There are various elements in life you come face to face with every day and that you imagine you know and understand very well; so much so that you imagine it would be impossible to understand the majority of them any better than you do already.
But that is not always true.
Sometimes you may hear a different account or witness something that leads to a brand new door, a new horizon you had never contemplated before, opening up on a subject you thought you knew so well. Your whole perspective changes, not only momentarily but fundamentally. You acquire a new perspective on that long familiar subject, as if you were encountering it for the first time.
One of these subjects about which one constantly acquires a new and more profound conception during the various stages of one’s life is prayer. A believer knows that God will heed all prayers, and trusts in that truth with all his heart. But the more a person’s closeness to Allah, depth of faith and understanding of destiny grow, the more his perspective toward prayer deepens and is perfected. Although he knows the verses of the Qur’an very well, the spiritual power that God instills in his heart through those verses constantly increases whenever he reads them again. And for someone who is determined in faith, this situation is repeated constantly until the end of his life.
One piece of knowledge regarding prayer that will again be instrumental in the opening of his heart when he hears it is that prayer ‘is the key to destiny’. This is part of the law of God. When Muslims beseech God with love and passion, by His leave, what they desire will come about.
This is a secret mystery of God that very few people are aware of. When one prays, Allah’s destiny goes into motion. Mass prayer especially has a particular power; when Muslims request something determinedly and en masse, and when they embrace natural causes, then by Allah’s leave, something that people thought would never happen does in fact come to pass. Allah has created the world by that law.
Allah Is He Who Heeds Every Prayer
Allah has cited many examples in the Qur’an so that people can understand this secret of destiny: Prophet Yunus (Jonah, peace be upon him) frequently prayed to Allah from inside the stomach of the whale, and Allah rescued him in an incomparable manner. When Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and his people were trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the sea, he prayed to God in full submission, and God created a miraculous escape for him and his people. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) placed all his trust in the infinite might of God when he and a friend were in the cave, and God spared him from the traps of the unbelievers and granted him victory.
In the same way, when Prophet Yusuf (Joseph, peace be upon him) was thrown down the well, Allah in His infinite mercy sent him help. Allah again manifested His infinite mercy when Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was about to be cast into the flames, and made them cool for him. Prophet Zakariyah (Zachariah, peace be upon him) prayed to Allah, and despite their advanced age, he and his wife were blessed by God with the birth of the Prophet Yahya (John, peace be upon him).
Some of the verses of the Qur’an that reveal how God heeds the sincere calls of His prophets are as follows:
Jonah too was one of the messengers. When he ran away to the fully laden shipand cast lots and lost. Then the fish devoured him and he was to blame. Had it not been that he was a man who glorified Allah, he would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are raised again. So We cast him up onto the beach and he was sick; and We caused a gourd tree to grow over him. We sent him to a hundred thousand or even more. They believed and so We gave them enjoyment for a time. (As-Saffat 37:139-148)
And when the two hosts came into sight of one another Moses’ companions said, ‘We will surely be overtaken!’ He said, ‘Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me.’ So We revealed to Moses, ‘Strike the sea with your staff.’ And it split in two, each part like a towering cliff. And We brought the others right up to it. We rescued Moses and all those who were with him. Then We drowned the rest. There is certainly a sign in that yet most of them are not believers. (Ash-Shu‘ara’ 26:61-67)
If you do not help him, Allah did help him when the unbelievers drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave. He said to his companion, ‘Do not be despondent, Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His serenity upon him and reinforced him with troops you could not see. He made the word of the unbelievers undermost. It is the word of Allah which is uppermost. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:40)
When they declared, ‘Why! Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we are although we constitute a powerful group. Our father is clearly making a mistake. Kill Joseph or expel him to some land so that your father will look to you alone and then you can be people who do right.’ (Yusuf 12:8, 9)
But when, in fact, they did go out with him and gathered all together and agreed to put him at the bottom of the well, We then revealed to him that: ‘You will inform them of this deed they perpetrate at a time when they are totally unaware.’ (Yusuf 12:15)
Some travelers came that way and then dispatched their water-drawer who let his bucket down. He said, ‘Good news for me, I’ve found a boy!’ They then hid him away among their goods. Allah knew very well what they were doing. They sold him for a pittance, a few small coins, considering him to be of little worth. (Yusuf 12:19, 20)
The Egyptian who had bought him told his wife, ‘Look after him with honor and respect. It’s possible he will be of use to us or perhaps we might adopt him as a son.’ And thus We established Joseph in the land to teach him the true meaning of events. Allah is in control of His affair. However, most of mankind do not know. And then when he became a full-grown man, We gave him knowledge and right judgement too. That is how We reward all doers of good. (Yusuf 12:21, 22)
They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? He is definitely one of the wrongdoers!’ They said, ‘We heard a young man mentioning them. They call him Abraham.’ They said, ‘Bring him before the people’s eyes so they can be witnesses.’ (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:59-61)
They said, ‘Burn him and support your gods if you are resolved to do something.’ We said, ‘Fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham!’ They desired to trap him but We made them the losers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:68-70)
And Zechariah when he called out to his Lord, ‘My Lord, do not leave me on my own, though You are the Best of Inheritors.’ We responded to him and gave him John, restoring for him his wife’s fertility. They outdid one another in good actions, calling out to Us in yearning and in awe, and humbling themselves to Us. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:89, 90)
Then and there Zechariah called on his Lord and said, ‘O Lord, grant me by Your favor an upright child. You are the Hearer of Prayer.” The angels called out to him while he was standing in prayer in the Upper Room: ‘Allah gives you the good news of John, who will come to confirm a Word from Allah, and will be a leader and a celibate, a Prophet and one of the righteous.’ He said, “My Lord, how can I possibly have a son when I have reached old age and my wife is barren?’ He said, ‘It will be so. Allah does whatever He wills. (Al ‘Imran 3:38-40)
Some people who encounter similar situations to these cited in the Qur’an in their own lives fall into the error of thinking that ‘it is impossible’ for their prevailing circumstances to ever change. Since their attitude is essentially one of despair and lack of faith, they fail to properly appreciate the might of Allah and do not pray to Him with a genuine and absolute submission to Him. And this stems from these people being unaware of the secret of determined prayer, and being unaware that prayer is the key to destiny.
Yet if God so wishes He can immediately make those things that people mistakenly think of as ‘impossible’ a reality. In the same way that God sent His help to messengers and true believers in the past, and that situations regarded as ‘impossible’ were made a reality, so this also applies to the lives of everyone today.
Praying With Absolute Faith
Everyone may face situations wherein they may truly want from Allah but that look impossible to happen. But people must never be deceived under these circumstances. It is very important not to forget that prayer is the key to destiny and that when one prays, so Allah’s destiny goes into motion, and thus to beseech Allah with an absolute faith. In the same way that our Lord smoothed the way for Prophet Moses and helped the prophets Jonah, Abraham and Zechariah, all sincere Muslims hope for Him to respond to their prayers with mercy.
Of course, however, a believer who really wants something to happen must frequently call on Allah, just like Prophet Jonah and must, just like our Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Moses, say “Of course, our Lord is with us,” without losing heart under even the most difficult of conditions; he must trust in God’s might with a powerful faith, feeling no doubts at all. And then the secret in prayer will come about and, by God’s leave, destiny will begin to work in the desired direction.
The great Islamic scholar Imam Rabbani reminds believers of this great and certain truth in the following passage:
‘To ask for something is to obtain it; because Almighty Allah will not allow His servant to utter a prayer that He will not heed.’