Neglecting the Prayer
Author:Shaykh Usaamah Al-Qoosee
Source:A Jumu'ah Khutbah he gave in Egypt on Friday, August 14, 1998
From the Tape:
This tape is part of the series entitled "The Sickness and the Cure",
which consists of Jumu'ah khutbahs from Shaikh Abu Haatim Usaamah Ibn 'Abdil-Lateef Al-Qoosee, may Allaah preserve him. This khutbah took place on Friday, the 2`11st of Rabee'-uth-Thaanee, 1419H (August 14, 1998)
Verily all praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, we ask His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and from the evils of our actions. Whoever Allaah guides, no one can lead him astray and whoever is led astray there is no guide for Him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah - alone and with no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
"O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He ought to be feared and do not die except while you are Muslims."
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord who created you from a single soul and then created from that it's mate, and spread out from them. many men and women. And fear Allaah from whom you demand your mutual rights. Verily Allaah is an All-Watcher over you."
"O you who believe! Fear Allaah and say a word that is true and to the point, Allaah will rectify your actions and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger has achieved the greatest success."
To proceed: Indeed, the best of speech is the Book of Allaah, ta'alaa, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (saws). And the worst of matters are the ones that are newly invented, for indeed every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.
My brothers in Islaam, servants of Allaah! We continue on with our series of lectures called "The Sickness and the Cure"
with our talk concerning the prayer - the prayer, which is the greatest pillar of the Religion after the two testimonies of Faith. And it is the greatest act of worship, by which one can gain nearness to Allaah, subhaanahu wa ta'alaa. So it is the core and the foundation of the Religion, and it is one of the attributes of the believers. And it is a great branch from the branches of Eemaan. So the abandonment of prayer is Kufr, disbelief. Rather it is from the greatest branches of disbelief. Abandoning the prayer is one of the attributes of the disbelievers, as the Lord of the Worlds says in His Mighty Book:
"(The people of Paradise will ask the people of Hell): 'What caused you to enter the Hellfire?' They will say: 'We were not among those who used to pray. Nor would we feed the needy person. And we would engage in vain speech with the gossipers. And we would deny the Day of Judgement - until the certainty (i.e. death) came to us. So the intercession of the intercessors will be of no use to them. So what is wrong with them that they turn away from the Reminder (this Qur'aan)? As if they were frightened wild donkeys - that flee from predators. Rather, every person amongst them (disbelievers) wishes to be given pages spread out (with revelation from Allaah confirming the truth). Nay, but they do not fear the Hereafter."
[Surah Al-Mudaththir: 42-53]
So He mentioned the people who will be in the Hellfire. The first thing that they stated as a reason for their entering the Hellfire - may Allaah protect us from its heat and its boiling water - was that they did not used to pray. They said: "We were not among those who used to pray."
So not praying is one of the attributes of the disbelievers and a big branch from the branches of disbelief.
In fact, the one who has left off the prayer - the one who does not make one rak'ah (bow) to Allaah nor does he make one sajdah (prostration) to Allaah throughout his life, it is highly unlikely that this person is free from major disbelief. It is highly unlikely that this person is free from being in major disbelief. So the person that goes throughout his life not bowing or prostrating once in prayer to Allaah, for the most part you will find him holding beliefs that are beliefs of the disbelievers; beliefs that take him out of the fold of Islaam, except for the few rare ones among them whom no one knows of except Allaah.
So leaving off the prayer is a branch among the many branches of Kufr and it is one of the attributes of the disbelievers. On the other hand, performing the prayer is a great branch from the branches of Eemaan. And it is a required characteristic from the characteristics of the true and honest believers. Allaah has described the believers with this characteristic, with a clear and detailed description in two places of His Noble Book. The first place is in Surat Al-Mu'minoon. Allaah describes His believing servants in eleven ayaat starting from the beginning of Surat Al-Mu'minoon. So He starts His description of them with the prayer and He ends His description of them with the prayer. Allaah says:
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who are attentive in their prayer. And those who turn away from vain and false speech. And those who give their due Zakaat. And those who guard their private parts - except with their wives or those whom their right hands possess, for they are not to blame in that. But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors. And those who guard and keep to their trusts and covenants. And those who guard their prayers. They are the inheritors - the ones who will inherit Firdaws (highest level in Paradise), in which they will reside forever."
