FOURTH RAY

O my lazy soul! Like the soldier in the previous comparison was received into the royal presence as a pure favour, the reality of the five daily prayers, which are like a sort of Ascension, are a being received into the presence of the All-Glorious One of Beauty, the Beauteous One of Glory, Who is the True Object of Worship, as an instance of pure mercy. Declaring ‘God is Most Great!’, it is to traverse the two worlds either in fact, or in the imagination, or by intention, be divested of the restrictions of materiality, pass to a universal degree of worship or a shadow or form of universality, and being honoured with a sort of presence, it is to manifest the address of ‘You alone do we worship!’ (everyone according to his own capacity); it is a most elevated attainment. The repetition of ‘God is Most Great! God is Most Great!’ in the actions of the prayers indicates rising through the degrees of spiritual progress, and ascending from minor particulars to universal spheres, and is a concise title of the perfections of Divine sublimity which are beyond our knowledge. It is as if each ‘God is Most Great!’ indicates traversing a step in the Ascension. To attain to a shadow or a ray of this reality of the prayers either in fact, or by intention, or with the imagination, is a great happiness.

The frequent declaring of ‘God is Most Great!’ during the Hajj is for the above reason. For the blessed Hajj is worship at a universal level for everyone. Just as on a special day like a festival a soldier goes to the king’s celebrations like a General in the sphere of General, and receives his favours, in the same way, a Hajji, no matter how lowly, is turned towards his Sustainer under the title Mighty Sustainer of every region of the earth, like a saint who has traversed all the degrees. He is honoured with universal worship. For sure, the universal degrees of dominicality opened with the key of the Hajj, and the horizons of the tremendousness of Godhead which are visible to his eye through its telescope, and the spheres of worship which gradually unfold to his heart and imagination through its observances, and the heat, wonder, awe, and dread of dominicality caused by the levels of sublimity and last stage of manifestation, can only be quietened by ‘God is Most Great! God is Most Great!’, and those observed or imagined unfolded degrees can only be proclaimed by it. After the Hajj, this meaning is found in various exalted and universal degrees in the Festival (‘Eid) Prayers, the prayers for rain, and those recited at solar and lunar eclipses, and in prayers performed as a congregation. Thus, the importance of the marks and observances of Islam, also even if of the category of Sunna, lies in this reason.

Glory be unto the One Who has placed His treasuries between the Kaf and the Nun.

So glory be unto Him in Whose hand is the dominion of all things, and to Him will you all be brought back.1

Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.2

O our Sustainer! Do not take us to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong!3

O our Sustainer! Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us Mercy from Your presence, for You are the Granter of bounties without measure.4

And grant blessings and peace to Your Most Noble Messenger, the manifester of Your Greatest Name, and to his Family, and Companions, and brothers, and followers. Amen. O Most Merciful of the Merciful!