The Levels of Prayer – What Level Are You?

By Ibnul-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah

Ibnul-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said:

And mankind, with regard to their performance of prayer are in five levels:

The First: The level of the one who is negligent and wrongs her soul: She is the one who falls short in performing Wudu (ablution) properly, performing the prayer upon its time and within its specified limits, and in fulfilling its essential pillars.

The Second: The one who guards her prayers upon their proper times and within their specified limits, fulfils their essential pillars and performs her Wudu with care. However, her striving (in achieving the above) is wasted due whisperings in her prayer so she is taken away by thoughts and ideas.

The Third: The one who guards her prayers within the specified limits, fulfils their essential pillars and strives with herself to repel the whisperings, thoughts and ideas. She is busy struggling against her enemy (Shaytan or Satan) so that she does not steal from the prayer. On account of this she is engaged in (both) prayer and Jihad.

The Fourth: The one who stands for the prayer, completes and perfects its due rights, its essential pillars, performs it within its specified limits and her heart becomes engrossed in safeguarding its rights and specified limits, so that nothing is wasted from it. Her whole concern is directed towards its establishment, its completion and its perfection, as it should be. Her heart is immersed in the prayer and in enslavement to her Lord the Exalted.

The Fifth: The one who stands for the prayer like the one mentioned above. However, on top of this, she has taken and placed her heart in front of her Lord looking towards Him with her heart with anticipation, (her heart) filled with His love and His might, as if she sees and witnesses Allah. The whisperings, thoughts and ideas have vanished and the coverings which are between her and her Lord are raised. What is between this person and others with respect to the prayer, is superior and greater than what is between the heavens and the earth. This person is busy with her Lord delighted with Him.

The First type will be punished, the second type will be held to account, the third will have her sins and shortcomings expiated, the fourth will be rewarded and the fifth will be close to her Lord, because she will receive the portion of the one who makes her prayer the delight and pleasure of her eye. Whoever makes her prayer, the delight and pleasure of her eye, will have the nearness to her Lord made the delight and pleasure of her eye in the Hereafter. She will also be made a pleasure to the eye in this world since whoever makes Allah the pleasure of her eye in this world, every other eye will become delighted and pleased with her.

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