[Surah Al-Mu'minoon: 1-11]
This, what you heard O servant of Allaah, is the description of the believers, with a precise detailing, in 11 ayaat - from the first ayah to the eleventh ayah of Surat Al-Mu'minoon.
Allaah begins describing the believers by mentioning the prayer and He closes His description of them with the prayer. "Successful indeed are the believers.
Those who are attentive in their prayer." And in the last of these ayaat, He says: "And those who guard their prayers."
Then He says: "They are the inheritors - the ones who will inherit Firdaws, in which they will reside forever."
And the second place from Allaah's Book is in Surat Al-Ma'aarij, which I closed last week's khutbah with. Allaah says, starting from the 19th ayah and ending with the 35th ayah of Surat Al-Ma'aarij:
"Verily man was created impatient. When evil touches him, he is discontent with it. But when good touches him, he is miserly. Except those devoted to prayer - those who remain constant in their prayer. And those in whose wealth there is a recognized right - for the beggar and the unfortunate one who has lost his wealth. And those who believe in the Day of Recompense. And those who fear the torment of their Lord. Verily the torment of their Lord is that before which no one can feel secure! And those who guard their chastity. Except with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for they are not blameworthy in that. But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors. And those who keep their trusts and covenants. And those who stand firm in their testimonies. And those who guard their prayer. They are the ones who will dwell in the Gardens (of Paradise) in honor."
[Surah Al-Ma'aarij: 19-35]
So Allaah begins describing them with the prayer and He closes His description of them with the prayer. So Allaah says: "Except those devoted to prayer - those who remain constant in their prayer." Then He closes His description by saying: "And those who guard their prayer. They are the ones who will dwell in the Gardens (of Paradise) in honor."
So these are the attributes of the true believers. Allaah mentions in His Mighty Book that neglecting the prayer goes hand in hand with the following of ones desires. So beware, beware of being from those who neglect the prayer! As for not praying, then it is disbelief, and as for neglecting it, then it is from the greatest of sins. Rather, the servant (of Allaah) does not commit a sin - after shirk with Allaah - like the sin of not praying or killing a person that Allaah has forbidden to kill, except with due right.
So not praying is a great matter. It is one of the branches of disbelief and one of the attributes of the disbelievers, while, performing the prayer is one of the branches of Eemaan and one of the attributes of the believers - those who are truthful and patient, those who know the right of Allaah, those who fear the Day of Judgement, those who are afraid of Allaah's punishment on the Day of Judgement - the Day in which "neither one's wealth nor his children will be of use to him, except for the one who comes to Allaah with a pure heart."
[Surah Ash-Shu'araa: 89]
So neglecting the prayer, whether by performing it in other than its proper time or by performing it in a manner, which is not valid, this is from the greatest of major sins. Allaah says:
"Then a generation came after them who neglected the prayer and followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell." [Surah Maryam: 59] So Allaah threatens them with punishment and He threatens them with destruction. He threatens them with His Anger and His Torment - even though they pray… However, they neglect the prayer. So do not be surpised when Allaah says: "So woe be to those who pray." But this is not for everyone that prays, but rather it is only meant for those who neglect the prayer - those who do not pray it in their proper times or who do not perform it in the manner in which it will be validly accepted. "So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful about their prayer."
[Surah Al-Ma'oon: 2-3]
So if Allaah, Lord of all worlds, threatens those who delay their prayers, then what about those who do not pray at all? What about those who insist on taking the resemblance of the disbelievers. What about those who refuse to pray, taking on the characteristic of the disbelievers - those who will reside in the Blazing Fire. The Fire - which no one will be able to stand. No one will be able to stand its heat. No one will be able to bear its violent winds. No one will be able to take its boiling winds. No one will be able to tolerate even spending a moment in the torment of Allaah, ta'alaa.
And indeed, in the days that just passed by, we even complained about the severe heat. The Prophet (saws) said about it: "The severe heat is from the whiff of the Hellfire." So we cannot even stand a whiff of the heat - we cannot tolerate a small portion of its heat. So what about the person that lives in it? What about the person that makes it his home and eternal dwelling place? What about the person that is from its people and inhabitants? He will drink from its boiling water, which is like boiling oil that scalds the bellies, like the boiling of scalding hot water, which tears the intestines when passing through them.
