Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Attaining Khushu in Salah

Khushu’ means calmness and tranquility of the body and attentiveness of the mind, in the Salah.
Loving the prayer and rushing to perform it with Khushu’, and perfection inwardly and outwardly, demonstrates the heart’s love for Allah and eagerness to meet Him. On the other hand, disinterest in the prayer, laziness in answering the Adhan, and performing it alone, away from the congregation of Muslims in the Masjid, without a valid excuse, are all indications that the heart is empty of Allah’s love and disinterested in what He has with Him.

Allah subhana wata ala said, “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who perform their Salah with all solemnity and full submissiveness” – Chapter 23, verse 1-2 of the Quran.

Attaining the Full Reward for the Salah:Ammar bin Yasir radi Allahu anhu narrated that Prophet Muhammad sallahu alyihi wa sallam said, “One might finish the Salah, but only have a tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, third or a half of it written for him” – Abu Dawood (As-Salat, Chapter: What is said about decreasing in prayer, Hadith: 796).
Umar radi Allahu anhu said while standing on a pulpit, “A man might have white hair in Islam (he reaches old age while Muslim), yet, he has not completed even one Salah for Allah the Exalted! He was asked why that is and he answered: He does not perfect the prayer’s required Khushu” –Al-Ihya, vol.1, p202.
This statement from Umar radi Allahu anhu in the beginning of Islam should be given due consideration in our time. How do we pray nowadays? Is it not that when we start the Salah, all types of thoughts and ideas come to us, as if the Salah is our chance to think about buying selling, profits or losses?

Al-Qasim bin Muhammad said, “Whenever I went out in the morning, I used to visit Aisha radi Allahu anha (his aunt and the wife of the Prophet sallahu alyihi wa sallam) and greet her. One day I found her performing the Duha prayer (a mid-morning voluntary Salah) reciting this Ayah repeatedly, while crying and invoking Allah, “So Allah has been Gracious to us, and has saved us from the Torment of the Fire” –Chapter 52, verse 27. I stood there until I felt bored, so I left and went to the market to do something and said to myself that when I finish what I had to do, I would go back (to Aisha radi Allahu anhu). When I finished my work and work and went back to her, I found her still standing in Salah, reciting the same Ayah, crying and invoking Allah” – Il-Ihya, Vol. 4, p436.

Maymun bin Hayyan said, “I never saw Muslim bin Yasar turning his head while praying, whether the prayer was short or long. Once, a part of the Masjid came down and the noise caused fear to the people who were in the market. He was in the Masjid (when this occurred), but he did not show any fear nor even turn his head but he kept on praying” – Az-Zuhd, by Imam Ahmad, p359.

Hatim Al-Asamm was asked about his Salah and he said, “When it is near the time of Salah, I perform a perfect Wudu’ and proceed to where I am going to pray and sit down there until the Salah begins. I become fully attentive to what I am about to do. I then stand up and pray, imagining that the Ka'bah is in front of my eyes, Paradise to my right, Hell-fire to my left and the Angel of Death behind me. I imagine that it is the last Salah I am about to perform, stand up in hope (in Allah, His Paradise and reward) and fear (from Allah’s torment in the Hell-fire) and recite the Takbir with concentration. I recite the Quran calmly, make Ruku’ humbly, go into Sujud with Khushu and then sit on my left leg, with the left foot laid on the floor and the right foot raised up, al the while praying with sincerity. Afterwards, I do not know (nor feel certain) if that Salah was accepted from me [because of his humbleness]” –Al-Ihya vol.1 p179.

