بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

 إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Verily, I am Allah; there is no God besides Me, so worship Me alone, and observe Prayer for My remembrance. (20:15)

Seven Stages in the Spiritual Journey of the Observance of Prayer:

There are seven stages in the spiritual journey of the observance of prayer. The right of the establishment of prayer can fully be offered only after one passes through these stages. Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) has elaborated upon this exquisite topic in a remarkable manner. He states:

‘The first stage, below which there is no stage whatsoever, is that man offers his five daily prayers regularly. A Muslim who offers his five daily prayers and does not break in between, acquires the lowest level of faith.

The second stage in prayer is that all five prayers are offered at the stipulated time. When one offers his five daily prayers on time, he steps to the second ladder of faith.

The third stage is that the prayer be offered in congregation. By the congregational observance of prayer, man steps to the third ladder of faith.

The fourth stage is that man observes the prayer whilst understanding its meaning. An individual who does not know the translation of prayer, should learn the translation and observe prayers. Moreover, one who does know the translation, should offer the prayer slowly, until he understands that he has done justice to the prayer.

Then, the fifth stage is that man becomes fully engrossed in the prayer. Just as one plunges into water, man should plunge into his prayer, until he acquires one of the two ranks: either that he is seeing God, or if not, he firmly believes that God the Exalted is seeing him.

After this, the sixth stage of belief is that an individual offers the Nawafil (Voluntary Prayers). One who offers the Nawafil expresses to God the Exalted, that he has offered his obligation, but he has not yet become satisfied by them, and he says, ‘O God, it is my desire to remain in Your royal court beyond the times of obligation.’

The seventh stage of belief is that man not only offers his five daily prayers and observes the Nawafil, but also prays Tahajjud (Late night/pre-dawn prayer) during the night. These are the seven stages by which prayer is deemed complete.

Hence, it is necessary for an individual to attain these seven stages. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes prayer on time. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes the prayer in congregation. It is the responsibility of every individual that he observes the prayer whilst understanding it, and after learning its translation. It is the responsibility of every individual that in addition to the obligatory prayer timings, he offers the Nawafil during the night and day……Then every individual should offer his obligatory and supererogatory (Nawafil) prayers with such assiduousness that even his nights become days. Similarly, one should try to acquire the greatest possible advantage from the supplications of Tahajjud. Until and unless one does not safeguard his prayers in this manner, for one to think that one can please God is nothing more than a fallacy.’ (Tafsir Kabir, Vol.2, pp.135-136)

Link: Iqamatus Salat – The Observance of Prayer in Islam

حضرت مرزا بشیرالدین محمود احمد رضی اللہ عنه نماز کے متعلق فرماتے ہیں

:یاد رکھنا چاہیے کہ نماز کی پابندی کئی رنگ کی ہوتی ہے

سب سے پہلا درجہ جس سے اُتر کر اور حقیر اَور کوئی رنگ نہیں یہ ہے کہ انسان بالالتزام پانچوں وقت کی نمازیں پڑھے۔ جو مسلمان پانچوں وقت کی نمازیں پڑھتا ہے اور کبھی ناغہ نہیں کرتا وہ ایمان کا سب سے چھوٹا درجہ حاصل کرتا ہے۔

دوسرا درجہ نماز کا یہ ہے کہ پانچوں نمازیں وقت پر ادا کی جائیں۔ جب کوئی مسلمان پانچوں نمازیں وقت پر ادا کرتا ہے تو وہ ایمان کی دوسری سیڑھی پر قدم رکھ لیتا ہے۔

پھر تیسرا درجہ یہ ہے کہ نماز باجماعت ادا کی جائے۔ باجماعت نماز کی ادائیگی سے انسان ایمان کی تیسری سیڑھی پر چڑھ جاتا ہے۔

پھرچوتھا درجہ یہ ہے کہ انسان نماز کے مطالب کو سمجھ کر نماز ادا کرے۔جو شخص ترجمہ نہیں جانتا وہ ترجمہ سیکھ کر نماز پڑھے اور جو شخص ترجمہ جانتا ہو وہ ٹھہر ٹھہر کر نماز کو ادا کرے۔ یہاں تک کہ وہ سمجھ لے کہ مَیں نے نماز کو کَمَاحَقُّہٗ ادا کیا ہے۔

