Our Salah-Did we really perform it?

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

This again is taken from one of lectures of my sheikh. Salah, one of the pillars of islam which holds islam in the life of a muslim is also called the miraj (ascencion) of mumin for it gets the mumin the kurb of Allah SWT, that is the state of closeness to Allah SWT mainly when the slave falls in sujud before his Rabb as there is no screen between him and his Rabb.We see that this salah, our miraj has been neglected in many ways by the ummah of beloved Prophet SAW when he SAW stressed so much that even at the end of his times, he kept uttering salah, salah, salah, so the ummah knows its importance. One part of this ummah has abandoned salah altogether and another part of ummah performs salah neglecting the essence or ruh of the salah and its the ruh of salah that gives victory  to a believer when Allah SWT says in a hadith Qudsi ‘I can guarantee my jannah only for those slaves who establish salah and as for those who neglected it, I cannot give any guarantee.’

This article is mainly for those who fall in second category who are careless about the essence of salah and this essence is nothing but khushu and the presence of mind in salah. This is a major defect which has been easily overlooked by many from a normal layman to those who look pious but the consequence of it is not that small as we think. We spend our whole life performing salah without khushu because we dont even recognize that its a major defect. Our salah has no strength in it and so weak that the moment a muslim steps out of masjid, he cant even control his eyes falling on haram things while Allah SWT when describing the strength of salah says ‘Innas Salaata Tanha Anil Fahshaai wal Munkar. (Verily the prayers restrain one from immorality and wrongdoing)‘ Al-Quran 29:45. Salah and sin can never get together just like water and fire cannot get together and look at the confidence that our beloved Prophet SAW had in salah; a man came to Prophet SAW and he told such and such is doing minor thefts and also other evil things. Prophet SAW asked him does he perform salah and he replied in affirmative when Prophet SAW replied, then leave it for he will soon leave the evil acts. SubhanAllah! do we have that really in us. Years and years go by and we do perform salah but we are in the same position. Neither Allah SWT can be wrong in His SWT speech (naudhubillah) for He SWT is the most truthful nor can be our beloved Prophet SAW who is the most truthful among men. So the fingers had to be pointed to our ownselves and yes the reason we lack this quality is because we lack khushu in our salah.

This infact is a disease the ummah is afflicted with for our victory is placed in salah with khushu as Allah SWT says that” It is the believers who are successful: those who have khushu (khashioon) [Qur’an 23:1-2]. Clearly the success of believer and the ummah as a whole lies in khushu of salah and one of our predecessors has said that whenever people go away from deen, the first thing that comes in their heart is loss of essence of ibadat which will neither give them nafa (gain or pleasure) in their ibadat nor make them distress when they abandon it. If we dont feel the pleasure in ibadat and distress when we commit sin is something serious because once a sahabah RA came to Prophet SAW and asked him SAW, Ya Rasoolullah, how will I know if I have eeman in my heart for which he SAW replied ‘if you find pleasure when you do good deed (yaani enjoyment) and distressed when you commit a sin, think that you are a mumin.’ One thing to be noted is we do get some satisfaction for we get to fulfil obligatory act eventhough its not of good quality for which we should be thankful to Allah SWT but what we wont get is blessing and the real taste of salah and enjoyment in it for Prophet SAW said salah is coolness of his SAW eyes.

How do we get khushu?

Now when we come to know how important khushu is, for our salah doesnt change our inner and outer as it should, lets know what is khushu and how do we obtain it. Khushu is something close to the meaning of humbling oneself before Allah SWT and there is zahir (apparent or outer) khushu and batin (inner or hidden) khushu and both is required in salah. We are said to have outer khushu when we dont graze our eyes here and there, when we dont keep correcting our dress be it that covers head or other part of our dress, when we dont cough deliberately as some do or when we dont do any unnecessary motion like moving head and so on. When we do that without intention like when we have flu and real cough, then such acts wont affect our khushu. The batin khushu is nothing but the presence of mind in salah. Here people fall in two categories, one who never bother about that and the other knows that its necessary to have this khushu which brings one close to Allah SWT but thinks that this is out of their control and only saints can achieve this and the advice is for people of this category.

