How Much a Prayer Weighs?

A poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store.

She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food. The grocer scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." He told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family.

The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?"

She replied, "Yes sir" "OK" he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries." She hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it.

She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down. The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said grudgingly, "I can't believe it."

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list; it was a prayer, which said: "O' God! You know my needs and I am leaving this in Your hands."

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence. The lady thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar ($50) bill to the grocer and said, "It was worth every penny of it." Only God knows how much a prayer weighs.

Pray to Almighty God

The holy Qur'an says:

"And when affliction touches a man, he calls on Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove his affliction from him, he passes on as though he had never called on Us on account of an affliction that touched him". (10:12 )

Almighty brings problems so that we may establish contact with Him, but some people even don't do this, even if they are faced by problems as we can from the following story. Why So Much Pain and Suffering in the World?

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut as always. He started to have a good conversation with the barber who attended him. They talked about so many things on various subjects.

Suddenly, they touched the subject of God. The barber said: "Look man, I don't believe that God exists as you say so." "Why do you say that?" asked the client.

Well, it's so easy; you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Oh, tell me, if God existed, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. "I can't think of a God who permits all of these things."

The client stopped for a moment thinking but he didn't want to respond so as to prevent an argument.

The barber finished his job and the client went out of the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with a long hair and beard (it seems that it had been a long time since he had his cut and he looked so untidy). Then the client again entered the barbershop and he said to the barber: know what? "Barbers do not exist."

"How come they don't exist?" asked the barber. "Well I am here and I am a barber." "No!" The client exclaimed! "They don't exist because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beard like that man who walks in the street."

"Ah, barbers do exist, what happens is that people do not go to them." "Exactly!" Affirmed the client. "That's the point. God does exist, what happens is people don't go to Him and do not look for Him that's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

(D) Dua with Congregation (Jama' ah):

Dua of a congregation is better than an individual's Dua. The people should get used to praying together.

Imam Ja'far Sadiq (p.b.u.h.) says: "If 40 people gather together and pray, Almighty shall certainly accept at least one man's Dua". Some people in the congregation may be good and sincere, and because of them, Dua of all the rest shall be accepted.

The Ship: Our blessings Are the Fruits of Other prayer A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit- bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, and more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?" "My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."

"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."

"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"

"He prayed that all your prayers be answered." Hence, for all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us. Beg not from the Beggars: It is Allah (SWT) who is the Emperor of all emperors on this earth.

Once Akbar, the Emperor of India was riding his horse in the countryside of Agra, he felt hungry and asked a peasant for some food. The peasant believing him to be an ordinary traveler brought some food and cold water and did his best to make his stay in the house comfortable.

When the mighty Emperor was refreshed and was ready to leave, he told the peasant: My good man, I am the Emperor of India. If you are ever in need of any assistance, please come to my palace in Agra without any hesitation.

I am pleased by your hospitality and will be glad to be of help to you in every way I can?

After some time, the peasant fell on hard times. Famine had set in his village and food was hard to find. There was no work for the farmers. The peasant remembered the words of the Emperor; he decided to go to Agra and asked for an interview with Akbar, the Emperor of India.

Peasant was immediately ushered into the Emperor's private chambers, where he found to his astonishment that the Emperor of India who had just finished his prayers was supplicating to Allah (SWT), and with raised hands was begging Allah (SWT) numerous favors for himself, his family and his subjects. Soon, the Emperor fi

nished his prayers and his eyes fell on the peasant who was waiting to meet him. Emperor recognized him immediately as the same man who had attended to his needs during his journey to the countryside.

The Emperor greeted him warmly and had him seated by his side, and humbly asked him if there was anything that he could do for him? O mighty Emperor, said the peasant. Will you please tell me what were you doing just now?

Why not certainly? Akbar, the Emperor of India said, I was asking from Allah (SWT) help in solving many difficulties that I face while ruling my great empire, and for His aid in keeping my kingdom in peace.

Peasant said: Thank you very much, O mighty Emperor. Now, I seek your permission to travel back to my village. The Emperor was astonished at the reply of the peasant. He said, why? What's the matter? He exclaimed. Did you not come here to ask for my help?

The Peasant answered him politely, but in a determined manner: O mighty Emperor of India, I have learnt a great lesson today! I will beg at the same door as the One before which you were begging.

For my Lord, though you are the greatest among all the kings of India, I find that you are a poor beggar. And, for me to beg favors from a beggar would bring me disgrace from the Almighty who is the Emperor of all emperors on this earth.

Moral of the Story: If you ask in Prayer, ask only from Allah (SWT), and if you seek help, seek it only from Allah (SWT).

Conclusion

In the end, it has to be said that the so called ups and downs are a necessary part of our lives, which are blessings in disguise; for they can help us earn greater rewards in the Hereafter. Man on the contrary puts up a shameful performance:

"And as for man, when his Lord tries him, then treats him with honor and makes him lead an easy life, he says: My Lord honors me. But when He tries him (differently), then straitens to him his means of subsistence, he says: My Lord has disgraced me." (The holy Qur'an, 89: 15-16 )

We do not have to think as to what we should do in times of difficulty (or in times of joy for that matter). The holy Qur'an has already done the job of identifying a path for us; we merely have to realize what it is and then tread that path:

"Truly man was created very impatient. Fretful when evil touches him. And niggardly when good reaches him. Not so those devoted to Prayer. Those who remain steadfast on their prayer." (The holy Qur'an, 70 : 19-23 ) Also:

"O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for God is with those who patiently persevere." (The holy Qur'an 2: 153 )

Finally, imaging our Solar system and comparing different planets of it make us understand how small and insignificant we really are in the overall scheme of things. Certainly puts the Creator on a different level!