Who amongst us is able to withstand this? Who amongst us O servants of Allaah, is able to tolerate this? (Allaah says): "Then a generation came after them who neglected the prayer" - they did not abandon the prayer, rather they only neglected it. They neglected it by not praying it in its proper times. They delay the Dhuhr prayer to the time of 'Asr, and the 'Asr prayer to the time of Maghrib. They delay praying 'Asr and Maghrib until the time of 'Ishaa. They do not pray the Fajr pray not even once, and if they do pray it, they pray it much later than its due time. He gets up and then goes back to sleep. Then he gets up and prays it at the time that is convenient for him. He doesn't have any concern for getting up to pray! And he doesn't guard his prayers by praying them on their proper times. He doesn't concern himself with praying in the manner that Allaah loves and is pleased with.
There was a man among the Companions of Allaah's Messenger that once prayed and after praying, the Prophet (saws) told him: "Go back and pray, for you did not pray." This was even though the person had prayed. But he prayed the type of prayer similar to a large portion of prayers - the prayer that many of us perform. Many of us pray that same kind of prayer, which that man prayed. How did this man pray? As soon as he faced the qiblah, you find that he rushed to bow. Then he did not rest in the bowing position but rose quickly from it. And he did not straighten himself when rising to the standing position, but rushed to prostrate. And he did not spend much time in prostration, until you found him getting up to sit. And he did not get into the sitting position except that he was back down in prostration. So he is like a crow that pecks on the ground. So his prayer is called the pecking of a crow - a prayer that is like the pecking of a crow - up and down, up and down - as many of us do today. One feels satified with himself that he has prayed, but in reality he has not prayed. He is not at rest in the bowing or prostrating positions. Nor is he at rest when rising or sitting.
So this man came to the Prophet (saws) and greeted him with the Salaam. So the Prophet (saws) returned the Salaam to him and said to him: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." He did not tell the man: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed well", but rather he said: "for you have not prayed." That thing you did is not prayer. The Prophet (saws) did not consider that a prayer at all. He said to him: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." The word "not" indicates a negation and a cessation of the verb that follows. "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." You did not pray at all. But yet the man prayed. However, Allaah will not accept this prayer - it is not considered prayer. It is prayer on the outer appearance, but in reality it is not prayer. Allaah will not accept it. It will not be raised even an inch above the head of the person that does it.
Many of us pray exactly this same kind of prayer. Many of us pray in this manner. And the person who prays like this is from the best among us in these times - he prays, he guards his prayer, not leaving off any prayer, however, it is a prayer that is of no benefit, as is said: "It neither nourishes nor satisifies ones hunger."
The Prophet (saws) said: "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." It is well known that this person is not like the person that doesn't pray at all. But he prays a prayer that Allaah does not accept. He is neglectful about the prayer. "So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful about their prayer" - whether by praying it out of it's proper time or by praying it in a manner that is not valid.
So being at rest when standing and bowing and rising, and prostrating and sitting is a pillar thar if left out of the prayer, invalidates the prayer. So pecking on the floor like a crow is not prayer. If you wish, call it "movements", call it "up and down" motions, call it "exercising." Call it what you want but it is not prayer. "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed."
I am amazed by the person that prays like this. You pray and pray, and yet the difference between your praying a good prayer and your praying a bad one is only a few minutes. The matter does not take more than a few minutes. So the difference between the prayer that Allaah does not accept and the prayer that Allaah accepts is only a few minutes - numbered minutes. What will this person say - nothing. It does not take more than five minutes. If you were to rest and be at tranquility in every pillar of the prayer, it would not go beyond five minutes. So this prayer of yours takes some time. If you were to add just five minutes to this time, you would have prayed a valid prayer, accepted by Allaah. So how can you be cheap with five minutes and instead completely neglect your prayer. What is the difference. There is no difference - rather it is only the Devil, who preoccupies you with this worldly life and with trivial things. Perhaps some of us pray in this manner so that we can catch the tv series on time or so that we can catch the sports match, or so that we can come on time to our date at the café. Or so that we can finish a business transaction, before Allaah has put His blessing in it. What do you want? Do you want to gain more than what Allaah has already written for you? Do you wish to attain some sustenance that is not from the share that has been ordained for you?