پھرپانچواں درجہ نماز کا یہ ہے کہ انسان نماز میں پوری محویت حاصل کرے اور جس طرح غوطہ زن سمندر میں غوطہ لگاتے ہیں اُسی طرح وہ بھی نماز کے اندر غوطہ مارے۔ یہاں تک کہ وہ دو میں سے ایک مقام حاصل کرلے۔ یا تو یہ کہ وہ خدا تعالیٰ کو دیکھ رہا ہو اور یا یہ کہ وہ اِس یقین کے ساتھ نماز پڑھ رہا ہو کہ خداتعالیٰ اُسے دیکھ رہا ہے۔ اِس مؤخرالذکر حالت کی مثال ایسی ہی ہے جیسے کوئی اندھا بچہ اپنی ماں کی گود میں بیٹھا ہو۔اپنی ماں کی گود میں بیٹھے ہوئے اُس بیٹے کو بھی تسلی ہوتی ہے جو بیناہو اور اپنی ماں کو دیکھ رہا ہو۔ مگر ماں کی گود میں بیٹھے ہوئے اُس بیٹے کو بھی تسلی ہوتی ہے جو نابینا ہو۔ اِس خیال سے کہ اُس کی ماں اُسے دیکھ رہی ہے۔ گو وہ نابینا ہوتا ہے اور اپنی ماں کو نہیں دیکھ سکتا مگر اُس کا دل مطمئن اور تسلی یافتہ ہوتا ہے۔ صرف اِس لیے کہ اُسے یہ یقین ہوتا ہے کہ اُس کی ماں اُسے دیکھ رہی ہے۔ رسول کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم فرماتے ہیں کہ نماز پڑھتے وقت بندے کو ایک مقام ضرور حاصل ہونا چاہیے۔ یا تو یہ کہ وہ خدا کو دیکھ رہا ہو۔ یا یہ کہ اُس کا دل اِس یقین سے لبریز ہو کہ خدا تعالیٰ اُسے دیکھ رہا ہے۔ یہ ایمان کا پانچوں مقام ہے اور اِس مقام پر بندے کے فرائض پورے ہو جاتے ہیں۔ مگر جس بامِ رفعت پر اُسے پہنچنا چاہیے اُس پر نہیں پہنچ سکتا۔

اِس کے بعد چھٹا درجہ ایمان کا یہ ہے کہ نوافل پڑھے جائیں۔ یہ نوافل پڑھنے والا گویا خدا تعالیٰ کے حضور یہ ظاہر کرتا ہے کہ مَیں نے فرائض کو تو ادا کر دیا ہے مگر ان فرائض سے میری تسلی نہیں ہوئی اور وہ کہتا ہے کہ اے خدا! مَیں چاہتا ہوں کہ مَیں ان فرائض کے اوقات کے علاوہ بھی تیرے دربار میں حاضر ہوا کروں۔ جیسے کئی لوگ جب کسی اعلیٰ افسر یا بزرگ کی ملاقات کو جاتے ہیں تو وہ مقررہ وقت گزر جانے پر کہتے ہیں دو منٹ اَور دیجیے۔ اور وہ ان مزید دو منٹوں میں لذت محسوس کرتے ہیں اور وہ ان دو منٹوں کو چٹّی نہیں سمجھتے بلکہ اُن سے لطف اندوز ہوتے ہیں۔ اِسی طرح ایک مومن جب فرائض کی ادائیگی کے بعد نوافل پڑھتا ہے تو وہ خدا تعالیٰ سے کہتا ہے کہ اب مَیں اپنی طرف سے کچھ مزید وقت حاضر ہونا چاہتا ہوں۔

ساتواں درجہ ایمان کا یہ ہے کہ انسان نہ صرف پانچوں نمازیں اور نوافل ادا کرے بلکہ رات کو بھی تہجد کی نماز پڑھے۔ یہ وہ سات درجات ہیں جن سے نماز مکمل ہوتی ہے اور اِن درجات کو حاصل کرنے والے وہ لوگ ہوتے ہیں جن کے متعلق حدیث میں آتا ہے کہ خدا تعالیٰ رات کے وقت عرش سے اُترتا ہے اور اُس کے فرشتے پکارتے ہیں اے بندو! خدا تعالیٰ تمہیں ملنے کے لیے آیا ہے۔ اُٹھو!اور اُس سے مل لو۔

