Justice for All: Who Will Be Bankrupt In Allah’s (swt) Court?

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

There is a Hadeeth where Prophet (sa) said: “On the day of Qiyamah, there will come a person who is bankrupt”- in fact, he asked a question: “Do you know who a bankrupt person is?”

The Sahabah said: “Well, according to us, a person who doesn’t have Dirhams and Dinars, or gold or silver, is a bankrupt person.”

In our terms, perhaps, it’s someone who doesn’t have dollars and pounds. It is a fact that someone who doesn’t have material things is a bankrupt person. Rasool Allah (sa) said: “No, it is a person who comes on the Day of Judgement with a lot of Salah, with a lot of Zakah, and with a lot of acts of worship.”

You know, if I heard that, I would think I am hearing wrong. The bankrupt person on the Day of Judgement is someone with a lot of prayers, a lot of worship, and lots of acts of charity! A lot! How can that person be bankrupt?

The Prophet (sa) continued: “And then when they are standing in front of Allah (swt) with all these deeds, they have backbitten this one, gossiped about that one, slandered this one, eaten the wealth of the other, deceived another, and harmed another and so on. So Allah (swt) takes away these good deeds one by one as a payment because on that day, the currency will be deeds.”

The payback is in the form of your good deeds. Such as:

Salah in the first row – gone

Zakah – gone

Hajj – gone

Fasting – gone

All the good deeds – gone

What happens thereafter? There are still so many people waiting for their rights. The Prophet (sa) said: “There will come a time when that man has nothing remaining and the people in front still want their right. Allah (swt) will say: Take their sins and put them on his shoulder.”

So the sins are put on the shoulder of the individual who violated somebody’s rights. He was the one who used to read Salah in the first row; he was the charitable one; he was the pious one according to the whole world; but because he usurped the rights of the fellow human beings and disregarded them completely, he is going to pay for that. When he went, he went with a lot and as he is progressing on that day (in fact, there is no progress, he is going back) because he has lost everything and on top of that, he has got sins committed by other people. May Allah (swt) forgive us. Ameen.

So, this is the clear Hadeeth that explains the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings. We need to make sure that we are humble; and remember, it doesn’t mean that you fulfill the rights of those who are pious alone. No! It doesn’t mean you fulfill the rights of the Muslims alone. Whether they are sinful, whether they are non-Muslims, no matter who they are and what they have done, they have rights! So much so, it doesn’t stop at human beings! In fact, it continues to all the creatures of Allah (swt), including the ecosystem. Subhan’Allah!

May Allah (swt) have mercy on us and may He (swt) opens the doors on us. Ameen. I hope the explanation would help in understanding the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings; and how actually, these are the fruits that are seen clearly on the person who is really close to Allah (swt).

[Video] Loving the Prophet (sa)

Here is a brief but amazing lecture by Mufti Ismail Menk on how to love the Prophet (sa), and glad tidings given in the Quran that those who love him and obey him will be near him on the Day of Judgement and in Jannah as well. This is mentioned in Surah an-Nisa:

“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.” (An-Nisa 4:69)

The Dua that changed my World

dua(This was one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)

Making Duas was never important to me. I always used to think that since Allah (swt) knows what is in my heart, He will listen to me. Consequently, there was no conscious effort in my Salah or otherwise to make Dua during rain, or between Adhan and Iqamah, in prostration, after reciting Quran, after Fard Salah, on Friday, while travelling, before opening a fast or at the time of Tahajjud. However, my thinking and understanding of the Deen changed considerably after my new homecoming to Deen.

It was something magical and surreal. There was something divine about this change. It made me happy and satisfied. It completed me. It gave me an identity and put my aching heart, wandering mind and unrest soul at peace!

My life took 360 degrees turn four years ago. A lecture at a friend’s house, followed by a few lectures at Markaz Al-Huda in Sharjah, and my heart gradually attached to the Deen.

It happened immediately after I realised that I had been wasting my life. I had surrounded myself only with things that would drift me away from the Deen, rather than bring closer. This realization was painful but satisfying. It put me to shame, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that He opened up my mind to this reality.

