Last Updated on 23rd October 2020
In short, I observe that people are negligent and indolent in observing their Prayers because they are oblivious to the pleasure and satisfaction that Allah the Exalted has invested in Prayer. This is a significant cause in this respect. Then, there is even greater negligence and indolence in cities and towns. Even fifty per cent of the people do not eagerly bow their heads before their true Master with sincere love.
The question that arises is: why do the people not know of this pleasure and why have they never experienced this exquisite taste? Other religions do not prescribe such injunctions. At times, it so happens that people are busy in their engagements and the call for Prayer is made. At such a time, there are those who would shut their ears, as though their heart begins to throb with pain. Such people are worthy of pity. There are certain people here as well whose shops are situated adjacent to mosques, but they never join in the Prayer. All I wish to say is that one ought to fervently and passionately pray to God Almighty that just as He has granted us diverse forms of pleasure in fruits and other things, may He enable us to experience, even once, the sweet taste of Prayer and worship. One never forgets the taste of a thing. If an individual looks at someone beautiful with pleasure, they remember it well. Further, if a person sees an ugly and hideous figure, the entire state of such a figure comes forth as an embodiment in the mind of the observer, whenever they are reminded of it. Of course, if a person is indifferent and saw the figure in passing, then one remembers nothing. Similarly, in the estimation of those who do not pray, the Prayer is like a penalty, whereby one is unjustly forced to wake up in the morning when it is cold and leave their precious sleep to perform ablution, and compelled to forsake many comforts in order to offer it. The actual fact is that such a one is averse and therefore, is unable to understand; they are oblivious of the pleasure and satisfaction that is present in Prayer. How then can they experience pleasure in Prayer? I observe that when a drunkard or one who suffers from addiction is unable to find satisfaction, they continue to drink glass after glass, until they are finally inebriated. A wise and prudent individual can benefit from this example. In other words, one must remain persistent in Prayer and continue observing it until they begin to experience pleasure. Just as a drunkard conceives of a pleasure in his mind, which is the actual objective he pursues, in the same way, the mind and all of one’s faculties must feel a propensity towards the acquisition of that very pleasure that exists in Prayer. Then, with sincerity and passion, at least to the extent that an addict suffers from anxiety, restlessness and pain, an individual ought to pray that they are able to experience the pleasure they seek.
I say truthfully that surely and most definitely they will experience the pleasure of Prayer. Then, in the observance of Prayer, one ought to strive to seek the benefits that are associated with it and keep in view the concept of goodness or ihsan (i.e. to worship God as though one can see Him or at least that God can see you). As God Almighty states: اِنَّ الْحَسَنٰتِ یُذْھِبْنَ السَّیِّاٰتِ and that is to say, good works drive away evil. Therefore, whilst aspiring to goodness and striving to attain the pleasures in Prayer, one ought to supplicate that God enables one to observe the Prayer that is characteristic of the truthful (siddiqin) and of those who excel in good works (mohsinin). As mentioned, Allah the Exalted has stated: اِنَّ الْحَسَنٰتِ یُذْھِبْنَ السَّیِّاٰتِ and this means that good works or Prayer drives away evil. In another instance, God Almighty states that Prayer saves one from indecency and manifest evil. However, despite this we observe that there are people who observe Prayer, yet still indulge in evil deeds. The response to this is that they observe Prayer, but not in its true spirit, nor with piety. They only perform useless movements in the form of a custom and habit. Their soul is dead. Allah the Exalted has not described this as hasanat (or good works). In this verse, God has used the word hasanat as opposed to al-Salat even though the two words mean one and the same thing. This is because God wishes to allude to the merit and husn (or beauty) of Prayer, which in its true form possesses within it a spirit of truth and the effects of divine grace. This form of Prayer does indeed drive away evil. Prayer is not simply a process of sitting and standing. In fact, the essence and soul of the formal Prayer is that supplication which possesses within it a pleasure and satisfaction.
(Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 159-161)