I was looking for ‘coolness of the eye’ as mentioned in the Hadith. ‘Iin remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest’ as mentioned in the Qur’an – how do I find Khushu in Salah. I have read many articles and gone through a lot of information on Khushu and why it is important. The question now remains, what steps I can take to attain Khushu’ in my Salah?
Many times, I felt sad after I had finished my Salah, knowing I had not given it its due rights; knowing that during half of the Salah I was thinking about everything but Allah (SWT). No matter how much I promise myself to focus on my Salah – I find myself not doing it! So what to do?
We spend a lot of time strategically planning our life out, “I am not good with time management, why not sign up for the session with a life coach!” We are always looking ways to improve ourselves and our lives, measuring our success and see how productive we are, I thought to myself, then why not my Salah? How do I better my Salah, which is license of my success in the Hereafter?
Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The first deed for which a man will be called to account for the Day of Resurrection will be his Salah. If it is found to be good, he will be safe and successful; but if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser…”
It is clear from this statement that Salah is the first thing that will be judged on the Day of Judgment and will measure how successful we are in the Hereafter – this success is measured by our productivity [Khushu’] in Salah in this life.
Ammar bin Yasir (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “One might finish the Salah, but only have a tenth, ninth, eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth, third or a half of it written for him.”
Umar (RA) said while standing on a pulpit:
“A man might have white hair in Islam (i.e. he reaches an old age while Muslim), yet, has not completed even one Salah for Allah the Exalted! He was asked why that is and he answered, “He does not perfect the required Khushu’”
What is Khushu I asked myself and what Does it means to me?
Khushu is defined as “the softness of the heart, its being gentle, still, submissive and yearning. When the heart is humble, so too is the hearing, seeing, head and face; indeed all limbs and their actions are humbled, even speech. [Humility in Prayer by Ibn Rajab]
What it means to me?
Khushu means to me exactly what is mentioned above. Khushu is being present in the moment, being humble in front of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala – who is my Rub; Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Most Merciful, and Forgiving Rub.
Khushu means knowing the sins that I have committed and now standing in front of Allah with all my sins, head down with shame and seeking Allah’s forgiveness having hope in Allah’s Mercy and fearing His punishment.
Khushu means knowing the Greatness of Allah, it means knowing the magnificence of Allah, and it means knowing the Perfection of Allah. Khushu means knowing my Creator.
What Salah means to Me?
I sat down with a pen and paper and wrote down what Salah meant to me, how was it going to change my life, how was it going to impact the way I will live my life and what role would it playing in my life daily? Why do I want to have Khushu in Salah?
- Salah is feeling the moment you are in [I wrote] – while you are in Salah, nothing matters anymore but Salah – as if the whole world has frozen and you are the only one moving, making Qiyyam, Ruku’ and Sujud.
- Salah is my link to Allah – the Divine Link.
- Salah is ascension to heavens – the Prophet (pbuh) explained that “The prayer is the Miraj of the believer.”
- Salah is peace.
- Salah is Submission.
- Salah is the detector of your actions – if your Salah is in check it will prevent you from bad actions.
- Salah is the comfort of the heart.
- Salah is remover of sins.
- Salah is ultimate submission to the Rub al-Alamîn.
Ask yourself what does Salah mean to you?
Recently I attended a class “Divine Link – Fiqh of Salah” taught by Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah, where one thing that penetrated my heart and helped me focus on the internal aspect of Salah was when he mentioned the following:
“If you cannot stand sit, if you cannot sit, lay down, but the Salah still has to be performed.
Think about your prayer and the way you understand it today… Many people are so concerned about where the hands should be – While Allah allows the external to be taken out but He does not allow the internal aspect of the prayer to be left out, when it becomes difficult. How you address Allah and how present you are when you are praying stays the same. It is not what you do; rather it is how you connect to Allah through your prayer.
A person may find that he comes and stands in front of Allah and he is thinking about everything else but the Salah though his Salah movements are perfect. Depending upon how present one is in the moment determines how much reward he is going to get of his prayer.
Don’t forget the aim of your prayer; you are here to remind yourself that it is the eternal. It is the only continual act of worship you are going to perform in all times and situations.”
When Salah becomes difficult on a believer, Allah allows the external aspect of the Salah to be taken out i.e. if you cannot stand, sit down and pray etc. however the presence of the heart and what we recite during Salah stays the same. [It does not mean we ignore our externals acts].
Steps to attain Khushu in Salah
“When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me, so that they may walk on the right way.” [Al Baqarah 186]
I make special Dua for my Khushu in Salah.
2. Get to know your enemy!
We all know shaitan is our enemy and does everything in his ability to divert our attention from good deeds and he is very successful in doing so especially in Salah.
