Prophet Muhammad: Starting The Day With Prayers
Let us try to paint a picture of one day in the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Islam. For certain, he wakes up well before dawn, when the dark curtain of the night still covers everything. As he begins to move, he says: “Praise be to God who has returned my spirit to me, given me physical strength and permitted me to glorify Him.” Consider how he welcomes life, full of optimism: “Praise be to God who has returned my spirit to me.”
The life we are given is a blessing for which we thank God and we must use well. It offers a chance of success for whoever aims to succeed. Yet God reminds His servants of the blessing He has given them in the form of sunrise and sunset: “It is God who has made for you the night in which to rest, and the day to make you see. God is limitless in His bounty to man, but most people do not give thanks.” (40: 61) Great is life when it is coupled with good health. It is then that the body organs can function well, without trouble. A Muslim will then move about to willingly fulfill his duties well. It is for this that we praise and thank God for giving us good health.
We need to reflect on the Prophet’s early words as he praises God for “permitting me to glorify Him”. Can we imagine a more polite way in addressing the Lord? Here is an acknowledgement that a new day means permission to resume worship right at the break of dawn.
Muhammad, God’s ever grateful servant, begins his praises using words that impart certitude of faith and pure love in every letter. He says these words morning and evening: “My Lord, I pray You to grant me sound health in this life and in the life to come, to forgive me and to give me purity in faith, life, family and property. My Lord, grant me a cover of my flaws and reassurance in time of fear. Protect me from what lies ahead of me, behind me, to my right, to my left and above me. I appeal to Your greatness to protect me from any danger that lies beneath me.”
The Prophet urged every Muslim to say as he begins or ends his day: “My Lord, You know all that is beyond human perception and all that is witnessed by anyone; You are the Originator of the heavens and the earth; You are the Lord and owner of all. I bear witness that there is no deity other than You. I seek refuge with You from the evil that is within me and from the machinations of Satan.”
As they start their day, the Prophet and his companions say: “We have started this day in the original state of submission to God, with the pure word of faith, following the religion of our Prophet Muhammad and the creed of our father Abraham who followed the pure faith and never associated partners with God.”
That the Prophet’s companions should assert that they follow the religion of Prophet Muhammad is perfectly understandable. Why does the Prophet himself say the same? This occurs in many supplications the Prophet used to say, always asserting his belief in his prophethood or in the truth of his message. I feel that this serves more than one purpose. The first is that it confirms his commitment to implement what he preaches. Many are the religious leaders who appear to consider that their task is to teach others what to do. As for themselves, they consider themselves above accountability. Another purpose is to spite unbelievers by asserting that Islam is the faith of unquestionable truth. Moreover, it is an acknowledgement of the grace God has bestowed on His messenger, and an expression of gratitude and happiness for being chosen for this noble task.
-By SHEIKH MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI