…..one of the other qualities of the prayer that impressed me was that whereas to gain access to worldly officials, landlords and rulers one has to cross a series of hurdles and use various means such as go-betweens; to gain access to the Lord of the Worlds and the Ruler of Rulers one has only to make wudu…..no permission if required….no guards there to prevent one… and there is nothing/no one to come between the Lord and His servant except one’s own nafs.

Therefore after struggling with my laziness and heedlessness I managed to start saying the prayer. However it seemed like a mere formality…though I tried to keep my intention correct. I consoled myself with the thought that if at first one cannot attain real steadfastness in the actions at least if one keeps at it then this is a form of steadfastness too, though imperfect. The other thing that bothered me at that time was that one cannot remain attentive during the prayer. All types of thoughts assail one in the prayer and one begins to think: Is there any point with such a prayer? Gradually I understood that when building a monument the primary concern at the early stages is to secure the foundation often with ugly pieces of stone and concrete; one doesn’t worry about beautification. Afterwards the most beautiful structures are erected on this basis. Thus it is with imperfect actions; they provide the foundation for perfection.

Secondly I realized that for a negligent person such as myself even if I could just imitate the perfected ones, it would still be a blessing. In the courts of kings even the jester who apes others is rewarded and sometimes even more than those he apes. So even though one’s  prayer be imperfect one should have hope that the King may yet reward it.

( to be cont)