The next big challenge was to remain steadfast upon the change. Guess what helped me to continuously come closer to Allah (swt), seek His pleasure, and increase the knowledge of Deen? The Duas, of course! My favourite Dua at that time and even today is: “Ya Muqqalib Al-Quloobi, Thabbit Qalbi, ‘Alaa Deenik.” (“O, turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your Deen.”) (Muslim)

I learnt some very meaningful Duas and started reciting them regularly, Alhamdulillah. Each one of it sounds more beautiful and meaningful, since now I make a conscious effort of learning the meaning in English and reciting the Dua in Arabic. Slowly and gradually, my misconception of the fact that Duas are not answered faded away, as I saw, in front of my eyes, my Duas being answered, irrespective of the language… one by one, Alhamdulillah!

Just like many of my sisters and brothers in Islam must have discovered the power of Dua, I too am discovering and enjoying it. In fact, sometimes a Dua that I have asked for is answered beautifully, and it leaves me awe struck and amazed. Sometimes the Duas are answered as I have asked, while at other times my Duas are in fact replaced by something better than I could never have imagined. I have been experiencing the miraculous beauty of the bond between the Creator and His servant getting stronger, Subhan’Allah!

To think of any single Dua that was answered is difficult for me at this point in time, because like I said, Allah (swt) has been so Merciful, Masha’Allah, that when He guided me to His Deen, He made ways of bringing me closer to Him, day by day. The recent Dua that I made, was answered in a manner I could have never imagined – I will share with you this beautiful incident.

My seventy-three years old mother was sick in Pakistan. I had seen her in 2011, and in 2014 she fell really sick. I told my family back home that I was coming from Canada, because I wanted to meet her. This was in February, this year. I went and spent 12 days with her, Alhamdulillah. During this time, she recovered from her illness and seemed to recuperate day by day. What happened to her? Well, a mix of multiple problems. She had angina, breast cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, and in February she developed severe bronchitis, due to which she used to have breathing problems, as water would fill up in her lungs. To top it all, old age itself is a big problem. When I came back and saw her for the last time on the 8th of March, my heart was aching and my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to come back to Canada, but I had to!

After coming here, I got busy with various chores. We were moving from Toronto to Mississauga. The kids were starting Hifz program here. Then I slipped from the stairs of my new house. There was too much on my plate at that time. I used to call mummy on Sundays and speak to her for a while. I used to make a lot of Dua for her health.

I remember vividly the Sunday before she passed away – I couldn’t call her, as we were going somewhere. In the car, while it was raining outside, and we were travelling to a relative’s house, I made a sincere Dua to Allah (swt). I begged him to relieve my mother of all the pain and never make her dependant on anyone. I prayed to Allah (swt) to ease her of all her sufferings and trials. I prayed for her to die peacefully, as a Shaheed, whenever her time came. I was deeply saddened by the fact that I wasn’t close to her and I couldn’t serve her or do anything for her, except make Dua.

That night in the bed and all the nights that followed, I repeated the same Dua. I didn’t want my mother to suffer any more, as I had always seen her sick. She had always been a fighter. The following Thursday, on the 12th of June, 2014, she passed away – peacefully – in her bed, Alhamdulillah!

I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I didn’t speak to her on the last Sunday that she was alive, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that she died in her own bed, not in the hospital. She went away without giving trouble to any of my siblings. I sincerely hope and pray that she had recited the Kalimah, when she passed away. I beg all the readers of this insignificant note to recite this Dua for my mother with me:

“O Allah (swt), forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make an honourable reception for her. Expand her entry and cleanse her with water, snow and ice, and purify her of sin, as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Gardens, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.” Ameen. (Muslim)

Valentine’s Day Special: Far From the Madding Crowd

rp_Vol-2-Issue-4-Its-Valentines-Day-300x225.jpgBirthdays, Halloween, bridal showers, baby showers, this day, that day, and the endless Dholkis! Come February and the entire town is painted red. Love is in the air, or so we are made to believe. Girls are coordinating red clothes and accessories, while guys are crowding the flower shops. Vendors are pleased. Their business is doing well. Families at home are not sure whether they should switch off their television sets or shamelessly sit through the entire transmission, and witness what is being broadcast in the name of love. Parents and teenagers are equally dazed: should they jump in and join the maddening crowd or should they sit on the fence holding on to the tattering family values?

