One of the prayers that our noble Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him,
repeated regularly was as follows:
I take refuge with You, from knowledge that does not benefit me, from a heart that does not quiver in respect, from unquenchable carnal desires and from supplications that are not accepted.’
‘My Lord, I take refuge with you from useless knowledge’
Seeking this refuge in God is narrated in many hadith narrations.
This was one of the constant recitations that our noble Prophet made when appealing to Almighty God.
It was constantly on his tongue.
This prayer’s first part:
‘My Lord, I take refuge with You from useless knowledge’
As expressed in the Qur’an, knowledge that does not lead to deeds, or facilitates good deeds is like a plant with no oxygen, it is sure to dry out.
As mentioned ‘(Their situation) is that of a donkey carrying a load of books’ (Al-Jumu’ah, 62:5), this knowledge is nothing but a weight that will crush the back of its owner.
Furthermore, there is a more dangerous aspect of this; some people go into ostentation, become prideful, and begin to look down at others (may God protect us from it) and therefore enter onto a Satanic path.
In fact, they delve into a cascade of Satanic thoughts; and will never come back to the shore of salvation.
So our noble Prophet begins by taking refuge with God from this danger:
“My Lord, I take refuge with You from useless knowledge”
He says: ‘Without a doubt, I’.
He says: ‘I take refuge with You always; now, later, much later and always and want to be under Your guardianship and want to be among those You forgive’.
It should be understood in this manner.
Considering the grammatical use of verbs in the same sentence...
Then ‘Today, tomorrow, the day after.
Someone who has no benefit to others.
Someone who cannot teach others about God.
Someone who cannot make others love the Prophet.
Someone who cannot help others become truly ‘religious’.
In a way, knowledge which doesn't promote the heart and spirit to rise in the degree of spiritual life and challenge the animal desires of a person is useless knowledge.
I take refuge with You from this.’
It seems that ignorance is better than possessing such knowledge,
'Knowledge', the term that theologians repeat constantly and engage themselves with.
May God protect us from such knowledge.
‘O God, I seek refuge in You from what the heart that does not shiver with respect in Your presence. ’
Secondly, I also seek refuge in You from the heart that is not in great reverence and awe.
‘Prosperous indeed are the believers.’
‘They are in their Prayer humble and fully submissive (being overwhelmed by the awe and majesty of God) (Al-Mu’minun, 23:1-2).’
Having an inner and deep respect towards God, perhaps having a quivering heart.
As related in a tradition, ‘If the heart is full of reverence, it will reflect in one’s actions and attributes.’
In fact, one of these, ‘reverence’ is the exposed emotion, the other is ‘awe’, something that boils like magma in one’s heart.
It is the emotion that guides a person to bow down with hands on the knees, bent double, the emotion to seize the moment nearest to Him in prostration by rubbing his or her head to the ground and saying ‘Not enough’.
And the person lifts their head up and says ‘Not this time either’, so tries again.
One more time if the person makes a mistake.
Then, after many attempts one is satisfied and completes the ‘tahiyyat’ (benedictions) at the end of the Prayer.
As mentioned in Al-Hujjatu’z-Zahra, one should read the ‘tahiyyat’ (the greetings and prayers between the Prophet and God on the night of the Ascension) as though giving and receiving greetings from God as the Prophet did, and then as though encountering the Prophet in person and saying ‘O Beloved Prophet, the greeting, blessings and mercy of God be upon You.’
This is ‘awe’. O God, I seek refuge in You from not having such awe towards You, from not having a deep respect towards You and from not having a feeling of internal boiling as well.
To elaborate using grammar:
O God, I seek refuge in You by all means of seeking refuge, seeking refuge with no doubt, and seeking refuge in You multiple times.
I seek refuge in You from the heart that does not shiver in fear of You, and that does not boil in awe for You.
‘O God, I seek refuge in You from the insatiable soul.’
There is also another matter, the correlation between them that will be covered later.
‘From the insatiable soul.’
This world is neither ‘the abode of pleasure’ nor ‘the abode of profit’, it is only an ‘abode of service’.
On this topic, Bediüzzaman says: ‘There is permission to taste, but not to be full’.
