In Constant Prayer: Does God Answer Them?
Salat is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed five times each day. It is the second Pillar of Islam.
God ordered Muslims to pray at five set times of day:
- Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
- Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
- Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon
- Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
- Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight
All Muslims try to do this. Muslim children as young as seven are encouraged to pray.
The US News & Beliefnet Survey
According to the ongoing survey by the US News & Beliefnet Survey, comparing Christians, Jews, and Muslims, the Muslims pray significantly more than the other groups. See chart:
|How often do you pray?|
|More than once each day||68.1%||36.9%||91.6%|
|Once a day||16.1%||22%||3%|
|A few times a week||12.1%||27.3%||2.4%|
|Once a week||0.7%||4%||0%|
|A few times a month||1.9%||5.4%||1.8%|
|Once a month||0.2%||0.2%||0%|
|Every few months||0.6%||3.3%||0.6%|
|Not at all||0.2%||1%||0.6%|
And what are those prayers relating to?
|In the last six months, my prayers have related to: (those answering “often” or “all the time”)|
|Health & safety||78%||74%||73%|
|Personal finances or work||55%||36%||51%|
|Comforting the bereaved||42%||40%||42%|
|Victims of tragedies||50%||40%||54%|
|Improving the world||48%||57%||59%|
|The president/world leaders||37%||22%||18%|
Other questions asked:
When your prayers relate to health, what kinds of things do you pray about?
I most often pray for:
The most important purpose of prayer is:
Are your prayers answered?
When your prayers don’t come true, you believe the most important reason is:
Where do you pray most often?
Plus several others. Visit the source for additional information on the results of the survey.
Of special note comparing Christian and Muslim prayer are in frequency and god’s guidance.
At least 91% of Muslims pray each day, compared with about 68% for Christians. Each group asks for God’s guidance about 93 to 94% of the time. One other noteworthy item is that Muslims pray for stronger faith 91% versus 74% for Christians.
So if Muslims pray more often, for more faith, and seek God’s guidance 94% of the time, one must ask: does God answer them?
What Does God Communicate?
Each group prays enough to elicit the attention of their respective God, or if there is one God surely he hears them all. But the edicts of either of these religions are starkly opposed in so many facets as to pit them against each other in violent contest, and each religion openly says so.
Religions have been fighting each other for centuries through their respective adherents while no god seems to communicate with the competing religion. If the Muslim god is the real thing, why hasn’t the god communicated to the Christians? Or, if the Christian god is the real thing, with the Muslims praying (in earnest) to the only God they believe exist, why hasn’t the Christian god (or any true god) communicated to the Muslims?
(Deep down, we already know the answer to these questions, but an honest assessment would shatter the commitment to both religion and faith, so we continue to pretend it’s a mystery.)
In fact, the Holy Qur’an specifies the non-believer to be “infidel” and worthy of the wrath of Allah, to burn in the fire. And, of course the Christian God, Jehovah, denounces the worshiper of other gods also to death, with a similar fate.
From the Holy Qur’an: (Surah 2, 5, 22)
2:257 Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.
Or from the translation by M.H. Shakir, published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc:
2:257 Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.
5:10 And (as for) those who disbelieve and reject our communications, these are the companions of the flame.
22:19-21 These are two adversaries who dispute about their Lord; then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire; boiling water shall be poured over their heads.
20 With it shall be melted what is in their bellies and (their) skins as well.
21 And for them are whips of iron.
And from the Holy Bible:
2 Chr.15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
Or, Deu 13:6-10 states that if any of your friends or relatives that would try to get you to follow another god should be stoned to death, by you, and by then by the community.
Deu 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
Deu 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die;
Both holy books are replete with such language, threatening the non-believer with death and pain, in this life and the thereafter.
So. Both religions would just assume, in some fashion, you send the other fellow (the heretic, the infidel or non-believer) and his god, to the hell that awaits; compliments from the “real” god of love. (Or is it the god of peace?)
It is apparent that when people get so steeped into their religion, as with this constant daily ritual of prayer, a great many are going to take what the religion says seriously. After all, aren’t the edicts from these “holy” books the Word of God?
Does God Answer, Really?
So the real mystery is, why isn’t an actual God (the real McCoy) making any headway communicating with anyone from the competing team? Is there more than one god? It seems unlikely that a monotheistic god would be so angered about another, competing, god! And it seems unlikely that a real God would utterly ignore earnest prayers that acknowledge his existence and the desire to do his will. Isn’t that what he says he wants, in these holy books?
If God can hear prayers and has any method of communication with the person doing the praying, why is the “wrong” camp deaf to the communication of the one real God?
During prayer, both Christians and Muslims ask for God’s guidance between 93 and 94 percent of the time. So, are those who pray deaf to God’s guidance, or is the god deaf to the prayer? In either case, the historical and current landscape of religious affairs perfectly resembles what it would look like if there were no god at all.
This isn’t to say that there is no God. No one has that knowledge. And that is precisely the point.