Salaah: Explanation of The Thanaa and Isti’aadha

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Praising Allah (Thanaa)

Inorder to attain kushoo’ in salaah, it is important to understand the words you are saying. After the first takbeer you should say:

سُبْـحانَكَ اللّهُـمَّ وَبِحَمْـدِكَ وَتَبارَكَ اسْمُـكَ وَتَعـالى جَـدُّكَ وَلا إِلهَ غَيْرُك

“How perfect You are O Allah, and I praise You. Blessed be Your name, and lofty is Your position and none has the right to be worshipped except You.”

The term, ‘subhaanak’, incorporates one of the greatest fundamental meanings of Tawheed and one of the basic principles of belief in Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, which is declaring Him to be above any fault, shortcoming, corrupt notions or false ideas that are attributed to Him by the mushrikeen or heretics.

“He is Allaah, beside Whom Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All‑Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allaah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him”

[al-Hashr 59:23]

A man came to Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) and said:

Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah” we know: there is no god other than Him. “Al-hamdu Lillaah” we know: all blessings come from Him and He is the One Who to be praised for them. “Allaahu akbar” we know: there is nothing greater than Him. But what does “Subhaan Allaah” mean?

He said: “This is a word that Allaah has approved for Himself, and has enjoined His angels to say, and inspired the elite of His creation to utter.”

 

حَمْـد- is to praise Allah with love and reverence, whether good has happened to you or not. As mentioned in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, ‘حَمْـد’ means that ‘all thanks are due purely to Allah, alone, not any of the objects that are being worshipped instead of Him, nor any of His creation. These thanks are due to Allah’s innumerable favours and bounties, that only He knows the amount of. Allah’s bounties include creating the tools that help the creation worship Him, the physical bodies with which they are able to implement His commands, the sustenance that He provides them in this life, and the comfortable life He has granted them, without anything or anyone compelling Him to do so. Allah also warned His creation and alerted them about the means and methods with which they can earn eternal dwelling in the residence of everlasting happiness. All thanks and praise are due to Allah for these favours from beginning to end.”

After praising Allah and affirming your belief in His oneness and negating anything attributed to Him, we seek refuge in Allah from shaytaan-turning away from our enemy and turning towards our Protector.

Three of the expressions of seeking refuge from Shaytaan:

Note: All three are from the way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, so it is good to use one or the other from time to time when commencing to recite Surah Fatiha in the first Rak’ah.

<< أَعـوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْـطانِ الرَّجيـم >>

  • “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan, the Rejected”

«أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزَهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ»

  • “I seek refuge with Allah from the Evil One (shaytan), the Rejected, from his coercion, lures to arrogance and his poems.”

«أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ السَّمِيعِ الْعَلِيمِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ مِنْ هَمْزَهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ»

  • “I seek refuge with Allah, the Hearing, the Knowing, from the cursed Satan, from his coercion, lures to arrogance and his poems.”

Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen shares some wisdom of seeking protection of Allah:

“The benefit of Isti’aadha is such that the Shaytaan be far away from the person’s heart while he is reciting the Book of Allah, such that he reflects and ponders upon the Qur’aan, understands its meanings and benefits from it. There is a difference between you reciting the Qur’aan while your heart is present versus you reciting the Qur’aan while your heart is distracted! But when you recite it while your heart is present (and attentive), you get to know meanings and benefit from the Qur’aan what you will not get if you read it while distracted and inattentive. Try it for yourself, you’ll see!” [ Sharh Mumti: volume 3]

Below is a detailed meaning of the terms used in the iti’aadha, from the Arabic root, by Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen from Sharh Mumti:

معني أعوذ بالله أي ألتجئ وأعتصم به لأنه سبهانه وتعلي هو الملاذ وهو المعاذ…قال العلماء الفرق بينهما أن اللياذ لطلب الخير والعياذ للفرار من الشر:

يا من ألوذ به فيما أُؤَمِّلُهُ
ومَن أعوذ به مما أُحاذِره

لا يَجْبُرُ الناسُ عظماً أنت كاسِرُه
ولا يهيضونَ عظماً أنت جابِرُه

“A’oodhu billah means “I seek refuge and protection in/with Him, because He, Glorified and Exalted, He is the One from whom all good is sought (called ‘malaadh’ in Arabic), and He is the One to whom we turn to seek refuge and protection from others (called ‘Eaadh’ in Arabic).”[The poetry cited shows this meaning from classical literature]

الشيطان من شَطَنَ إذا بعُدَ لبعده من رحمة الله فإن الله لعنه أي طرده. و أبعده عن رحمته
أو من شاط إذا غضِب لأن طبيعته الطَيشُ والغضبُ والتسرعُ ولهذا لم يتقبل أمر الله سبحانه وتعالى بالسجود لآدم بل ردَّه روراً وأنكر السجود له “وقال أأسجد لمن خلقتَ طيناً”[الإسراء:61].

والمعنى الأول هو الأقرب ولذلك لم يمنع من الصرف، لأن النون فيه أصلية

“The word ‘Shaytan’, in Arabic is:

Either derived from shatana which means to be distanced, i.e. shaytaan is far from the mercy of Allah because Allah cursed hi, i.e. repelled him and distanced him and distanced him from His mercy

Or it may be derived from the word ‘Shaata’ meaning to be angry, because his nature is to be reckless, angry and hasty, and thus he did not accept to follow the command of Allah to prostrate to Adam, and immediately (with pride, arrogance and hate) refused to prostrate to Adam and said, “Should I prostrate to he whom You created from clay?” (Surah Isra: 61)

The first meaning seems to be the more correct and that is why the word shaytaan is used in the Arabic language in different morphological forms because the letter Nuun in it, is one of its root letters.”

أما الرجيم فهو بمعنى راجم وبمعنى مرجوم لأن فعيلا تأتي بمعنى فاعل وبمعنى مفعول فمن إتيانه بمعنى فاعل سميع و بصير و عليم والأمثلة كثيرة ومن إتيانه بمعنى مفعول جريح و قتيل و كسير وما أشبه ذلك.

فالشيطان رجيم بالمعنيين فهو مرجوم بلعنة الله والعياذ بالله وطرْدِه وإبعاده عن رحمة الله، وهو راجم غيره بالمعاصي فإن الشياطين تؤُزُّ أهلَ العاصي إلى المعاصي أزّاً

“As for Rajeem, it means to be pelted away or the one who distances other away. Shaytaan is indeed pelted away with the curse of Allah-we seek refuge in Allah- and he is distanced away from the mercy of Allah.

Shaytaan is also the one who distances others away through sins, because he entices and severly pushes the sinful person towards sins!”

Understanding the meaning of the thanaa and the isti’aadha will grant us the ability to attain khushoo’ from the beginning and maintain it throughout the salaah. Keep an eye out for the next article and until then, may Allah make salaah the coolness of our eyes ameen.

Wa asalaamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh.

 

 

Salaah: Quraan Recitation

The Prophet Muhammed (ﷺ) loved and enjoyed reciting the Qur’aan and reflecting on its beauty and wisdom whilst in the qiyaam, so much so that at times his feet would swell from the length of his recitation! His closest friend, Abu Bakr, would experience some of the deepest emotions as he recited the Qur’aan and shed tears of joy, love and awe of the Almighty. Some of the early pious and knowledgeable Muslims would ask their severe painful wounds to be treated only once they have immersed themselves in pondering over the meanings as they recited the Quranic words of Allah during the prayer so that the most severe of the pain would be lost in the joy of the recital!

The standing posture ensures a physical state that lends itself to the optimal spiritual state of love, humility, awe and deep reverence of the Almighty, the Lord of the Worlds. This posture facilitates a state of mind in which the Believer can recite the Qur’aan wholeheartedly with the awe that is most conductive to drawing the full benefit from the Qur’aan. Allah informs us in the Qur’aan that “O you who believe, if you have taqwa (a state of awe and fear avoiding sins), Allah will give you the Criterion (i.e ability to understand the right from wrong).”

Such a standing posture, thus, helps create this state of mind and establishes the mental and spiritual state to fully reflect upon the meaning of the Quran as it is recited, drawing from those words the wisdom, experiencing their emotional appeal and appreciating deep intellectual conviction, as well as communicating with the Almighty.

The Qur’aan is a book of guidance which not only provides sound rational sensible arguments but it also fills the Reciter’s heart with overwhelming emotional satisfaction through its highly phonetically influencing words, stories, loving and awe-inspiring connection with Allah, pleasant imagery of Paradise, the horrific portrayal of the Hell-fire, and the captivating reality that it paints in the minds of the reader as they recite the Quran reflecting on its message!

Especially, when you empty your mind from competing materialistic thoughts, and instead open you heart and mind to the Qur’aan, it pours upon you its devine treasures. The Qur’aan is a means to everlasting happiness, and this is a definite key to unlocking its treasures.

No wonder the prophet (s.a.w) rated the prayer as the most beloved of experiences he felt, “Made beloved to me from the wordly (matters) is the fragrance and the women-folk, and the Prayer has been made the cooling (and comfort) of my eyes!”

Whenever anything worried him, he rose immediately to draw pleasure in the Prayer, as is reported authentically in the hadith. It was not only the Prophet who experienced this immense joy from prayer, but even in our times today, despite the wide spread immortality, we still see many others among Muslims who lose themselves completely for cherished moments in the beauty of the Qur’an as they recite it during their prayers, with uncontrollable tears of sheer joy!

Summary: The Qur’aan does wonders for the rational mind and the emotional heart. And the unique Islamic standing posture in the prayer sets the most suitable mental state to receive its wisdom, and creates also an ideal spiritual atmosphere to experience the coolness of eyes from the prayer! The key, as mentioned above, is to turn your mind away from all competing desires and, instead, direct it towards Allah and focus it soley upon His beautiful words, the Qur’an. You will then discover that there is nothing in life as great as that feeling!

May Allah fill our lives with the sweetness of Iman from prayer and recital of the glorious Qur’aan, ameen!

Salaah: Movement

Before moving on to the tranquillity one must attain when reciting the Qur’aan, it is imperative that we touch on the topic of movement during salaah.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) stated that the basic ruling on moving whilst praying is that it is makrooh unless it is done for a reason. However it may be divided into five categories:

1-     Obligatory movements

2-     Forbidden movements

3-     Makrooh movements

4-     Mustahabb movements

5-     Permissible movements

The obligatory movements are those on which the validity of the prayer depends. For example if a person notices something impure on his ghutrah (head gear), he has to move to remove it and take off his ghutrah. That is because Jibreel came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he was leading the people in prayer and told him that there was something dirty on his shoe. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took it off whilst he was praying and carried on praying. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 650; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’, 284.

Or if someone tells him that he is not facing the qiblah, he should move to face the qiblah.

The forbidden movements are continuous movements done for no reason, because this kind of movement invalidates the prayer, and whatever invalidates the prayer is not permissible, because it is like mocking the signs of Allaah.

The mustahabb movements are those done in order to do things that are mustahabb in prayer, such as if a person moves to make the row straight, or if he sees a gap in the row in front, so he moves forward whilst praying, or if there is a gap in his row and he moves to fill the gap and other such movements which allow one to do a deed that is mustahabb in prayer, because that makes the prayer more perfect and complete. Hence when Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and stood to his left, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took hold of his head from behind and made him stand on his right. (Agreed upon).

The permissible movements are small movements done when there is a reason, or large movements done in cases of necessity. Small movements done for a reason are like what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did when he was praying and he carried Umaamah, the daughter of Zaynab the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), whose maternal grandfather he was. When he stood up he picked her up, and when he prostrated he put her down. Al-Bukhaari, 5996; Muslim, 543.

Large movements in cases of necessity include praying whilst fighting. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As‑Salawaat (the prayers) especially the middle Salaah (i.e. the best prayer ‑ ‘Asr). And stand before Allaah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salaah (prayers)].

239. And if you fear (an enemy), perform Salaah (pray) on foot or riding. And when you are in safety, offer the Salaah (prayer) in the manner He has taught you, which you knew not (before)”

[al-Baqarah 2:238-239]

If a person prays whilst walking he is undoubtedly moving a great deal, but in cases of necessity that is permitted and does not invalidate the prayer.