Nowadays especially, people are reckless when it comes to eating and drinking, in Bediüzzaman’s terms, ‘the appetite that comes from abundant provision’, to eat and drink and lay down afterwards on one’s side like other beings has become an unchangeable morality.
Those that fit this description, that eat, sleep and lay afterwards, the following saying from God’s Messenger is most applicable to them:
‘The thing I fear most for my community are:
The desires of the stomach (a large belly), excessive sleep, laziness and weakness in faith’.
My biggest fear is, because of their stomachs, those that eat and drink lie on their backs.
Then, a lack in one’s faith.
Thus, one breeds the other, they work in conjunction with one another; that is, since it causes heedlessness, it is not likely that one in this condition can incite awe for God Almighty.
One’s carnal desire that does not know when to stop will eat and eat all the more.
One must say, ‘As if I ate it’ in the face of such desires; for someone that has made this into a habit could build a mosque.
They say the mosque called, ‘As if I ate it’ was built in this way.
Bediüzzaman expresses this in a new light.
When someone says ‘It’s like I ate it’, they stop themselves from consuming an amount as large as a mosque.
Yes, ‘Tasting is permissible but one should not be full’.
When you give in to your carnal desires and give in to these inclinations it will persistently demand for more, it will ask, ‘Isn’t there more! Isn’t there more?’
The artificial appetite that comes from variety, from the various forms and styles of eating, and from a carnal soul that does not know how to ever become content, may God fill you up!
This prevents a heart from becoming fearing, and equally deters useful knowledge to be learned.
The Messenger of God, void of defect in every aspect, in regards to nearness to God, his life truly is one that is woven with prayer and supplication and has become a display of immaculate artistry.
And among the most dangerous, is ‘from prayer which is not answered’.
When considering the additional meaning in light of the pronouns in this phrase,
‘I seek refuge from prayers which are not answered’
The Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings be upon him, would be constantly supplicating.
I don’t know if this phrase has been used by others, may the noble Spirit of the Master of Humankind, in some way we can call him the ‘Prophet of Supplications’.
How did he supplicate when he took a right step, how did he supplicate when he took a left step, what did he supplicate when he got dressed?
What kind of supplication did he make before and after he relieved himself?
What did he say when he entered the mosque and when he left?
How does he supplicate when he stood for Prayer, and how did he express himself when he bowed down?
When he touched his face on the floor, he says that: ‘The state of prostration is when a servant is closest to God’, how did he evaluate this pose?
When you look at all of this you say, ‘This auspicious individual, this absolute perfect man’s life is a piece of lacework woven together with prayer’.
In fact, if you take a look at the life of the Pride of Humanity from any aspect you will see that he was successful.
If you consider it from the supplication perspective, this is true.
If you consider it from the perspective of worship, he would not rest till his feet were swollen from worship.
When you take a look at it from the perspective of servanthood, he has a soul that is so fine, elegant and benevolent that he could not even hurt an ant.
In his personal life, inside his home he had such eminence that all of his partners were living together harmoniously all while he pleased all of their hearts at the same time.
On the battlefront, he was always at the forefront; so much so that if those around him didn’t stop him, he would have spurred his horse forward and before everyone else charged into the enemy.
Whichever way you consider it, you will see him, peace and blessings be upon him, as having being successful in that field.
A competitive hero that lead by example and faced every challenge.
As an attribute you could say ‘heroic’; but you cannot call the blessed Prophets ‘heroes’ in any other way.
But you could consider them as ‘heroes of the marathon’, ‘heroes of perspicacity’, and ‘heroes of strategy’.
The author of Al-Abkariyat regards him as a genius. This is an approach that is exclusive to him, you would agree or not, that is a different issue.
‘Just as charity revokes calamity, the sincere prayer of the majority revokes grief.’
Bediüzzaman says that supplications should be realised with perfect sincerity to be accepted.
One of his beautiful quotes is:
‘Just as charity revokes calamity, the sincere prayer of the majority revokes grief’, or you could say ‘attracts’.
The charity given for the sake of God.
‘The parable of those who spend their wealth in God's cause is like that of a grain that sprouts seven ears, and in every ear, there are a hundred grains.
God multiplies for whom He wills.
