Prayers: With closed eyes

Q496 :I am in habit of closing my eyes when I pray, because this helps me concentrate better on my prayers. However, I was told that this is discouraged by the Prophet as it was a practice by the Jews. Is it correct?

A496 : It is true that closing one's eyes during prayer is discouraged. The reason for that, however, is not that you have been told of as the need of Muslims to do everything different what the Jews do. There is more down-to-earth reason for that. It is simply the need of the worshipper to be aware of what may take place or may come across close to him when he is engaged in prayer. If a person is offering his prayer in a field or in an open place and a dangerous insect approaches[even non-dangerous insect is undesirable], he will not notice it if he is praying with his eyes closed. Perhaps you are aware that it is permissible for a person engaged in prayer to kill a snake or a scorpion if it comes near him, without interrupting his prayer, regardless of what movement he may have to make in so doing. If he were to pray with his eyes closed, he may be bitten or stung by any such creature without being able to defend himself. It is for the same reason that offering prayer at night in an unlit room is also discouraged. [Added: In surah Al-Falaq (Day break), we seek protection of Allah "from the evils of darkness when it is intense."(113:3) Praying in darkness is, therefore, seriously discouraged.] However, if one is sure of his safety [Added: how can anyone be, when an act has been discouraged] and he finds that it helps him concentrate on prayer to close his eyes, he may do so. We are strongly recommended, however, not to be in the habit of closing our eyes while praying.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )