On this blessed first day of Ramadan 1437 we begin a new book dear reader, Inner Dimensions of the Prayer by Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
The Salah is Tranquility for Worshippers and Allah’s Gift to the Believers
It is imperative for you to know that salah is, without any doubt, the domain of tranquility for devotees, the enjoyment of the souls of monotheists, the garden of the worshippers, the essence of enjoyment of the humble ones, the rest of the sincere ones, and the scale measuring the mettle of those embarking the right path. It is truly divine Mercy that Allah has gifted His believing servants that He has Guided them to, and acquainted them with. He delegated His truthful and honest Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to deliver this gift to His believing servants in order that they may attain a noble status with Him. Through its means He dignifies, honours and showers them with His Mercy, and allows them to win His nearness. He bestows upon His believing servants all this although He is in no need of them, He just wants to lavish them with his gracious gift to show His Favour upon them and bring their hearts and bodies altogether in His servitude.
He, the Most Exalted, endows the heart of the knower of Allah [the one who recognises the true status of Allah, hence acts upon this knowledge by living as His real slave] by enabling him to reap the best of its harvest; turning to Him, Exalted be He, rejoicing in His closeness, basking in His love, enjoying standing before Him [in salah], dismissing everything except Him from his heart as soon as he commences worship, and fulfilling the rights of his servitude to Him, inwardly and outwardly, in order for his worship to be in a manner that pleases Allah.
Even as Allah tested His servants by creating them with innate lusts and desires and exposing them to external temptations, His Mercy and Kindness mandated that Allah, the Most High, give His servants a feast [Ibn Masud used to say: “Indeed, this Quran is the banquet of Allah; so take from it as much as you can…”] comprising of several kinds of delicacies, nourishments, gift and grants [a metaphor for the actions of salah] to help them reply these desires and temptations. And He did invite them to attend this banquet on a daily basis not once, but five times a day – and He distinguished each served course of this banquet with a unique flavour and a special benefit to perfect the pleasures and complement the benefits they attain, and help them to perfect their ubudiyah [servitude] to Allah. Thus not only did He make every act of worship performed in salah a means of remedy to atone for the (minor) sins they have committed, but rewarded them with a special light for praying. In fact, salah brings forth light and strength into the heart, increases the share of one’s provision in this life, inspires others to love the one who prays, and lets Angels and also the earth with its mountains, trees and rivers rejoice. Furthermore, on the Day of Judgement, when the believing servants meet their Lord, their salah shall turn into light and transform into reward.
Before attending the feast their hearts endured starvation, thirst and nakedness but as soon as they commence the worship, all that shall change to become the opposite, hence they shall leave the feast with stomachs full, throats moistened and bodies attired.
Inner Dimensions of the Prayer by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Pages 17-18