A common complaint of many who seek reformation, is their lack of concentration in Ritual Prayer (Salaat), and finding themselves wanting in the spirit of Ritual Prayer. They write or ask for some prescription to bring in that spirit and that love of Allah, Most High, through Ritual Prayer.
The following guidelines will, Insha Allah, assist in improving the quality of one’s Ritual Prayer :
- Men should try and reach the Masjid before the Azaan, so that they may with etiquette and ease, read the sunna (recommended) prayers – and this should take them about 5 minutes.
- In the remaining few minutes before the Fardh (obligatory prayer), make Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness), Taubah (repentace), or Zikrullah (rememberance of Allah), or think of the Aakhirah (the Hereafter) and accountability and presentation of one’s deeds in the Court of Allah, Most High. Reflect over one’s life : What if my death has to come now ? …Try and cut off from the business and worldly activities as much as possible through this little meditation and Zikr (rememberance of Allah).
Now comes the Fardh Ritual Prayer : insha Allah, by this time, much of one’s heart will be in that Ritual Prayer and with a little effort and perseverance, there will be full attention and concentration.
- Ladies should try and read Ritual Prayer in its early time, giving themselves the opportunity of making ample preparation, without any haste. They too should make a little zikr before commencing with Ritual Prayer, to get into the right frame of mind. Moreover, if we give priority status to fulfilling the Rights of Allah, Most High, then He will assist us in fulfilling our tasks. He will grant Barakah (blessing) in the time so that our undertakings are completed, Insha Allah.
- Condition the mind; address yourself – I am standing before the King of Kings. SubhanAllah. I have been chosen, from millions, to converse with ‘Rabbul ‘Aalameen’ (the Lord of the worlds of being) and I am being afforded the greatest honour and privilege (above millions of others), to make sujood (prostration) to Allah, Most High, to be nearest to Him. If we could truly fathom the greatness of the gift, this ultimate honour, this good fortune – we would never want to leave the position of sujood.
- And whilst reading the Qur`aan Sharif in Ritual Prayer (and even outside the prayer) then think: This is the Kalaam (speech) of my Allah – of my Beloved. By contemplating the meaning (or just the significance for those who don’t know the meaning) of the verses that you are reading, think : I am listening to the speech of Allah, Most High. And since you are reading His Speech, He is also listening to you. Therefore learn the meaning of the Surahs we normally recite in Ritual Prayer. It will not take long to do so, if a little is learnt every day.
- Think : In this Ritual Prayer, in this recitation, in this Zikr, in this Hamd (praise) – I have the special attention of Allah, Most High. I have exclusive attention because this is my ‘Mi`raj’ (spiritual ascent); this is my conversation and communication with the Master of the Worlds. What a compounded bounty – SubhanAllah : So many gifts in the gift packaged as Ritual Prayer. How can any sane thinking Muslim ever refuse such a gift?
By contemplating this, we will experience the beauty and sweetness and pleasure of Ritual Prayer. We will understand the Hadith in which Rasulullah (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) says that the coolness of his eyes is in Ritual Prayer. May Allah, Most High, grant us the reality. Amin.