God is All-Embracing (with His mercy), All-Knowing’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:261).
If there is nothing to give, ‘A kind word and forgiving (people's faults) are better than alms giving followed by taunting. God is All-Wealthy and Self-Sufficient, (absolutely independent of the charity of people), All-Clement (Who shows no haste in punishing)’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:263).
A kind word, a smiling face, an action that will relieve your friend is much more acceptable than a goodness that you will shove in his face.
If you do not have anything else to give, at least, do not deprive your smiling face and friendship.
God, may He be glorified and exalted, may bestow All-Encompassing favours through your sincere prayers.
Look, he is saying ‘sincere’, ‘with the sincere prayer of the majority’.
O our Lord, we are shackled slaves and chained servants at Your door!
Our servanthood is our uppermost honor; because we are saved from serving fifty other things owing to servanthood to You.
We did not become servants of wealth, of applause, of position, of rank, of villas, of flotillas, of oppressing others, of admiration, of forcing people to listen to ourselves; we did not become servants of the games of Satan.
What type of servanthood did we reject?
O our Lord, we became Your servant and are freed of being bound to fifty other things.
Serving God; that is the real sincerity.
Serving God only for His sake; worshiping God only because it was commanded, and saying ‘Just for You’.
Raising your voice just for Him, lowering it down just for Him, speaking just for Him...
Working for God, starting for God, communicating for God and speaking for God...
We could produce more examples:
Sitting for God, standing for God, lying down for God, sleeping for God, rising for God, standing before Him in respect and admiration ready for worship in the Late Night Prayer; acting within the sphere of God, for God’s sake, and on account of God.
One ounce of sincerity is worth tonnes of deeds that are insincere.
An ounce of a deed with sincerity converts a drop of water into an ocean.
A drop of a deed with sincerity converts an atom into a sun or a luminous moon.
For this reason, when we turn to God, we must turn to Him with utmost sincerity.
The All-Generous Who gives without limit, the Unique Intercessor, the All-Compassionate, the All-Just Who gives everyone all of their rights and their due, the One Who does not renege from His promises, the All-Truthful One beyond comparison with any other, the One Who removes distress and worry, the One Who creates paths out of sadness and grief, and the One Who always answers the prayers of His servants who sob in desperation.’
Turning to God with these thoughts and opening our hearts to Him are important aspects in terms of the acceptance of our prayers.
It is not a matter of repeating words and sentences we have learned through our culture.
The essential matter is to turn to God wholeheartedly in relation to whatever matter is bothering us or whatever we are facing at any time.
For example, if what preoccupies your minds is the ‘the fear of God’, you should repeat “protect us from Hellfire” seven times every morning and evening as Bediüzzaman did, or as it is mentioned in the Jawshan in its three versions: “O God, protect us, remove us, and keep us away from the Hellfire!”.
You indeed fear Hellfire.
Suddenly, the magma of Hellfire appears before your eyes and based on your physical nature you are subject to melt within it if you are thrown into it.
This fear that envelops your feelings and thoughts, and the prayer that you will make, you will be planning in advance and praying to God: ‘O God, protect us from Hellfire’.
Protect us from Hellfire.
At that time, whatever feeling would take hold of you or whatever state you will be in, this is the feeling you must convey in your prayers.
In essence, your words which are the voice of your heart will be based on that matter.
These are conditions of a prayer that will be responded to.
‘When is God’s help?’
As Bediüzzaman says, since a prayer does not cancel another prayer, God Almighty is constantly encouraging prayer and forcing one to pray.
Now you are facing several calamities and tribulations, we are facing the same things, they are facing similar things.
Nowadays, everybody has an acquaintance or a few acquaintances or entire families who are suffering from oppression all across the world.
For those whose spiritual support concerns those in their own country, they should pray for those within the country.
When we examine the situation in terms of the entire Islamic world, there are hearts everywhere who are distressed by the same concerns at the same time, who cry continuously all around the world.
Thinking of these people, we should extend our concerns to a wider circle, ‘O God.
To my believing brothers and sisters in the entire world.’
Or even extending it further ‘O God
We are living in an interrupted period.
People may be experiencing doubts.
Some are leaning towards different things because they have no examples to follow.