"And command your family with prayer."
You are not responsible for the prayer only, you must also command your family to pray. "And command your family with prayer, and be patient in offering them. We do not ask you for provision. We provide for you, and the final good end is for those who have Taqwaa." [Surah TaHa: 132] Allaah is responsible for your sustenance O musallee! Do not fear, for indeed your sustenance will come as Allaah has ordained it. Do not rush. "Allaah's remembrance is greater, and Allaah knows best what they do."
So Allaah's remembrance is greater than everything. And our Lord ordered that we say the takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) in the prayer so that we can remind ourselves that He is greater than everything. We say Allaah Akbar to open the prayer, Allaah Akbar when bowing, Allaah Akbar when protrating and sitting. Allaah legislated this remembrance so that we can be reminded that Allaah is greater than everything. So how can you give precedence to something lowly over what is virtuous. And how can you give precedence to something small over what is big. Allaah Akbar. "And the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah is greater."
Allaah did not make you responsible for your sustenance, as He says: "And We did not create the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me. We do not seek sustenance from them nor that they should feed Me. Verily Allaah, He is Ar-Razaaq (The All-Provider), possessing Power, the Most Strong."
[Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat: 56-58]
Furthermore, we even complain that we have little blessing, or that it has gone away completely. We say: "Money turns us into evil people." We are the ones who turn ourselves into evil people. The money does not change anything. We are the evil ones. As for the money then there is no sin on it. So, the money in the hand of Zayd could have blessing in it, but the same money in the hands of 'Amr could have no blessing in it. Money is just money - it does not change. Rather, the presence of blessing or the lack of it is only connected to the individual. As for the inanimate object, then there is no sin upon it. You are the only one who will be held accountable.
"Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." This person neglected the prayer. So he went back and prayed in the same manner and then came back to Allaah's Messenger and gave him Salaam. So the Prophet said "Wa 'alayka as-Salaam. Go back and pray for you have not prayed." So the man went back a third time and prayed the same prayer. His forehead barely touched the floor, before it was up again, and he did not get to sit properly except that he rushed back down to prostrate and so on and so forth. And he felt satisifed with himself that he prayed. So then he came back a third time to the Prophet and greeted him with Salaam. So the Prophet (saws) returned the Salaam to him and said: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." So he said: "O Messenger of Allaah! Teach me, for by Allaah I cannot do better than that."
So this man acknowledged that he was ignorant. And how many of us are in need of acknowledging their ignorance, just as this person acknowledged his? As for us, we peck on the floor like crows and when we are advised we act as if we are the most learned of people. "You dont' know! I have been praying for forty years now - before you were even born!" So they do not accept the advice. But this Companion accepted the advice, saying: "O Messenger of Allaah! Teach me, for by Allaah I cannot do better than that." Ever since they taught me to pray, I don't know any kind of prayer except this one. So he is saying: I don't know, teach me.
The Prophet (saws) said: "When you stand for prayer, then face the Qiblah." Then make the takbeer (say Allaahu Akbar)." - And in some narrations, it says: "When you stand for prayer, then make the wudoo (ablution), as Allaah has commanded you, then face the Qiblah and make the takbeer. Then recite from the Qur'aan that which is easy on you" - even if you don't recite any surah except Al-Faatihah. "Then bow until you are at rest in the bowing position." This was the part that was being taught. So the man prayed well every part except for the parts where he had to be at rest in the positions. He did everything good except for being at rest in the positions. So the pillar of the prayer, known as Al-Itmi'naan (calmness and tranquility in the positions) was deficient in his prayer. He did not have any tranquility in his prayer. "Then bow until you are at rest in the bowing position" meaning "until you back acheives straightness while in the bowing position, and until your bones and joints settle for a while. And until it can truthfully show that you are bowing."
Then he said: "Then rise (from bowing) until you are at rest in the standing position." But what we do is rise, saying: "Sami' Allaahu liman hamida" and then "Allaahu Akbar." One barely says "Sami' Allaahu liman hamida" before he rushes to say Allaahu Akbar and before his back attains straigtness and composure. The prayer is not valid like this.
