Author: Ms. Seen Noon
A saying of our dear Prophet (S.A.W.):
“The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” (Sahih Bukhari)
Our Lord has set some rules and boundaries for His creations to follow and be aware of. We are instructed to carry on with our everyday tasks with a pure heart and an alert mind. The small baby steps that we take also are accounted for in His court.
In order to properly appreciate the wonders in this world we need to act responsibly and pray to Allah with utmost sincerity and devotion. The salah needs to be filled with our heart, mind and soul, being fearful of standing in front of Allah, while humbly praising Him and aiming for jannah in the hereafter, in sha Allah. The khushu and khudu, the humility, the devotion, the submissiveness, the humbleness of our limbs, the alertness of our body parts, these are the required elements of a salah which Allah almighty will accept in the akhirah. The true essence and spirit of salah revolves around the presence of khushu and khudu, meaning inward and outward submission and devotion respectively, praising Allah and communicating with Him with our deepest interest and love. The heart remaining free of any worldly worries and tensions while our body exhibits submission of even the tiniest body part.
Uqbah ibn Amir (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever performs Wudu’ and does it well, then prays two Rak’ahs in which his heart and face are focused, the paradise will become compulsory for him.” (Sunan Abu Dawood)
Our sweet and humble Prophet (S.A.W.) advised us muslims to carry on with our religious duties with great attention and devotion, in order to be among the inhabitants of paradise, in sha Allah. Our lives should pivot around the teachings of Quran and Sunnah, guarding ourselves from the negative impact of satan and his companions.
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
“When Satan hears the call to prayer, he turns back and breaks the wind so that one cannot hear the call being made, but when the call is finished he turns round and distracts (the minds of those who pray), and when he hears the Iqamah, he again runs away so as not to hear its sound and when it subsides, he comes back and distracts (the minds of those who stand for prayer).” (Sahih Muslim: chapter: Virtues of Adhan)
The creation which refused to make sujud and was thrown out of paradise, why would he wish that the momineen get to perform sujud in front of our Lord? Satan’s one and only goal is to deprive a muslim from performing salah which is composed of an alert heart, mind, and body while connecting with the creator on the highest level of love. The satan fills our minds and hearts with unnecessary, routine, thoughts to distract us from submitting ourselves to praise Allah.
Tips to Improve Humility in Salah:
The goal of every soul is to achieve Tazkiah (purity). The first and foremost thing, try to stay in the state of purity at all times, dressing in neat and clean clothes, or keeping a dress separate for salah to make sure it is free of any impurity. Keeping an intention of performing ablution every time you go to the restroom, helps. Begin wudu with Bismillah, alerting yourself to reaffirm your faith in the acceptance of the importance of salah prayed afterwards. Learn the technique of performing ablution with perfection to gain the admiration of almighty coupled with acceptance of salah. Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“O children of ‘Adam, take on your adornment at every mosque (at the time of every salah).” (Surah Al-A’araf: 31)
- Focus: Attend to the call of nature, as the Prophet (S.A.W.) says:
“No prayer can be (rightly said) when the food is there (before the worshipper, in case he is hungry), or when he is prompted by the call of nature.” (Sahih Muslim)
As the call to prayer is heard, leave everything that you are doing, simply excuse yourself and respond to the wordings of the adhaan, indeed Allah blesses us greatly for doing so, and send al-Salat / durood shareef on our dear Prophet (S.A.W.). After that say the dua prescribed to be said after adhaan and al-Salat. We should learn the adhaan by heart and also the meanings of the words so that we can answer to the call of prayer with a clear goal, acceptance of salah!
Narrated by Anas ibn Malik (RA):
- One needs to try and limit disturbance in salah by setting a place away from noise and commotion. The things that distract you and rob you of your attention in salah should be cut off. Our communication devices, television sounds top the list of creating hindrance in developing khushu and khudhu in salah.
- Perform salah with utmost zeal and concentration, alerting your heart and mind that now you are in conversation with Allah and the goal of your salah is to get His acceptance of your prayer. The performance of salah should be done according to Sunnah of our dear Prophet (S.A.W.).
- Try to stop yourself from looking around and getting distracted, while also controlling your hands from moving here and there and scratching, yawning, fixing our clothes etc. Just imagine that you are in conversation with Allah and cannot disrespect Him by doing these actions and establish calmness and humility. Even if you are unable to continue keeping your attention in salah, try redirecting your focus again and again so as to gain the pleasure of Allah that He also keeps His attention towards us and doesn’t look away from us.
- A wise intention would be to plan our five basic prayers by adding a few minutes of dhikr before the intended prayer while waiting on the prayer mat for the adhaan to be called. This way our minds would start deviating from the worldly worries and troubles while focusing on the lives in the hereafter and our preparations for it. Allah Subhaana Ta’aala says in the Holy Quran, Surah Ar-R’ad, Verse 28
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (13, 28)
- Performing salah in congregation at the mosque is preferred. The pleasure of standing in front of Allah at a place so pure and blessed will fill your heart with humility and submissiveness while remembering Allah and His favours.
- The deep understanding of the important aspects of salah, the surahs recited, the arkaan (essential acts) to perform salah, the meaning of the Arabic verses etc. will help us in knowing the importance of reason of communicating with Allah.
- The recitation of the morning and evening adhkaar and supplications should be made a norm in order to repel satan and to drive negative forces away, by gaining protection of Allah Subhana Ta’aala from the effects of evil forces.
- Salah should not be performed only to gain a ‘reputation’ of a momin. Posing yourself to be a momin who prays religiously only to show off in front of others is a grave sin in front of Allah. Refrain from such acts..
The above mentioned tips for gaining humility (khushu and khudhu) are just like touching the tip of the iceberg, while there is a whole sea of endeavours out there which we can pursue to learn to stand in front of Allah, with a state so humble and submissive that we can connect with Almighty at the greatest level possible, gaining His pleasure and happiness. And of course, what greater feeling is there in the world than that of the joy to please Allah and connect with Him, blessing ourselves with jannah in the hereafter in sha Allah.