The makrooh movements are all movements other than those mentioned above. This is the basic principle concerning movements whilst praying. Based on this, we say to those who move whilst praying that their action is makrooh and detracts from their prayer. This is something that is seen in many cases, so you may see a person fiddling with his watch or pen or ghutrah or nose or beard and so on. All of that comes under the heading of makrooh, unless it is done a great deal and is continuous, in which case it is haraam and invalidates the prayer.

He also stated that there is no specific number of movements that invalidates the prayer, rather it is any movement that contradicts the idea of prayer in the sense that if anyone saw this man doing that it would look as if he were not praying. This is the kind of movement that invalidates the prayer. Hence the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) defined it as something based on custom (al-‘urf) and said: If movements are many and are continuous then they invalidate the prayer, without mentioning a specific number. Some scholars defined three such movements but that requires evidence because everyone who sets a certain limit or number or manner should produce evidence, otherwise he is introducing new ideas. Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh, 13/309-311

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about a man who moved a great deal whilst praying: did that invalidate his prayer and how could he rid himself of this habit?

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) replied:

The Sunnah is to focus on one’s prayer with proper humility, body and soul, whether it is an obligatory prayer or a naafil prayer, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Successful indeed are the believers.

2. Those who offer their Salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness”

[al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2]

With regard to defining the movements that contradict this ease and focus in prayer and limiting them to three movements, there is no hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to support this idea. Rather that is the suggestion of some scholars for which there is no reliable evidence.

But it is makrooh to fidget during the prayer, such as touching one’s nose, beard or clothes and being distracted by that. Fidgeting a great deal invalidates the prayer. But if it is done a little, according to what is customary, or is done a great deal but is not continuous, then the prayer is not invalidated thereby. But it is prescribed for the believer to maintain proper focus and humility, and to avoid fidgeting a little or a lot, and to strive to make his prayer perfect.

The evidence that small movements, or repeated movements that are not continuous, do not invalidate the prayer is the report which says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) opened the door for ‘Aa’ishah one day whilst he was praying. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 922; al-Nasaa’i, 601; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 601.

And it was proven in the hadeeth of Abu Qataadah (may Allaah have mercy on him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led the people in prayer one day when he was carrying Umaamah the daughter of Zaynab. When he prostrated he put her down and when he stood up he picked her up.  

Fataawa ‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam, 162-164

He must pray in a tranquil and dignified manner. This is one of the most important pillars and obligations of prayer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to one who prayed badly and was not tranquil and dignified in his prayer: “Go back and pray for you have not prayed.” And he did that three times. Then the man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, by the One Who sent you with the truth, I cannot do any better than this, teach me.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When you stand up to pray, do wudoo’ well, then turn to face the qiblah and say takbeer, and recite whatever you can of Qur’aan. Then bow until you are at ease in bowing, then raise your head until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then sit up until you are sitting up straight and are at ease in sitting. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then get up until you are standing up straight. Then do that throughout your prayer.” (Agreed upon).

According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: “Then recite the Essence of the Qur’aan (al-Faatihah) and whatever Allaah wills.”

This saheeh hadeeth indicates that being at ease in the postures is a pillar or essential part of the prayer, and an important obligation, without which prayer is not valid. Whoever pecks out his prayer (by moving too rapidly), there is no prayer for him. Khushoo’ (proper focus and humility) is the essence of prayer. It is prescribed for the believer to pay attention to that and strive to achieve it.

 

Salaah: Standing Posture

Key to Attaining Khushu’

After entering the Prayer, the Prophet (ﷺ) would stand with his hands folded- right hand holding the left wrist or directly on the left wrist- above his navel area (some other narrations: on his chest) and then have his eye sight at the place of prostration (sujood).

As to the standing position, it denotes the servants observation of his duty towards Allah. In this instance, the discipline of the one who prays is to remind his heart of the Almighty present before him and to give up, as much as he/she can, personal desires, and to bring to the core of his/her heart Allah’s Greatness and their dependence upon Him.

Hence, after the fixation of this fact in the heart, our recitation will carry more meaning and we will be disclosed to the secrets of the salaah, such that when you look at the place of prostration-which is the ground, you will be reminded of the principle origin of man, or declining the head, implying humility to the Sovereignty of your Lord

These disciplines further remind us to consider ourselves present, standing before Allah, conveying His Greatness and preparing the heart for this private conversation with Allah, obliging it to humbleness, submission, calmness, fear, hope, humility and modesty till the end of the salaah.

