Found this pretty interesting….
‘Abdullâh b. Mubârak said:
I asked Sufyân Al-Thawrî, “When a man stands to pray, what should he intend by his recitation and prayer?” He replied, “He should intend that he is personally entreating his Lord.”
Muhammad b. Nasr Al-Marwazî, Ta’dhîm Qadr Al-Salâh Vol. 1 p199.
“Entreating” his Lord? I know it’s a translation from an Arabic word, but what does that mean??? Does it mean, like, treating someone to someone nice? I thought maybe in our standing straight, concentrating on Allah, taking our time, reciting slowly with tilawah, that we’d be treating Allah to the best of our actions.
But that couldn’t be, because one, that’s not what entreating means, and two, Allah is beyond that. He doesn’t benefit from anything that we do for him, and we should never think that He does.
Here’s the dictionary.com definition:
–verb (used with object)
1. to ask (a person) earnestly; beseech; implore; beg: to entreat the judge for mercy.
2. to ask earnestly for (something): He entreated help in his work.
–verb (used without object)
3. to make an earnest request or petition.
[Origin: 1300–50; ME entreten < MF entrait(i)er. See en-1, treat]
—Synonyms 1. pray, importune, sue, solicit. See appeal.
Sufyân Al-Thawrî said that a Muslim should intend that they are “personally entreating” their Lord. Sufyân’s statement was not in English, and the Arabic word probably uses much more eloquent and precise wording to explain what to intend in Salah. But just in this simple quote and looking up what the translated word “entreat” means, I learned a lot.
It means that we should be asking Allah earnestly, beseeching Him, imploring Him, making a sincere request from Him, begging Him for something. Entreating Allah for something. But for what; what is that something?
For most of us, Salah is either a complete drag, or something that we feel proud for simply completing for the day. Isn’t there more to it than just praying all five prayers on time, or managing to make it to the masjid for Fajr and Isha, and simply completing the act physically? The statement of Sufyân at-Thawri clearly says yes.
When we go to pray, we should intend to beg, ask, beseech, and implore Allah. That He accepts our praise of Him, that he acknowledges our thanks and gratefulness to Him, and most importantly, that He forgives us for all of our sins.
Throughout the Salah, we are actually saying all of these things in Arabic. Besides the fact that we need to study what we’re saying, we need to realize it and make the intention that we are doing so in order to make the best of our prayers.
May Allah (SWT) help us to entreat our Lord for everytime we stand and pray to Him.
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