Questions Answered

Why should we do Taqlid (follow a Mujtahid) in religious problems?

When a person comes to this world, he does not have knowledge about anything. That is why there is no other way except that he learns from the experience of others. This is the reason why a person whose life is full of up’s and downs requires knowledge at every step.
Basically, life is based on two main pillars and they are to know and then to implement them and for implementation knowledge is necessary. That is why the life’s first step starts with knowledge.
This is the stage when a person’s natural instincts help him and life opens the way of perfection and happiness for him. This instinct is called derivation and following. As we all know that a child, who because of the movements from his inner self learns from his parents how to talk, and the manners of sitting and standing and in this way passes one stage of life from the other. And as the child grows he learns and gains from knowledge and thinking of others and tries to pay attention to following them. Slowly he becomes aware about the existence of this world and then starts performing his duties.
But here it is important to mention a basic thing that blindly following the views and manners of anyone completely is not correct. Rather following (Taqlid) is of different types:
(1) An ignorant person following another ignorant person
It is as clear as the sun that this type of Taqlid not only makes a person’s life miserable. Unfortunately in our society many such people are present who follow other people’s ethics and their way of life blindly. They copy other people in dressing eating and drinking, naming their children and in other spheres of life. They also follow the prohibited things, false beliefs and bad ethics under the attractive titles, without understanding them although the evil of this type of following is clearly evident. Regarding this type of Taqlid it is said:
They say: We found our fathers on a course, and surely we are guided by their footsteps.[7]
The Quran has severely refuted this logic and denounced those people.
(2) An Aalim (learned) following an ignorant person
It is clear that this type of Taqlid is worse than the first and it is more dangerous, because it is expected from a learned person that he should act according to his knowledge in order to carry out his responsibilities. The worst kind of Taqlid is that a learned person doesn’t use his knowledge and follow the others blindly.
(3) An Aalim (Learned) following another Aalim
One Aalim who is well versed in one field and has authority over it should not do the Taqlid of another who also has the same caliber, but he should act according to his knowledge, that is why the Jurisprudents say that when a person reaches the stage of ijtehad, he should then practice according to it. That is the reason why it is generally mentioned on the certificate of Ijtehad: Taqlid is Haraam for him.
And it is necessary that he should practice according to his knowledge although there is no problem if he exchanges his views on religious problems with other scholars. The aim is that an Aalim should make a rule and then protect it and should not accept the principles of others without study.
 (4) An ignorant person following a learned person
This type of Taqlid is accepted by intellect and nature of man and this type of Taqlid is demanded by them. This is as logical to construct a building we require a mason and for stitching clothes we require a tailor and when we are ill, we go to a doctor. In short intellect and nature direct us towards the person who is expert in his field.
This is the same logic, which directs the people towards jurisprudents for religious instructions and spiritual laws, who are expert in understanding the commands of Allah. Those jurisprudents that with their special talent and knowledge have worked hard for years, and reached the high level of Ijtehad. If means there have the ability to derive the original matter of the spiritual commands and convey it to the ordinary people. Those Mujtahids who are the religious leaders and guides of people, who got this great positions from the Holy Imams (‘a), so that they can guide people towards goodness in all religious spheres.
Here we should not ignore that there are different faculties of Human Science and it is possible that a person might have a special knowledge and expertise in one section but may be totally unaware of another and as a result it is necessary for him that in the field in which he is totally ignorant he should contact those who are experts in that field, and follow them. For example a doctor or an engineer who are expert in their respective fields enter a town and want to go to a particular area and a particular street, about which they are unaware of, but they were only been given the address. In this matter to reach the destination they will be forced to seek the guidance of people who reside in that area.
Or for example an environmentalist, who becomes ill, is forced to go to a physician, although this person knows about environment he doesn’t know about diseases and their cure. There is no way except that he should go to a doctor and take the medicine or injection. He should not grumble and follow the instructions carefully and he doesn’t ask why the doctor has prescribed such and such medicine.
Keeping these two examples in mind, it becomes clear that even if the person is an expert in his own field he should he follow the rulings of a Mujtahid. The reason is that a Faqih (jurisprudent) is expert in his field. He is expert in many sciences, which are his basis in jurisprudence. (Sarf, Nahv, Arabic literature, logic, exegesis, the knowledge of the traditionalists, sources, traditions, the roots of jurisprudence, interlocution etc).
By seeing a small book called Tauzihul Masael you may not know that it is the result of life long toil of a Mujtahids. He has written it only after putting blood of his heart in it and only then he has presented it to the common people. Ijtehad is not easy. Ijtehad means to acquire the knowledge of all the Islamic laws, which affect a person or the whole society, and in all spheres of life.
Shaykh Murtaza Ansari, who was a great Mujtahid himself and the proud son of Islamic Jurisprudence who himself took lot of trouble and hard work to become a Mujtahid says in his book Rasael: Allah has given us the opportunity of Ijtehad, which is tougher than continuous Jihad and much more painful.
It is necessary to say that Taqlid of a Mujtahid is not in articles of Faith but it is related to the practical law. In other words it is necessary to follow a Mujtahid in the rules, regulations and branches of religion and not in the roots of religion. It is so because Allah, the most High and the recognition of the Holy Prophets are the basis of religion, and to know them through logic and arguments is necessary. So that after accepting the roots of religion with logic and arguments, in the branches of religion (whose religious source like the glorious Quran and traditions and to understand the other proofs, it is necessary to know different branches of knowledge and to be expert in it) we must refer to Mujtahids who are expert and authority in this field.
Islam’s established laws and orders like Prayers, Hajj, Zakat (tax), are compulsory. Enjoining towards good, refraining from evil, lying, breach of trust, backbiting, wine, etc. which are prohibited and there is no need to follow a Mujtahid for them as these are known by everyone, therefore Taqlid is limited upto those laws and orders which are not absolutely established.

Notes:

[7] Surah Zukhruf 43:22


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Why should we worship Allah? What is the Philosophy of Prayers, Fasting and Hajj?

Question: When Allah doesn’t require the worship of anybody, why should we worship Him? He is needless and all are dependent on Him. If Allah needs our worship, then it is not agreeable to His divinity and Godhood.
Answer: Now its answer can be given in two ways: one in brief and the other in detail.
The brief answer is that when the purpose of this worship is to fulfill the needs of Allah and by obeying Him we give some benefit to Him, then the question arises that Allah is unlimited and away from all defects and needs; then what is the need for our worship, but the purpose of worshipping Him would be to elevate ourselves, then the worship would be a means to elevate ourselves and for goodness and it will a favor and guidance from Allah to make us reach perfection through worship.
The detailed answer is as follows: Worship, supplication and whatever deed is performed for pleasing Allah, more or less it has the effect on the person and society also. In fact these are the highest training and ethics in the school of Islam because:
a)      The worship of Allah creates a sense of thankfulness, respect and honor. To realize the value of the source from where man gets the valuable divine blessings is a sign that the person was deserving of them.
b)      The worship of Allah elevates the soul of man. What else can be more elevating that he gets connected to the total perfection and that is Allah, and for the duties of worship and the affairs of this life we ask help from the unending and unlimited power and acquire that much capability that we can communicate with Him.
These benefits are present in all the worship acts, which are performed correctly, and other worship acts like Prayers, Fasting and Hajj etc have their own benefits and effects. We shall discuss the secrets of the most important Islamic worship acts in brief, so that it becomes clear that worship and supplication benefit us and Allah is not in need of them.
1) Prayers and its gainful effects
Prayers is the cause for the remembrance of Allah and the remembrance of Allah disciplines the mind and self, controls inordinate desires and reins the rebellious soul.
The person who prays is always in the remembrance of Allah. In the remembrance of that same Lord Who is aware of our small and big deeds. And those things, which are present in our souls, and the thoughts, which pass through our mind. He is well informed and aware about them. The least effect of Allah’s remembrance is that a person is able to balance his desires. As a person who forgets Allah and is ignorant about reward and punishment, is in intellectual darkness.
The person, who is negligent about Allah, doesn’t thinks about the results of his deeds and character and to fulfill his inordinate desires and inclinations he doesn’t recognize any limits. The five times prayers remind us about Almighty Allah and removes the darkness of negligence from our souls.
Undoubtedly the person in whose existence, there is the rule of inordinate desires on his nature, which have a strong base in him – the best way to control these desires is to remember Allah and to remember the punishment of those sins and to remember those accurate accounts in which there is no possibility of mistakes. That is why the holy Quran says that one of the purposes of Prayers is to remember Allah:
Surely I am Allah, there is no god but I, therefore serve Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance:[8]
(2) Away from Sins
It is necessary for a Worshipper to pray correctly and see that it becomes acceptable. He should refrain from sins. For example the conditions for performing it is (for example the water of ablution and Ghusl, the dress in which a person prays and the place where he prays) legitimate. These things demand that a person should not go near haraam (Prohibition) and should refrain himself from all types of haraam while doing business, because it is very difficult that a person would remain away from haraam during Prayers and on other times he becomes careless.
We come to know that the following ayat points towards this:
Surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil,[9]
Specially when a worshipper ingrains in his mind that the condition for the acceptance of Prayers is that he should fulfill the rights of Zakat and help the needy, should not backbite, refrain from pride and jealousy, should refrain from wine and alcohol and with attention, presence of mind, and true intentions should present himself in front of Allah, then a true worshipper will surely follow these rules. Due to this the Holy Prophet (‘s) said:
The Prayers is like a stream of clean water, in which a person washes himself, if a person washes himself five times a day he will never become dirty, In the same way a person who prays five times a day and washes his heart with the clean spiritual spring, his heart and soul will never be filled with sin.
 (3) Cleanliness and Protection of Health
As the worshipper sometimes washes his whole body and as usual performs ablutions many times in the day and night, and before doing Ghusl and ablution cleans his body from all impurities and all kinds of dirt, that is why he should necessarily be a clean person. From this point, Prayers protects the health of a person and helps him in keeping himself clean, which is very important in ones life.
 (4) Disciple and self Restraint
For every Prayer there is a fixed and special time, and for a person who wants to pray it is necessary that he should pray within the prescribed time, therefore this helps a person to become disciplined and self-restrained and helps him to recognize the value of time.
Especially for one who prays the Morning Prayer. He must get up before the sunrise. Such a person will not only be naturally a clean person and takes the benefit from the morning breeze and also starts his day on a positive note.
These are not the only individual and training effects of Prayer, this is just an example of this great worship act of Islam.
 (5) Social Secrets
The performance of Prayers in the appointed time unites the great Islamic Nation and shows the oneness of direction because Muslims in the appointed time stand towards the Qibla in a specified manner and worship Allah and this itself is the display of Unity and oneness and this worship act unites all the people.
When prayed in congregation it promotes unity, similarity and the same spirit of the rows of the worshippers shows discipline and nearness to each other, and this spiritual unity and brotherhood is not in need of any description.
Although the benefits of Prayers are not limited to this, whatever is said above explains the secrets of this great divine duty.
 (6) A brief secret of Fasting
Fasting is one of the worship acts in Islam. One of the training effects of Fasting on a person is that it discontinues the rule of habit and desires and frees the person from the slavery of sensual desires.
The worst rule and most dangerous is the rule of bad habit and the slavery of desires because usually the simple habit of tobacco gives a big loss to the honor of a person and then what to say about other habits?
That person is free who is not a slave to any habit and who with his firm intentions has control over all of them. This type of freedom and spiritual perfection gives strength and necessitates the firm steps, which originate from fasting.
Fasting arouses emotions and sentiments. Wealthy and well to do people, who eat different varieties of food the whole year are unaware of people who are hungry. The person who fasts remembers the hunger of the poor and becomes aware of their distress and as a result emotions and sentiments are aroused in them spirit, and this reduces the gap between various classes of people and reminds them to fulfill the needs of the poor. What would be a better benefit of fasting that the upper class and happy people taste hunger and thirst due to this think about the needy, who if remain in this state only, will increase the anger of their fire, which will burn down each and everything and destroy all.
Fasting in the Holy month of Ramadhan shows equality and unity because in this month the happy and poor people remain away from desires and lead similar life.
The Philosophy of Hajj
Hajj is a great Islamic worship. This is a social worship, which is performed on prescribed days of the year in Mecca. This is such a worship, which not only creates a relation between God and His creatures, but also has different effects on the Islamic society, because:
·        It is a worship gathering that begins with complete celibacy and full freedom, by just wearing simple clothes, it is a sign of equality of Allah’s creatures before Him and man himself keeps aside the distinctions of genealogy, language, color and wealth and stand before God without any distinction. Hajj is that worship act, which fulfils this purpose and creates the feeling among the faithful that no one should think that his status is high in the society.
·        Hajj is such a huge gathering, whose pillars are formed through the representatives of the different Muslim countries. Hajj is a yearly gathering of the Muslims of the world.
The religion of Islam is not only a combination of few ethical laws and training whose purpose is just to improve spirituality and remain away from weekly or yearly gatherings of political parties. It is the opposite, that it is a heavenly and comprehensive religion which keeps an eye on all the spheres of a person’s life, whether it may be ethical, social, political, economical or from defence point of view.
For this reason the Holy Prophet (‘s) made the political rules and invited people for the yearly gathering at Mecca, and guaranteed its existence; and due to the grace of Allah the effect of this gathering is more than the worldly political parties.
After all the worldly leaders of the present time started giving importance to such type of gathering, whereas Islam had laid this down fourteen hundred years ago and used it to derive the desired results. Muslim thinkers who naturally participate in this gathering can analyze the present condition and acquire detailed information and then exchange their views and improve the conditions of Muslims and initiate their progress.
It is a gathering, which brings together the Muslims of the world and informs them about the conditions of other Muslims. Which other gathering can give such benefits?
This gathering can help to improve the economic and social conditions of the Muslims because the scholars and expert people after performing the rituals of Hajj can peacefully, sincerely and in a spiritual atmosphere exchange their views about social and economic basics of the Muslim Ummah.
The yearly gatherings of Hajj has always opposed injustice and force and there has been always freedom movements and it creates a spirit and emotions and from Islamic history and turning towards the Revolution. This point becomes clear that the seeds of downfall of imperialism and communist governments were sowed in the period of Hajj and this land has been the source of such freedom movements.
This was one of the secrets of Hajj. According to some scholars the time has come that the world understand the philosophy of Hajj.
From whatever is said above we conclude that all the Islamic worship acts carry such secrets, which are revealed to the individuals performing the worship or on the society in which he is leading his life.

Notes:

[8] Surah Taha 20:14

[9] Surah Ankabut 29: 45

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Why should we do Taqlid of the Most learned scholar?

Question: It is written in Tauzihul Masael that it is compulsory to do the Taqlid of an Aalam. What is the source of this command?
Answer: The Taqlid of Aalam, which is famous among the Mujtahids, is concluded from different proofs, from which we present one clear proof:
The following of a learned by an ignorant person is based on logic and in that sense, and in all the tribes and communities of the world it is the tradition that those who are not expert in any field, when they require the help of experts, contact those who are experts. For example those who are not acquainted with medicine when they fall ill they go to the doctor, and those who do not know how to build, to an architect or a mason. It is also clear that when the views of experts differs; for example a doctor treats his patient in one special way and thinks it to be correct, and the other doctor treats in another way and believes that he is right. So in that case the patient will follow that doctor whose medicinal knowledge is more and expansive, one who has more experience and expertise. In short that one should be more knowledgeable (Aalam) than the other. There will always be a difference of opinion among the experts of a particular field; it is logical. But people follow only that expert who in their view is the best. Different tribes and communities follow this.
Whatever is said above is one of the proofs for the Taqlid of an Aalam. Mujtahids have given some proofs on this topic, whose explanation is not possible over here.

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Why Pray in Arabic?

Question: Why pray in Arabic, whereas we should call Allah in our own language? Whether this situation is against that Islam is a heavenly religion?
Answer: Incidentally to recite Prayers in Arabic is one of the signs that the religion of Islam is heavenly, because people who stand in one row and are busy in the same worship, it is necessary for them that there should be one language so that they can understand each other, it means that besides the mother tongue and local language they should have a common and universal language and without that a united community cannot be formed.
In the present age many intellectuals think that unless the whole world becomes one country, it will not be able to achieve happiness. To do this practically, they have made plans to make a language universal.
In short the praying of all Muslims in one language is the sign of unity and it points to the oneness of the people, and keeping this in mind the intellectuals say that Arabic language is the most extensive and comprehensive language of the world. This reality becomes clearer that all the sects of Muslims accept it as an international language and can benefit from it for mutual understanding and similarity.
Apart from this to perform Prayers in a similar way, protects it from any subtraction or addition, any alterations, or any mixture of superstitions things and also protects it from baseless meanings (due to the translation of it in other languages by those incapable people who interfere in it) and due to this the spirit of this worship remains intact. Therefore it is necessary for every Muslim that as much as possible to be aware of the religious language and He should know what he is saying to his Lord. Incidentally to learn the translation of Prayers, (which can be written on a single page) which is so easy that it is possible to learn it in an hour (for the whole life).
In short as we know that Tauheed is the basic root and branches of religion and turning towards one Qibla in appointed time, in a specific language is the sign of Unity.
If we are in Mecca at the time of Hajj and observe the congregation prayer in which hundreds of thousands of people from the whole world, of different races and tribes participate in it. Allah of them say: Allaho Akbar together, that time we can understand its wisdom and depth and if in Prayers every person recites in their own language, there will be disparity.

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Why to face the Qibla in Prayers?

Question: Why it is necessary to stand towards Qibla while praying, while Allah is everywhere and doesn’t have a specific direction?
Answer: To pray in a specific direction doesn’t mean that Allah is in a specific direction. The glorious Quran says about Qibla and explains its reality:
And Allah’s is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah’s purpose…[10]
And in another ayat Allah says:
The East and the West belong only to Allah.[11]
It means east and west belongs to Allah (and all places are similar for Him).
In fact to pray facing the Qibla is due to that since a person has physical body, while praying he has to face some direction and Islam desires that for the perfection of this worship, he should take as much benefit as possible. The reason to face the holy Ka’ba is, as we all know, the holy Ka’ba is the oldest center of monotheism. It is the house built by the hands of the Pillar of Monotheism, Hazrat Ibrahim (‘a) and was the center of attention of all the Prophets and guides of Monotheism, that is why turning towards this center of Monotheism means turning towards Allah. It is correct that Allah is not confined by space, but when a person stands towards such a center, because of many reasons he is nearer to Allah and feels himself in Allah’s proximity. The turning of the Muslims of the world towards this holy center five times a day creates the inspiration of oneness and unity and this creates the similarity between the Muslims of the world and connection between them who are spread from East to West and shows their magnanimity and greatness and after all represents to the world the purpose and faith of Islamic teachings.

Notes:

[10] Surah Baqarah 2:115

[11] Surah Baqarah 2:142


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Why do we pray five prayers in three times?