A period of void is being experienced.
A period just like the time before the Pride of Humanity, peace and blessings upon him.
In times like this, if people say ‘There probably is a Creator’ or something along these lines, maybe (God knows best) this may even be enough for them to escape.
Because there is no Islamic world that practices Islam based on the Qur’an, Prophetic Tradition, and consensus of the community or the deductive reasoning of the scholars.
There is no Islamic world.
Islam is estranged.
Islam is an orphan in the hands of the Muslim world.
Islamic practice is an orphan in the hands of the Islamic world, forlorn.
Although it has values that exceed all other values, it has become an element of worldly and ulterior motives.
I said ‘element’ out of my respect for it even though it has become something else.
Islam, ever since its beginning, has never suffered the insult, mockery and contempt it is suffering from the Islamic world today.
At whose hand?
With whose tongue?
With those who say ‘I am a Muslim’ and those blind, deaf, damned vagrants who claim to apply Islamic life to social and political life.
Now if we regard this as suffering, start with your family and homeland
A large number of people are moaning under suffering and oppression.
Imagining the presence of the Prophet or in dreams:
They seem to be saying ‘O Messenger of God, when?’, ‘When will God’s aid come to us?’
Yes, this had been said by those who came before:
‘Do you think that you will enter Paradise while there has not yet come upon you the like of what came upon those who passed away before you?’
They were visited by such adversities and hardships, and were so shaken as by earthquake that the Messenger and those who believed in his company nearly cried out: “When comes God’s help?”
Know that the help of God is surely near!’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:214).
As mentioned in the Chapter Al-Baqarah, those before you were squashed, were so shabby, crushed, abandoned and estranged that besides everyday people, even the Prophet asked, ‘When comes God’s help?’
Out of my respect for the Prophets, I will say they asked that question in light of the strength of those who followed them.
Yes, a Prophet, in his own scope and perception asks, ‘When comes Gods’ help?’
I think my followers are not going to be able to resist, they are going to fall.
‘When comes God’s help?’
O Lord Who answers the call of those whose arms and legs and broken and have nothing left to avail them! We are in strained circumstances.
It was at such a time that when all of causality ceased, the secrets behind Divine Uniqueness appeared, ‘Know that the help of God is surely near!’ (Al-Baqarah, 2:214) was revealed.
A profound conquest, a conquest for Islam and for the spread of our historical values across the globe, a profound conquest, O God!’
Calling for Your limitless Compassion towards those who are suffocating, whose patience is wearing thin, who are losing everything: ‘My God, we ask for help from You; in the name of this religion and for our historical values to be spread across the globe, we ask that the doors are opened’.
My God, a profound conquest.
At such a close time, so close that it is closer than the closest, wider and more broad in scope than the most broad, as You state; ‘I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no heart has conceived’, just as You stated, in such a unique manner.
You must begin with the people you know.
Sharing their pain and suffering is one of the most important elements of being a believer.
‘Those who do not share the pain and suffering of their fellow Muslims are not from among them.’
What does this mean?
This means that those people are not on the same wavelength, they aren’t following the same course.
Therefore, they are not on the path of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, instead, they are crawling on a road, walking in an alley.
It is necessary to review our state in this respect.
To what extent are we sharing the pain and anguish of those who are suffering?
‘O the one who answers the prayers of those in strained circumstances
We are on a knife-edge.
The earth, despite its expansiveness, has begun to shrink.
We have begun to crumble under events that we can no longer endure.
You are our refuge and shelter.
O Lord, help us; O Lord, help us; O Lord, help us.’
Feeling this anguish inside of us.
And then, feeling the anguish and suffering of all Muslims, even the ones whom we do not know.
All over the world, there are Muslims who are suffering, we must share their pain.
This is an obligation for a believer, it is the mark of a believer, and it is their duty.
Now, once your feelings and thoughts are in this line, the things you will ask for and desire will be those that I tried to briefly mention above.
You will say, ‘O God, provide Your assistance to Islam and the Muslims.
O God, grant victory to Islam and the Muslims.
Save them and keep them far away from the deception, traps and plots of the oppressors’.
This is one issue.
