The Tafsīr of: “Seek Help with Patience and Prayer”

Imām Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī

Can prayers actually protect you from falling into acts of disobedience and coping with the trials of the dunyā?
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Allāh says,

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ ‎﴿١٥٣﴾‏

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.”
[al-Baqarah, 2:153]

Imām Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī [d. 310 AH] said:

If someone was to say to us: We know very clearly what it means to seek [Allāh’s] help with patience regarding fulfilling our duty towards Him and continuously engaging in acts of obedience. But regarding the order to seek help [from Allāh] in carrying out acts of obedience and leaving disobedient acts, and leaving the desire to have a high standing and other than it from the [pleasures] of this dunyā; how can this help be sought] with ṣalāh?

We say [in reply]: Truly, ṣalāh consists of the recitation of the Book of Allāh. Its āyāt calls one to rejection of worldly pleasures and abandonment of its bounties. It offers a consolation for our souls from its beauty and trickery. It reminds us of the ākhirā (hereafter) and what Allāh has promised its inhabitants [in jannah]. Thus, the one who desires to engage in acts of obedience may take a lesson from it, which consequently drives him towards obedience with increased determination. Just as it is narrated that if any matter would cause concern for our Prophet [ﷺ], he would rush towards ṣalāh.

Source: Tafsīr al-Ṭabarī 2:11-12
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: April 20, 2022
Edited: September 8, 2022

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