پس اِن سات درجوں کوپورا کرنا ہم میں سے ہر ایک احمدی کا فرض ہے۔ ہماری جماعت چونکہ ایک مامور کی جماعت ہے اِس لیے ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ نماز کا پابند ہو۔ ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ نمازوں کو وقت پر ادا کیا کرے۔ یا ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ نماز باجماعت ادا کیا کرے، ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ نماز کو سوچ سمجھ کر اور ترجمہ سیکھ کر ادا کرے، ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ علاوہ فرض نمازوں کے رات اور دن کے نوافل بھی پڑھا کرے اور ہم میں سے ہر شخص کا فرض ہے کہ وہ نماز کے اندر محویت پیدا کرے اور اِتنی محویت پیدا کرے کہ رسول کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے قول کے مطابق یا تو وہ خدا تعالیٰ کو دیکھ رہا ہو یا وہ اپنے دل میں یہ یقین رکھتا ہو کہ خدا تعالیٰ اسے ضرور دیکھ رہا ہے۔

(فرمودہ2جنوری 1948ء بمقام رتن باغ لاہور)

Remembrance of Allah, Zikr-i-Ilahi, by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul-Masih II (May Allah be pleased with him):

One way—not very useful in my opinion—is to use the alarm clock. It creates dependency, and fails to produce the resolute will. If you go to sleep having resolved to get up for Tahajjud, you will be in a state of worship all night. Being determined, you will get up. Those depending on the alarm clock, but lacking determination, will often shut the alarm clock to go back to sleep. When they get up, they generally feel sleepy in Prayers. Their dependency prevents them from full awakening and alertness. However, under certain circumstances the alarm clock may be used by beginners or others.

There are thirteen methods, which can help in getting up at night. Anyone who sincerely tries them will, God willing, benefit from them. There may be difficulties in the beginning, but in the end these methods will prove useful. I have derived these methods from the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths. It is Allah’s Grace that these points, which remained hidden from others, have been manifested to me. To save time, I will only give my conclusions without quoting the references.

1. It is a law of nature that everything reverts to its original state if similar circumstances reappear. Often, in old age a person suffers from his childhood diseases. The same happens to birds and trees. This law can be helpful in cultivating the habit of getting up during the night. Perform Zikr for a while after Isha Prayers. The more Zikr you perform, the earlier you will get up for Zikr before the morning.

2. Do not talk to anybody after Isha Prayers. Although sometimes the Holy Prophetsaw continued his conversation after Isha, as a general rule he had forbidden it. There are two reasons: (a) if you start talking, you will sleep late and will not be able to get up early in the morning; and (b) if the conversation concerns things other than faith, your attention will be diverted. You should go to sleep while thinking of your faith; you will get up with the same thoughts. It is not forbidden to carry out office work or other important assignments after Isha. But in that case it is better to spend some time in
Zikr before going to sleep.

3. Perform Wudu (ablution) before going to bed, even if you are already in a state of ablution. It affects the heart and creates a special kind of freshness. If you go to sleep in that state of freshness, you will get up in the same condition. This is a common observation. Someone smiling at bedtime is generally smiling when he gets up; one, who is crying, will wake up crying. With ablution you will be fresh at the time of sleep and fresh when you wake up. It will also help you in getting up.

4. Recite some Zikr before falling asleep; this will cause you to wake up again for Zikr during the night. The Holy Prophetsaw used to perform Zikr in the following manner before going to sleep: He recited Ayatul-Kursi (verse 2:256) and the last three chapters of the Holy Qur’an; he then gently blew upon his hands and lightly passed them over his body three times. Then he turned towards his right and said:

اللَّهُمَّ أَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكَ، وَوَجَّهْتُ بِوَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ، وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ، وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ، رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ، لاَ مَنْجَا وَلاَ مَلْجَأَ مِنْكَ إِلاَّ إِلَيْكَ، آمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلْتَ، وَنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلْتَ

Allahumma inni aslamto nafsi ilaik. Wa wajjahtu waj hi ilaik. Wa fawwadtu amri ilaik raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaik. La malja’a wa la manja’a minka illa ilaik. Allahumma aamanto bikitabikalladhi anzalta wa nabiyyikalladhi arsalta.

