dispersed and lost among the people, how it arouses them, summoning them to gather together and take up pleasing, orderly positions, he himself will feel inclined to join them. Just the same is the call to prayer of Muhammad (UWBP) among the people in this bleak world. “And God’s is the highest similitude.”
The use here, the place for conciseness, of the prolix “are steadfast in prayer (yuqīmūna al-ṣalāt)” in place of ‘yuṣallūn,’ indicates the importance of complying with the meaning of ‘performing’ (al-iqāma) the ṣalāt, such as performing them correctly, and regularly, and seriously, and preserving oneself [from distractions etc.], and increasing demand for them in the market of the world. Ponder over this, and understand too that the ṣalāt are an elevated link, a lofty relationship between the bondsman and the Pre-Eternal Monarch, and an honourable act of service. It is characteristic of this relationship that it captivates the spirit. The ‘pillars’ of the ṣalāt comprise numerous mysteries which have been expounded in works like al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiya.1 One of these is that the conscience loves them. They are a summons of the Pre-Eternal Maker to the pavilion of His presence five times a day and night to commune with Him, as a sort of Ascension. This is such that everyone’s heart should yearn for it. The ṣalāt perpetuates in the heart the idea of the Maker’s sublimity and makes the mind conscious of it so as to induce obedience to the divine laws of justice and compliance with the dominical order of things. Man is in need of this because he is human and because he is by nature civilized. So alas for those who give up the ṣalāt! What a loss the lazy suffer! And O, the ignorance of those who do not know their value! And those who do not deem them worthwhile, they should go elsewhere, the targets of general disgust!
“And spend out of what We have provided for them (Wa mimmā razqnāhum yunfiqūn)”
The positioning [and relationship with the preceding phrase]: just as the ṣalāt are “the pillar of religion” and uphold religion; so zakāt is “the bridge of Islam” and the means by which its people assist one another. There are certain conditions making almsgiving acceptable and not misplaced:
• One should not be wasteful [go to excess], which is reprehensible.
• One should not take from one person and give to another, but should give out of one’s own property.
By Muḥyīddīn al-‘Arabī (1165-1240 A.D.). See note 7 in preceding chapter.