Originally Posted by Eric H
Greetings Eric H,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
I think that the above may imply that it is not necessary to pray for that, which does not directly
help you achieve salvation in the hereafter.
In Islam, we see every single moment of the day, every single activity (no matter how trivial) as being a means of working towards the hereafter.
Take your example of passing ones driving test:
It may not be viewed as a direct
form of worship/ a means of helping you in the next life,
but: everything that went into the process of obtaining the license, can be a means of worship - IF, we correct our intentions in the process.
So, if I say to myself -
I will seek a female driving instructor (rather than a male) - as I do not want to be alone with a strange man, and thereby earning the displeasure of Allah.....
I will practise and try my very best to pass, as we are taught by the prophet (sallalahu alahi wasalam) to make an effort first and then place our trust in Allah....
I will make the intention of obtaining this drivers license - to be able to earn halaal income, to serve the community, etc, and above all for the pleasure of Allah....
If I fail, I will bear it with patience and prayer, because I trust in Allahs plans over mine.......
^ then you may be able to appreciate that just a simple act of going for a drivers test - has been the means of gaining the pleasure of our Creator, and God willingly, it will be of benefit to our salvation in the Hereafter, through His mercy.
Only because, I have changed my intention during this act
: by making Allah (subhanawataála) pleasure the focus.
This can be applied to every other activity in life as well.
In this way, we cannot view Gods response to our prayers in the above quoted manner, as we cannot categorise challenges in life into that which 'pertains to this life', and that which 'pertains to the next life'.
Because ALL aspects of life are setting our path towards the hereafter.
Allah tells us in the Quraan (translation):
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of every supplicant when he calls upon Me […]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ““How amazing is the believer’s affair! Allah decrees nothing for the servant except that it is good for him.”
From the above we learn that Allah (subhanawataála) IS responding to EVERY prayer - but sometimes not in the manner that WE wish to see it.
And we realise that in every
situation, no matter how difficult it may be - it is ONLY for our benefit.
So, if I pray that I pass my drivers test.....but fail - then this is what is best for me, at this given moment in time.
^ Perhaps if I were to pass on the first attempt, I may become over-confident in my abilities
Perhaps my prayers would cease once they are answered.....and because Allah Taa'la knows this, He is keeping me in waiting and turning to Him in need.
And even if my prayers appear to go answered completely (e.g. a person with a medically incurable illness), then still
we are at peace inn our hearts, because:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us that supplications are answered in one of three ways:
 by actually giving the thing being asked;
 Or by warding off a harm that would have otherwise afflicted the person (as illustrated in the cartoon)
 Or as gifts awaiting the person in the next life, which is the best form of du’a being answered.
So, we should never despair!
Even through the dissappointments, pain and loss in life - it is all
good for the believer, who places his trust in Allah and who patiently perserveres.