Surat al-Baqara: Verse 186
And when My servants ask you about Me, of course, I am near. I respond to the call of one when he prays to Me;’so they should respond to Me, and have faith in Me so that they may be on the right path. (Verse 186)
Injunctions and merits concerning fasting and Ramadan were mentioned in three previous verses. This strain continues even after the present verse when details of fasting and I’tikaf appear in a long verse. In between, this brief verse has been introduced to persuade of Allah to obey the commands of Allah by recognizing how He, in His special grace, hears and answers their prayers. There is no doubt about fasting being a difficult obligation despite many concessions and permissions. It is to make the trial bearable that special grace has been mentioned – ‘I am near My servants. When they pray, I answer their prayers and take care of what they need.’
Under these conditions, it is befitting that servants of Allah should bear by hardships that come during the performance of given injunctions. Ibn Kathir has pointed out to another wisdom behind this sentence appearing in the middle of injunctions of fasting. According to him, this verse gives a hint that a prayer ( : du’a) made at the completion of a fast is accepted, therefore, one should be very particular about making prayers at that time. The Holy Prophet has said:
The prayer made by one who is fasting at the time of his iftar is accepted.
This is why the blessed Companion, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar would assemble his family members around him at the time of iftar and would pray.
By saying (I am near) in this verse, it has been hinted that prayer should be made slowly and quietly; to raise voice while praying is not desirable. This is confirmed by the background in which this verse was revealed. According to Ibn Kathir, a visitor from a village asked the Holy Prophet : “Tell me if our Lord is near us, then, we shall pray in a lowered voice; and if He is far, we shall call Him with raised voices.” Thereupon, this verse was revealed.