Saturday, October 29, 2005

Praying for the Deceased (SunniPath)

In light of my last post, the following excerpt seems fitting:

Who can pray for the deceased? - SunniPath

Imam Ghazali mentions the following story: “Said Bashshar ibn Ghalib al-Najrani, ‘I once saw Rabi`a al-`Adawiya, the worshipper [al-`abida] in my sleep, it having been my custom to pray for her abundantly. ‘Oh Bashshar ibn Ghalib,’ she told me. ‘Your gifts come to me covered with silken cloths upon salvers of light.’ ‘How should that be?’ I asked, and she replied, ‘Thus are the prayers of the living believers: when they offer a prayer for the deceased and are granted a response, that prayer is set upon salvers of light and covered with silken cloths, after which it is brought to the one who has died with the words, ‘This is So-and-so’s gift to you.’’”

Imam Ghazali continues, ‘The Emissary of God (May God bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘The dead man in his grave is like a drowning man shouting for help, as he waits for a prayer to come to him from his father, his brother or his friend. When it comes it is more beloved to him than the world and all it contains. Indeed, the gifts of the living to the dead are prayer and the petitioning of God for His forgiveness.’ This should serve to remind us of two things. Firstly, that while we are alive and thus not as a drowning man depending on the prayers of another, we should embrace Islam in every facet of life, for in our graves we will be alone with nothing but our deeds. Secondly, we should remember to pray for our deceased ancestors, teachers, friends, martyrs, and all Muslims and pray that the same is done for us one day.

Rabi`a once said, “You are but a set of numbered days. When one day goes, a part of you goes as well. And with the disappearance of the parts, the whole is nearly lost as well.”

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