Lessons from Sura Ankabut: Lesson 5: Recite the Book, establish Salaat and keep Zikr alive

blog quran & spirituality Jul 23, 2014


Continuing with our reflections from Sura Ankabut, in this post we will look at a three point action plan that Allah swt gives to the Prophet (saw) and to mankind.

In verse 45, the Prophet (saw) is commanded by Allah swt:

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
[29:45] Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do.

In this verse, the Prophet (saw) is told that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to recite the Book, keep up Salaat and engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

1) Recite the book:

It is essential to recite the book, reflect on it and apply it so that the knowledge and guidance becomes internalized. Given that the Book is the Manual from the Creator, it contains secrets of success for us in this life as well as the next.
Since the Creator knows the subtleties of our makeup, He provides the perfect road map for us to live up to our full potential. Whatever we need to function at our optimum and to connect to Him is found in this Book: knowledge and wisdom, advice and admonition, the recognition of right and wrong, harmful and beneficial, the means of enlightening of the heart and spirit, as well as lessons from history to show us what happens when people do not follow the guidance.
This is the text what we need to read and practice to pass all the tests that have been talked about in this Sura.

2) Establish prayer:

Then immediately we are told establish prayer. Establish it as a foundational structure of our life, not just pray the occasional Salaat. Salaat is the reaffirmation of everything you and I believe in. If we want to transform our life, to succeed, the goal must always be there in front of us. That is what Salaat does. It reminds us of our ultimate destiny. We are told that if we internalize it, if we establish Salaat as a pillar of our life, then this prayer will keep us away from fahshaee and munkar, anything that will take us away from our final goal. Since the nature of prayer reminds man of his connection and dependence on the Ultimate Judge, of his origin and his return, it acts as the greatest restraining factor to anything that would impede his final journey and accounting.
Just as no one would steal from their place of work if the boss was watching, when we know that we have to present ourselves to the ultimate Authority several times a day, we are restrained from actions that would lead to His displeasure.

This is why the Prophet (saw) said:
“The five ritual prayers is like a stream with flowing wholesome water at the door of the house of one of you in which he washes himself five times a day, then there will remain no dirt (over his body).”
So Salaat does not only stop us, it washes away sins that we do end up accumulating and it enlivens our heart and strengthens us because it connects us to the Source.
By engaging in this connection five times a day, we are invited to pause the distractions of life and come back to the Source, to recalibrate our path, to get back on track and to re-energize ourselves.

3) Keep up Zikr:

The statement “and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest” reminds us of one of the important effects and blessings of the prayer, which is even more important than prohibition from indecency and evil. It is the reminder, the Zikr that reminds man of Allah.

In fact, Allah swt tell us in Sura Taha that the purpose of prayer and Salaat itself is His remembrance.

Taha:14 “Establish prayer for My remembrance.”

Of course, it must be a remembrance which paves the way for contemplation, and a contemplation which leads to action.

As Imam Sadiq (as) on the commentary of this phrase said:

“The remembrance of Allah at the time of performing a ‘lawful’ and ‘unlawful’ action.”


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.