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Friday, November 16, 2012

9. Intermediation through the supplication of the prophets

Sa‘d bin Abī Waqās relates that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said:
Dhun-Nūn (the Man in Fish, i.e. the prophet Yūnus) prayed in the belly of the fish, “(O Allah,) there is no deity except You. Glory be to You! Surely I was from those who wronged (their souls).” So any Muslim person who uses these words in his prayer for a (fair) purpose, finds a favourable response from Allah.[30]
A prophet is far more deeply and sensitively aware of the subtleties and nuances involved in his relationship with Allah than His saints and favourites, and as we descend down the sliding scale of divine preferences, this awareness decreases in direct proportion to the grades of the people who are seeking Allah’s nearness and recognition. The divine hierarchy is based on these grades and the distinctions between these grades are meticulously drawn and followed.
Therefore, when a prophet of Allah, with his complete and unflawed awareness and understanding of divine pleasure and displeasure and in a posture of self-effacing courtesy and humility, prays to Allah, He graces each word uttered by him with recognition and fulfilment. And, if the prayer of a petitioner is processed through the prayer of the prophets, then it is not rejected as it is supported by the guarantee of a prophet’s articulation; on the contrary, it finds immediate fulfilment and the prayee is relieved of his sense of anxiety and tension.
This phenomenon draws a clear distinction between two kinds of prayer: unmediated prayer and mediated prayer. In the case of unmediated prayer, the petitioner is like a lone ranger, he relies on his personal relationship with Allah, which is in itself invaluable because any creature can establish a hotline with Allah. But there is no divine guarantee for its acceptance, which may relate to his weak faith, lack of concentration or a number of other factors. But in the case of mediated prayer, there is a divine guarantee and it is the nature of divinity that its guarantee never fluctuates as it is immune to all glitches and other human uncertainties. Allah loves His favourites and His love increases in direct proportion to the graded distinction of His favourites. Prophets are the most favoured ones, therefore, any prayee that uses their prayer as a form of mediation is blessed with immediate acceptance.

[30]. Tirmidhī related it in al-Jāmi‘-us-sahīh, b. of da‘awāt (supplications) ch.82 (5:529#3505); Hākim in al-Mustadrak (1:505; 2:382-3) and graded it sahīh, also confirmed by Dhahabī; Ahmad bin Hambal in Musnad (1:170); Nasā’ī, ‘Amal-ul-yawm wal-laylah, p.416 (#656); Abū Ya‘lā, Musnad (2:111#772); Bayhaqī, Shu‘ab-ul-īmān (1:432#620); and Mundhirī in at-Targhīb wat-tarhīb (2:488).