If we could, we would perhaps name every day of the year and celebrate it. It is as if we need reasons to splurge and show we are not slacking in this race. Allah mentions:

The trendsetters, the celebrities, the people that we drool over and follow in every word and action will dissociate themselves from their followers. What does that mean? It means that they will take no responsibility for the actions of their followers. And why would they do that? It is because on that Day when they won’t be able to save themselves how can they possibly save anyone else?

“And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment. [And they should consider that] when those who have been followed disassociate themselves from those who followed [them], and they [all] see the punishment, and cut off from them are the ties [of relationship]. Those who followed will say: ‘If only we had another turn [at worldly life] so we could disassociate ourselves from them as they have disassociated themselves from us.’ Thus will Allah show them their deeds as regrets upon them. And they are never to emerge from the Fire.” (Al-Baqarah 2:165-167)

Who are the people who will disassociate themselves? Who are the ones who will wish to return? And why would they wish to return?

This verse presents a sketch of the Judgement Day. The leaders will dissociate themselves from their followers. Let’s replace the word ‘leaders’ with ‘trendsetters’ and rephrase the sentence. The trendsetters, the celebrities, the people that we drool over and follow in every word and action will dissociate themselves from their followers. What does that mean? It means that they will take no responsibility for the actions of their followers. And why would they do that? It is because on that Day when they won’t be able to save themselves how can they possibly save anyone else?

One simple criterion to evaluate our actions is that before venturing into anything ask: “Why am I doing this?” If it pleases Allah (swt) pursue it; if not, divert your attention to something of Khair.

What does this tell us? Does it give us a wake-up call? Does it give a momentary room to the voice of the conscience that asks us, “Hey, where are you heading?”

Imagine a scenario, where you are standing on the road and there are people walking in front of you. Mindlessly, you start walking behind them because…err let’s say you are impressed by their dressing, their appearance, the way they carry themselves, or perhaps you are walking behind them because you are not even sure why you are doing that. Now where would you end up by following these people? Look around yourself. Have you reached your home yet? Or is it that you have come to a place that is far away from your destination? How do you feel now? Are you pleased that you mindlessly followed someone because you were impressed by them?

Sit back and reflect; what does this example teach you?

We learn that in this world when we intend to follow someone, when we decide to tread in their footsteps, or act upon what they say, we should make use of our senses. We should ascertain where they are taking us, what interests they are instilling, what they are stopping us from, what they are saving us from, what they are promising, what they are putting us into and where do they wish to take us. Make use of your intellect.

How can the mirror of the heart shine if material images are covering it? How can the heart journey to God if it is chained by its desires?

What does the Qur’an say about the people who don’t use their intellect? Allah (swt) equates them to a herd of sheep, who can hear the calls and cries of their shepherd but don’t understand a thing. They mindlessly start treading in the direction where they see others walking.

Ever seen hens at a farm? The animals and crops at the farm are the farmer’s livelihood as well as food. Sometimes he slaughters an animal from his herd to feed his family. But how does he attract the animal towards himself? Running after them with a butcher’s knife will scare the animals away. The farmer therefore uses a clever strategy. He throws some grains and the innocent little chicken comes walking to its master. The farmer grabs it and within seconds it’s gone. The grains are temporary pleasure for the chicken but a strong tool for the farmer to tempt the chicken to come out of its coop.

The pomp and glitter of this world, and the urge to be around certain type of people are temporary pleasures of this world. By mindlessly chasing every slogan, charm or a person we act like a herd of sheep. The predator’s trap, however, will not just take our lives but also have an impact on our hereafter.

When the love of Allah (swt) enters the heart of a Muslim then nothing in the world can stop him from the way of Allah (swt). Our Prophet Ibraheem (as) was a living proof of that. 

Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Anam, verse 32: “And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion…so will you not reason?”

Let’s also read what does the Ayah before this says: “Those will have lost who deny the meeting with Allah, until when the Hour [of resurrection] comes upon them unexpectedly, they will: ‘Oh, [how great is] our regret over what we neglected concerning it.’”

People continue to live in denial until their meeting with the Creator. It is not until they are laid down in their graves that they realize their negligence. They regret the time wasted on unnecessary things and being forgetful of the Questioning. A week goes by and we don’t know where our time went: more concern for the worldly matters and ignorance to the hereafter.

Someone shouts: “It’s Valentine’s Day!” And the entire nation begins its celebrations. Amidst criticisms and objections, someone comments: “What’s wrong about it? The poor little boy who sells flowers at the signal at least earns a meal for his family on that day.” Someone else asserts: “Why do we have to make life so boring?”

But who says a Muslim’s life has to be boring?

The Creator directs the sail of our boats, “For each is a direction toward which it faces. So race to [all that is] good.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148) That is our path. The path of Khair. But what is this Khair? Khair is anything that benefits the society. Does our celebration of birthdays, Halloween, Basant, Dholkis, bridal showers and baby showers benefit the society? Or is it simply an excuse to show we are wealthy and live on the other side of the bridge? What will we say when are questioned about: In what matters did you spend your wealth? In throwing parties and exchanging unwanted gifts among people who can purchase anything that they wish to buy?

In Surah al-Fatihah we make Dua to Allah (swt) to “Show us the right way. The way of those who were favoured.” We find the detail of such people in Surah an-Nisa, verse 69, “the Siddiqeen [the truthful], the Shuhadah [the martyrs] and the Saliheen [the righteous].”

By blindly following rituals, traditions and celebrations, whose path are we really following? The ones who evoke His anger or of those who have strayed? Giving zakah or purchasing a sacrificial animal for Eid is burdensome for us, but splurging money on whims and desires is not.

For a Muslim, true love happens only once and that is with his Creator. This is what we learn from our Prophet Ibraheem (as) as we read in the Qur’an:

“‘My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous.’ So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said: ‘O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.’ He said: ‘O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.’ And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, ‘O Ibraheem, You have fulfilled the vision.’ Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favourable mention] among later generations: ‘Peace upon Ibraheem.’ Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.” (As-Saffat 37:100-110)

What will we say when are questioned about: In what matters did you spend your wealth? In throwing parties and exchanging unwanted gifts among people who can purchase anything that they wish to buy?

When the love of Allah (swt) enters the heart of a Muslim then nothing in the world can stop him from the way of Allah (swt). Our Prophet Ibraheem (as) was a living proof of that.

In his book, Al-Hikam, Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Ata’illah As-Sakandari says: “How can the mirror of the heart shine if material images are covering it? How can the heart journey to God if it is chained by its desires?”

One simple criterion to evaluate our actions is that before venturing into anything ask: “Why am I doing this?” If it pleases Allah (swt) pursue it; if not, divert your attention to something of Khair.

May Allah (swt) allow us to cleanse our souls and protect us from wandering blindly on the path of Shaytan, Ameen.

Adapted from Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s Lecture: “How to Express Love: Sacrifice or Valentine?”

Fiqh of Tawbah

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The Prophet (sa) used to ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness more than 70 times a day. (Bukhari) Should we not be concerned about asking for forgiveness 70 times more than that?

The term ‘Tawbah’ is defined in two ways. In the linguistic sense, Tawbah is derived from the Arabic root word ‘Taba Yatutbu’, which literally means to ‘return to something’. Sinning is not a part of human beings’ natural disposition. Hence, when we sin we fall out of our Fitrah, we repent we return to our Fitrah. In the conventional sense, Tawbah is defined by Hafiz Ibn Hajar as leaving a sin due to its ugly nature, feeling remorseful over indulging in a sin, resolving to never repeat a sin and returning the rights of the people, if it was involved in a sin.

Elements of Tawbah

For repentance to be accepted, it needs the following important elements.

