Sajdah (Bowing Down) in Karachi,
Guarding the Relationship with Allah
We know from the saying of the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam (please be
upon him) that salah (prayer) is the
pillar of one's deen. Salah is the foundation for one's relationship with Allah,
subhanahu wata'ala (be He glorious and exalted). How precious is salah to us in our daily
lives? When you hold a precious newborn baby, you take
special care to be gentle and protective.
In the same way, salah needs delicate and careful handling. We have to know the right approach, the right
set, the right way to present ourselves to the Lord of the
Universe. The Qur'an says: "Successful indeed are the
believers, those who in their salah have khushu' (humility)" [23:1-2]. And the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said:
"The first thing to be lifted up from this Ummah will be
khushu', until you see no one who has khushu"' (Tabarani). And in another
hadeeth (Prophet's Muhammad's saying): "O Allah, I seek refuge
with You from a heart that has no khushu'..." (Tirmithi and
So what is khushu'? It encompasses awareness, surrender, humbleness, dignity, and calm-the right approach, the
right mindset, the right way to present ourselves to the
Lord of the Universe. This is in contrast to the all too common experience of salah. Many of us have become slaves to
the "habit" of praying salah, doing so in a mechanical and
thoughtless manner. Salah then does not improve us, does
not increase our eman, and does not
deter us from wrongdoing. This
kind of salah, rather than
bringing us nearer to Allah,
makes us remote from
Him. So how can we
increase khushu' in our salah?
our intention with
regard to salah.
That means that we will
be mindful of why we
are praying and what the
benefits and blessings
are of salah. If you make
a list of these, you begin
to see just how extensive
it is. Salah demonstrates surrender and obedience to Allah
It cleanses and removes our sins.
It prevents sins and wrongdoings. It
positions us to be graced by Allah with
the reward of Paradise and protects us from the punishment
of Hell. It brings Allah's help and guidance. It brings comfort
and delight. It cultivates patience and perseverance. It exercises the will It increases adaptability. It teaches us to silence
the inner chatter. Ibn Al-Jawzi said: "Whoever sees the dawn
of reward bears easily the darkness of responsibility." Human
beings have a need to see the purpose and the benefits in
striving for a goal. Research shows that "why" one wants to
change or achieve something constitutes 80 percent of the
2. Approach the salah with remembrance of death.
If we remember that this life is a preparation for the Day
upon which Allah will recompense each soul according to
what it has earned; that death is the transition to the next
life; and that death could be now or tomorrow-then we
will make salah as if it is our last salah and the last supplica-
tion to Allah for His mercy and forgiveness. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: ".. .and make the salah of a
man who does not think he will make another salah" (Al-Albany, as-Silsilah as-Sahihah). If we keep the remembrance
of death fresh in our conscious mind when we approach
salah, we will have greater awareness, surrender, humbleness,
dignity, and calm.
3. Approach and perform the prayer with fullest
awareness of the power and glory of Allah, and of
the noble stature and challenge of being human.
One of the Tabi'een (a person who met a Companion of the
Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) would visibly change
in the coloring of his face at the time of prayer. He would
say: "Do you know before whom I am going to stand and
with whom I am going to talk?!" (Silah al-Yaqadhan li Tard
al-Shaytan, Abdul-Azeez Sultan). And Ali ibn AbiTalib
would not only change color, he would be visibly shaken.
When asked why, he said: "By Allah, there has come the
time of the amanah (trust) which Allah offered to the heav-
ens and the earth and the mountains, but they declined to
bear it, but I bore it."
4. Perform the salah in a measured pace and keep
the eyes on the place of prostration.
Carelessness and haste in salah are impediments to khushu'.
The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: "The one
who does not do ruku' (bowing) properly and pecks (like a
bird) in sujud (prostration), is like a starving man who eats
only one or two dates; it does not do him any good at all"
(Tabarani). A measured pace and singular focus befits the
occasion of standing before one's Lord.
5. Think deeply about the meaning of the ayaat (verses) that are being recited during the prayer.
Ibn Jareer said: "I am astonished at people who recite the
Qur'an and do not know what it means..." If the Prophet,
sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, himself would often spend
hours reflecting upon one verse, we can understand the
importance of thinking, reflecting, and probing the mean-
ing. When Saeed At-Tanukhi made salah, tears would roll
down his cheeks, wetting his beard. Only by reflecting
deeply on the meaning of the Qur'an can we be moved as
they were. "And they fall down on their faces weeping, and
it adds to their khushu"' [17:109].
These five steps can humble us, heighten our aware-
ness of the greatness of prayer, and bring a calmness and
dignity to our minds, hearts, and limbs. In this way we
feel our surrender to Allah becoming more full, more
complete! We have to remember that if we want to ensure
our children's surrender to Allah, we must truthfully represent
that surrender with our own manner of thought, feeling, and
action. In that way, our children will emulate us and they will
love Allah. If we increase the khushu' in our own salah, we
are doing much to ensure that the salah of our children
will not be meaningless, empty, mechanical, and unsuccessful.
1. If we are dedicated to self-transformation and growth, continuously observing, examining, and
correcting/improving ourselves (in a gently, loving, and self-accepting way), then we are striving to guard our
rela-tionship with self.
2. If we abide by a constitution of adab in all our relationships and particularly in the relationship with our
spouse and children, then we are striving to guard our relationships with others.
3. And if we strive to increase our khushu' in salah as a means to draw nearer to Allah and to more completely
surrender to Him, then we are striving to guard our relationship with Him.
We said at the beginning that the month of Ramadhan is a wonderful time for reflection and self-examining. If we
seize the opportunity during this blessed month to reflect deeply on our relationships and to implement the above
three principles of good relationship, then we will be taking the steps necessary to avoid defect in our relationships and
prevent a "shaving clean" of our religion. We will be providing a superb model for our children. And our relationship with
them will be held securely between...
May Allah accept from us all our fasting, our prayers, our charity, and our resolutions to implement whatever we
learn so that it becomes knowledge of the heart and an experience of deep devotion. Ameen.
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& Part 2
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