Even the most stone cold individual would spare a dime or two for the poor who beg and plead for money. How then can we believe that God does not listen to the prayers of the man or woman who sheds tears in His path pleading for help and assistance? God Who loves us more than our mother.
In fact the insistence on prayer and supplication as a means to solving our problems and attaining true nearness to God is special to Islam. Other religions just mention prayers as a means to spiritual elevation in the afterlife or a means to generate “closeness” to God. And so many have turned to Atheism because scholars insist we should put our faith in old stories. But it is only Islam that calls to belief in a God Who answers when He is called. It is Islam that does not just offer old stories as a proof of its truth but encourages Muslims to experience similar stories in their lives by asking God for help.
Immediately after verses obliging Muslims to fast in Ramadan it is stated,
And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’
So to all those Atheists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims if you really want to find out whether the religion you believe in is the true one then spend your nights praying, begging and pleading to God and asking Him for signs that you may be guided to the truth. Leave all the logic and argumentation on one side. These are theories and no more. They allow us to believe in God in good faith but theories can never grant us that level of conviction that comes through practicals. No theory can be positively proven unless it passes practical tests. It is through prayers that we can attain those positive signs of the truth.
True that God’s answer might not necessarily be a yes. But there is an answer. For those who pray humbly and stand and bow and prostrate before the One True God and ask for help in matters of this world and matters of the hereafter have their prayers answered. There are some reasons a prayer might not be answered positively:
- Unavoidable Fate – if all the Prophets of the world gathered in prayer for the immortality of a single human it would not have happened because every human must die. Similarly some events are part of an unavoidable path of fate that must be executed.
- Prayer for the Dangerous – surely if a child wails and cries and begs to touch fire no mother would allow such a thing. Similarly, some prayers would be a danger to us if fulfilled and God protects us from such dangers.
- Time – indeed the forces of nature that are in God’s control may take their time to execute the demand for prayer so one must wait with patience and not expect a hurried response if it does not come.
How then is one supposed to know the effect of prayers? How can we identify that a prayer has truly been accepted by God or whether it is just another coincidence? The answer is that acceptance of a prayer is accompanied by a positive sign showing that this was not just any result of labor but was an act of God outside normal circumstances.
An illustration using the story of Abraham’s wife will follow in the next part.