interpreted by the noble mother of faithfuls, our mother 'Aisyah r.a as supplications. It is based from the verse 110 in Surah al-Israa'...
Says the God in His revelation: "Say (o Muhammad)! Call upon the God the Most Merciful. Whichever (Name) thus to Him belong the best Names. And do not recite (too) loudly or (too) quietly but seek between that a way (intermediate)."
According to the God in His revelation of surah Maryam verse 3, the prophet Zakaria a.s also supplicates with low voice. He supplicates with whispers.
Says the God: "While he (Zakaria) called his Lord a private supplication."
According to al-Adzkar interpretation, we not only supplicate with low tone of the voice but also not asking nonsensical things. For example, supplications to fly in the sky with wings. The book also interpretes that we do not create words which are the same before the full stop until we lose concentration in supplication. We supplicate in natural ways. Recite supplications and beg Him with hope until concentration rise up from the heart and every parts of body.
Says the God in surah al-Anbiyaa' verse 90: "So, We responded to him and We grant him John, and amended for him his wife. Indeed, they used to hasten into good deeds and supplicate to Us in hope and fear and they were to Us humbly submissive."
Supplicate for the greed to do charity and for fear being hit by evil. Supplicate with hope and in hidden. In Uslatul Firdaus, it is said that when the God loves His servants He will test His servants until the servant beg to Him full with hope and diligence. A servant must be confident toward His supplications and do not say "if You want it to be" but right away beg Him to grant anything we ask for. If we want forgiveness, ask for forgiveness with diligence and don't do it half way. In a hadith reported by Tirmidzi, it says that supplicate and pray to the God with confidence that He will grant it. Behold that, the God never accept supplications and prayers of those whom their heart are careless.
It best to repeat whatever supplication and prayers that we make few times although it is same thing. The prophet Muhammad s.a.w sometimes asking for something from the God three times in a row. It is reasonable for someone not to assume that His prayer and supplications would come back to him in a blink. He listens to those who are not haste and clumsy. Avoid from evil-thinking toward the Holy God. Just supplicate and pray to Him.
A hadith says: "When we ask something and we can see that our prayers and supplications are granted or happened, we say alhamdulillahilladzi tatimmu saalihan." It means "praises be to the God who completes the goodness." If our prayers and supplications come late to us, then we say alhamdulillah 'alaa kulli haal. It means "praises be to the God on every condition I am in." Prayers and supplication begins with the recitation of the Name of the God and exaltation to Him such as praises and glorifying Him.
Our prophet Muhammad s.a.w begins his prayers with subhaana rabbiyal-'aliyyil a'alal wahhaab. It means glorified be the Lord on His highest awarding. If we have something to ask for His help, begin it with salawat to prophet Muhammad s.a.w and recite supplications. Then close it with salawat again. The God accepts the prayers and supplications in the middle of salawat and everything in the middle of salawats. The God accepts salawat too. So, when we begin our supplications and prayers, recite salawat dear beloved brethren. Two things we should never forget although very simple, al-Fatihah and salawat. They entertain us while we are alone in solitary, inshaallah.
Today is Friday, as always I can perform the سبت السلام sibtis-salaam time of worship altogether with Saturday. It's a day to respect scriptures, praying for well-being in this thorny world and hereafter and respecting knowledge from the God in the week. It's a custom for me, not an obligation nor a must since noble prophet Isa (Jesus) a.s said that we should not be the servant of the days but servants of the God. I am performing it in respect to prophets and messengers of the God as they are brothers of each other. It's among of my individual customs.
My tahiyyat to every single prophets and messengers of the God, most specially to noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w who we love with all of our heart, the entertainer of my sorrow heart :' Sealed with prayers for peace, mercy, and love, amin!