Question: What is the reason that we pray Zuhr-Asr and Maghrib-Isha prayers together, whereas for every Prayer there is a special time and the great leaders of Islam used to pray on the particular times. That is they used to pray five prayers are five different times a day?
Answer: There is no scope of argument in this matter that to establish Prayers five times a day and pray on the special times had been the practice of the Holy Prophet (‘s), the holy Imam (‘a) and the common Muslims at the early period of Islam and they used to generally pray five prayers at five different times.
Nothing can be said regarding this, but the argument is whether it is obligatory to keep a distance between two prayers (In the way many Mujtahids do) or it is a Recommended (mustahab) deed and is like other Recommended actions where a person has the choice to do it or not. They are not forced to pray together or separately, whether their praying of separately may be better?
The Shia scholars follow those traditions from which we come to know the actions of the Holy Prophet (‘s) and keeping those narrations in mind which have reached us through the Holy Imams (‘a) and following the literal meaning of the Holy Quran, in all the Islamic times the time gap between the two prayers is Recommended. And told the people that to keep the time distance and to recite and pray every Prayer in its special time is better and recommended, but then also one can leave the recommended acts, and the meaning of recommended is also this.
Undoubtedly by praying two Prayers together does not mean that we pray one Prayer in the time of other; for example if we pray Evening and Night prayers in the beginning of the night, it doesn’t mean that we have prayed Night at the wrong time; we have prayed both the Prayers in their proper times, because from sunset the time of both the Prayers begins till the midnight. (Except that after sunset the time required to pray three rakat (units) is the time of Evening Prayers and in the end approximately the time required to pray four rakat is the special time of Night and the remaining time is similar for both). And whenever we pray Night with Evening Prayers, meaning at the start of the night or pray Evening Prayer with Night Prayer at the last time of midnight, we pray both the Prayers in their specific time, but it is Recommended to pray Evening Prayer at the start of the night and Night Prayer after the time of Zawal-e-Shafaq and if a person doesn’t do like this, it means that he has just not performed a recommended act.


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Why it is allowed to pray two Prayers together?

The proof regarding to pray two Prayers together is the traditions from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (‘a) that Shaykh Hurre Aameli has collected in his book.
We should also keep in mind that only Shia narrators have not only narrated traditions, but Ahle Sunnat narrators have also narrated that it is allowed to pray two Prayers together (and that also if there is no legal excuse.) They have narrated from the Holy Prophet (‘s) in their authentic books by Ibne Abbas, Maaz Ibne Jabal, Abdullah Ibne Masood and Abdullah Ibne Umar approximately ten traditions, all of which cannot be quoted in full but we just mention some of them:
 (1) The famous narrator of Sunni world, Ahmad bin Hanbal writes in his famous book Musnad from Ibne Abbas:
“The Holy Prophet (‘s) used to pray Noon and Afternoon Prayers, and in the same way Evening and Night Prayers without the fear of enemy or without the excuse of travel.”
 (2) Then again narrates this tradition from Jabir bin Zaid who narrated from Ibne Abbas that, “I used to pray the Eight rakats of Noon and Afternoon Prayers or Seven rakats of Evening and Night Prayers together with the Holy Prophet (‘s). And this tradition has been narrated by Ibne Abbas with different words.
 (3) Again he narrates from Abdullah Shaqiq: “One day Ibne Abbas was delivering a sermon to the people and his speech was so long that the stars in the sky appeared. A man Bani Tamim tribe got up and objected to him that it was time for Evening Prayers and if the speech continues the time of Evening Prayers and if the speech continued the time of Evening Prayers will pass away. Ibne Abbas told that person: “I know much more about traditions and practice of the Holy Prophet (‘s) than you. I have seen that Holy Prophet (‘s) pray Noon and Afternoon Prayers together and Evening and Night Prayers together.” The narrator says that I doubted about this and spoke to Abu Huraira who certified the saying of Ibne Abbas.
 (4) The famous narrator Muslim ibn Hajjaj al-Qashiri (died in 261 Hijri) has written in his book Jama Prayers dar Huzar (to pray the two Prayers together in one’s own town) in which he has narrated four traditions from which three are from Ibne Abbas and one from Maaz ibn Jabal and the gist of the four traditions is the same as above.[12] And in these traditions a new point is mentioned that when the narrator asks the reason for joining two Prayers, he answered: He (the Prophet ) did not want to put his followers into hardship.
This reason has also been narrated in Shia traditions. Traditions narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (‘a) also mention this point.[13]
The narrators of praying two Prayers together is not limited to Ibne Abbas and Maaz ibn Jabal only. Tibrani says Abdullah ibn Masood said that the Holy Prophet (‘s) allowed praying Noon and Afternoon Prayers and Evening and Night Prayers together, so that the Ummat may not have to bear undue hardships.[14]
The same has been narrated by Abdullah ibn Zubair. He narrates that the Holy Prophet (‘s) although he was not in traveling, prayed together so that his Ummat should not face hardship.[15]
This narration is from one of the many traditions of Ahle Sunnat and also in the exegesis of Quran that says to pray the Prayers separately is recommended and if we at any time realize that by performing this recommended itself is going to affect the performance of the worship itself then according to the guidance of the Holy Prophet we can leave it and pray two Prayers together.
Life in the present age in many parts of the world has become such that to perform this Recommended act has become difficult and many times its result is that some people are unable to perform the Prayers. In such circumstances one can take the benefit from the guidance of Holy Prophet and for performing more important work one can pray two prayers together. The view of many Sunni jurisprudents is the same, but because of some reasons, they remain away from this view.

