بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
Truly all praise is for Allah, who created everything in the best form. And may blessings and peace be upon the one whom He sent as a messenger, to remove humanity from the depths of darkness into the light with His permission, and to guide them to the upright path.
Our lives are filled with countless meetings, social or work related, but none as important, productive and beneficial as one meeting. The Prophet (ﷺ) informs us of the time and details of these meetings,
عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا صَلَّى يُنَاجِي رَبَّهُ فَلاَ يَتْفِلَنَّ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ، وَلَكِنْ تَحْتَ قَدَمِهِ الْيُسْرَى ”
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whenever anyone of you offers his prayer he is speaking in private to his Lord. So he should not spit to his right but under his left foot.” (Sahih bukhari, number 531)
For other meetings we prepare by canceling less important meetings, resting ahead of time, being in the right mental state, reading up on the subject of the meeting, perhaps a brother may prepare further with a suit and a tie while a sister may with a certain dress and coordinated shoes and much more.
Khushu’ & it’s wonders:
Whilst you may be wondering how you can prepare for the greatest of all meetings with Allah- a meeting you have five times a day, the great scholar, Ibn Al-Qayyim (r) highlights the importance of mental preparation during the prayer. In this one statement, he describes the one ingredient we need in our five daily prayers, which is- khushu’ i.e low, humble, submissive heart with calm, soft, minimal and gentle movements in the body.
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said, explaining the difference between the khushu of true faith and the khushu of hypocrisy, ‘The khushu of true faith is when the heart feels aware and humble before the greatness and glory of Allah, and is filled with awe, fear and shyness, so that the heart is utterly humbled before Allah and broken as it were, with fear, shyness, love and recognition of the blessings of Allah and its own sins. So no doubt the khushu of the heart is followed by khushu of the body. As for the khushu of hypocrisy, it is something that is put on with a great show, but there is no khushu in the heart.’
Imagine the sweetness of iman as you attain that level of khushu in prayer five times a day. Imagine the life you’d be living, rain or shine, basking in the warmth of iman, empowered to take on challenges to reach the highest level of success in this worldly life and the eternal blissful paradise! Surely we all want that. And equally so Allah has mad the key to attain such coolness of our eyes within easy reach of every single Muslim.
Ibn Taymiyyah (r) describes with masterful insight into how we can attain so much iman from our prayer:
“Two things help us to [develop khushoo’]: a strong desire to do what is obligatory, and weakness of distractions.With regard to the first, the strong desire to do what is obligatory: [this means that] a person strives hard to focus on what he is saying and doing, pondering on the meanings of the Qur’an recitation, dhikr and du’aa’s, and keeping in mind the fact that he is speaking to Allaah as if he sees Him, for when he is standing in prayer, he is talking to his Lord.
With regard to the second, weakness of distractions:
This means striving to push away all distractions that make you think of something other than the prayer itself, and warding off thoughts that keep your mind off the purpose of the prayer. This is something which differs from one person to another, because the extent of waswaas has to do with the extent of one’s doubts and desires and the heart’s focus and dependence on what it loves, and its efforts to avoid what it dislikes.”
In’sha’Allah these posts will be written in a way that will allow you to read over them over a couple of days, thus many non essential details have been left out. Attaining khushu’ first requires us to learn a few life skills and then to enjoy the prayer fully reflecting on the beauty and wisdom of the various recitations and postures therein. These notes do the latter, i.e describe briefly the immense beauty in the words and postures of the prayer such that you understand it and reflect on it as you pray. As for more elaborate life skill empowerment to be in the state to enjoy the recitation, we will be covering over the next couple of posts.
We all know the sheer pleasure in worldly activities. Let us now experience the deepest sweetness of iman in prayer, as the Prophet (ﷺ) exemplified for us so well in this authentic Hadith from Sahih Muslim, “Made beloved to me from the things of your world are the perfume and (company of) women. And the prayer has been made the Coolness of My Eyes!”
May Allah give us all such a state of mind and life Ameen !