Aspects of the Last Revelation: Directness of Islamic Prayer
Divine expression, as found in the Qur’an, is a moment of great hope for man, for he has been assured of divine response if only he would call on the divine with the understanding that stems from a sincere heart that believes in Him and obeys His every command, writes ANEES AZEEZ.
ne aspect of the Last Revelation from the Divine, received by Prophet Muhammad over a period of 23 years, was the way in which it provided answers to some of the immediate questions put forward by the people who surrounded the Prophet. Some thirty such questions and their corresponding answers, from on high, was the direct result – all of which would, in time, be of great consequence.
The Qur’an had its own peculiar way of addressing these questions. Normally, it would, of itself, give the context of each question, thus: “They ask you regarding….” And the answer would be given with the introductory command: “So tell them….” However, on one particular occasion when the Prophet was asked about God Himself, a marked change in tone became perceptible, inasmuch as the Qur’an declared:
“When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am, indeed, close (at hand): I answer the prayer of every supplicant when he calls upon Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me, that they may walk on the Right Path.” (2: 186)
The directness with which the answer is given here cannot be missed. As if to reaffirm the cardinal principle in Islam that man can directly approach his Creator without the need of an intermediary, the usual phrase, “So tell them…,” stands omitted, and the question answered directly, instead. This directness also suggests the importance which God has attached to this great facility bestowed on humankind.
To be sure, this divine expression is a moment of great hope for man, for he has been assured of divine response if only he would call on the divine with the understanding that stems from a sincere heart that believes in Him and obeys His every command.
Having thus provided man with this facility – and command – to call on Him directly, God has also granted humanity the last of His Messengers to teach, and spiritually cleanse, it of all defilement that stands as obstacle between man and his Creator. The Qur’an mentions this added blessing thus:
“He it is Who hath raised amidst the unlettered ones [i.e., the generally illiterate people of seventh century Arabia] an Apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them His revelations and purifying them and teaching them the Book and Wisdom, though they have been aforetime in error manifest.” (62: 20)
Thus, a total cleansing of man’s inner self – his remarkable soul, indeed, the highest gift of the divine – is achieved through following the Last Revelation, the source of all wisdom and well-being, and by staying close to the teachings of the Last Prophet who educated us in the practical and very ‘this-worldly’ means of that very self-purification.