Notes:
[12] Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2. p. 151
[13] Wasailush Shia, Kitabus Salaat, Chapter of Time, 32, Tradition nos. 2,3,4,7.
[14] Sharh Muwatta of Zarqani, pg. 263
[15] Kanzul Ummal pg. 242

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What is the purpose of Prayers of Ayaat?

Question: Why should one perform Prayers of ayaat at during lunar and solar eclipse, earthquake, storms or thunder?
Answer: Performing Prayers of ayaat during lunar and solar eclipse is due to two main reasons:
 (1) Usually the Sun, Moon and their working is astonishing for man. The shining (golden) rays of the sun give life to all the animals and plants. The moon moves according to its accurate and disciplined way and with its first ray reduces the darkness on the Earth and brightens it for us.
These great and surprising things had a great effect on the past people and a belief was created in their mind that apparently if these (Sun and moon) have power on animals, plants and trees they also affect the destiny of people and they are their creators; and from that time worship of Sun and Moon came into existence and people started having faith in them. They accorded divinity to the Sun and the Moon while it belongs only to the Lord Who actually is the absolute Creator of this whole Universe.
The greatest blow dealt by Hazrat Ibrahim (‘a) on these false beliefs was that all the planets and heavenly bodies were subservient to the law and system of the universe.[21]
The setting of those shining bodies and their going away in darkness is the biggest proof of their limitations; and when a thing itself is limited and subservient to other things and does not have the power to continuously give light to the Earth it proves that it in not God and it is itself a creature.
The eclipse of Sun and Moon is a sign that they are creatures and to be limited in front of the Creator is itself a proof and from this we come to know that these planets that give light to other creatures, do not have much power. That is the reason that sometimes some things come and stand in front of them and stops them from performing their duties.
That is why the Solar and Lunar eclipse is the best proof of their being creatures and being limited before the Almighty Allah.
When we see the Solar and Lunar eclipse (an incident which shows that these bodies are under a strong and supernatural power, such an incident creates faith about the real Creator in our hearts, in Whose power the Sun and the Moon and the whole Universe is under Him) so it is necessary for us at that time to convert this faith into practice and by praying the ayaat prayers put our forehead in the holy court and show our inner beliefs.
That is why Hazrat Ibrahim (‘a) on the setting of those luminary bodies concluded what we conclude from the solar and lunar eclipse, and promptly said:
“Surely I have turned myself, being upright wholly to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists.[22]
 (2) Whenever there are some heavenly phenomena and extraordinary things occur, many people try to find refuge and to remove the effects of these incidents, think some way out.
Islam has made it compulsory to perform the ayaat prayers during Solar and Lunar eclipse so that people may remain away from superstitions and divert their attention and intelligence towards the fact that He is the source of all the phenomena in the Universe. This Prayer gives one peace of mind against such incidents.

Notes:
[21] Surah Anam 6:76-78
[22] Surah Anam 6:80