Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr, similar to many other people, kept on praying for a need, but his prayers seemed to never be answered. Slowly he was beginning to doubt the mercifulness of Allah (SWT). The feelings of anxiety and despair were taking over. He decided to consult Imam Reza (PBUH). He visited the Imam and said:
“My majesty, I have a need which I have asked and prayed for it for a long time; its delay to be granted has made me doubtful.”
In response, the eighth Imam (PBUH) assured that answering the prayers (whether in this world or the afterworld) is definite, and added that hopelessness from divine mercy and grace is a satanic conspiracy. Then he explained about one of the reasons that sometimes the prayer of the faithful are delayed as follows:
“O, Ahmad, beware not to let Satan open a way in your heart to make you hopeless from God’s mercy and grace. My ancestor Imam Baqir (PBUH) said: ‘sometimes a faithful servant of Allah (SWT) prays for a need, but He delays answering to his prayers because He loves the voice of the faithful and hearing his moans.’
What the Creator grants to the faithful person with a delay (and in the afterworld) is better than what he receives earlier in this world; how priceless is this world?”
Then, taking into account the certainty of the answering of the prayers, he reminded the importance of focusing on our duties, adding that the two important duties in this respect are not taking the prayers trivial in every situation and removing the obstacles for them in order to be answered.
“My ancestor, Imam Baqir (PBUH) said: ‘the prayer of the faithful person in the times of ease must be like his praying during the times of hardship; not that when he received his answer forget Allah (SWT) again.’
So don’t get tired of praying for that praying has a great rank and value. Be patient and look for a just income and strengthen your relationship with family and relatives. Never make people turn away and don’t have enmity toward them. We, the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT), join the one who has left us, and do goodness in return for vice, and by Allah (SWT), we have always seen good destiny.”
Adding to his points, Imam Reza (PBUH) does not count the fulfilling the needs in this world as the final goal; however, with the prayers been answered, not only one should not become negligent, but also he should be more attentive in doing one’s duties. Therefore he says:
“Truly when the one who has been granted with blessing always receives whatever he asks for (he will become greedy), will ask for more; therefore the blessing of God will look cheap and usual for him, and he will never get satisfied.
Therefore when the blessings of God are abundant the Muslim will be at stake, there would be rights that have to be preserved, and he fall in a divine experiment.”
Again Imam Reza (PBUH) subtly advises ibn Abi Nasr to have trust in God and says: “ Tell me, will you trust on what I tell you?”
Ibn Abi Nasr says: “I replied quickly: My majesty, who should I trust if I don’t trust you? For that you are the argument (Hujjah) of God upon his creatures.”
Imam Reza (PBUH) answered: “Have more trust on the promise of Allah (SWT). For God has promised to answer the prayers. Isn’t it in the Holy Quran “And when my servants ask you about me, tell them that I am close. I answer the prayer of the praying when he calls me…?”(1) Isn’t it in the Holy Quran that “Don’t become hopeless from the mercy of Allah…?”(2) Hasn’t God said “Allah has promised to forgive you…?”(3)
You must have trust in God more than anyone else. Don’t stick to anything other than good thoughts in your heart for that you are subject to Allah’s (SWT) mercy.” (4)
Yes. Although a thousand years has passed from the dialogue between Abi Nasr and Imam Reza (PBUH), Imam’s (PBUH) response is a comprehensive guide over time for those who passionately look for their prayers to be answered. Our kind Imam invites us to be more attentive in order not to get overwhelmed by the satanic impressions. Therefore he advises us to behold the rules of the prayer and remove the obstacles to be answered, and having more trust in the Creator of the worlds.
(The above is a section taken from “A Detailed Research on the Life of Imam Reza (PBUH)”, by late Hujjat al-Islam Shaykh Baqir Sharif Qurashi)
The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 11th of Dhul Qa’dah, the birthday anniversary of the guiding Imam and the leading Master, the eighth Imam of the Shiites, Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Reza (PBUH).
1. The Holy Quran, (2:186)
2. The Holy Quran, (39:53)
3. The Holy Quran, (2:268)
4. Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 488
5. “I testify that you are the guiding Imam and the leading Master.” (A phrase from the Ziarat of Imam Reza (PBUH) Mafaatih al-Jinan)