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Searching for Spirituality in Prayer ?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Searching for Spirituality in Prayer ?

Searching for Spirituality in Prayer?

I remember my late father telling me as a child a beautiful story where the companions worked hard to reach khushu’ during their prayers…
Tue 05 January 2016 – 12:37
Deana Nassar


Imagine you got news from your doctor that you only have 5 days to live.

What would you do in those five days?

And what stopped you from doing these things all those other days before you got the “bad” news?

Morbid?

Yes but the reality of the situation is we may not even have 5 days; equally so we may have another 5, 15, 50 years who knows?

So with this gloomy thought in mind acknowledging its possibility what can we do to prepare for it?

As Muslims we are equipped with the knowledge {Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest}, and what better way to remember Him but through prayers.

By prayers I do not mean the automatic standing, and prostrating exercise but really getting into the gist of things and feeling the prayers not just doing the actions.

How do we benefit from our prayers and reach the epitome of contentment we so often heard about while listening to the stories and biographies of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions?

We know that victory comes with patience and patience is what we need to attain the necessary relationship with God so that our prayers are accepted in that we as Muslims reach the khushu’ (serenity) we so often read and hear about in regards to praying.

I for one know that with the demands of life, practicing Islam is like riding a roller coaster. Sometimes we are on fire for God, and sometimes we don’t feel a thing. How can we stop this up-and-down ride? We need to agree that we can’t always trust our feelings, because feelings have nothing to do with the facts of God’s word. Feelings come, feelings go. And feelings can fool us.

Trust the facts, not your feelings. The fact is firstly you have to pray since it’s the first thing a Muslim will be judged for after death and secondly the best thing to do to obtain peace of heart and mind, happiness and tranquility is by this remembrance of God. The Quran says:

{Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.} (13:28)

We know from the saying of Prophet Muhammad that prayer is the pillar of one’s religion hence prayer is the foundation for one’s relationship with God. The Prophet said:

“The servant is never closer to God Exalted is He, than when he is prostrating himself in worship.” (Muslim, 34)

What better way to come close to God during our prayer than with khushu’ mentioned above which encompasses awareness, humbleness, dignity, calm, and surrender.

Too many of us have sadly become slaves to the habit of praying, doing so in a mechanical and thoughtless manner, and it’s this thoughtlessness which differentiates those who have grasped the concept of complete submission to those who yes have submitted and prayed but have let their thoughts wonder elsewhere.

Just from personal experience, there is no feeling of tranquility that could be stronger and more relaxing than this feeling.  I have many times prayed when I was completely stressed out and felt like I couldn’t take any more stress, and entered the prayer, and then coming out, I feel refreshed, calmed down, at peace and relieved.

I remember my late father telling me as a child a beautiful story where the companions worked hard to reach khushu’ during their prayers.

He said one man was asked how he preserved this khushu’ in which he replied that during prayer he imagined that God was before him, that the Angel of Death was at his back, that the gardens of paradise are to his right, that the fires of hell are on his left and that he is standing on the Sirat bridge waiting to enter heaven. As a youngster this scared me and to this day sends a shiver to the reality of the situation if visualized correctly.

Acknowledging the significance of khushu’ leads us to recognize necessary steps to take regarding khushu’ in our prayers, therefore, it is about getting in the right state of mind where we are fully guarding our thoughts from any distractions and focused on God and the various prayer invocations.

Besides spiritual rejuvenation, the practice of khushu’ also teaches us to induce a positive state of mind for any other moment or activity by teaching us to keep distracting thoughts at bay and enabling us to focus on the task at hand with the heart and mind fully immersed.

By trying to draw some sort of parallel, we may better understand the importance of this khushu’ sentiment. Envision this, you get a chance to be in a meeting with a top notch personality, you feel that you want to extend the time, which is mostly tight due to numerous engagements of this person.

The person is mostly timed well, insisting to keep his/her busy schedule and even if the topics are not fully covered, you still will be dismissed. Of course you will switch your cell phone off before getting into the office, as you feel lucky for being there, you don’t want to be interrupted, and you give full attention during the meeting so that you don’t miss the slightest detail.

Isn’t it true that we should plan for this meeting making the necessary preparations for it?

Likewise preparing for prayers meeting someone much higher incomparable then our aforementioned top notch personality requires work.

Are we being honest when we pray?

If our prayer is not connected to our real life or our true feelings and thoughts, then boredom and dryness naturally result from this disconnection. Are we working too hard when we pray?

As a general rule, if we feel as if we are working too hard, then we probably are. Such efforts, though well intentioned, indicate that we may be trying to control our prayer too much and this happens often as the devil downplays our effort and tries many times to confuse us.

Take for instance when you are nearly half way through your prayers, and you start to be distracted wondering if you had washed before hand or if you were praying correctly.

We need to carefully discern feelings of boredom or spiritual dryness. Furthermore trying to impress onlookers by performing the ‘perfect’ prayers will result to nothing less than a meltdown as we’ve included creations into the equation of impressing the Creator.

Attaining khushu’ is not a black or white situation, but rather a work in progress. We must try to treat it as if we are working out, where we have to build up slowly but surely. The single most important factor that works for me personally when praying is knowing who God is.

To have a true belief coming from my heart, that we have a Lord who cares about us, who is there for us, and who is the greatest. Earnestly trying to believe in this and understanding the meanings of what we are reciting during prayers will help us tremendously in the quest for khushu’.

Whether we have 5 days or 50 years to still live, prayers still come five times a day and we can in spite of everything improve ourselves understanding God has made this treasure of khushu’ available to anybody who wants it. It does require effort, diligence, consistency, and belief.

Remember prayer is a way of life and since it comes five times a day we can still make better our selves understanding that the time in between is in preparation for the next, awareness of the passing time, remembering our duty to our Creator and our responsibility to our own soul.

So whatever we’re doing, we need to stop and put it aside, stand in prayer and try to look within, at the faults that follow us around in our life, and seek guidance, forgiveness and escape from the evil consequences of what we may have done.

Say Allahu Akbar !
Article courtesy  http://aboutislam.net/

في امان الله

Your brother in Islam,
A Shabbir Ahmed

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