Ayesha (ra) narrated: “I asked Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam about looking hither and thither in Salah. He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied:
“It is a way of stealing by which Satan steals (a portion) from the Salah of a person.”
“The Prophet (saw) taught us the following methods of combating the wiles of Shaitân and getting rid of waswas:
“When any one of you gets up to pray, the Shaitân comes and confuses him- ie. mixes up his prayer and creates doubts in his mind- so that he does not know how many (rak’ah) he has prayed. If any one of you experiences that, he should do two prostrations whilst he is sitting.” Bukhari, Kitab as-Sahwu, Bab as-Sahwu fil-Fard wat-Tatawwu’
Another of Shaytan’s tricks was described as follows: The Prophet (saw) said:
The Shaitân may come to any one of you when he is praying and open his buttocks and make him think that he has nullified his wudu’ when in fact he is not. So if this happens to any one of you, let him not end his prayer unless he hears the sound of it with his ears or smells the odor of it with his nose” At-Tabarani in al-Kabeer, hadith no. 11556, part 11
Know your enemy is shaitan, who does not want your success – how you deal with shaitan determines how you will stand in front of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala in Salah. As Shaykh Abu Eesa advised, beat down your Shaitan so that he becomes a little mosquito and then start praying your Salah because now his whispers will not be as strong and you will be able to overcome them. So look at your enemy – and device a plan that will help you figure out ‘how will I deal with him?’
Since shaitan is my worst enemy, he does not want me to go to Jannah and he tries every trick to steal from my Salah – I will not give him any chance – ignoring him and refusing his whispers every time he attempts to whisper and make me lose focus in Salah.
3. Plan for Salah
We plan for everything then why not plan for Salah?
- Set up reminder on the phone – to pray at the earliest time
- Choose a place to perform Salah [whether at home or at work]
- Sit down for 5 min and write down everything you have on your mind on a piece of paper, clearing your mind of any thoughts other than Salah
- Question yourself, what does Salah means to you?
- What if this is the last Salah you pray? If it is going to be your last Salah, is it going to be the cause of your safety and success or the reason for your unfortunate loss? – As mentioned in the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah: Allah’s Messenger Sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The first deed for which a man will be called to account for on the Day of Resurrection will be his Salah. If it is found to be good, he will be safe and successful; but if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser…”[Tirmadhi:413]
- Plan what Surahs you are going to pray in your Salah – Perhaps the Surahs you have recently memorized – Salah is a good way to review too J Having tried this, I was able to memorized one Surah and learned the meaning as well. I recited this Surah throughout my 5 Salah that day, focusing on what I was saying, pondering over the meaning and reviewing my Surah – Alhamdulillah an awesome experience.
I read the article “The Wisdom in washing the specified Body Parts during Wudu” and the way I performed my wudu after it completely changed.
Khushu starts right from your Wudu’ when you start washing your hands, reciting the Basmallah. It starts with knowing that it is erasing and purifying you from sins – preparing you for an awesome meeting with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala. Preparation for Khushu – humility in Salah, that submissiveness, that state of the heart which causes your limbs to be at peace, starts from this action wudu and when you say Allahu Akbar and enter your Salah the Khushu settles!
I will advise everyone to seek beneficial knowledge, names and attributes of Allah, learn about Fiqh of Salah, read about the Salah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and the companions and rightly guided predecessors. Study virtues of Salah and Wudu and implement them in your life and you will Insha’Allah see the fruits of Salah in your life. Put your efforts and see the results – improved Salah, improved state of mind, heart and life Insha’Allah.
Salah is a journey and we will only be successful when we continuously work to make it better Insha’Allah. We will have to strive in order to meet our ultimate goal – Jannah. Acceptance of Salah and Khushu [pure from Riyaa’] is in the hands of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala – that He may grant whomever He wishes. Our job is to give our 100% and do the best in our abilities and leave the result with Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala.
We can make plans but without Allah’s mercy and blessings we cannot fulfill our plans, I make Dua that Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala give us hearts that are humble in His Magnificent Presence.
When you are preparing yourself for Salah by defining what it means to you, making Dua, planning your Salah and preforming Wudu; you are setting yourself up for success as Henry Ford said, “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.”
Sources for references:
33 ways of developing Khushu’ in Salah by Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid
Humility in Prayer by Ibn Rajab
Divine Link – Fiqh of Salah notes [AlMaghrib taught by Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah]
Milestones on the road to firmness in faith – http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/the-wisdom-in-washing-the-specified-body-parts-during-wudu/
 Tirmidhi, As-Salat, Chapter: What is said about the first of deeds which will be called. Hadith: 413
 Abu Dawud, As-Salat, Chapter What is said about decreasing in prayer, Hadith: 796
 Al-Ihya, Vol.1, P.202