Muslims are instructed in the Qurâan to follow the Prophetâs guidance in every way. He provides guidance to enlighten their lives. Indeed, he was keen to have light in every step. Ibn Abbas reports that when the Prophet went out to the mosque for the congregational prayer, after he had heard the call to prayer, i.e. adhan, he used to supplicate: âMy Lord, give me light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my eyesight, and give me light behind me and in front me. Grant me light.â God certainly granted him his wish, and he became, as the Qurâan describes, âone who calls people to God by His leave and a light-giving beacon.â (33: 46) We wonder what humanity would be like had it been bereft of Muhammad, his purity of heart, his enlightened insight and his message that has regenerated purity into the monotheistic faith, purging it of any alien trace of falsehood?
Prophet Muhammad was attached, heart and soul, to the mosque. He made such attachment a pleasant hope for every Muslim. By his practice, he fulfilled the prayer of Abraham, his great ancestor, as he prayed: âMy Lord, cause me and (some of) my offspring to establish regular prayers.â (14: 40) According to one report, when Muhammad entered the mosque, he used to say: âI seek shelter with God, the Great, His noble face and everlasting power against Satan, the accursed.â He said: âWhen a Muslim says this, Satan says: âthis person has ensured safety from me for the rest of the day.â Another report mentions that when the Prophet entered the mosque, he said: âAll praise be to God. My Lord, forgive me and open to me the gates of Your grace,â and when he left, he again praised God and sought forgiveness, adding, âMy Lord, open to me the gates of Your bounty.â There is an interesting difference in the two supplications: As one enters the mosque to offer worship, one is looking to the hereafter when Godâs grace ensures acceptance, forgiveness and heavenly reward. When one leaves the mosque, one is resuming life affairs where he is in need of Godâs bounty.
Prophet Muhammad loved prayer, because it establishes close contact between the worshipper and God. Hence, when he heard the caller saying, âRise for your prayers,â i.e. qad qamat al-salat, he used to say: âMay God preserve it forever.â
In his earnest devotion, Muhammad was exemplary. Indeed, the love of God preoccupied his heart and mind in a way that could not be matched by any other love. It was through prayer that he cultivated the minds of his companions who assumed the cultural and political leadership of humanity after he had passed away. The world has never witnessed a nobler civilization than that founded by Muhammadâs men. It was Muhammad who educated them, using as his material the revelation he received from God. And the spectacular result was that the barren desert became a college whose graduates had the best insight into human values and laws, and the best qualified to provide leadership for humanity.
When Muhammad read the Qurâan, hearts trembled with awe. As he cultivated the minds of his companions, they could hardly look straight at him. Yet he only felt that he actually fulfilled his mission and delivered his message when, in his last sickness, he looked at the rows of his companions offering congregational prayers in his mosque. He saw them fully attentive to their prayers, totally devoted to the truth, and his face beamed with pleasure. That was all that he wished for. That was what he wished to present to God Almighty as the result of his tireless efforts.
Would that our mosques today regain their status as institutes from which real men and women are graduated.