  1. Sincerity of Intention

We repent to Allah (swt) because we fear Him. It is not because of people or any other reason. Allah says: “…invoke Him…with the intention that you are doing your deeds for Allah’s sake only…” (Al-Araf 7:29)

  1. Feeling remorseful

The Prophet (sa) said that remorse is repentance (Ibn Majah).

  1. Resolve to stay away from sins

If this determination is lacking, it can nullify the Tawbah itself. However, if one returns to the sin, it doesn’t nullify the repentance as long as this resolve is intact. For one to stay determined on one’s Tawbah, one should keep doing good deeds, stay away from the places and sources of sins, adopt good companionship, engage in Dhikr and be prepared for death.

  1. Return the rights

Return the rights to Allah (swt) (if it’s Allah’s (swt) right that is taken away) and/or to people (if it’s people’s tangible or intangible right that is taken away).

  1. Repent before it’s too late

Tawbah is accepted only if offered before the prescribed time. This time for an individual is when one sees one’s death approach him or her. Hence, it’s the time before the soul leaves the body or reaches the throat. As we see in the example of Firaun, the time he made repentance was not accepted as he had already seen his death approach him.

Collectively, the time of Tawbah will expire when the sun will rise from the west instead of the east, which is one of the biggest sign of the Day of Judgement. (Muslim)

Virtues of Tawbah

There are many benefits to achieve by doing Tawbah. Following are some of them:

  1. Attaining love of Allah (swt)

Allah (swt) says: “…Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance…” (Al-Baqarah 2:222) Those who are loved by Allah (swt) will receive guidance, Allah’s protection and safety from hellfire.

  1. Success

Allah (swt) says: “…And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Nur 24:31) This can also refer to worldly success, in terms of giving up sins, purifying our habits, etc.

  1. Acceptance of good deeds

Allah (swt) says: “And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance.” (Al-Furqan 25:71)

  1. Forgiveness and Allah’s (swt) Mercy

Allah (swt) says: “But those who committed evil deeds and then repented afterwards and believed, verily, your Lord after (all) that is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Araf 7:153) The mercy of Allah (swt) expands to such an extent that evil deeds change into good deeds for the one who does Tawbah. (Al-Furqan 25:70)

  1. Blessings in this world and hereafter

Blessings in this world may include, rain, children, spouses, rivers, gardens and wealth that is not necessarily in huge sums but will benefit more and go a long way. (Nuh 71:10-12) Likewise, the blessings of hereafter includes pardon, paradise, safety from disgrace, being with the Prophet (sa) and having our light perfected. (At-Tahrim 66:8)

  1. Receiving the supplications of the angels

Allah (swt) says: “Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah) (saying): ‘Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire!’” (Ghafir 40:7)

  1. Obeying the will of Allah (swt) and pleasing Him

Allah (swt) says: “Allah wishes to accept your repentance…” (An-Nisa 4:27) Allah (swt) becomes happy with the repentance of His slave such that He erases sins completely as stated by Prophet (sa) that a sinner who repents is like the one who has not committed the sin. (Ibn Majah)

Errors in making Tawbah

There are certain mistakes that people make in Tawbah, of which one needs to be careful:

  1. Not repenting at all: This is a characteristic of Shaytan; Allah (swt) commands us to not follow the footsteps of Shaytan, as indeed he is our plain enemy.
  2. Delaying Tawbah: One thinks that when they will get to a certain point in life or a specific age, then they will repent. However, we do not know when our death is written for us. What if tomorrow never comes?
  3. Not giving Tawbah its due importance: This means to be heedlessness towards Tawbah or forget to repent because it is not important for one anymore.
  4. Heedlessness of sins: One performs good deeds but is not careful about leaving sins.
  5. Fear of returning to sins: Some people think they are too weak to give up certain sins. Hence, out of fear of returning to that sin again, they do not repent. However, repentance will be the cause of increase in strength, Insha’Allah!
  6. Leaving Tawbah out of fear of what people will say: We live in a society where many of us are people pleasers. However, a Mumin or a Muslim is Allah’s (swt) pleaser first and foremost. Moreover, pleasing people is a goal that will never be achieved. If we live to please Allah (wwt), Allah and his people will be pleased with us, Insha’Allah!
  7. The argument of Qadr (predestination): We often hear people saying: “If Allah wants me to pray, he will make me start praying.” However, to understand Qadr, we need to see the two types of will. The first type is existential will that is only in Allah’s (swt) control, for example, our birth and our death. We have no control over them. The second type is legislative will, which consists of commands and prohibitions. In this, we have a choice or free will for which we will be judged upon by Allah on the Day of Judgement. Tawbah falls in the second category.
  8. Despair of Allah’s (swt) mercy: This happens because we forget that the doors to Tawbah are always open His slaves, as Allah mentions: “…Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins…’” (Az-Zumar 39:53) Moreover, Allah mentions at different places in the Quran that even a hypocrite has a chance to repent (An-Nisa 4:145-146); even a disbeliever has a chance to repent (Al-Maidah 5:73-74); even an oppressor has a chance to repent (Al-Buruj 85:10).