O Allah, I put myself in Thy protection, and turn my face towards Thee and assign all my affairs to Thee, with complete inclination and fear of Thee. There is no refuge or protection from Thee except towards Thyself. I believe in Thy Book, which Thou hast revealed, and Thy Prophet that Thou hast sent.

All believers should perform this Zikr and then continue with another
form of Zikr until sleep takes over. An important recitation for this time
is:

سُبْحَانَ اَللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ , سُبْحَانَ اَللَّهِ اَلْعَظِيمِ

Subhan Allahi wa bi Hamdihi, Subhan Allahil-Azeem

Holy is Allah, with His Praise;
Holy is Allah, the Greatest

The condition in which a person goes to sleep stays with him all night. If someone sleeps while performing Tasbeeh (Glorification of God) and Tahmeed (Praise of God) he will remain in that spiritual state all night. It is a common observation that ladies or children, who are disturbed or are in pain at bedtime cry when they turn over onto their sides during sleep.

Similarly, if someone goes to sleep reciting Tasbeeh he will recite Tasbeeh when he will turn his side. God Almighty says:

تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

Their sides keep away from their beds; and they call on their Lord in fear and hope, and spend out of what We have bestowed on them. (32:17)

To a casual observer, it may not appear that Muslims keep away from their beds. The Holy Prophetsaw went to sleep and so do all the Muslims. But in truth their sleep is not sleep; it is a form of Tasbeeh. They appear to be sleeping, but in reality they are not. Their sides keep away from their beds; they are busy in the remembrance of their Lord.

5. Resolve firmly at bedtime to get up for Tahajjud. God Almighty has given man the power to make his mind obey his will. Philosophers have accepted this principle. Decide firmly that you will get up for Tahajjud. While your body sleeps, your mind will be alert. It will wake you up exactly at the desired time.

6. The sixth method is only for those who are really strong in faith. Instead of performing Vitr (three Raka’at prescribed as essential) after Isha, leave Vitr for Tahajjud time. In general, people are regular in performing the obligatory worship, but show slackness in the voluntary. Vitr are Wajib—an essential act of worship, not obligatory but more important than the voluntary. When a Wajib is combined with the Nawafil it would strengthen the resolve to observe both. The soul will not rest until the Wajib has been observed. So the Nawafil will also be observed. One who has already performed Vitr may not get up for Tahajjud even if he is awake. His soul will feel at ease. But if the Vitr are still due, the soul will be restless and will awaken him. Only the strong in faith should practice this method; the weak ones may deprive themselves even of the Vitr by doing so.

7. The seventh method is also for those who have excelled in spirituality. They should start offering Nawafil after Isha Prayer and continue until they begin to doze off in Prayers and are overpowered by sleep. Even though the total amount of their sleep will be reduced, they will find themselves awake at the time of Tahajjud. This method is an exercise for the spirit.

8. The eighth method has been practiced by many Sufis. I have not felt the need for it myself; but it is beneficial. If you get into the habit of oversleeping, then change the soft bed to a hard one.

9. Take dinner several hours before going to bed. Eat before Maghrib Prayer or immediately after it. Sometimes the spirit is active, but the body is not. The body acts like a yoke: if the yoke is too heavy, it strangles the spirit. The stomach should not be full at bedtime. It has an adverse affect upon the heart and makes a man lazy.

10.Do not go to bed unclean. Angels associate with those who are clean; they do not approach the unclean. Once, the Holy Prophet- saw ws offered something with a strong odor. He did not eat it, but permitted his Companions to do so. He explained to them that the angels, who visit him frequently, did not like such odors.

Angels abhor filth. Once Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih I ra went to bed without washing his hands after dinner. He saw a dream. His elder brother wanted to present him the Holy Qur’an, but when he was about to touch it, his brother withdrew it and said, “Do not touch the Holy Qur’an; your hands are not clean.”
Physical cleanliness affects purity of the heart. Those who are clean will have the help of angels to get up; the unclean will not be approached by them. So keep your bodies clean.

