Why are the prayers of Non-Muslims accepted by Allah? If they're praying for a false God, Why are their prayers answered?

The Details of the Question
Why are the prayers of Non-Muslims accepted by Allah? If they're praying for a false God, Why are their prayers answered?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer 1:

The right of life is general, universal. That is, there is no difference between a believer and an unbeliever, a human being and animal regarding the issue. A person who is given life is given sustenance, too. Sustenance is given as a right of life not as a right of belief or worshipping. Their right is the eternal bliss in the hereafter.

We can continue to consider the issue as follows:

There are different mirrors and grounds for the manifestation of each name of Allah. Most of them are not related to the belief of man. For instance, a farmer who wants to obtain a bigger share from the manifestation of the name ar-Razzaq (the Sustainer) will be given more yields if he fulfils necessary conditions. The belief of the farmer is not important. A person who wants the manifestation of the name ash-Shafi (the Healer) will use the medicine that will treat his illness. His belief is not important because that person has known how to ask for the manifestation of that name and he has been healed in return. A person who does not act accordingly might not be healed even if he is a perfect Muslim.   

Accordingly, if a Muslim wants to benefit from the bounties of the divine names, he has to try to be a mirror deserving the manifestation of those names. If he does not do it, he will not get what he wants. However, the same believer will seek for the divine bounties in the hereafter if he fulfils the necessities of worshipping, good deeds and sincerity.

A person who does not fulfill those necessities will not get his share from Paradise no matter how successful he is in the world.

Allah has two separate sets of laws. The first one is the decrees of the Quran, which discipline the deeds of man based on his will. The second one is the laws that maintain the order in the universe and the things in it. The first one is the Shariah that we know. The second one is called the Shariah of creation. The laws of nature belong to the second Shariah.   

Those who obey or disobey the decrees of the Quran are usually rewarded or punished in the hereafter; those who obey or disobey the Shariah of creation are usually rewarded or punished in this world. Accordingly, a believer who does not obey the Shariah of creation suffers failure, misery and wretchedness in this world in return for his disobedience. A non-Muslim who obeys those laws is rewarded in this world because he acts in accordance with the divine will though unwittingly.

Answer 2:

The prayers that are carried out in accordance with those laws of creation are regarded as actual prayers. A person who does it whether wittingly or unwittingly asks for it from Allah and Allah answers his prayer. For instance, plowing, taking medicine for an illness are actual prayers. He who creates the tree and heals is Allah.

There are many sources that show the existence of actual prayer:

a. Mental Source: Allah attributed certain causes to all happenings that take place in the world as a necessity of His name al-Hakim (the All-Wise). Everything in the world and the universe functions based on the laws and rules that Allah has imposed. 

It is an obvious reality that it is necessary for an eye to see the sun, and the eye must have the ability to see. Getting married is an actual prayer for having a child. It is an actual prayer for a person to fill in a form in order to be able to take the university entrance exam, to attend to a cram school and to study. A person who is thirsty wants water but he does not wait for the water to come to him; he goes to the place where the water is, puts the water in a glass and drinks it. That is, if he wants what he asks from Allah to happen, he uses the means and obeys the rules and laws that Allah taught him and waits for the result from Allah.    

b. Quranic Source: In many verses, the relation between man’s effort and the result he will obtain is underlined. That effort means actual prayer. In the following verse: “That man can have nothing but what he strives for” (an-Najm, 53/39), the importance of actual prayer is underlined.

“Do ye then see?? The (human seed) that ye throw out,? Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creator?” (al-Waqia, 56/58-59), in the verses above, it is emphasized that the sperm belongs to man and that it is an actual prayer for the creation of man.

In the following verses of the same chapter: “See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow or are We the Cause?“ (al-Waqia, 96/63-64), the fact that “sowing the seed” is mentioned as something belonging to man shows that it is an actual prayer. More verses regarding the issue can be given as examples.

c. Prophetic Source: There is clear information about the issue in hadiths.

Amr b. Umayya ad-Damri narrates: when I said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), “O Messenger of Allah! I let my camel and entrusted it to Allah”, he said, “No, first fasten your camel and then entrust it to Allah”. (Majmau’z-Zawaid, 10/303) The hadith orders to fasten the animal first, that is, the actual prayer.

When a Companion said to our Prophet (pbuh) that his camel was ill and that he prayed for him, it is very well known that our Prophet said to him, “Add some bitumen to your prayer...” Here, it is pointed out that the actual prayer should be added to the verbal prayer.

That is, actual prayer is praying verbally first and then working hard and doing everything which is necessary to realize that thing. A person who really wants something should perform both the verbal and the actual prayer.

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