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(Luqmān said to his son:) “My dear son! Establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions... (Luqmān 31:17)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūrah Luqmān

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يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
(Luqmān said to his son:) “My dear son! Establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions, enjoin and promote what is right and good and forbid and try to prevent evil, and bear patiently whatever may befall you. Surely (all of) that is among greatly meritorious things requiring great resolution to fulfill.” (Luqmān 31:17)

In the verse above, the Qur’ān mentions four important points one after another: establishing the Prayer,[1] enjoining and promoting what is right and good, forbidding and trying to prevent evil, and bearing hardships patiently. The Prayer (Salāh) is the greatest of all kinds of worship and the main pillar of Islam. Enjoining and promoting what is right and forbidding and trying to prevent evil are among the strongholds of Islam. It is inevitable for a believer who transcends his or her individual responsibilities and tries to prevent evil in society to face various difficulties and hardships. All those who see themselves in a position to have to give up their years-old habits and feel that their personal interests will be damaged will oppose them and exert pressure on them. However, believers are expected to resist any pressure and preserve their stance. There are many examples of this in history. First of all, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, although he began his mission alone and was sometimes left only with a few people in his big strenuous struggle, he was never shaken in the face of all obstacles and continued his way with patience and determination.

It is a fact that whenever and wherever some attempt to live Islam truly and convey it to others, the first necessity becomes showing patience. This is emphasized in another verse in a clearer way: “Seek help through patience and the Prayer” (Al-Baqarah 2:45). That is: Go your way by seeking God’s help through all kinds of patience and through all kinds of the Prayer. In fact, performing five daily Prayers, which have forty units, without abandoning any of them is a good example of patience. This most important kind of worship must be very hard and heavy for anyone except those whose hearts tremble respectfully in the presence of God. The following verse expresses this fact: “Indeed the Prayer is burdensome, but not for those humbled by their reverence of God” (Al-Baqarah 2:45).

The verse under discussion also stresses the fact that “establishing the Prayer” as well as “enjoining and promoting what is right and good,” and “forbidding and trying to prevent evil” were also ordered to the communities prior of the Muslim Community. They are presented in the verse in a style addressing believers. After having warned his son against the most heinous and monstrous of evils, saying, “My dear son! Do not associate partners with God. Surely associating partners with God is a tremendous wrong” (31:13), Luqmān calls him to the greatest of the acts or kinds of worship—the Prayer—and the most indispensable dimension of jihād, namely enjoining and promoting what is right and good and forbidding and trying to prevent evil. He concludes his calls with both what is necessary for the fulfillment of these essential duties, which is also another important duty in itself, and with the emphasis on the value and importance on these duties, saying: “Bear patiently whatever may befall you. Surely (all of) that is among greatly meritorious things requiring great resolution to fulfill.”

[1] Here, the term “establish” (iqâma) is used instead of the word “perform.” The former indicates observing or leading the Prayers in exact conformity with its conditions, offering it perfectly with body and soul. The Prayer, which is the greatest of all acts of worship, is also the first manifestation of faith in daily life. In the words of the Prophet, it is “the main pillar” of the establishment of Religion, holding up the great, exalted dome of Religion over the foundation of faith. (Tr.)