What are prayers done unwarily?
A prayer that is done improperly and a prayer in which Satan steps in, is equivalent to a blow being struck on the person who prays it. It is said in the Qur’an:
“So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers, those who (want but) to be seen (of men), but refuse (to supply) (even) neighborly needs.” (Maun, 107:4-7).
Exegetes of the Qur’an identify three forms of heedlessness in prayer:
- Being careless when the time of prayer is due and delay it to do at another time.
- Not sensing prayer spiritually though being physically at prayer.
- Not taking heed of the precepts of prayer.
Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi says:
“I asked my intellect about ‘what is faith?’ And my intellect leaned over the ear of my heart and whispered: ‘Faith consists of manners.’”
The greatest of manners is reverence towards the Lord. And it is best displayed with worship, particularly with prayer.
Being unaware about the requirements, precepts, and contents of the prayer is a compromise that Satan uses to strip off blessings. The inclination of the praying person towards unwariness allows Satan recourse to act. And, of course, a prayer that Satan weakens is not accepted.
Some people display themselves as strong defenders of Islam, but they do not duly perceive the importance of prayer, and they are heedless about it. They underestimate the Qur’anic and Prophetic orders and advice, and they remain indifferent to prayer. They neglect both pious reverence and the precepts of prayer. They perform prayers as if they wished to be free from it as soon as possible. May Allah save us from this kind of indifference.
Those careless people are like those who go bankrupt. They have nothing left but weariness. The Prophet (J) says:
“There are many of those who pray, but they only get weariness and exertion.” (Nasai).
“Allah does not appreciate the other good qualities of those who do not pray regularly.” (Tabarani).
Then again, the Prophet (J) describes one’s negligence of proper prayer as “theft.” He says:
“The most wicked thief of humans is the one who steals from his prayer.” (Ahmad and Hakim).
And as this kind of theft is done on behalf of Satan the thief gets nothing but weariness. And the thief should remember the words of Allah in this regard:
“So woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers…” (Maun 107:4-5).
As this verse propounds, those who are lazy cannot approach prayer, and those who are not able to overwhelm their unsubmissive self cannot penetrate into the spirit of prayer, and thus they cannot benefit from it. Whoever prays without observing the precepts of prayer, and offer his prayer not realizing that he is in Allah’s presence, and holds worldly concerns in remembrance during prayer, that means he is not really praying. And his prayer remains in this world.
So, the prayer that is supposed to mature one’s faith in the heart ends up causing deprivation in the hands of such unwary people. And prayers of such individuals bring them nothing, but eternal torment. The Qur’an says:
“The hypocrites – they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over-reach them: when they stand up for prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance.” (Nisaa 4:142).
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, ISLAM SPIRIT AND FORM, Erkam Publications