"Then rise (from bowing) until you are at rest in the standing position. Then prostrate until you are at rest in the prostrating position. Then sit until you are at rest in the sitting position. Then prostrate until you are at rest in the prostrating position. Then do this in all of your prayers."
And that was it, the man learned that the prayer was not valid unless he had Al-Itmi'naan, or tranquility throughout the different positions in it. And SubhaanAllaah, many of us know this hadeeth and even memorize it. And we call this hadeeth "The hadeeth of the man who prayed badly." But nevertheless, many of us pray in the same manner as this man who prayed badly did.
I don't know what we are lacking - are we waiting for some new revelation to come down from the heavens, so that we can understand and so that we can act on what we heard and learned and understood? I don't know. If this indicates anything - then it indicates that we have deficiency in our Eemaan and that we have little certainty, submissiveness and fear of Allaah subhaana. This is because this is linked to that and that is definitely linked to this. So Eemaan consists of branches - branches related to the heart and branches related to actions. All of them are linked to one another. So just as Allaah describes the believers as being afraid of Allaah's punishment, He also describes them as being those who guard their prayers and who are attentive in their prayers. These attributes are in reference to one and the same individual (the believer). So if Eemaan truly enters into the heart, it is not possible for any of us to pray except in the manner that Allaah accepts the prayer.
And if a person is ignorant, then with just the reminder, he is reminded and acknowledges. And with only the advice, he acts on the advice. So the believer is like the earth that has fresh soil, which produces fruit even if it only receives water from the moisture. So what about when it rains. The mositure of the morning is sufficient for the fresh soil to cause plants to grow. This misty fog that appears in the morning time is sufficient for the good earth to produce green plants. So what about if water from the heavens descends on it? So knowledge is like the water. And the believer is like the fresh soil. He only needs the water.
So this Companion, his soil was fresh, his heart was pure, but he didn't have knowledge. So the ignorant person whose only deficiency is knowledge, his cure is that he gets knowledge. And by only gaining knowledge, it is sufficient for him to benefit and act. But as for us, then how many times have we heard but unfortunately we still persist. Many of us are deceived by the Devil and pray this kind of prayer that we know Allaah does not accept. So then why do you bother to pray it? Why do you pray it? What is it's benefit? It is a kind of prayer that has been described as not being a prayer. "Go back and pray for you have not prayed."
"Then a generation came after them who neglected the prayer." Many amongst us think that so long as one prays, according to his understanding, he does not fall under the punishment or threat of Allaah. But that in fact Allaah is pleased with him because he is better than others. So if you advise this person who prays bad, he says to you: "O Shaikh, I am much better than others. What are you talking about? Most of the people do not pray at all. I am better than these people. Allaah is pleased with me, all praise be to Allaah. I feel that Allaah is pleased with me, wal-hamdulillaah." And like this. He asserts himself and talks about what he has no knowledge of. And he claims that Allaah is pleased with him, as if this in his control! "So woe be to those who pray." Allaah did not say, "So woe be to those who abandon the prayer - those who do not pray." Instead, He said "So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful about their prayer." One scholar spoke truthfully when he said: "All praise be to Allaah who didn't say: 'So woe be to those who pray - those who are neglectful in their prayer" for if this were the case we all are heedless in the prayer." Allaah only threatens those who neglect and squander the prayer - so this person does not perform it in the manner that Allaah loves and is pleased with - whether by praying it out of its proper time or by praying it in a manner in which it is not accepted by Allaah. So how much in need are we, O servants of Allaah, of correcting ourselves through the prayer. This is because the prayer improves and refines the souls. And it refreshens the hearts and the spirits and it refreshens the bodies. Prayer is a means of healing for the body. And how far away from well-being and prosperity are those people who do not pray or they pray a type of prayer that is not valid. How can they think they have success when Allaah asserts success for the one who prays and guards his prayers. Allaah says: "Succesful indeed are the believers." So what success is there in not praying or in neglecting the prayer? There is no success - not in abandoning the prayer nor in neglecting the prayer. I ask my Lord to make me and you from those who are successful and prosperous. This is what I say and I ask Allaah to forgive me and you.
