When we advise some people to perform prayers, we receive a reply like this: Ignore prayers and look at my heart How True is That Answer?
People who say: My heart is pure and clean, you should look at my heart first, It is enough if your thoughts are good do not pay attention to worship, prayers, glorification and zikr (mentioning the name of Allah), and they think they do not have to do them.
However, Allah is the Owner of all hearts.
Verily, the One who creates hearts determines how pure the hearts are. Therefore, considering ones heart as pure is not enough for that person. Moreover, that heart does not become pure considering that it is pure; it must be pure in reality.
When the Quran mentions people having such sorts of opinions, it says:
Had you not turned your though to those who claim sanctity for themselves? Nay-but Allah does sanctify whom He pleased. But never will they fail to receive justice in the least little thing. (Women (An-Nisa), 4:49)
Just as a sincere person cannot say I am a sincere person, nor can a humble person say I am humble.
That is to say, should not praise himself by saying I am a good man, I am an auspicious individual.
From this point of view, no one can describe himself by means of such kind of words: I am a pure-hearted person, I do not harm anyone. Whoever says that he has qualities like that, he is understood to be deprived of those qualities.
.Therefore justify not yourselves: He knows best who it is that guards against evil. (The Star (An-Najm), 53:32)
Justifying one means being sincere and auspicious servant before God. Someone tries to be auspicious, lives on the path of auspiciousness but only God knows best who avoids sins. Also being auspicious is only a favor of Allah.
were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases (Light (An-Nur), 24:21)While this verse expresses the truth, it depicts that all of the favors, spiritual benefits and moral qualities are completely bounties and favors of God.
In the Surah The Most High (Al-Ala) after the verse: But he will prosper who purify himself, this second verse comes which is a demonstration of the first And remembers the name of his Guardian-Lord, and prays. So, in the real meaning, purification is realized by means of belief and prayers.
As a matter of fact, there are many Quranic verses in which belief and prayers are mentioned together or one comes after the other.
Justifying the heart, purifying the spirit, reforming the soul and developing and being exalted is only possible by means of belief and prayers.
Some people understand the purity of a heart in a narrow scope and they suppose it means not thinking bad things about other people. Moreover, they think they become immune from worship when they treat people well. That sort of opinion is a cheat and a trap of devil and a deception of soul (nafs).
Those people try to find auspicious and devoted peoples behaviors which are contrary to the spirit of Islam and harm other people. Then, they mean to show themselves rightful through saying: Look! Although those people perform their prayers, they make such and such mistakes. It is better not to perform prayers instead of being in a dilemma like that.
Firstly, there is no need to make comments on religious obligations. Moreover, nobody holds any right of commenting mistakenly on those topics and misguiding the truths. There is nothing that necessitates making comments. Performing prayers is the most important and the most vital duty for a believer. It is not logical to regard prayers as unimportant through giving ones own laziness and carelessness as excuses and asserting the purity of ones heart.
A starving poor man stands in front of a wealthy man. You say: why dont you help this wretched man? He replies: My heart is full of mercy and compassion although I do not help him.
Mercy and compassion are nice qualities of heart. However, such qualities manifest themselves when that rich man helps the poor.
Belief has manifestations similar to that example. Hearts obedience to the commands of Allah is goodness. The realization and the proof of this obedience is surely worshipping.
Most of the people who evade performing prayers by claiming the purity of their hearts are the ones who stain their spirits through affirming the demands of their souls and who consider nothing but materialist things.
If a man, even though he performs prayers, cannot control his soul, can not manage to arrange his worldly works in accordance with his Lords commands, then it means he has not reached the spirit of prayers. However, he will not correct this mistake by quitting prayers. The solution is in the prayers. What will happen if this one dies by praying in the same way but can not reach the desired perfection point?
On the last day, on that great Day of Judgment, the merits of his performed prayers will be weighed, so will his sins. Eventually, even if his sins outweigh and he goes to Hell, he will return to Paradise in the end. However, surely his place in Paradise will correspond to the quality of his prayers.
An atoms weight of good and evil will be weighed during that Judgment. We will be more profitable on that day if we are concerned with our faults and try to correct them instead of observing other peoples mistakes and honor our souls through saying my heart is pure.
We will hold a place in according with our merits in the hereafter but not with respect to others wrongdoings. Others faults will not exalt us. Do not we experience the examples of it even in this world?
When we cannot reach a fruit on a tree, we use a ladder to get it. Otherwise, we cannot eat that fruit by looking at shorter men and consoling ourselves.
Let us visit that arena of Judgment on the last day in the imagination:
Though they will be put in sight of each other, - the sinner's desire will be: would that he could redeem himself from the Chastisement of that Day by (sacrificing) his children, His wife and his brother, His kindred who sheltered him, and all, all that is on earth, - so it could deliver him: By no means! For it would be the Blazing Fire! (The Ways of Ascent (Al-Màárij), 70: 11-15)
Now, let us imagine together, what this verse depicts. We should understand exactly that other peoples faults will not help in that arena where even sacrificing our closest relatives will bring us no advantage.
Then let us turn back to this world: We should see our mistakes and faults. We must recognize our soul is the most grievous enemy who tries to detain us by calling your heart is justified and who makes us estranged from worshipping. Time is the most precious capital; we should use it for our advancement but not for criticizing others. (*)
From this point of view, considering prayers as unimportant puts us in danger, damages our faith and endangers our religious life. This consideration makes us as a plaything of Devil through attenuating our religious feelings in the course of time.
(*) Alaaddin Basar, http://www.sorularlaislamiyet.com/index.php?s=article&aid=5037
- Performing prayers is a great worship; therefore, it is a major sin to abandon performing prayers. Can a person who does not perform prayers be punished?
- 2. Prayer
- Fiqh decree on abandoning prayers
- Will you give information about material and spiritual virtues of prayers? What are the benefits of prayer? What does prayer gain man?
- What are the benefits of prayer for us?
- Will you give information about establishing regular prayers (being steadfast in prayer)?
- The Prayer- The Importance of Prayer
- What is salah (prayer)? Why is salah (prayer), which consists of a few acts, is so much important in Islam?
- Is it permissible for a person who has not performed his missed prayers (qada) to perform tarawih prayer?
- What are the things that prayer (salah) makes man gain?