Ways to Gain Khushuu’

A. Pre-Salaat
1- A Muslim should know his Lord very well. Knowing whom one worships makes a person a better worshipper. Having clear and authentic knowledge about Allah increases His love in our hearts. Consequently, faith also increases.
2- Avoiding major and minor sins is very helpful in gaining Khushuu’, as the heart becomes more receptive to the words of Allah during and after Salaat.
3- Reciting the Qur’an frequently and consistently softens the hearts and prepares it for Khushuu’. Hard hearts do not gain Khushuu’.
4- Minimize attachment to worldly matters. Gearing one’s intentions towards the Afterlife helps against the temptations of life.
5- Avoid excessive laughter and useless arguments as they harden the heart and lead to heedlessness.
6- Stop working as soon as you hear the Azaan. When you listen attentively to the call of Salaat repeat after the muˆz-zin then offer the relevant supplication. This prepares you for a smooth transition from the business with worldly matters to the business with Salaat.
7- Performing wuduuˆ immediately after hearing the Azaan prepares you for the pending Salsat. Wuduuˆ also works as a buffer zone before engaging in Salaat.
8- Going to the mosque early for praying and continuing mention of Allah drives Satan away and help gain concentration.
9- The waiting time for the congregational Salaat helps create a buffer zone between the state of mind before Salaat and the state of during Salaat.

B. During Salaat
1- The Iqaamah itself is a final signal to the mind to be well prepared for performing the actual Salaat. Remember what the messenger of Allah said to Bilal (ra) “Let us enjoy the comfort of the Salaat.”
2- When you stand facing the Qiblah remember the following:
a. It might be the last Salaat in your life. There is no guarantee to live longer to catch the next Salaat.
b. You are standing between the hands of Allah, the Lord of the worlds. How can you be busy with something else?
c. The angel of death is chasing you.
3- Do not forget to make isti’azah. It wards off Satan’s whispers.
4- Keep your eyes focused on the place of sujuud. This helps you gain more concentration.
5- When reciting the Fatiha, try to recall the response of Allah to you after every ayah you say. (When you say: ”al-hamdu lillahi rab-bil ‘alamin) Allah responds: “My servant praised me.” etc. This feeling of speaking to Allah puts you in the right mood of khushuu’.
6- Beautifying the recitation of the Qur’an has a positive impact on the heart.
7- Recite the Qur’an slowly and reflect upon its meaning deeply.
8- It is recommended to change the suras that your recite from time to time to avoid the mechanic-like state of repetition.
9- Undoubtedly, understanding Arabic helps you focus on the intended meaning.
10- When you prostrate, remember that this position brings you closer to Allah. Seize the opportunity to make sincere du’aaˆ. Invest these moments in making sincere supplications.

e. When you make tasliim, make istighfaar to Allah as you might have made during Salaat.
f. When you praise Allah, thank Him from the bottom of your heart that you have experienced the beauty of Salaat in your heart. Getting used to this habit prepares your for the next Salaat, as you will always be eager to focus in your prayer.
g. One perfection leads to another perfection. If some one perfects his Salaat once, he would be self-motivated to continue on the same level.

Everything Opposing Khushu’ is Forbidden:Abu Hurairah radi Allahu anhu narrated, “It is forbidden to keep the hands on the hips during Salah” – Bukhari (Dealing with action in Salah, Chapter: Keeping the hands on the hips during Salah, Hadith: 1219).Anas bin Malik radi Allahu narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallahu alyihi wa sallam said, “What is wrong with those people who look toward the sky during Salah?” His tone grew stern while delivering this speech and he sallahu alyihi wa sallam said, “They should stop (looking toward the sky during Salah) otherwise their easy (or eyesight) would be snatched away” – Bukhari (Adhan, Chapter: Looking toward the sky during Salah, Hadith: 750).Aisha radi Allahu anha narrated, “I asked the Messenger of Allah sallahu alyihi wa sallam about looking here and there in Salah. He sallahu alyihi wa sallam replied: It is a way of stealing by which Shaytan steals (a portion) from the Salah of a person” – Bukhari (Chapter: To look here and there in Salah, Hadith: 752).

Abu Hurairah radi Allahu anhu narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallahu alyihi wa sallam said, “Yawning is caused by the devil, so when one of you yawns he must repress it as much as he can” – Muslim (Piety, Chapter: Answering the sneezer and repulsion of yawning, Hadith: 2994).


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