Question from Prophetic Path Student:
Assalamualaykum wa Rahmatullah,
In relation to the Salah chart I have noticed that I find it difficult to concentrate and I become heedless of Allah ﷻ during the shorter postures of Salah such as i‘tidal and jalsah.
What advice can you provide me with in this regard?
Bismillahi, ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim,
Waalaykum salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Baratuhu,
We pray this finds you well. May Allah ﷻ increase your concentration in Salah. Ameen.
It is indeed a great concern to possess Khushu and heedfulness during your Salah, for Allah ﷺ says in the Holy Quran:
“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during prayer humbly submissive”
(23: 1, 2)
We also read from Ibn Ata’Allah al-Sakandari Taj al-Arus, on the authority of Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili (d.656/1258) alayhim rahma:
“Measure and weigh yourself by prayer. If it engenders a sense of satisfaction, know that you are fortunate. God, the Exalted says, ‘Verily prayer prevents obscene and reprehensive behavior.” (29: 45) Otherwise, cry for yourself, as you literally drag your feet to prayer…”
This noble endeavor can be achieved by striving to follow the outward and inward aspect of prayer of our Beloved Prophet and Messenger ﷺ. The outward level with regards to actions, and the inward level pertaining to the embodiment of the Prophetic state during every posture of the Salah.
In this article we will focus on the inward aspect, the embodiment of the Prophetic state.
Prophetic Path Salah Chart
Alhamdulillah, at Prophetic Path we have devised a practical method of how to increase your concentration in prayer. There are ten levels of increasing your khushu in Salah and Inshallah with practice and effort students who follow this method will notice a vast improvement in their spiritual prayer.
Spiritual Level of Prayer Preparation Level
When every student begins the Prophetic Path course they are automatically assigned ‘Spiritual Level of Prayer Preparation Level’. This is the pre-level 1 level to familiarize you with khushu in Salah. Once you have successfully completed 30 consecutive days of this level your assigned Mentor will assign you level 1 which is when you will truly begin your journey to experiencing the fruits of the spiritual Salah.
So, what is Spiritual Level of Prayer ‘Preparation’ Level?
The preparation level task detail states:
“To think and to refresh the belief that Allah the Lord the Worlds is with me, is watching me and is listening to my recitation and Dhikr in every posture of prayer at least once”.
This task can be broken down into two:
- Remembrance: So in every posture you should train yourself to remember with the presence of heart and mind (NOT with words as this will invalidate your Salah) that Allah ﷻ is with me, watching me and listening to me. When should you do this? The answer is in every posture of the Salah.
- What is every posture:
- Standing (Qiyaam & I’tidal)
- Bowing (Ruku)
- Prostrating (Sujood)
- Sitting (Jalsah)
Why is Khushu in Salah important?
Allah ﷻ commands khushu and concentration in Salah. He ﷻ states in the Glorious Quran:
“Woe to those who pray, but who are heedless of their prayer” (107:4, 5)
What good is the Salah in which your focus was intended to be your reunion with your greatest ally, your most superior confidante, your most Beloved Creator, Protector and Sustainer but your focus has in fact become going through the motions in 60 seconds?
Shaitaan, archenemy of humanity is forbidden from Divine Presence and he too wants you to be forbidden from this wonderful presence also.
So, when one approaches any good deed, Salah being the utmost of them he will conjure all of his powers to engage your mind in any subject other than that of Divine Presence. He will take you on journeys and fantasies of food, money, daily routine, family and friends throughout your entire Salah. So, to unveil yourself from the tricks of the devil is the first step to overcoming your enemy!
So, what to do now and how to do it?
Ok, so now that you know what you should be doing here are some practical tips.
As a pre-requisite you should be offering prayer whilst knowing the obligatory (fardh), necessary (wajib), and sunnat and invalidating (mufsid) act of ablution (Wudhu), ritual bath (ghusl) and Salah and acting upon them. Knowing and acting upon this outward aspect of Salah is essential to validating your prayer. It will also offer you the backdrop to knowing what and why you are doing as to avoid doubt and confusion inspired by Satan.
It is always advisable to get yourself into the right frame from mind from the moment that you perform your ablution (wudhu). Remind yourself that you are about to take a wonderful journey to meet your Lord who is eager to listen to your call.