All praise be to Allaah. How many blessings has Allaah bestowed on us, and how much generosity and kindness has He let down on us. And if you were to try to count the blessings of Allaah, you would not be able to number them. And I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah, alone and with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. To proceed:
When the human being wants to realize the blessing that Allaah has bestowed on him, he must look towards those below him. He should look at the one who is less fortunate than him. One Arab brother told me that he came to Cairo in the past days, and he was accustomed to landing in the same place. But when he came he found the place busy and overcrowded. So when he asked as to the reason for this, he was told that many of our brothers from Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf had come to Cairo during those days. So he found that the place that he normally stayed at was full and crowded. So I said to him: "SubhanAllaah, what are these people doing here in a city like this where the heat is so severe?" So he told me: "It is more hot in their countries, so here it is milder for them." So if each of us were to compare himself with someone that lacks this blessing that he uses everyday, he would indeed realize the blessing that Allaah has given him.
And SubhanAllaah, we count the misfortunes that befall us from Allaah's decree but yet we don't count the blessings Allaah has given us. The blessings of Allaah cannot be counted nor estimated no matter how much we try to count. And as I said to one brother, reminding myself and him, "Whoever wishes to truly know the blessing of Allaah on him, then let him go to one of these large hospitals." And let him walk through every ward of the hosptial - one by one - until he realizes who is the one whom Allaah has bestowed his bounty on.
So in this section, he will find a person who lost the blessing of being able to see or who is about to go blind. And in this section, there are people with broken bones, others who are crippled and others with casts. And in that section there is one who has kidney problems and in that one someone has heart disease. In this section, someone has some pulmonary disease such as tuberculosis or something else. And in that section, there is this sick person and in that section there is that sick person and so on and so forth until each of us realizes the greatness of Allaah's blessing on us and we realize that Allaah's blessings can never be counted.
We do not know the value of Allaah's blessings. No one knows it except for those whom Eemaan has entered into their hearts. And if Eemaan did actually enter into our hearts, we would have filled the houses of Allaah with prayer and remembrance of Allaah - "In houses (masaajid) that Allaah has orered to be raised. His name is remembered in them and He is glorifed in them in the morning and evening times. Men who neither trade nor sale diverts them away from the Remembrance of Allaah, nor from establishing the prayer, nor from giving the Zakaat. They fear a day in which the hearts and the eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the tormoent of the Day of Resurrection)."
[Surah An-Noor: 36]
They fear Allaah. They fear His anger and they fear His punishment. We praise Allaah for having lightened for us the pressure of this heat, for in the past two days, by Allaah's praise, the degree of the heat lowered. So after the weather reporters told us that this heat wave would last for two days and then it would finish, it still remained. So they said more and more heat waves came. And we expect these heat waves to last until the end of the month of August. But then all of a sudden, the degree of the heat lowered. Glory be to my Lord, in whose Hand are all affairs. There is no one that can turn back His Judgement and there is no one that can repel His Decree.
And perhaps you remember what I said in last week's khutbah about how much in need we are of attributing everything to the one that does it and to attribute the Decree to Allaah, subhaanahu wa ta'alaa, and that we must always remember to say the phrase "Insha Allaah" How much in need are we of this. How needy we are of remembering that in Allaah's hands are the keys of the heavens and the earth. To Him belongs the Creation and the Command. To Him belongs the Rule and to Him we will return. To Him is our final return and destination. Allaah's blessings are many and Allaah's blessings can only be upheld and maintained by one giving thanks to Allaah for them and by one's acknowledging them and be giving them their due right in terms of gratefulness, remembrance, worship and obedience. How true was the one who said the following statement:
"If you experience a blessing from Allaah, then guard it, for indeed sins cause the blessings to terminate. And guard them by being thankful to Allaah, for indeed Allaah is quick to inflict punishment."
