In the first part of the series, we reviewed our mindset about the prayer, what we think of the prayer and the One whom we worship with it. Today, we will continue with knowing more about how we can improve our khushoo in salaah.
What you’re saying.
Of course! If you don’t know the meaning of what you’re saying, then it is difficult to understand what you’re doing or even reflect on it. And reflection is one of the major triggers of focus in salah. So you may not be able to focus for more than a minute, you’ll only make the movements like a robot with pre-set instructions, and salaah is much more than that.
So, you should know the meaning of Suratul Faatihah and other chapters you’ve memorised. Know the meanings of what you say in rukoo’, sujood, at-tahiyyaat sitting and in between these positions. This is a challenge for you to start learning Arabic if you want to get more out of your salah. And it’s good to know that Arabic is one of the easiest languages to learn.
Who and what sabotage your focus.
Many factors help in attaining khushoo, such as at-tu’maneenah— that is calmness and praying at an even pace, not rushing through prayer. Reflecting on your utterances and remembering death are also major factors that help in attaining khushoo.
So also, some things fast track our loss of focus, such as physical distractions, whisperings of Shaytaan, unconducive environmental conditions like excessive heat. Study yourself to know what triggers your focus and what steals it.
It is also essential to know Shaytan and his modus operandi, so as to effectively fight him off. He tries to fill your mind with everything except the remembrance of Allah once you commence conversation with your Lord. His tricks are numerous and he is unrelenting in his efforts and cunningness. So, know your enemy, fight him with all you have and never relent.
Consider the narrations from the Prophet ﷺ below:
“When the muezzin calls the adhaan, the Shaytaan runs away farting, so that he will not hear the adhaan. When the adhaan is over, he comes back. When the prayer starts, he runs away, but once it is in progress, he comes back, until he comes between a man and his own soul, and says, ‘Remember such and such, remember such and such,’ which he had forgotten, until he cannot remember how much he has prayed. If any one of you experiences this, let him do two prostrations of forgetfulness (sajdat al-sahw) whilst he is sitting.” [Saheeh].
Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked about a man who thought that he had broken his wudoo’ when he had not done so. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Shaytaan may come to any one of you when he is praying and open his buttocks and make him think that he has broken his wudoo when in fact he has not. So if this happens to any one of you, let him not end his prayer unless he hears the sound of it with his ears or smells the odour of it with his nose.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, no.11556, part 11, p. 222. He said in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id, 1/242, its men are the men of Saheeh).
And children, what a distraction they could be! It is however, helpful to engage them with toys and activities like building blocks. Encourage and involve them in salah, let them pray alongside you. I sometimes make ablution for my preschooler and ask him to say the iqaamah. And I noticed preparing him like this makes him pray with me till the end.
For clingy babies, we need to study them in order to outsmart their tricks. Study when they like to be nursed. If it coincides with a prayer time, so you know how to manage the situation without your salah been delayed. Overall, learn how to accommodate them without getting distracted like the Prophet ﷺ did.
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Shaddad, this his father said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us for one of the night time prayers, and he was carrying Hasan or Husain. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came forward and put him down, then he said the Takbir and started to pray. He prostrated during his prayer, and made the prostration lengthy.” My father said: “I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was prostrating so I went back to my prostration. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) finished praying, the people said: “O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), you prostrated during the prayer for so long that we thought that something had happened or that you were receiving a revelation.’ He said: ‘No such thing happened. But my son was riding on my back and I did not like to disturb him until he had enough.'” [Sunan an-Nasa’i 1141]
It was also narrated from Abu Qatadah that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to pray carrying Umamah. When he prostrated he put her down and when he stood up he picked her up again. [Sunan an-Nasa’i 1204]
You can also use the opportunity to remember to supplicate for them, in your sujood.
What sabotages your focus in salaah and how do you manage the situation? Let’s hear from you in the comments section below.