A PRAYING PERSON CAN NEVER LOSE Our ultimate success or failure -- in the Hereafter-- will depend solely on how we acted in the different circumstances. Translation: "There are men who say, 'Our Lord! Give us (Your bounties) in this world.' But they will have no portion in the Hereafter. And there are men who say, 'Our Lord! Give unto us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire.' To these will be allotted what they have earned. And Allah is swift at reckoningâ€? [Al-Baqarah 2:200-202]. Explanation: Prayer is communication with Allah. Everyone who believes in Allah also prays. But "how" and "for what" of prayer depend upon one's concept of Allah and outlook on life. The pagans of Arabia used to pray as the above verses mention. According to a recent Newsweek survey report, a great majority of Americans also pray, many of them daily. They pray for health, safety, love, and for relief of a "Job-like list of human miseries." Guidance to the straight path, protection from Hell and success in the Hereafter are not mentioned. What is even more intriguing is the language of the Western discourse about prayer. In Western literature Allah is depicted as a wise old man in the sky and prayers appear to be petitions for solution of problems that it is His "duty" to solve. According to the Newsweek poll "85 percent of Americans say they accept Allah's failure to grant their prayers." Allah's failure? They debate: "Is Allah unjust or He only appears that way?" Others, like Carl
Sagan, who died last year holding firm to his unbelief, ask: "Does Allah need to be reminded that someone is sick?" This is several notches below the level of the pagans of Arabia. At work here is the arrogance of achievements in science and technology. In fact in one case the scientists are conducting an "experiment" to determine the usefulness of prayer. At the Arthritis Treatment Center in Florida, one group of patients will additionally receive healing prayers through the Christian Healing Ministry, while the other group will only receive medical treatment. By the end of the experiment they will have "scientifically determined" if prayers work! For a believer this is blasphemy of the highest order. Prayer is not a polite demand for rights. Allah gave us life, and everything that we possess, without our having any right to it. It is His design and it is with a purpose. Our conditions of health and sickness, our affluence and poverty, our joys and sorrows, our apparent successes and failures, our gains and losses -- all of them are just a test. Our ultimate success or failure -- in the Hereafter-- will depend solely on how we acted in the different circumstances that He chose for us. Did we seek His help when we needed help or were we too arrogant to ask? Did we accept His will when things did not turn out our way? Did we show gratitude for His favors or were we proud of our own achievements? And under all circumstance did we follow His commands or were we preoccupied with our demands? We pray to Him because only He can give. He is not answerable to any authority and everyone is answerable to Him. He has power over everything and none can overpower Him. His knowledge is infinite while ours is infinitesimal compared to His. He is the Lord; we are His slaves. He may grant our prayers here; or He may reward us for it in the hereafter; or He may give us something better than what we asked for. In any case a praying person can never lose for prayer is the highest form of submission to Him. "Prophet Muhammad (saws) was the best of mankind because he was the best in submission to Allah," says Maulana Manzoor Naumani. "Anyone who studies his supplications, cannot but be awestruck with the perfect understanding of our relationship to the Creator reflected by them."