The first: The category of the oppressor to himself, the negligent one, one who is deficient in performing ablution for it, negligent with its appointed time periods, its boundaries and its pillars.
The second: One who preserves it appointed time periods, its boundaries, its outward pillars and ablution for it. However, he forsakes striving against his own self from whisperings and thinking to himself, and so is preoccupied with whisperings and thoughts.
The third: One who preserves its appointed time periods, its pillars as well as strives against himself in repelling whisperings and distracting thoughts that overcome him, he is busy in striving against his enemy in order to prevent him from stealing his prayer, he is in prayer as well as Jihaad.
The fourth: One whom when he stands for prayer perfects its rights, its pillars and its boundaries. His heart is occupied with preserving its boundaries and preventing anything of it being lost, rather all his attention is directed to performing it as it should be, in its most complete and perfect form, his heart is occupied with the prayer and worshiping his Lord the Elevated with it.
The fifth: One who performs the prayer like the previous person, but in addition to this, he has taken his heart and presented it to his Lord. He looks at his Lord with his heart, fully concerned with Him, in utmost obedience out of love and reverence for Him, it is as if he sees and witnesses his Lord. All distracting thoughts and whisperings fade away and the veil between him and his Lord is removed. The difference between this person in his prayer and others, is greater and better than all that is between the heavens and earth, he is fully occupied and overjoyed with his Lord in his prayer.
The first category is punished, the second is held accountable, the third is pardoned, the fourth is rewarded and the fifth is brought close to his Lord, because he gains a portion of what made the prayer a delight to him. For whoever is delighted with his prayer in the life of this world, will be delighted by being close to his Lord in the afterlife as well as being delighted with his Lord in this life, and whoever is delighted with Allah, everything would be delighted with him, and whoever is not delighted with Allah the Elevated, his soul will be torn apart for the life of this world in loss.
It is narrated that when a servant stands for prayer, Allah the Glorified says; “Remove the veil.”, and if the servant turns away He says: “Replace it.”
This ‘turning away’ has been explained as the turning of the heart away from Allah the Mighty to other than Him. So if he turns away, the veil is replaced between him and his Lord and Shaytaan enters and presents worldly affairs to him, he shows them to him in the image of a woman. But if he turns with his heart to Allah and does not turn away, Shaytaan would not be able to come between Allah and that heart, he only enters if the veil is replaced. If he returns to Allah the Elevated with his heart, the Shaytaan would escape, and if he turns away, the Shaytaan would return, such is his state with his enemy in prayer.
أحدها : مرتبة الظالم لنفسه المفرط وهو الذي انتقص من وضوئها ومواقيتها وحدودها وأركانها.
الثاني : من يحافظ على مواقيتها وحدودها وأركانها الظاهرة ووضوئها لكن قد ضيع مجاهدة نفسه في الوسوسة فذهب مع الوساوس والأفكار.
الثالث : من حافظ على حدودها وأركانها وجاهد نفسه في دفع الوساوس والأفكار فهو مشغول بمجاهدة عدوه لئلا يسرق صلاته فهو في صلاة وجهاد
الرابع : من إذا قام إلى الصلاة أكمل حقوقها وأركانها وحدودها واستغرق قلبه مراعاة حدودها وحقوقها لئلا يضيع شيئا منها بل همه كله مصروف إلى إقامتها كما ينبغي وإكمالها واتمامها قد استغرق قلبه شأن الصلاة وعبودية ربه تبارك
الخامس : من إذا قام إلى الصلاة قام إليها كذلك ولكن مع هذا قد أخذ قلبه ووضعه بين يدي ربه عز وجل ناظرا بقبله إليه مراقبا له ممتلئا من محبته وعظمته كأنه يراه ويشاهده وقد اضمحلت تلك الوساوس والخطوات وارتفعت حجبها بينه وبين ربه فهذا بينه وبين غيره في الصلاة أفضل وأعظم مما بين السماء والأرض وهذا في صلاته مشغول بربه عز وجل قرير العين به.
فالقسم الأول معاقب والثاني محاسب والثالث مكفر عنه والرابع مثاب والخامس مقرب من ربه لأن له نصيبا ممن جعلت قرة عينه في الصلاة فمن قرت عينه بصلاته في الدنيا قرت عينه بقربه من ربه عز وجل في الآخرة وقرت عينه أيضا به في الدنيا ومن قرت عينه بالله قرت به كل عين ومن لم تقر عينه بالله تعالى تقطعت نفسه على الدنيا حسرات
وقد روي أن العبد إذا قام يصلي قال الله عز وجل : ( ارفعوا الحجب فإذا التفت قال أرخوها ) وقد فسر هذا الالتفات بالتفات القلب عن الله عز وجل إلى غيره فإذا التفت إلى غيره أرخى الحجاب بينه وبين العبد فدخل الشيطان وعرض عليه أمور الدنيا وأراه إياها في صورة المرآة وإذا أقبل بقلبه على الله ولم يلتفت لم يقدر الشيطان على أن يتوسط بين الله تعالى وبين ذلك القلب وإنما يدخل الشيطان إذا وقع الحجاب فإن فر إلى الله تعالى وأحضر قلبه فر الشيطان فإن التفت حضر الشيطان فهو هكذا شأنه وشأن عدوه في الصلاة.