how to: pray

Successful are the believers. Those who in their prayer have khushoo’ (focus, humility, concentration, awe, reverence). (Al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2)

Abu Dardaa’ reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The first thing to be removed from this nation will be reverence, until you will not see anyone with reverence.” (Musnad al-Shamiyyin 1561)

Ammar ibn Yasir reported: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Verily, a man may return from his prayer and nothing good is written for him but a tenth of his prayer, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a fourth, or a third, or a half.” (Abu Dawud 796)

“We served ourselves in the company of Messenger of Allah (pbuh). We tended our camels by turn. One day, I had my turn to tend the camels, and I drove them in the afternoon. I found the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) addressing the people. I heard him say: Anyone among you who performs ablution, and does it well, then he stands and offers two rak’ahs of prayer, concentrating on it with his heart and body, Paradise will be his lot by all means.” (Abu Dawud 169)

Rabah ibn al-Harawi reported: ‘Isam ibn Yusuf passed by Hatim al-Asam, may Allah have mercy on him, while he was speaking in his assembly. ‘Isam said, “O Hatim, do you pray well?” Hatim said yes. ‘Isam said, “How do you pray?” Hatim said, “I establish the command, I walk with fear, I begin prayer with intention, I exalt Allah with grandeur, I recite with a measured recitation and reflection, I bow with reverence, I prostrate with humility, I sit to complete the testimony, and I invoke peace properly and according to the Sunnah. Then, I sincerely surrender the prayer to Allah Almighty and I return to myself with fear that it will not be accepted from me. I guard it with effort in this way until death.” ‘Isam said, “You may speak, for you do pray well.” (Ḥilyat al-Awliya’ 11623)

Come to Prayer

Before you start your prayer, ask yourself:

Where is my faith?
Where is my heart?
Where is my consciousness of Allah?
Where is my humility before Allah, to Whom belong the heavens and the earth, and all that is in between?
Where is my shyness with Allah, Who Sees all and Hears all?
Where is my fear, and my hope, and my need and my love?
For Allah, the King of all kings, the Owner of power and sovereignty, the Most High, the Most Kind, the Most Generous, the Most Gentle, the Most Loving to His slaves.

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Regarding Khushu’

The basic meaning of khushu’ is the softness of the heart, its being gentle, still, submissive, broken and yearning. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Of a surety there is a morsel of flesh in the body, if it is sound, the whole body will be sound, but if it is corrupt, the whole body will be corrupt. It is the heart.” (Bukhari and Muslim). When the heart is humble, so too is the hearing, seeing, head and face; indeed all the limbs and their actions are humbled, even speech. This is why the Prophet (s.a.w.) would say in his bowing (ruku’), “My hearing, sight, bones, and marrow are humbled to You.” (Muslim) One of the Salaf saw a man fidgeting in his prayer and remarked, “If the heart of this person was humble, so too would his limbs be.”

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