There are various signs of an accepted Tawbah in this world and in the hereafter. In this world, the sign is that the person, who did Tawbah, is guided to do good deeds. He or she becomes a caller to Tawbah and has an ultimate good ending. Additionally, the sign of an accepted Tawbah in the hereafter is easy reckoning of deeds by Allah (swt) and attainment of paradise.

We have amongst us a prime example of the one who repented and the one who didn’t repent, along with their ultimate ends. When Adam (as) disobeyed Allah (swt) he asked for forgiveness. However, when Iblees disobeyed Allah (swt) he asked for respite and an extension of life until the end of time to lead the children of Adam (as) astray. Allah (swt) answered both requests. Hence, it is Tawbah that determines one’s ultimate end in the hereafter: paradise or hellfire!

Adapted from a workshop organized by Azan in Karachi. Summarized for Hiba Magazine by Nageen Pervez, team member, Azan.

The Divine Connection

The Divine Connection

Whenever you think about Salah, you have to consider it in terms of numbers and quality.

On the Day of Judgement, there will be stations or levels. Salah will be the first thing about which people will be questioned. You cannot pass that station unless your Salah is complete and acceptable. If an individual comes with mega achievements, while lacking in Salah, the angels will ask the person: “What about your Salah?” The angels will check the numbers and the quality of your Salah. The quality depends upon Sunnah, Nafil, Qiyam Al-Lail, and of course the amount of Khushu (presence of one’s heart and mind) in one’s prayer. If your Salah is excellent, you will be able to cross that station without any worries.

The question is: what is the quality of our Salah? Most of the times, the only thing we remember from our Salah is the recitation of Allahu Akbar. (May Allah forgive us! Ameen!) No wonder we are commanded to end the Salah with the Tasleem and then recite Astaghfirullah (O Allah, forgive me) for any shortcomings in our Salah.

The importance of Salah can be deduced from the Hadeeth of Umm Salamah (rtaf), who narrated the final few moments in the life of the Prophet (sa) before his death. He advised his Ummah about Salah and its importance.

Consider the Sahabah. They did not have luxury cars. They did not have Masjids conveniently located near their residences. Some of them lived so far from the Masjid, they actually asked the Prophet (sa) if they could shift somewhere nearer. The Prophet (sa) refused, promising them great rewards for their efforts. What about today? We have Masjids in every neighbourhood. We have at our disposal cars and public transport. Most of us are in good health. Yet, some of us are too preoccupied with the worldly things – like cricket or television shows – to pay heed to the Adhan.

Some of us are preoccupied with our meals. It is a Sunnah to eat a quick meal and thereafter, perform Salah with ease. However, we do exactly the other way around. We hurriedly pray Salah and then sit down to enjoy a leisurely meal. The same goes for when some of us have to answer the call of nature. Instead of relieving ourselves and then praying with a fresh ablution, some of us pray hurriedly and then rush to the washroom. Subhan’Allah!

