Qualities of the People of Jannah – Conclusion of the Series

ayah 8

“These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein  forever.”  (Al-Mu’minun 23:9-10)

Al-Firdous is the highest levels in Paradise. The origins of this word come from the Farsi language word used for a green valley, a garden with all types of fruits and flowers.

The Prophet of Allah (sa) said of Firdous: “When you pray, ask for Firdous, for it is in the middle of heaven and is higher in grade than the heaven, and above Firdous is Allah’s throne; moreover, the canals of heaven flow from Firdous.” (Bukhari)

Based on the qualities of the people of Jannah we have discussed in this series of articles, here is the checklist for ensuring you would be among those, who qualify for this great bliss of Firdous:

  • humility in prayer,
  • staying away from useless activities,
  • constantly working on improving your character, finding what needs to be cleaned up inside of you,
  • guarding your modesty and chastity,
  • fulfilling the rights of those under your care, fulfilling your oaths and contracts and honouring that which is entrusted to you.

True success is not confined to transitory worldly and material prosperity but compromises both the success in this life and the hereafter. It is attained through sincere faith and righteous deeds. This is a fundamental principle, which cannot be denied either by ‘worldly success’ of the evil doers or by temporary ‘failure’ of the righteous believers.

(Read the introductory article to the series here.)

Qualities of the People of Jannah – Part 7: Guard Your Salah

ayah 7

“And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours).” (Al-Muminun 23:9)

Salawat is the plural of Salah. In verse 2, the act of Salah itself was implied, but here the plural number means the individual prayers offered in their own time. This highlights the importance of prayers, as the 7 qualities started with Khushu in prayer and end on the punctuality of prayer. “They strictly guard their prayer” can be understood in the following ways:

1. They strictly adhere to the prescribed times of Salah. Be punctual with your Salah. Develop the habit of praying at the earliest hour. Do not procrastinate! Abdullah has narrated that he asked the Prophet (sa): “Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” Abdullah asked: “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied: “To be good and dutiful to your parents.” Abdullah again asked: “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied: “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s cause.” Abdullah added: “I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet (sa) would have told me more.” (Bukhari)

2. They perform Salah with due regard to the proper performance of all the physical postures.  They do not ‘peck like a crow’, when doing RukusandSajdas, as every posture in Salah, even the rests, are important. Performing your prayer in a satisfactory manner should lead to a radical change in the way you lead your daily life. Salah must be as the Quran states: “Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha’ (i.e., great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.).” (Al-Ankabut 29:45) In turn, your improved and more disciplined life will increase the quality of your Salah even more. The two should continuously reinforce each other. Also, we should utilize the occasion of Sajda for making additional Duas to Allah (swt). The Prophet (sa) said: “A servant is nearest to his Lord when he is in Sajda, so increase your supplication when in Sajda.” (Muslim)

3. Pray in a pure physical state – perform your Wudu with care and perfection. We must be very careful in performing the acts of Wudu, as we learn from the following incident: “Once, the Prophet (sa) remained behind us in a journey. He joined us, while we were performing ablution for the prayer, which was over-due. We were just passing wet hands over our feet (and not washing them properly), so the Prophet (sa) addressed us in a loud voice and said twice or thrice: ‘Save your heels from the fire.’ (Bukhari 1:164, narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Amr] “…and then he washed his feet up to the ankles.” (Bukhari 1.186, narrated by Amr)

4. They perform Salah, as performed by the Prophet (sa) (as close as possible to the Sunnah). Mode of prayer is also important as the prayer itself. The Prophet (sa) ordered not only to offer the prayer but also “to offer prayer in the way you see me offering”. (Bukhari)

(Read the introductory article to the series here.)

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

Success1

“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.