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How to Gain Tranquility in Prayer (Part 2)



Obstacles to Attaining the State of Khushoo

Before suggesting ways to acquire khushoo we should ask ourselves why we haven’t achieved it yet or why we lost it. Hence let’s examine the factors that hinder us from experiencing khushoo.

External

These are the outward elements that capture our attention whilst we pray. They are usually related to the environment in which we are praying or our physical posture and motion.

Noisy places

Attractive or colorful decorations

Physical needs like hunger or thirst

Restlessness of limbs

Unless we are in a congregational prayer the presence of other people might divert our attention too

Internal

Internal causes are those associated with our mind-set, beliefs and character.

 Ignorance

When we descend to our graves we will be asked: “Who is your lord? Who is the man that was sent to you? What is your religion?”. If this basic knowledge is not engraved in our minds while we are alive, if we are not reminiscent about this and live upon it, what are the chances we will do anything but stutter when questioned.
Do you know whom you have submitted to? Are you aware of the sacrifices that our Prophet(pbuh) made to convey this religion? Can you discern the absolute beauty and perfection of this way of life – the freedom and elevation gained from stopping to fear the creation to submit and revere no one but the Creator?
Increase your awareness of these facts so as to humble yourself in your ibadah (acts of worship).

 Pride/arrogance

Too great to offer a sujood for the sake of Allah, too accomplished to supplicate to Him to grant you al-Firdous, too self sufficient to realize how weak and feeble we are as human beings, never mind our status or achievements in this dunya? We are all in need of Allah’s mercy though we don’t deserve it.

Pride can even stem from one’s own worship. Admiring one’s own recitation and supplications, feeling content of the charity we give, being self-satisfied with our knowledge. Hasan al Basri said regarding the Sahaba that they used to perform every obligatory and voluntary act with the outmost care and sincerity and yet they were afraid lest it wouldn’t be accepted.Shun pride and arrogance so as to taste the sweetness of khushoo!

 Sins

Sometimes sins can become a barrier to developing a sincere connection to Allah or, even worse, they may lead us to abandoning it. Don’t let this be your case. Sins shouldn’t be a reason to cut our relationship with God, or a reason to lose khushoo. Instead we can make it become the factor that prompts us to seek forgiveness and guidance from Allah with earnestness.

As humans we all commit mistakes, but we should not lose hope of being forgiven.

“And those who disbelieve in the ayah of Allah and the Meeting with Him, it is they who have no hope of My Mercy, and it is they who will (have) a painful torment.” [Surah Al-Ankabut 29:23]

 Riya’a

One may be doing all the outward deeds perfectly and have the basis of his creed messed up.
Consider an extremely skilled archer at a competition. He inevitably catches every bird he sees, the only problem is that the targets were blue balloons. No matter how talented he is at hunting birds, he’ll never win the competition. So who is the target of your actions? Who do you want to please and think well of you? People may be deceived but would we escape from the scrutiny of the One who knows what’s in our chests, the All Hearer and All Seeing? Ultimately we would be just deceiving ourselves.
“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who deceives them; When they stand up for Salah, they stand with laziness, only to be seen by men; and they do not remember Allah but a little.” [Surah Al-Nisaa 4:142]

Dua for purity of heart and action:

Allahumma tahhir qalbiy minan-nifaaqi wa ‘amali minar-riyaa’i wa lisaany minal-kadhibi wa ‘ainy minal-khiyaanati fainnaka ta’lamu khaa’inatal-a’yuni wa ma tukhfil-sudur.

(Oh Allah, purify my heart from hypocrisy and my actions from dissimulation and my tongue from lies and my eyes from stealthy looks, indeed You know stealthy looks of eyes and that which the breasts conceal.)

Attachment to this world

How many times did it occur that your mind was filled with everything except the remembrance of Allah? We shouldn’t be so busy with this life that we forget to prepare our provision for the hereafter. Do you keep delaying your salat in order to finish whatever you’re working on? Pay attention and observe every step with due care, instead of rushing through it in order to catch an appointment.

Time to Review our Priorities?

Abu Qutaadah said: “The Prophet (pbuh): “The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, how can a person steal from his prayer?’ He said, ‘By not doing rukoo’ and sujood properly.”

One of the Tabieen, Amr Ibn Abd Al Qais, remarked: “I would prefer to be stabbed by spears in my body than think about the dunya during Salah.”

What do you think about before falling asleep? A scholar warned that if all we could think about was attached to this perishing world, it was a sign we needed to improve our connection with God. Your worries may outlive you as there’s no guarantee you will see a new day but certainly you will meet your Lord.

In the next post, we will look at ideas on how to practically obtain khushoo in our prayer and outside. In the mean time, try to answer the questions asked in this article and Part 1. Take the time to ponder them over without dismissing any. How sincere can you be to yourself?

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