In the last post that I made, I had promised to publish my next post laying down some guidelines that would ensure tranquility in our salaah. So, inshaaAllah, here I am trying to solve this ever-so-troublesome problem of our lackadaisical attitude towards our daily salaah.
First and foremost, our preparation for our salaah should start with the adhaan. We are taught from a very young age the etiquette of responding to the adhaan when we hear it. Alhamdulillah for that. However, it does not stop with just responding to the adhaan. Rather, the adhaan or the call for prayer is literally a call. A call towards righteousness. A call towards success. In these times that we live, we are overcome with so much stress, piles of work, hundreds of people with different personalities to face, the crowded streets to walk through everyday. In all of this, the five daily prayers are a blessing, really. It’s a call to relax. To have a soothing time off from the hectic issues of life, in front of our Lord. So, basically, with the adhaan starts our preparation for salaah. The moment we hear the adhaan, our hearts should feel that relaxing feeling. We should be overcome by the happiness of retreating to our prayer mats/masjid. Our souls should feel at peace. That should be the effect of the adhaan on the soul. And, this love for salaah should be the first step for praying it with khushoo’.
Second is wudoo‘. Starting off soon after the adhaan is one of the most important factor towards a perfect wudoo’. If we keep delaying and waiting for the sound of the iqaamah, then how can our heart be at ease? How can our wudoo’ be complete, let alone perfect? Therefore, my dear self and my dear brothers and sisters, let’s all get up as soon as we are done with replying to the adhaan and make wudoo’. One important point that most of us forget is saying “bismillah” before starting our ablution. It may be shocking for you, but a wudoo’ is not complete without bismillah! and, do not forget to say the second kalimah and dua’a after finishing your wudoo’.
Third, after you’re done with perfectly responding to the adhaan, doing a good wudoo’, what’s better than two rak’ahs of nafil salaah. SubhanAllah. A very famous narration is a must mention here. Paraphrasing: Once Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him asked Bilal radi’ Allahu ‘anhu, “O Bilal! I hear your footsteps hurrying before mine in jannah!”. Upon hearing this Bilal may Allah be pleased with him said, “I did not do any act in Islam for which I hope to get any benefit, but this, that when I perform complete ablution during the night or day I observe prayer with that purification, what Allah has ordained for me to pray.”'” [Sahih Muslim]. SubhanAllah. How dear are these two nafil raka’ahs to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala! Let’s all start this noble practice to gain benefit in this world and the next, bi idhnillah!
Fourth, even after doing all of the above, inshaAllah ta’ala, Allah ‘azza wa jal will bless your time so much that you would be left with still more time before the iqaamah. What’s better than making dua’a in this blessed time?It’s narrated in Abu Dawood and others, Anas (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: ‘A supplication made between the Adhan and Iqama is not rejected.” SubhanAllah! Ya akhi and ukhti, ask Allah, ask Allah ta’ala all you want and He will answer you for each and every li’l dua’a that you made.
What high spirits will a soul, who did all of the above with utmost sincerity, be in? May Allah grant us hidayah so that we are that much sincere in our acts of worship as well as the worldly affairs. Ameen.
Now, the actual salaah.
There are two situations in this. First is if you are praying at the masjid and the second one is mostly for my sisters who would be most likely praying in their houses.
If you are praying at the masjid, it’s a tad bit easier than if you were praying at home. Here’s why? In jam’ah or congregation, all you do is follow the Imam. And, subhanAllah, when we are praying in congregation, it’s a lot easier because the Imam recites so slowly and beautifully which adds glitter to our salaah. And, all the actions of the rukoo’ or sujood are prolonged and not made in a hurry. So, that’s a big big plus point. I would like to advice my dear brothers and sisters who are “dangerously” hasty in their salaah to pray salaah at the masjid, so as to get an idea of how to pray properly and calmly. InshaAllah. But but but, even if you are at the masjid, shaytan is all set to distract you, so we need to beware. I will briefly mention a few pointers (specifically for those who are praying in congregation):
- Listen to the Imaam attentively. Try to get in the flow of the recitation, even if you may not be knowing the surah.
- Have your gaze fixed at the place of your prostration.
- Breathe peacefully. Let go of all the stress of the day, let the problems fly away somewhere far. Remember that you are in the best place of refuge, in the best comfort zone. You are in front of your Lord, Who ‘azza wa jal Knows all your distresses, all your troubles and worries. He will solve them for you if there’s benefit for you in it.
- Put you trust in Him and seek, seek that calmness, seek that peace of mind which you yearn for which can only be achieved through Allah ‘azza wa jal.
Okay, now moving on to praying alone at home. My dear sisters, attention please! This is really really important. Most of us pray at home and that is actually a blessing from Allah. Allah ‘azza wa jal gave us the opportunity to be standing alone in front of Him, presenting our individual prayer. Beautifying it, adding glimmer and shine all we want. It would be solely our work, subhanAllah and the reward would be solely ours, inshaAllah. Sometimes, we whine and complain and force our husbands or fathers or brothers to take us to the masjids so that we would get a reward of the congregation i.e 27 times the reward! But, that’s not how it is. The congregation is not compulsory for us, and for good enough reasons. SubhanAllah. We have the opportunity of beautifying our salaah, praying it with full khushoo’, all alone, far from the eyes of the world, free from riyaa or show-off. Let’s do our best in improving our salaah, inshaAllah. This is some easy reward which cannot be missed, inshaAllah.
So, the pointers for those praying at home are similar to those of the masjid apart from the fact that we would be reciting oursleves instead of the imaam.
- Concentrate on what your saying. I remember reading somewhere that a mind can concentrate on only a few things at a time, I guess it was four. So it was like, while praying, let these four things occupy your attention: 1) reciting 2)understanding the meaning of what your reciting 3) having the consciousness that you are standing in front of Allah 4) having the consciousness that Allah is watching you. I guess it was something like this. I don’t really remember it exactly. Anyway, inshaAllah will update it later in case it was something else.
- Recite calmly and beautifully.
- Prolong your rukoo’ and your sujood. Don’t be hasty. Doing the acts of rukoo’ and sujood quickly in order to get over with is is like stealing from the salaah. It’s like being a theif. Na’oozubillah. And, anyway what’s the best time of our day than being in front of our Lord? Where do we want to run to? This world which deceives us? These daily TV soaps which misguide us? This social networking which absorbs all our precious time leaving us with nothing but regret?
May Allah protect and preserve us and keep us in good health and eeman. Ameen.
Alhamdulillah for all the blessings that Allah ‘azza wa jal has bestowed upon us, particularly that of salaah. May Allah ‘azza wa jal help us achieve khushoo’ in our salaah.
Everything beneficial in this post is by the blessing of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Any mistake is because of my own limitations or an evil handiwork of shaytaan. Jazakumullahu Khayran for reading. Hope you benefit from this. Do remember me in your dua’as.