We are to stipulate that our heart should be keen in observing these affairs, and not look at salaah as a burden. It is with much regret that in reality we are negligent in these areas because our hearts are distracted and filled with much of the dunya and that which doesn’t benefit it.

The most appropriate posture shown to us by the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is the most befitting when praying to the most Mejestic. When we fold our arms loosely on our chest, in a somewhat relaxed manner, with our eyes lowered, as we do in prayer, that creates a mental frame of mind redirecting you towards having humility and respect with an atmosphere of awe and tremendous love with reverence and grandeur of the Almighty.

While standing in such a position of serenity, humility and love for the Lord, the Master, the Creator, we recite Quran- the Book of Allah- with fine, slightly-melodious, recitation and deeply spiritual reflection upon the meaning; absorbing the divine wisdom; feeling repentant of shortcomings; with hope and resolve for reforming.

Truly the most appropriate posture to experience the sweetness of imaan and feel the cooling of our eyes!

Salaah: Takbirat-ul-Ihraam 

Leave the worldly life, enter the prayer, i.e private conversation with The Lord of both You and I and everything around us.

  • Say “Allahuakbar”
  • Raise hands to the ear lobes or to the shoulders

Key Terms

Takbeer: To declare the greatness of someone

Al-Ihraam: To enter into a state of having prohibited materialistic things upon our self and devote the next few minutes to our private conversation with Allah which is what our prayer is

Allah: From Ilaah, i.e. The one who is worshipped with love, reverence, and feeling His supremacy, Grandeur

Akbar: The greatest, Largest

A key to Coolness of My Eyes:

Takbeer includes the meaning to enlarge something/someone or to regard it/them as large, or to declare their largeness and greatness. In essence ‘takbeer’ is to say Allahuakbar.

When we say Allahuakbar, we are saying Allah is the Greatest and the Largest. Why be anxious and worried about anyone or any fear in this worldly life since all sources of worldly fear are all so small while Allah is greater than anyone and everyone, in fact He is the Greatest. So leave the worries  of this world and all thoughts aside for the next ten minutes of prayer. Since Allah is the Greatest, why lose your concentration in prayer with anything or anyone lesser than Allah, The Greatest! 

Thus we raise both hands by their sides and up to the shoulder level or to the ear lobes and we raise them forward and up, brush aside and leave behind all thoughts, materialistic love and concerns behind and we raise our hands forward towards the qiblah and with it flows your whole attention and focus onto the beginning of the private conversation that is about to start between you and Allah, the Greatest, the Almighty, the Lord of the Worlds, the Compassionate, the All-Knowing, The one who Guides and the All-Wise. Hence, what can be more appropriate as you make this commitment than to declare that Allah is the Greatest- greater than anything worldly that we are leaving behind for the next ten minutes as we turn our hearts and minds to the One that matters above all else, our Creator and THE REAL TRUE PROVIDER!

We declare the greatness of Allah verbally, let that verbal declaration direct our mind to bring full attention and focus to what we are declaring of the Greatness of Allah. Furthermore, the physical gesture compliments and reinforces our new frame of mind directed solely at this new private conversation with the Devine!

The tongue commences this new experience, and directs the mind while our physical actions reinforce the soothing and awe-inspiring atmosphere of connection and privately conversing with the Devine, Allah!

More wisdom on Raising the Hands

قال ابن العثيمين الحكمة في رفع اليدين تعظيم الله عز وجل فيجتمع في ذلك التعظيم القولي والفعلي والتعبد الله بهما فإن قولك الله أكبر لاشك لو استحضرت معنى هذا تماماً لغابت عنك الدنيا كلها لأن الله أكبر من كل شيء وأنت الآن واقفٌ بين يدي من هو أكبر من كل شيء. ثم إن بعض العلماء علل بتعليل آخر إشارة إلى رفعٍ الحجاب بينك وبين الله والإنسانُ عادة يرفع الأشياء بيديه ويعمل بيديه. وعلل بعضهم بتعليل ثالث وهو أن ذلك من زينة الصلاة لأن الإنسان إذا وقف وكبَّر بدون أن يتحرك لم تكن لصلاة على وجه حسنٍ كاملٍ ولا مانع أن تكون كل هذه مقصودة. [شرح الممتع على زادالمستقنع للشيخ ابن عثيمين]ا

The great scholar Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Uthaymeen, shed light on the wisdom of raising hands when we beginning n the prayer with Takbeer-ul-Ihraam, writing in his famous fiqh Classic, Sharh Mumtia:

“We say the wisdom in raising the two hands is a means of declaring the greatness and supremacy of Allah, the Exalted, such that all combine together: the asserting of greatness and supremacy of Allah verbally, by an action. And thereby we worship Allah verbally and by our limbs because the saying of Allahuakbar is such that if you were to comprehend its meaning fully, the whole world would disappear (all the matters of this dunya would seem meaningless and you wouldn’t concentrate on it rather you would concentrate more on the takbeer and what is to follow) because Allah is greater and larger than everything (i.e. From your mind due to the sublime effect of the meaning of Allahuakbar) and all this while you realise that you’re  standing in front of the One who is greater than everything!

Some scholars gave another reason in raising the hands with takbeer, that by doing so you lift the barrier between you and Allah because usually humans tend to do that action when lifting things. 

Other scholars gave a third reason that by raising your hands you beautify the prayer because had a person just stood there and said the takbeer without any motion, it would not be displaying the best manners.

All three may very well be the reasons for raising the hands.”

As for appreciating the meaning of Allahuakbar, Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen, explained it with three verses from the Quraan:

قال الشيخ ابن العثيمين: معناها أن الله تعالى أكبر من كل شيء في ذاته وأسمائه وصفاته، وكل ما تحتمله هذه الكلمة من معنى. ٠

قال الله عز وجل:“وما قدروا الله حق قدره والأرض جميعا قبضتُه يوم القيامة والسماوات مطْويَّات بيمينهِ سبحانَه”(الزمر ٦٧)١

وقال عز وجل: “يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السماء كطيِّ السِجِلِّ للكتبِ كما بدأنا أولَ خلقِ نعيده وعداً علينا إنَّا كنّا فاعلين” (الأنبياء)٢

  وقال تعالى: “وله الكِبرياءُ في السماوات وَالأَرْضِ وهو العزيزُ الحكيم” (الجاثية

Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen explained:

” (Allahuakbar) it’s meaning is that Allah, the Exalted, is greater than everything in respects to His Self, His Names and His Characteristics, and in all that this expression includes in its meaning. Allah said, “And they have appraised Allah with a true (befitting appraisal, while the earth entirely will be (within) His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Glorified, Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.” (Surah Zumar)

Allah also said, “The day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a written sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat. That is a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.” (Surah Anbiya)

And Allah the Exalted said, “And to Him belongs all grandeur with the heavens and the earth, and He is the exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Surah Jathiyah)

How can we avert our attention away from The Creator when He is The master Who is perfect in His Mastery; the Great One Who is the perfect in His greatness; the Tolerant One Who is perfect in His toleration, the Omnipotent Who is perfect in His omnipotence; the All-Knowing who is perfect in His Knowledge, the One who is perfect in all types of Nobility and Greatness-that self is only Allah-the Most revered and the Most Powerful. 

سبحانك لانُحصي ثناء عليكَ أنتَ كما أَثْنَيتَ على نفْسِكَ

“Glorified are You, we cannot enumerate Your praise. You are exactly as You have praised Yourself.”

أَسأَلُكَ بكلِّ اسْمٍ هو لك: سميت به نفسك، أَوْ أنْزلتهُ في كتابك، أو علمته أحدًا من خلقك، أَوِ اسْتأثرت به في علم الغيب عندَكَ

I ask you through every name by which You have named Yourself or You have revealed Your name or taught someone from amongst Your creation, or kept it with You in the Knowledge of the Unseen

May Allah allow us to attain khushoo in our salaah and allow the prayer to be the coolness of our eyes Ameen.

Salaah: The Coolness of My Eyes

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

(6:162-163)

Introduction

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 ‏”‏‏

Narrated Anas:

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 !