First we should know that Allah SWT has made His SWt deen easy and He SWT says that in Quran and then He SWT says believers succeed who pray with khushu and now if its possible only for Prophets SAW or saints, Allah SWT wouldnt have commanded this to all the muslims, for its against His SWT justice to ask us to do something which we cannot and that too for the act of salah around which the life of a muslim goes and without which the spirit of a muslim is dead and we know that Allah SWT is the most merciful of the merciful. So first thing we should have in our mind is that obtaining khushu in salah is indeed easy and we are given control over it. The question is how easy it is. The answer is it is as easy as the morsel of food goes into our mouth and yes it is so. It makes us think difficult due to our mere ignorance and heedlessness. If we have to khushu, we must first intend to have that. The morsel of food wont get in our mouth unless we intend to eat that only when our fingers will head towards the food.

Intention is the key word here. When we have the intention we will get attention in our prayer. One way to observe this is intend to say subhana Rabbi al A’laa 5 times like in sunnah or nawafil salawat instead of 3 times we do normally. This would inshaaAllah bring khushu because when we recite 3 times which is normal, its more like mechanical but now this 5 times have intention behind it and that would fetch our concentration. Have the intention that we have entered the court of Allah SWT and when we fall in sujud, we are very close to Him SWT. We should intent for every letter we recite and pronounce it clearly. We can memorize three ayats of Quran daily and keep reciting that in our salah rather than the normal surahs which automatically comes in our tongue without even intending.

The other thing is many of us think that obtaining khushu means we dont get any thoughts in salah which when we dont get, we feel that its impossible for us. Some go to the extent of giving up salah as they say that there is no khushu and so whats the use. What we should know is what we are thinking is something supernatural as we cant get rid of thoughts altogether. Every second so many thoughts go on in our head and this goes on for hours and suddenly when we stand in musallah and pray for few minutes, we cant expect that our brain gets all calm getting rid of thoughts. This is not the requirement of khushu. What is required is when we get thoughts, we shun the thoughts and keep proceeding and we do not sink in the thoughts and this is khushu. As long as we dont intentionally think something and leave out the thought that comes into our mind without involving in it, inshaaAllah our salah will be said to have khushu. Many of our case is that, a thought comes, we go fully into it like planning business or studies or whatever and this is heedlessness which is not excused. We should keep proceeding without worrying about the thought that crossed.

Remember Allah SWT wants only to put our efforts, the outcome is His SWT responsibility and we shouldnot worry about that.  We should know that Allah SWT loves us. When we look at our salah paying no attention which infact is highly disrespectful, Allah SWT still brings us back to musallah when our salah is worth throwing on our faces. We dont deserve all this guidance and tawfeeq for performing acts for Allah SWT is not in need of it and its mere fazal of Allah SWT that He SWT is bestowing His SWT mercy on us. Among us are muslims born to muslim parents and we didnt have choice in that and its Allah SWT Who put the faith in our hearts and made us muslims and among us are those who converted to islam and its Allah SWT who dragged those from kufr towards islam when we He SWT is not in need of it. So when we intend to obtain khushu in salah and work towards it, Allah SWT will definitely bless us as He SWT describes in the Quran and make us successful in both the worlds and make our hearts peace and content.

Thanking Allah SWT and seeking His SWT help

After salah, lets not forget to thank Allah SWT for making us perform salah and seek forgiveness for we can never worship Him SWT as He Swt deserves to be worshipped. When we thank Allah SWT, He SWT will preserve our good deed and bless more and when we seek forgiveness, our heart gets humble and its this humility the main object of our worship which will inshaaAllah take us to jannah.

Ya Allah SWT we seek from You, perfection in wudhu, perfection in salah, Your perfect pleasure and Your perfect forgiveness and do not turn away our hearts after guiding us to the truth and keep us firm on Your path and make us and our family members among those who establish salah and grant us khushu in our salah and make our hearts compassionate, humble and turning towards You in repentence often. We are looking forward for Your mercy O Merciful of the Merciful. Ameen ameen thumma ameen.

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