11. The bed should be clean. Many people ignore this matter. Remember that spirituality is directly influenced by cleanliness of the bed. Take special care in this respect.

12.Husband and wife should avoid going to sleep in the same bed. Amongst ordinary Muslims, this habit can harm spirituality, but it does not affect the spiritually advanced. The Holy Prophetsaw slept in the same bed with his wives. He possessed a lofty spiritual status and his spirituality could not be compromised. Ordinary Muslims should be careful. A carnal passion adversely affects spirituality That is why Islam teaches:

كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا
…eat and drink but exceed not the bounds… (7:32)

Why does Islam prohibit us from exceeding the limits? Because it harms spirituality. People with self-control will not suffer by sleeping together, but ordinary Muslims may find that it keeps their minds inclined towards passion. That hurts spirituality and prevents them from getting up.

13.The last method is really superior. It helps in getting up for Tahajjud and saves one from many sins and weaknesses. Before retiring for sleep, ponder if you have any malice or harbor any rancor or prejudices against anybody. If so, remove it. The purification achieved by this exercise will enable you to get up for Tahajjud.

The heart should be totally clean at bedtime. Anybody who considers such thought to be of some worth, should remind himself that he may be free to indulge in them during the day; but he has no need for them at night. After all, he is not going to fight anybody during the night.

Once rooted out, such thoughts will generally not recur. Even if they do, their damage will not be very serious. The result of a thing depends on how long it has been influenced by something else. If you wipe something with a sponge, it will be moist. But if you soak the sponge for a long time, it will be drenched. Thoughts that linger and are repeated in your mind all night would overpower your heart.

Such thoughts cannot do much harm during the day because the mind is absorbed in other activities. But during the night the mind is free to be influenced. Eliminate all bad thoughts against others which occur at bedtime, lest they become rooted. To get rid of them will then not be difficult. Moreover, should you breathe your last during the night; you will miss the opportunity of asking forgiveness for this sin.

Once you eliminate the rancor, you will be free from it permanently.. When you purify yourself at night, you will definitely be blessed with the opportunity of getting up for Tahajjud.

How the Holy Qur’an should be recited:

1. The Holy Qur’an should be recited regularly and according to a set plan. Fix a portion for daily reading rather than picking up the Holy Qur’an once in a while and reading at random. Irregular reading does not yield any benefit. Whether you decide upon half a part for your daily reading, or a full part, or a few of them, the determined quota of reading must be recited daily without any laxity. The Holy Prophetsaw says, “Allah loves worship which is performed regularly and is never missed.”

Irregularity indicates lack of enthusiasm, and the heart cannot be purified without enthusiasm and true love. My personal experience confirms this point. Whenever I am very busy in writing a book or due to another engagement and cannot recite the Holy Qur’an, my heart feels anguish and other modes of worship are also adversely affected. In short the Holy Qur’an should be recited daily…

2. Try to understand what you are reading. The Holy Qur’an should not be recited hurriedly. Slow recitation will enable you to understand, and will also show proper respect for the Holy Qur’an.

An Ahmadi once asked what to do if one does not understand the meanings of the Holy Qur’an. Such people should learn the meanings of a portion of the Holy Qur’an and should include that portion in every recitation. You may ask: What is the benefit of reciting the parts which we do not understand? Remember that when something is done with sincerity and good intention, Allah definitely rewards it. If you recite for the sake of God without knowing the meanings, He will certainly bless you according to your sincerity. Moreover, the words have an influence. The Holy Prophetsaw has commanded that Adhan (call for formal Islamic Prayer) be recited in the ears of the newborn child. The child is unable to understand or recognize anything at that time, but it is influenced by the words of the Adhan.

3. As far as possible, perform ablution before recitation. I consider it permissible to recite the Holy Qur’an without ablution, but some scholars consider it undesirable. It is certainly more appropriate to perform ablution to obtain greater benefit and to earn higher reward.

Remembrance of Allah, Zikr-i-Ilahi, by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul-Masih II (May Allah be pleased with him)

Expressing the Greatness and Glory of Allah and Thanking Him:

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