Yes, we said ‘turning to Him with spiritual profundity, and praying from the bottom of our heart with complete sincerity’.
At the same time we said, ‘praying in a way that includes everyone, not only those whom you know’.
And then we said, ‘praying for the anguish and suffering existent in the entire Islamic world’.
Being inclusive and cherishing a high goal with zeal in your prayers are among the acceptable supplications.
‘With the condition of not rushing, the sincere prayer of anyone among you will be answered.’
But in the meantime, there is an issue that you all probably know and that needs to be remembered:
The Pride of Humankind says, ‘As long as you do not rush, all prayers will be answered’.
‘As long as you don’t rush, anyone's prayer will be answered.’
God answers it.
He says, ‘What would My servant ask for?’ He fulfills whatever you desire.
May God fulfill our prayers.
He says ‘as long as you don’t rush.’
The Messenger of God expresses rushing as follows:
‘I prayed but my supplications weren’t answered.’
You may say; ‘I prayed and prayed and prayed, but it wasn’t answered.’
I have been praying for two years, maybe three to four hours each day.
Maybe it is a shame to say this but I pray three to four hours each day.
So you pray three to four hours, who are you to say ‘I prayed but it wasn’t accepted?’
You are His servant at His door, a leashed servant.
What is your worth?
He is your Creator. He is the One Who created you as a human. He is the Bestower of the honour of being the follower of the Pride of Humankind. He is the One Who honoured you with the label of ‘brother’ to His Prophet at this time. He is the One Who gives you the opportunity to elevate the truthful religion of Islam back from the ground. In what way did you contribute to this?
Surely not two years, not three, not four.
You should behave like the noble Junayd states, ‘For a desire, I prayed for exactly sixty years.’
Yes, he says ‘For a desire, I prayed for exactly for sixty years.’
‘As long as you don’t rush, all your prayers will be answered.’ (How would you rush, you ask?) ‘He says:
I beg and beg, but I am not able to attain my desires.’
Look, let me repeat:
You have prayed for two years, six hundred something, seven hundred something days; ‘It is not accepted.’
It is necessary to not be in such an impudent state and feel offended.
Perhaps, my prayers get stuck in my lack of refinement and is not accepted.
Maybe everything has yet to reach the scope of Divine Honor.
He provides oppressors with time, in case ‘They might come back around.’
In case they might come back around to His door one day.
In case they might feel regret and rest their heads at His door.
He is The Lord of the Universe; The Lord of all.
He is The Lord of the Universe, The All-Merciful, The All-Compassionate and The All-Affectionate.
Now taking all these points into consideration, I seek your forgiveness when explaining this, ‘This matter is attached to one of these points’.
For this reason what falls upon us is to continue to make prayers, sincerely, from our hearts, without interruption, without giving breaks, without having rest periods and at the same time controlling all negative feelings that come to us with respect to God.
Lifting our hands accompanied by tears, accompanied by the vibrations of the heart, accompanied by being bent double, accompanied by prostration, accompanied by standing before Him in respect and admiration, to always open up to our Lord, to groan, to express those boundless thoughts within us to Him.
The statement ‘I seek refuge in You from a prayer not answered’ reminds us of these.
How fortunate it is for you that, even if some people are making the world poison and venom for you, you are walking on a path that will make your Hereafter sugar and sweet.
Now if a person has some beneficial knowledge, in reality, knowledge, if put into practice, that deep reverence will come to the heart; the person, will in a sense be boiling.
Then if that boiling in the heart is there, if that deep reverence and astonishment are there, that will reflect in the manners and actions of a person; as stated ‘When that person is seen, God is remembered’.
The person will have such fine manners that when people come across them, they will remember God.
That is seen in the narrators of tradition; when people saw one of them, they would say ‘God’ loudly, they would say ‘God’; and the narrators themselves said ‘God’, they would start to shake from head to toe.
If such beneficial knowledge has been acquired, it will transform to astonishment in the heart, then it will become deep reverence and then, in astonishment, their manners and actions will flow to the outside.
Someone like this, simultaneously, will understand this world is not ‘the place of wages’ and the ‘place of pleasures’.
As a result the truth that with everything, ‘There is permission to taste, but not to get full’ will be understood.
