Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Theology and Religion Studies, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
There is a customary notion about God’s answer to prayer that suggests that God is influenced by the prayers, makes new changes in the world of existence by changing his will, and answers the prayer. Does our prayer really change and affect the divine will? Explaining the four possible answers to this question in Islamic-Shī‘a thought, this article tries to seek a more just explanation for this question within the framework of virtue ethics. The first answer belongs to Avicenna who considers prayer as a divine decree. The second one is expressed by Mulla Sadra, who attributes the affectedness to the mediators of the Divine Grace. The third answer can be expressed through separating the attributes of essence from the attributes of the action. The fourth answer is proposed by those who consider prayer a mystery of predestination. However, the answer that agrees with the religion explanation of virtue-oriented ethics is that in the process of answering to the prayer, the change does not happen in the Asked One; rather, it occurs in the person who prays. The Essence and Will of the Asked One is fixed, and the essential effusion of God’s Grace always exists. Therefore, the more purified the prayer person becomes, the more congruent he will be with the Asked One, his will gets in line with that of God, his power to make changes in the world of creation will be more, and his demand will come closer to fulfillment. The more a person has true knowledge and wisdom as well as a purified soul, the more his speech will be heard in the Heavenly Kingdom and His prayer – which is based on genuine will and want – will be answered.