Spiritual Dimension

In Summary

It was said that when the time for prayer came, Ali would shake and his face would go pale and he would say, “The time has come to keep the trust that was offered to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they declined to bear it and that I [man, foolishly] undertook to bear it..” [in reference to ayat 33:72]. The “trust” is the responsibility of free will – the responsibility to choose between good and evil.

When we die, Salah is the first responsibility we will be judged for, if it is sound [accepted], then all our deeds after it will be sound [accepted].. and if it is corrupt [unaccepted], then all our deeds after it will be corrupt [unaccepted]. The Prophet said, “whoever abandons it [prayer], has disbelieved [“kufr”]!”

It is not only Salah’s obligatory aspect, however, that should compel us to tend to it. This would be an incomplete intention. Consider this example- People originally used to eat to survive, right? No longer so in today’s world where people now survive to eat! Eating nowadays has become an art form- with colorful varieties to tempt the eye, multiple course meals, and delectable desserts afterwards. To savor each and every bite, to gain that pleasure- Such should be the case for Salah. Go to it because you love it and because you yearn for the pleasure you find in it!

Prepare ahead for it. Just as a nice meal starts out with a tasty appetizer before the scrumptious main course, start your preparation for Salah with the sounding of the Adhan. Wash up again even if you still have your wudu’- give yourself more light!

Start asking yourself, “What am I about to do now? Who am I about to meet?”, and don’t just cover up your ‘awra with any old clothes, but make extra effort to beautify yourself for The King – change into something beautiful and presentable. Turn off your phone, choose an undecorated prayer rug, face the qibla, straighten your lines if in congregation, and aim to pray in the first row for better concentration.

This is Salah – the most beautiful way to worship! An act that brings such a satisfying comfort, a true quenching of that spiritual thirst! Your body maybe on earth, but your soul is floating around The Most Merciful’s Throne! Salah is Allah’s greatest gift to us. In it is the peace and true happiness that we all yearn and search for. This life is full of hardship, trials, and aches. We need to rid ourselves of these aches. We need relief from it all and who possesses this ultimate relief? No one but Allah. And this relief we will find in Salah. “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient”

Remember what the Prophet would say when he was heavily burdened with a matter and the time for prayer came: “Relieve us with it, O Bilal..” This comfort – this true peace and pleasure is attainable not just by the great men and women who came before us, but by anyone who can unlock the secrets of Salah as they did. The secrets for reaching these levels of peace, pleasure and relaxation does not only lie in better focus and concentration, but in depths far greater:

Ensure the Presence of the Heart – Your heart must be in it if you want to feel the effects. This is not at all difficult to achieve. All you need is 10 minutes to focus on the love you hold for Allah. Forget this world for now… there’s more than 23 hours for that! Devote these 10 minutes now to Allah and to the peace and pleasure that comes from being with Him.

Comprehend the Words and Actions of Salah – When you are aware of what you are saying and doing then you remain focused. Since Allah ordained Salah for us then this is achievable. Did you know, that you are only rewarded for the parts of Salah that you are aware and cognizant of? So if we can stay focused throughout a 2-hour movie or an exam, for sure we can stay focused now. Everything in this world worships Allah around the clock, surely we can do 10 minutes. Just seek Allah’s help and you will reach a point where you’d wish Salah never ended!

Come to Salah with a feeling of Hope [Rajaa’]- Hope is a deeper emotion that must be present when you pray. The more you know about Allah, the more your heart can feel this hope – hope for His Mercy, for His forgiveness, His acceptance, His love, His closeness. Note that “hope” is different from “wish”. Hope is coupled with action – where you work for what you hope for. So hope for Allah’s Mercy and ask Him for it,

“Call upon Me; I will answer you.”
وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Feel Allah’s Hayba! – which means to have a sense of fear and awe paired with a deep reverence and veneration that one feels when standing in His hands. An example of a small element of Hayba is what is felt towards a parent or one in authority. Hayba is the highest level of fear. Recall the duas the Prophet taught us which arouses in us this Hayba: “There is no salvation from You except through You.” And “I seek refuge in You, from You.” There are angels who have been in prostration and bowing since the day they were created and will remain so until the Day of Judgment, saying – “Exalted are You, we have not worshiped You as You deserve to be worshiped..”

With attributes such as “The Mighty”, “The Compeller”, “The [justifiably] Proud”, “The Avenger”- the more you know about Allah [and the more you know about yourself in comparison to Him], the more Hayba you will feel towards Him. Everything is under His supremacy and His total control.

Who are we to defy His commands?! “What is the matter with you that you are not conscious of Allah’s majesty..”1 Allah Almighty addresses us all, “O mankind, it is you who are in need of Allah… If He wills, He can do away with you and bring forth a new creation.”2

The Prophet was describing the Hayba angel Jibreel felt before His Lord on the night of Israa and Miraaj – He said, “Jibreel was like a worn-out camel’s cloth from the fear of Allah!” Enter Salah with Great Love for Allah – For his beauty, for his kindness in dealing with you and for His favours and blessings upon you.

Feel a shyness and a shame – We commit much wrong but He continues to be so patient with us and he continues to cover and protect us despite all our transgressions. Allah says, “Certainly will the believers have succeeded – They who during their prayer are humbly submissive.”

The above secrets will help you attain that “Khushu’”- that feeling of genuine humbleness and submissiveness that must be reached in Salah for you to benefit and succeed in this world and the next and for you to magnify the rewards of your prayer. Do you notice how the flood of thoughts and distractions only comes once you start Salah [it’s not present before]? It is this very Khushu’ that Satan always tries to steal away from you in Salah. A thief would not bother stealing from a king’s palace because it is well guarded, nor from a poor man’s house because it is empty.

The house he always aims for is the rich man’s house because it has the wealth, but without the guards. This is what you are. You are the rich man- You have the Khushu’ [the wealth], but you don’t have the guards that those who have reached Khushu’s highest levels have [those of the palace]. And so Satan will keep trying to distract you to steal away from your prayer’s worth. But as you start applying what you’ve learned from this series and as you begin to feel that happiness and peace that Salah was prescribed for, you will easily begin to overcome these distractions and the quality of your Salah will improve significantly.

Ask yourself, in which month do you feel you attain the most “khushu’”? It is Ramadhan, isn’t it? And during which time in Ramadhan, specifically? It is during the Taraweeh or night prayers, right? And in which segment of those prayers, in particular? It is during the dua at the end – where everyone raises their hands together and repeats a unified “Ameen” behind the Imam. That’s when the eyes swell with tears and the sobs echo throughout the Masjid. Why at that moment do we feel the Khushu’? What is different in this segment of the prayer?

This is because at this moment, you suddenly feel that you are actually talking to Someone.. You realize that you are conversing with Allah directly! Therefore, to live these precious moments and achieve the needed Khushu’ not just once a year, but in each and every Salah you perform everyday, feel with your total being that you are: Talking to Him – Addressing Him – Conversing with Him. Most people think Salah is a monologue and have forgotten that our Salah is really a dialogue from beginning to end. Live this dialogue – Feel the other side!