I thought about the question from the perspective of John the Baptist who evidently taught his disciples how to pray. This is certain since Jesus’ disciples approached Him and asked, “Teach us how to pray as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) Then I asked, “What is this Muslim focusing on in relation to prayer? Was it a question about method and form, content, location, duration, quantity or quality that was important?” The question did not seem to suggest a tender relationship between Allah and men.
Muslims are commanded to pray to Allah fives times a day (raka'ah). Islamic legend states that Mohammed was taken up to Allah in a dream and Allah instructed Mohammed to command the believers to pray 50 times a day.
|Manner in which Muslims pray|
Moses told Mohammed that he (Moses) led his people out of Egypt towards the Promised Land and knew “believers would not pray 50 times a day.” So Mohammed went back to Allah to ask for a lesser duty. Mohammed -- with the advice of Moses -- managed to whittle the prayer requirement down to the number five.
Abraham begins the exchange with the Lord by asking, “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?” This exchange went back and forth until the Lord states, “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.” In such manner did Abraham plead for God's mercy for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ironically, Abraham was not successful as God could not find 10 innocent men.
Mohammed led his followers in prayer five times a day to demonstrate the sincerity of the message. Mohammed taught his followers when to say the prayer during the course of the day, the manner of washings, the location, the content and when an exception was permitted based upon circumstances, including while at the mosque, away from the mosque, and while performing jihad. (Surah 4:34; 4:101-103, and 5:6) Mohammed’s instructions on prayer are integral to the life of the “believer” since “the five” prayer times manifest obedience to Allah.
|Christians expect God to hear their prayers|
Jesus then taught his disciples to pray to God as a Father, not as a taskmaster as Allah demands: "Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give to us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil one.” (Matthew 6:9)
|Painting of the Sacred Heart of God|
the Father. To learn more about
this devotion, go to Moving Heart Foundation
Mohammed instructed his followers to wash before prayer but he could not give to his followers the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit rested upon Moses and Mount Sinai with the giving of the Law and its ratification. He rested upon the Ark of the Covenant once it was constructed and dedicated. (Exodus 40:34) It is the same Holy Spirit which rested on the Temple dedicated by Solomon. While dedicating the Temple, King Solomon asked the assembled people, "Will God indeed dwell with men upon the earth? If the heaven and heavens of heavens will not suffice thee, what then is this house that I have built?" (II Chronicles 6:18).
Did you enjoy this piece? Lawrence has written others on Islam, including GLORY OF ISLAM: Putting the Beheadings, Crucifixions, and Rape into the context of the Quran
and a poem on beheaded American journalist James Foley Lament for Western Humanity
and THE MIND OF ISLAM: On Family Life, the Messiah and How to Treat Non-Muslims