The Five Categories of People who Pray


By Imam ibn al Qayyam al Jawzeeyah

*The first: *The category of the oppressor to himself, the negligent one,
one who is deficient in performing ablution for it, negligent with its
appointed time periods, its boundaries and its pillars.

*The second: *One who preserves it appointed time periods, its boundaries,
its outward pillars and ablution for it. However, he forsakes striving
against his own self from whisperings and thinking to himself, and so is
preoccupied with whisperings and thoughts.

*The third: *One who preserves its appointed time periods, its pillars as
well as strives against himself in repelling whisperings and distracting
thoughts that overcome him, he is busy in striving against his enemy in
order to prevent him from stealing his prayer, he is in prayer as well as
Jihaad.

*The fourth: *One whom when he stands for prayer perfects its rights, its
pillars and its boundaries. His heart is occupied with preserving its
boundaries and preventing anything of it being lost, rather all his
attention is directed to performing it as it should be, in its most complete
and perfect form, his heart is occupied with the prayer and worshiping his
Lord the Elevated with it.

*The fifth: *One who performs the prayer like the previous person, but in
addition to this, he has taken his heart and presented it to his Lord. He
looks at his Lord with his heart, fully concerned with Him, in utmost
obedience out of love and reverence for Him, it is as if he sees and
witnesses his Lord. All distracting thoughts and whisperings fade away and
the veil between him and his Lord is removed. The difference between this
person in his prayer and others, is greater and better than all that is
between the heavens and earth, he is fully occupied and overjoyed with his
Lord in his prayer.

The first category is punished, the second is held accountable, the third is
pardoned, the fourth is rewarded and the fifth is brought close to his Lord,
because he gains a portion of what made the prayer a delight to him. For
whoever is delighted with his prayer in the life of this world, will be
delighted by being close to his Lord in the afterlife as well as being
delighted with his Lord in this life, and whoever is delighted with Allaah,
everything would be delighted with him, and whoever is not delighted with
Allaah the Elevated, his soul will be torn apart for the life of this world
in loss.

It is narrated that when a servant stands for prayer, Allaah the Glorified
says; “Remove the veil.”, and if the servant turns away He says: “Replace
it.”

This ‘turning away’ has been explained as the turning of the heart away from
Allaah the Mighty to other than Him. So if he turns away, the veil is
replaced between him and his Lord and Shaytaan enters and presents worldly
affairs to him, he shows them to him in the image of a woman. But if he
turns with his heart to Allaah and does not turn away, Shaytaan would not be
able to come between Allaah and that heart, he only enters if the veil is
replaced. If he returns to Allaah the Elevated with his heart, the Shaytaan
would escape, and if he turns away, the Shaytaan would return, such is his
state with his enemy in prayer.

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