Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Al-Muminun

pearls4Concentration in prayers is a constant struggle. As much as we would like Khushu in our prayer, it is not there. In Surah Al-Muminun, it appears, “Successful indeed are the believers.Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-2)

Attaining humble submission

It can be attained by turning away from the futile and unnecessary (as we read in the verse after). The futile and unnecessary are time wasters. Someone was asked, “Why do you take off your shoes before entering the House of God?” He replied, “My shoes are the Dunya that I am leaving behind. I don’t need it when I am engaged with my Lord.” We need to empty our heads from the unnecessary concerns and gossips before we get on the prayer rug. Getting rid of such thoughts is impossible, unless we cleanse ourselves. Therefore, Zakat was mentioned next.

Zakat as purification

One needs to purify his wealth, as well as, his thoughts. With evil thoughts in our mind, we get on the prayer mat; going through our conversations with other people or plotting our next rebuttals. We need to work on our temper and control our tongues. Let’s not utter words that will haunt us later. May He make us of those who work on their bad qualities. Ameen.

Purpose of giving Zakat

Allah (swt) commands us to give Zakat so as to replace materialism with generosity. This is how we can get rid of the futile.

Don’t even go near fornication

Then we are advised to stay away from adultery and immorality. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e. his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari). Whenever a person falters, he should turn to Allah (swt) in sincere repentance. Chastity of the private parts and the tongue is a trust; whoever loses that trust will lose peace from his life.

Your spouse is entrusted upon you

Therefore, the next trait of the successful ones mentioned is, “Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants.” (Al-Muminun 23:8). Spouses are a trust to one another. The verses of God-consciousness (Taqwa) are recited in the Nikah sermon. And wherever Quran mentions the rights of husband and wife, it is followed by a reminder of the Hereafter. Let us not break our trusts and promises; whether they be with other people or Allah (swt).

When a person prays only when he wants to pray and neglects it at other times, he cannot be humble in his prayers. Therefore, it is said, And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). (Al-Muminun 23:9)

Stories of the successful ones

After describing the qualities required to attain success, Allah (swt) narrates the stories of successful people – the prophets and the messengers. He says, “Then We sent Our Messengers in succession, every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him, so We made them follow one another (to destruction), and We made them as Ahadeeth (the true stories for mankind to learn a lesson from them). So away with a people who believe not.” (Al-Muminun 23:44)

Denial leads to destruction

Whether one openly denies the messenger or shows a hypocritical behaviour; such that we declare that we are the nation of Muhammad (sa), but take his Sunnah as a burden. Then we should know that we are inviting destruction. Allah (swt) loosens the rope up to a certain limit and then pulls it. Let’s return to Him before the rope is pulled.

Pray before you are prayed upon

The doors of repentance are opened until death. When death approaches and then man says, “I now seek forgiveness for my sins!” it would not be accepted from him. Allah (swt) says, “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back,So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (Al-Muminun 23:99-100). There are no second chances. This life is our only chance to build our relationship with Allah (swt) and strengthen it.

Allah (swt) questions man about his purpose of creation, “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Al-Muminun 23:115) Allah (swt) did not create man for nothing. We have been informed of our purpose of creation and we will be questioned about our time here. Let’s not waste this chance.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

Qualities of the People of Jannah – Part 2: Attain Khushu in Salah!


“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive.” (Al-Muminoon 23:1-2)

Salah is one of the main pillars of Islam and the most rewarding act. It delineates the difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. In order to reap maximum benefits from Salah it is imperative to perform it with humility. Read on to find out how one can attain Khushu and in return, the pleasure of Allah (swt).

The Arabic word used for humility in Salah (swt) is Khashi’oon, which is from the root word Khushu which means to bow down and express humility. It is a condition of the heart as well as the body. Khushu of the heart is to fear Allah (swt) and stand in awe of His powerful being while Khushu of the body is to bow down one’s head in humility and lower one’s gaze and voice in His presence. In Salah, one is required to show Khushu of both the body and the heart.

It has been reported that when the Prophet (sa) once saw a person offering his prayer as well as playing with his beard, he said: “If he had Khushu in his heart, his body would have shown it.” (Hakim)

How to perform Salah with Khushu – a few pointers

  1. Learn the meaning of Salah (the meaning of the Arabic text) so that you know what you are reciting.
  2. Learn new chapters and their meanings that you can recite in your Salah.
  3. Prepare yourself for Salah by quietly listening to the call for prayer. Then perform proper ablution and cover your Satar.
  4. Remember that Salah is a dialogue between you and Allah. Allah (swt) is not only listening to your prayer, but replying and rewarding you for every verse you utter.
  5. Pray in solitude.
  6. Avoid looking sideways, folding or shaking off dust, yawning or any such action.
  7. Prayer should be offered in a relaxed and composed manner. One should not hurry.
  8. Worship Allah as if you see Him. It is established in a Hadeeth that Gabriel asked the Prophet (sa): “Tell me about excellence in faith.” He replied: “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you do not see Him, you know that He sees you.” (Bukhari) This implies that the worshipper engages in his worship with an acute awareness of the fact that he is presenting himself before his Lord (swt) as though he sees Him. He will be absolutely sincere in his worship and his heart will be full of humility, awe, and fear.
  9. Remember that Allah (swt) is watching you as long as you pray with concentration.
  10. Convince yourself that this is your last Salah! What would be the condition of the heart if we pray keeping this in mind. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “When you stand up to pray, perform your prayer as if it were your last…” (Ahmad)
  11. It is important to remember the saying of the Prophet (sa): “If a man performs two
    Rakats of Salah without the distraction of any worldly thought, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari)

If we really want to check our faith and level of Khushu, we should look at our Salah. If our Salah is stopping us from sins, this means there is Khushu. However, if we continue sinning after regularly performing prayers, it is clear indication that our heart is deprived of Khushu. It is mentioned in the Qur’an:

“…Verily Salah prevents from Al-Fahsha (great sins of every kind and illegal sexual intercourse) and Al-Munkar (disbelief, polytheism and every kind of evil wicked deed)…” (Al-Ankabut 29:45)

Your improved and more disciplined life will in turn help the quality of your prayer to increase even more. The two should continuously reinforce each other.

Read the introductory article to the series here.