Why do most of us find ourselves mentally absent in our prayer? The rituals proceed mechanically, but our hearts and souls are somewhere else. Hence, the communication with Allah (swt) ends with no contact established at all. Our hearts remain restless and our minds stay invaded with satanic thoughts. Our Salah fails to bring any positive impact on our lives.
Khushu Salah is attained through Hudoor Al-Qalb (treasure of the heart) and Fahm (understanding). Discussed below is Hudoor al Qalb:
- Araja (hope)
When we face Allah (swt) in Salah, we must believe in His mercy and magnanimity. We must yearn for forgiveness, hoping that even if our sins reach the sky, only Allah (swt) will erase them and renew our faith. This hope acts as a healing balm for broken hearts and de-motivated spirits. In case of an illness, do we long and hope to be healed before visiting a doctor? Imagine – Allah (swt) is the Creator of that doctor, the medicines he will prescribe, and the treatment he will suggest. It is all pre-ordained. Shouldn’t we then only pin all our hopes in Allah (swt) and desperately long for our meeting with him in Salah for all our needs and wants?
- Alhaiba (fear and magnificence)
In our worldly lives, we fear many objects and people, due to the danger they pose to us. For instance: naked electric wires, a fierce lion or an absconding criminal. As Muslims, we do not feel threatened or endangered by Allah (swt). Instead, it is the Ilm or knowledge of His infinite power that grants us this feeling of smallness. We feel insignificant before our Creator, realizing the magnitude of His might. For Him, this world is no bigger than a mustard seed, which He can carry on His palm. Comprehending our weakness, we tremble in fear before the majesty of Allah (swt). Naturally, in Salah, when we are standing before such a powerful God, how can we become heedless?
- Hubullah (love of Allah (swt))
When we count the blessings bestowed by Allah (swt) on us, we are overwhelmed with love for Him. What He grants us and whatever He prevents us from are all bounties from Him. If a friend gifts us something, don’t we feel a special affection for him/her? Whenever we look at the gift, we begin to think about him/her. Now, imagine the Creator, Who has gifted every single thing in our possession, whether it is our physical body, our abilities, our soul, our feelings, the air we breathe, the sunlight we cherish, the food we relish, the money we spend or the health we enjoy. And this is not even a give and take relationship. Allah (swt) gives in spite of His creation’s disobedience towards Him. Wouldn’t that create a surge of love within a sincere worshipper to express his gratitude towards Allah (swt) at least five times a day for countless bounties in return?
- Haya (shyness)
What is a man’s greatest fear? To be exposed for his wrongdoings before others. He tries to keep all his dark secrets behind locked doors. In fact, sometimes we are so ashamed of our certain deeds that we don’t even like to think about them even in solitude. It is as if there is a dark room which we have bolted and do not ever wish to enter. Allah (swt) is the only One, Who knows all, as He is Al-Aleem. When we stand before him in Salah, we realize that there is no veil between our sins and Allah (swt). This should cause us to feel shy and alert. Allah (swt) conceals all the sins of His true believers as He knows how ashamed His slaves are for their past slights. This shyness creates humility in the worshipper, and he bows even lower before his Rabb in Salah.
- Kalamahu (conversation with Allah (swt))
How would we feel if someone greeted us cheerfully and before we could even return his salutation, he turns away to occupy himself with other errands? He stays with us, but hardly pays any attention to us. This is probably the condition of our Salah, too. The magical key is to believe that Salah is a conversation between Allah (swt) and His slave. And it takes two to carry out that talk. When we call out “Allahu Akbar” Allah (swt) turns to us. The Lord of the worlds, our Owner, and our Cherisher wants to hear what we have to say to Him. Even for our most important meeting, we dress up, rehearse our conversation and practise beforehand. Imagine Salah as an exclusive meeting between us and our Rabb. Can we think of standing in His court negligently?
An understanding (Fahm) of the translation of all Surahs we recite in our prayer is a must, too. Otherwise, we will never be able to feel our prayers. Ideally, we can select a single Ayat everyday, try to ponder over its meaning and then reflect with deeper understanding. Surely, how long will it take us to do just that? Fifteen minutes at the most, if we are very sincere in our efforts. Can’t we spare even fifteen minutes daily out of the twenty-four hours our Creator has granted us? This will be worth an investment that will almost immediately make a difference to the quality of our prayers and relationship with Allah (swt), Insha’Allah.
It is Salah that helps us express our joys, concerns, bashfulness, confidence, hopes, fears, love and anger in the most appropriate manner. It is not as if Allah (swt) doesn’t know what is going on in our lives. But He has chosen for us to adopt this medium of conversation with Him. We are temporarily disconnected from the hustle and bustle of our worldly lives so that we can enter into quiet serenity with just Him as our Disposer.
May Allah (swt) grant us all Khushu in our Salahs in this beautiful month of Ramadan and beyond. Ameen. The benefits are unimaginable and unexplainable.