Then, as you walk towards your place of worship on the prayer mat again constantly keep reminding and reinforcing how fortunate you are to meet and communicate with your Beloved Lord. How many millions will be busied with other insignificant duties and how many trillions of others have lost their opportunity and are in their graves.
One is reminded of the wonderful aphorism of Ibn Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari’s Taj al-Arus in this regard.
“Prayer is an occasion of private communication and a repository of goodwill. During it, the province of one’s inner conscience expands and illumination radiates.”
So then when you finally approach your prayer mat, take a pause. Even if it is just 5 seconds during the Ikamah (final call to prayer) plant into your mind and firmly believe with conviction that Allah ﷻ, the Lord of the worlds is with you, is watching you and is hearing you as you are about to enter into His presence.
This will help you to empty you mind from any worldly concern and to at least enter your first Rakah with concentration and heedfulness. Then, continue to re-establish and maintain this focus in every posture as outlined above.
Just after you exit your Salah don’t forget to ask Allah ﷻ for forgiveness for all of the shortcomings in your prayer. Even our Beloved Rasool ﷺ used to follow his Salah by asking God for forgiveness three times.
Important – Be Realistic
During the first days of practice, you may miss the presence of heart, i.e. saying inwardly with heart and mind that ‘Allah ﷻ is with me, is watching me and is hearing me’ in some postures.
But that is OK!
Perfection is not ours, especially at the beginning of any journey.
This is where most people fail in their journey to meet the Lord of the Worlds. They have unrealistic expectations for themselves and when they find that they cannot meet them within the limited time and training they have given to themselves they decide to abandon the entire journey.
So, be realistic…begin with baby steps and Inshallah with the right training and resilience you will by the Grace of God achieve khushu in Salah.
For Allah ﷻ has promised us in the Noble Quran that:
“As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good.” (29: 69)
Also, since the Fardh Salah are the most important and mandatory act of worship, we will advise you to use your Nafl Salah to prep your heedfulness for the next following Fardh salah. What we meant by that, it is to start practicing the presence of Allah during your Nafl Prayer this will help you to be in that mood and to start your Fardh Salah with a certain degree of mindfulness of Allah Azawajal.
Recording your Performance
Most important is the psycho-spiritual aspect of the Salah Sheet that you tick across (paper students) or streak (online/mobile) every day, in order to progress to the next level after completing 30 consecutive days.
Human beings by nature tend to excel when they have a clear goal and a task to achieve it.
In this task your aim is not to miss recording your performance across your task sheet. This noble goal comes with a sacred and gentle pressure that will enable you to hold the mindfulness and strive to be heedful in your Salah so that you may progress to the next level until you successfully accomplish the highest level of Al-Sukoo’a fi Al-Salah using the Prophetic Path Salah chart.
And, since you’re striving in that way to draw near to God, He will certainly make it easy for you if you don’t give up the task. Because, as Allah ﷻ has reminded us that:
“I am as My servant thinks I am… And if he draws near to me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (Bukhari, Muslim)”
So, we strongly advise you to begin (if you haven’t already) and continue practicing the Salah chart at the preparation level.
Each level is meant to boost your heedfulness and presence of heart by traversing you through the different levels with increased attention and communication with our Lord Almighty.
For example after completing the preparation level you will be taught on how to engage in continuous thought and remembrance of Allah ﷻ without distraction and then to engage and hold this communication will come naturally.
Then at level 3 you will be trained to read your Salah with understanding as though you are communicating the words with meaning to Allah The Exalted.
Alhamdullilah, many students have successfully mastered this noble Prophetic State by remaining steadfast on the Prophetic Path purification course.
In sha Allah with good intention and striving you too will be able to thrive too!
Peace and Tranquility through Prayer
Finally, Salah is meant to be the coolness of our eyes in the presence of our Lord. As our Master ﷺ mentioned:
“Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is in Salah.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa ‘i)
But, this coolness and peace of mind can only truly be experienced after the heedlessness and absent-mindedness has been de-forested from our minds.
So, if you too want to increase your heedfulness and presence of heart in Salah and work onwards towards overall purification of the Body, Mind and Heart, then our dedicated purification course on http://prophetic-path.com/ will God Willing help you to achieve this.
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