In the name of Allah, the Compassionate,
During the night, Abu Lu’lu’ Al Majoosi hid in the shadows in preparation for
the Fajr Salah where he would execute his satanic mission: to Murder the Ameer
of the Believers: Umar ibn Al-Khattab - Radi Allahu Anhu. Umar would lead the
Fajr with a long surah, giving time for the community to join the congregation.
As he led that Salah, Abu Lu’lu advanced from a dim pillar, a poisoned dagger
hidden in his sleeve. He jumped in front of Umar Radi Allahu Anhu and tore open
his stomach with the dagger. Abu Lu’lu’ then attempted an escape through the
congregation, slashing left and right, murdering in his path many others. One
Companion threw a cloth over and – realizing that he was caught – Abu Lu’lu’
killed himself. Umar completed the Fajr Salah and passed away later in his bed
Radi Allahu Anhu.
The importance of the prayer in Islam cannot be understated. It is the first
pillar of Islam that the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned after mentioning
the testimony of faith, by which one becomes a Muslim. It was made obligatory
upon all the prophets and for all peoples. Allah declared its obligatory status
under majestic circumstances. For example, when Allah spoke directly to Moses,
"And I have chosen you, so listen to that which is inspired to you. Verily, I am
Allah! There is none worthy of worship but I, so worship Me and offer prayer
perfectly for My remembrance." [Taha 13-14]
Similarly, the prayers were made obligatory upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him) during his ascension to heaven. Furthermore, when Allah praises the
believers, such as in the beginning of surah al-Muminoon, one of the first
descriptions He states is their adherence to the prayers. [Successful are the
believers, those that offer their Salah with all earnestness and full obedience]
- Al Mu’minoon 23/1-2
The importance of prayer is demonstrated in many of the Prophet’s statements.
For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of
Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be
sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad." [Recorded by
al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami,
vol.1, p. 503.
In reality, when the prayer is performed properly – with true remembrance of
Allah and turning to Him for forgiveness – it will have a lasting effect on the
person. After he finishes the prayer, his heart will be filled with the
remembrance of Allah. He will be fearful as well as hopeful of Allah. After that
experience, he will not want to move from that lofty position to one wherein he
disobeys Allah. Allah mentioned this aspect of the prayer,
"Verily, the prayer keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds" (al-Ankaboot
However amongst our community of Musalleen (those who perform Salah) we find
some hazy actions that need to be brought back into focus.
Some do not concentrate on what they
Some speed when they pray
Some wander with their gaze during
The number of raka’aat performed is
For some, the Dunya hugs their
hearts during Salah and clouds their minds.
Sometimes, before the Imam says
Allahu Akbar, some in the congregation are already in the next prostration.
Compare this to those that came before
us: People used to think that ar-Rabee' bin Khaitham, due to his constant
lowering of his gaze and keeping his head low (in Salah), was blind. He used to
live behind the house of Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood for twenty years and when his
servant girl used to see him she would say: Your blind friend is coming, and
Abdullaah used to laugh at her speech.
In Bukhari and Muslim, from Abu Hurayrah - Radi Allahu Anhu, a man entered the
Masjid and the Messenger of Allah - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - was sitting.
The man prayed (2 raka’) and then came to the Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa
Sallam - and said salam. The Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - replied
the salam and then said, “Go back and pray for you have not prayed.” So the man
went back, prayed (2 raka’) like he did the first time and then came back and
repeated the salam. The Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - replied the
salam and then said, “Go back and pray for you have not prayed.” So the man went
back, prayed (2 raka’) like he did the first time and then came back and
repeated the salam. The Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - replied the
salam and then said, “Go back and pray for you have not prayed.” He said it
three times until – on the third time the man said, “By He who sent you with the
truth O Messenger of Allah, I do not know any better than this. Teach me.” The
Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - then said, “If you stand up for Salah
say ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Then read what comes easy for you from the Quran. Then bow
until you are comfortable in your ruku’. Then stand up until you are standing up
straight. Then prostrate until you are comfortable in your Sujood. Then sit
until you are comfortable in your Juloos. Then prostrate until you are
comfortable in your Sujood. And do this in your entire Salah.”
Let’s go back and do our Salah again. This is our topic for today.
Why do we come to the Masjid, why do we perform Salah? We do it in application
of the command of our Creater Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala. Why should we then lose the
blessing and reward because of a wandering heart and an itchy hand?
Concentration is the soul of our Salah. Concentration is the fruit of our Eeman.
Yet regardless of this understanding, people still leave their Salah and only a
small protion of it is written for them because of their imperfection of it.
The Prophet - Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - said, “Verily, a man will leave
from (his Salah) and only a tenth of his Salah is written for him, a ninth, an
eighth, a seventh, a sixth, a fifth, a forth, a third, half.” – Abu Dawood and
Uthman ibn Abi Dahshah said, “I have never prayed a Salah that I have not asked
Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala to forgive for my shortcomings in that Salah.”
· Someone who short changes his Salah is a thief. The Prophet - Sal Allaahu
alayhi wa Sallam - said, “The evilest thief is he who steals from his Salah.”