Look there is a relation between these.
Because the Messenger of God who is the master of conveying many truths in one statement expresses this.
Yes, one who has a heart like that, feelings like that, manners and actions like that should at the same time say, ‘There is permission to taste, but not permission to get full’ and ‘It is as if I ate’; and not eat that which should not been eaten.
One should not consume everything in this worldly life, one should not exhaust the provisions for the Hereafter for things resembling food here.
‘You exhausted your pleasures during your worldly life and enjoyed them’ (Al-Ahqaf, 46:20).
The Holy Qur’an describes the people of the worldly life as:
You consumed and extinguished all of the pure and wholesome things in this worldly life, you expended all that you would receive in the Hereafter.
You acquired the worldly bounties, you used them, lived in joyful pleasures; you have nothing to receive in the Hereafter, you accrued all that you could in the worldly life.
Another thing that transpires from a heart in such reverence to his Lord is essentially a diminishing of one’s inclinations and affection towards the worldly life, the decline of never-ending desires/ambitions, to scythe the delusion of immortality, to instill the idea that ‘I am only here for a temporary period of time’.
In the words of the noble Messenger of God, one should say ‘What attachment can I have with the worldly life?
My state in this world is like that of a traveler who rests under the shade of a tree for a short period of time and continues on his journey.
Just like a cavalry; he walked past, he rested temporarily under the shade of a tree, he stayed and rested for a bit, and then left permanently.
This is my situation.
Consequently if I delve in to the alluring beauties (ornaments, gold and jewellery like adornment) of the world I reside in, I will be inclined to be forgetful and distant of the place that I am going to, deaf-blind to it all, may God protect us from such a state!
Yes, the first state results in the second.
On the contrary, if a person possesses knowledge that is not useful and beneficial, a heart that is not trembling (in fear and love of God) and at the same time lacks a state of Godly reverence, constantly eats and drinks, sleeps on his whims and desires, the likelihood of such a person’s supplication being accepted is remote and distant.
Because the most pleasurable thing in such a person’s life is not ‘turning to God’ or ‘raising his hands in pleading and invoking Him’.
More so, eating, drinking and sleeping on his side, increasing his one to two, his two to four, growing his four to eight, expanding his eight to sixteen, bolstering his sixteen to thirty two.
As such, continually chasing the never-ending desires for the worldly life, trampling on one’s Hereafter for the vain fancy of eternity in this temporary life; ‘No, no!
You are in pursuit of the immediate bounties of this life and prefer it; you leave behind the Hereafter aside’ (Al-Qiyamah, 75:20-21) and are slapped (punished) for it.
No, no; you chose the worldly life, this temporary and brief life, for the life of the Hereafter, you are of the losers.
How good it is for you, that some people have made your worldly life a place of poison and torture by force.
For it to have come to this terrible state, by God’s will, will make the afterlife a place of sweets and pleasure for you.
As you taste more and more of it, you will repeatedly ask ‘Is there more?’
‘Whoever drinks that water quickly
Arises in their heart the light of the world
It gives life without end
I have burnt away, so give me water.’
You will say: I have burnt away, so give me water.
I have learned so much, but teach me more.
I have met many, let me meet more.
I have seen so much, make me see more.
Make what I know, true knowledge; let me also witness by sight what I know to be true; and let me experience the certainty of what I have seen to be true in all its essence.
Let us connect with You completely by letting us attain the horizons of ‘the pleased soul’, ‘the pleasing soul’, ‘the pure soul’, and ‘the perfected soul’.
All the way until everything is beneath my feet, such that I can play on top of them.
While I play above them, Satan will be bent double in anguish.
But, may God protect us, if this event takes place in the opposite direction; the human will be destroyed in shame and regret, while Satan dances to the jingling of bells he will say, ‘How I have danced with my servants and slaves’.
Just as he plays with some stewards of today, he will dance on that day just as he dances for them, full of bells and ornaments.
God has blessed you with guidance to His own true path.
He has exposed you to some troubles that you are striving through.
All that you have, and will continue to suffer, will be in this world; God willing, nothing will be left for you to suffer for in the afterlife.
May God grant his beneficence and favor upon you, upon all of us.
This will suffice you.