We have to understand that Salah is our Divine connection with Allah (swt). In particular, the Sujood is the position in which we have the closest connection with Him. This is why we have been instructed to pray earnestly, while we are prostrating. Now, when we say it is a connection, we have to consider this: the quality of any connection has to be really, really good, if you want to ensure a swift and efficient response. If the connection is faulty, the response will be less and/or delayed. So what are the different factors that affect this connection and its quality? Consider the following flowchart:

Divine Connection Flowchart

Following this flowchart, you can understand the reason behind the complain of some people that they have been supplicating for years and years, yet their particular Duas have not been heard. You can also comprehend the meaning of the following Hadeeth:

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “A person leaves (after having prayed), and nothing is recorded for him except a tenth of his prayer, (or) a ninth of it, (or) an eighth of it, (or) a seventh of it, (or) a sixth of it, (or) a fifth of it, (or) a fourth of it, (or) a third of it, (or) a half of it.” (Abu Dawood)

Salah involves our body and our souls. Our bodies are nourished by food, drink and regular exercise. However, no amount of meals can nourish the soul whose five meals are the five obligatory prayers. The soul is nurtured by heavenly sources, not television watching. Moreover, praying a couple of Salah per day will not fulfil the soul, whose staple diet is of five obligatory Salah and the in-between snacks are the voluntary prayers and Qiyam Al-Lail.

Now, most of you reading this will have a very clear idea about the importance of Salah. The question is: What do you do, if you find your relatives or your friends to be lax with their Salah? How do you broach the subject with them? What pointers do you give them? Here is a brief introduction to the importance of Salah that you can discuss with them:

  • It is one of the pillars of Islam.
  • It has to be performed regardless of circumstances or how excruciating they are (whether one is ill, travelling or on a battle-field).
  • It was obligated during the journey of Miraj. Allah (swt) brought the Prophet (sa) into the heavens and communicated this obligation directly. This was unlike the other pillars, which were obligated through a revelation. Consider also that the original number of prayers were fifty. Allah (swt) brought them down to five upon the request of the Prophet (sa) but promised to reward them for fifty.
  • Salah is the only pillar of Islam for which you need to be in a state of ritual purity or Taharah.
  • It is the only obligation that is preceded by an official announcement – the Adhan.

We have written quite a bit about Khushu. The question arises: What is Khushu? Having Khushu in Salah basically means to have a protective wall around yourself that protects your Salah. When you are praying, you have to focus upon what you are saying. You have to maintain the high quality of your Divine connection. Scratching, looking at the time, yawning and all such similar acts indicate that your heart is not into Salah. You are only performing the rituals mechanically without any Khushu.

So how can you gain Khushu?

Before Salah

  • Don’t pray if you are fatigued or hungry, or need to use the washroom.
  • Dress nicely. Designate some clothes and always wear them, while preparing for Salah. This has a profound psychological effect.
  • Do a fresh ablution.
  • Go to the Masjid early – as soon as possible.
  • Pray two units of Tahiyyat Al-Masjid.
  • Start with Sunnah prayers.
  • Pray as close as possible to the Imam.
  • Avoid chattering with people. Focus upon Dhikr.

Note: While praying, your mind plays back the last few tasks you have been doing, and the only time you get into ‘Salah mode’ is when the Imam says the Tasleem. Hence, the advice is to get into the prayer mode by dressing up, doing ablution and praying Sunnah prayers or two units of voluntary prayer. This will help you concentrate, while you are praying the Fard Salah!

During Salah

  • As you say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and start your Salah, remember this: Allah (swt) is Greater than anything that occupies your mind.
  • As you fold your hands over your chest, realize your position of humility.
  • Reflect upon the Arabic phrases that you understand.
  • Aim to make this Salah the one, of which you will be proud on the Day of Judgement.
  • Maintain your Divine connection and avoid looking around, while you are praying.

After Salah

  • Say ‘Astaghfirullah’ after your Tasleem. This will avoid making you too proud or too lazy, or too dependent upon that one quality Salah you have just performed.
  • Remain seated. Recite a few supplications. Don’t be in a rush to get up and leave.
  • Pray Sunnah and Nafil prayers.

We pray to Allah (swt) to grant us Khushu and make our Salah a means of making us enter Jannah. Ameen!

Adapted from a lectureshop organized by “LiveDeen”. Transcribed for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.