They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how does he steal from his Salah?” He - Sal
Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - said, “He does not perfect it’s ruku’ and Sujood.” –
· Because of the speed some apply to their Salah, it is as if they are pecking
up and down like a bird. Narrated Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others, the Prophet -
Sal Allaahu alayhi wa Sallam - forbade that someone should peck (in Salah) like
Umar - Radi Allahu Anhu - once stood on the pulpit and addressed the community
with a loud powerful voice, “A man may grow old in Islam and never have
completed to Allah a single Salah!” They said, “How is this?” He said, “He does
not perfect his concentration, nor his humbleness, nor his focus on Allah - Azza
Once, Ma’roof Al-Karkhee – Rahimahu AllahimahUllah – stood amongst some of his
students and one said to the other, “Please lead the Isha Salah.” The first
student accepted but said, “I shall lead the Isha’ Salah on condition that you
lead the Fajr Salah and not me.” Ma’roof Al-Karkhe was shocked at what he said
and commented, “By Allah, if you think that you’ll be alive at Fajr then – by
Allah – you have not yet perfected your Salah.”
Part II How to Concentrate in Salah
Al Qaasim ibn Muhammad - Rahimahu Allah - said, “I went out one day, and
whenever I would go out I would always pass by Aisha - Radi Allahu Anha - and
give her my Salam. That day I went out and when I found Aisha she was praying
Salat al-Duha, reciting over and over the verse of Allah
[Saying: ‘Aforetime we were afraid with our families (from the Punishment of
Allah). But Allah was gracious on us and saved us from the torment of the
– At Toor 52/26-27
She was crying and invoking Allah - Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala - and repeating the
verse. I stood there waiting until I got tired, she remained as I found her.
When I saw this I said to myself, ‘let me go to the market, do what I have to do
and come back.’ So, after I had finished what I needed to do at the market, I
returned to Aisha - Radi Allahu Anha. She was as I left her, repeating the
verse, invoking Allah, and crying.
How do we concentrate in Salah? From the Sunnah, the Prophet – Sal Allahu Alayhi
wa sallam – taught the following:
1. Come early for Salah and prepare yourself to concentrate. Repeat the Adhan to
yourself with the Mu’adhdhin, and - after the adhan - say the prescribed
supplication. Between the Adhan and Iqamah make dua’. Do Wudu properly, cleanse
your mouth, and wear your finest clothes.
2. Aim to get the entire reward of your Salah.
Abu Bakr ibn ‘Iyaash said, “I saw Habeeb ibn Thabit in Sujood. If you saw him
you would think he was dead (by how long he held his Sujood).”
3. Contemplate the aayaat and adhkaar being recited during the prayer.
Think about the meanings of the verses that you are reciting. Isn’t is
disheartening that someone may perform Salah for decades, day after day, and
he/she still does not know what they are saying?
The Qur’aan was revealed to be pondered over! Allaah revealed: “(This is) a Book
(the Qur’aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may
ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” [Saad
4. Pray in congregation. Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala commands
[And perform Salah, give Zakah, and bow with those that bow.] 2/43
5. Never miss your Nafl Salah, especially those that the Prophet - Sal Allaahu
alayhi wa Sallam - used to pray constantly, especially Witr and the sunnah of
6. Do not speed up your Salah. Take your time and do not allow your Salah to
become the most invaluable action of your day.
Ibn Wahb said, “I saw Ath-Thowree at the Ka’bah. After Maghrib, he got up to
pray and then prostrated. He did not come out of that prostration until the
Adhan for Isha’ was given.”
7. Know that Allaah responds to your prayer
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah, the
Blessed and Exalted has said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My
slave, into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.” When the
slave says ‘Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has
praised Me.’ When the slave says, ‘The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy,’
Allaah says, ‘My slave has extolled me.’ When the slave says, ‘Master of the Day
of Judgement,’ Allaah says, ‘My slave has glorified me.’ When the slave says,
‘It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,’ Allaah says,
‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’
When the slave says, ‘Guide us to the Straight Path, the path of those whom You
have favoured, not the path of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go
astray,’ Allaah says, ‘All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what
he asked for.’” (Saheeh Muslim, Kitaab al-Salaah, Baab wujoob qiraa’at al-Faatihah
fi kulli rak’ah). [Words in italics are the translation of the meaning of Soorat
al-Faatihah – Translator].
8. Pray with a barrier (sutrah) in front of you and pray close to it
Another thing that will help one to have khushoo’ is paying attention to the
matter of having a sutrah and praying close to it, because this will restrict
your field of vision, protect you from the Shaytaan and keep people from passing
in front of you, which causes a distraction and reduces the reward of the
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When any one of
you prays, let him pray facing a sutrah, and let him get close to it.” (Reported
by Abu Dawood, no. 695, 1/446; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 651).
9. Seeking Refuge in Allah from the Shaytaan.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us the following
methods of combatting the whispers of Shaytaan.
Abu’l-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that he said, “O Messenger
of Allaah, the Shaytaan interrupts me when I pray, and I get confused in my
recitation.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said, “That is a shaytaan whose name is Khanzab. If you sense his presence, seek
refuge with Allaah from him, and spit [dry spitting] towards your left three
times.” [Abu’l-‘Aas] said: “I did that and Allaah took him away from me.”
(Reported by Muslim, no. 2203)
10. Pray as if you were told that after Salah you would be going back to Allah.
Abu Bakr Al-Muzanee said, “If you want your Salah to benefit you, then say, ‘I
shall die after this Salah!’”