The servants of Allaah are in need of preserving their blessings. The water and the air will not change except due to our sins. Allaah says: "Evil has appeared in the lands and in the sea because of what the people's hands have earned, so that they may taste some of that which (i.e. sins) they committed in order that they may return (i.e. repent)." So will we not return and repent? Will we not pray and bow and prostrate? Will we not pray like Allaah intended us to pray and in the manner that He loves and is pleased with? Shall we not be from those who strictly guard their prayers, as Allaah has described His servants whom He loves and is pleased with and whom He has described with success and prosperity? How needy are we, O servants of Allaah, of returning back to Allaah. Many of us, unfortunately, we even come late to the Jumu'ah prayer. And our Lord says in His Book: "When the call to prayer is made on the day of Jumu'ah, then proceed to the remembrance of Allaah, and leave off the business transactions. That is better for you if you only knew."
[Surah Al-Jumu'ah: 9]
Then Allaah gave us some respite and alotted for us a time for gaining the provision. "And when the prayer is finished, then disperse throughout the earth and seek from the bounty of Allaah and remember Allaah much in order that you may prosper." All praise be to Allaah, the prayer does not take time away from anything. Even the Jumu'ah prayer, which is long and which lasts a certain time, it does not go beyond one hour from the time of the Adhaan to the time when As-Salaam 'Alaykum for the end of prayer is said. It is not possible for it to exceed this time under any condition. From the time when the prayer is called until the time when the Imaam finishes the prayer with the tasleem, it is not possible that this time will go beyond one hour. And this is the only prayer that takes up the longest time during the course of the week. And it only occurs once in every week. So how much of a need is there for us to guard and preserve this prayer, which is the best of the prayers in this week. For the 'eid (holiday) of the week is Jumu'ah, and the Jumu'ah prayer is the most obligatory of all the prayers without exception. Allaah mentioned it in His Book and incited us towards it. And He commanded the believers to rush to it upon their just hearing the Adhaan. "When the call to prayer is made on the day of Jumu'ah, then proceed to the remembrance of Allaah, and leave off the business transactions. That is better for you if you only knew. And when the prayer is finished, then disperse throughout the earth and seek from the bounty of Allaah and remember Allaah much in order that you may prosper. And when they saw some business or amusement, they went to it and left you standing. Tell them: What Allaah has is better than any amusement and business. And Allaah is the best of Providers."
[Surah Al-Jumu'ah: 9-11]
Guard Allaah's blessings and He will increase your blessings. And remember Allaah, subhaanahu wa ta'alaa, much, and do not be be from among the heedless ones. And maintain your performance of the prayers on their proper times. And pray a prayer that Allaah will accept, and do not be like that man who prayed badly, when it was said to him: "Go back and pray for you have not prayed." And whoever wants to learn, then the knowledge is accessible, all praise be to Allaah, Lord of the worlds. Whoever wants to know how to pray, knowledge is readily available, all praise be to Allaah. So the remedy for the ignorant person is knowledge. But as for the haughty and arrogant person, then his cure is that his haughtiness and pride be treated before he learns. This is because knowledge will never benefit him while he possesses pride. And the only thing that brought the destruction of Iblees, the Devil, was his pride. He was taught by His Lord, Allaah Himself, but however he refused out of pride and said: "I am better than Adam, shall I prostrate to the one whom You created from dirt?" [Surah Al-Israa: 61] So Allaah said: "Except for Iblees, he refused and had pride and he was from among the disbelievers." [Surah Al-Baqarah: 24] So pride can lead someone into disbelief, and we seek Allaah's refuge from that! So Iblees is the shaikh of the mutakabbireen (eldest amongst the proud and arrogant ones). And furthermore pride prevents a person from getting benefit, and it prevents a person from knowledge. It prevents a person from doing good deeds. So we must be from those who are humble, those who lower themselves in front of their Lord, those who accept the advice when it is given, those who take heed from the reminder, such that we will become from the true believers who I described to you as having hearts that are like the fresh earth, which water goes into. So when the rainwater descends on it, it flows through it and produces every kind of beautiful growth. The effects of knowledge show on this person because his heart is pure, and our Lord made no exceptions, except for the ones who will have pure hearts, as He says: "On that Day when neither one's wealth nor children will be of use to him, except for the one who comes to Allaah with a pure heart." [Surah Ash-Shu'araa: 89] I ask Allaah, 'azza wa jall, to make me and you from among those who possess pure hearts, who benefit from the knowledge and who remember when they are reminded and who repent when they are advised. Indeed Allaah is Responsible for this and He can make it happen. And may the peace and blessings be on Muhammad and his family and Companions.