Easily Distracted.......in salah

>> Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You guys seem to be girls with high iman ... so can you give me advice on how to increase the khushu' in my salat? Because I often feel like I get distracted by little things in my salat and I want to be able to make salat in a better fashion. Of course, I know I should make dua, but can you give me some other tips. Thanks!

-- Easily Distracted.

Dear Easily Distracted!

What a fantastic question. I mean how many of us start praying and end up remembering the homework assignment we’d totally forgotten about, discovering a new pattern in the carpet we’re praying on, and thinking about the comeback we should have told that rude person….? The truth is, many of us find ourselves thinking about something completely different than the prayer at hand (including the aunties here), so I’m really glad you brought up this topic….

Here are a few suggestions that I've heard from various daees and inshaAllah the readers will be able to provide us with their own personal tips! 

First of all, don’t let the salah ‘interrupt’ your work. What do I mean by that? If you are doing some kind of assignment for example or studying for a test and you realize that asr adhaned (lol, a made up word), but you keep working and then finally, half an hour later, decide to stop and pray…it doesn’t take an auntie to figure out that you’re probably going to be thinking about that assignment/ upcoming test in the middle of your prayer. That’s why you should STOP whatever you are doing ten to fifteen minutes before the prayer time.

Seriously? Yup, seriously. The idea is that you have to CLEAR your mind BEFORE you start praying. Nouman Khan called it ‘flushing your mind’, lol and you really can’t do that if you are making the salah an interruption of your work…..

(Now, one way I have found that helps me to clear my mind is to open the Qur’an randomly and read a few pages. SubhanAllah, I can tell you that landing on a page that discusses Allah’s Mercy/ the reward we get/ can really help motivate you to pray WELL.)

• There’s also another benefit to praying early or right when the adhan calls- the closer you pray to the adhaan, the more likely the adhaan's 'come to prayer, come to success' will remain fresh in your mind and this may make you feel more devoted in staying focused. And also, it lets you NOT rush your prayer.

• What else? Well, many of us think that khushoo begins when we say Allahu Akbar. Actually, khushoo should begin when we say Bismillah. Do you know when we’re supposed to say that? When we begin our wudoo. That’s when we should start thinking about the fact that we’re about to meet our LORD, Allah.

The truth is our ‘wudoo’ itself is an act of worship. I want you to try and think about these hadith the next time you are doing wudoo:

Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu'anhu) reports that Rasoolullah ( Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said When the Muslim (or 'Believing') servant makes wudu and washes his face, then the sin of everything he looked at with his eye comes away with the water, or with the last drop of the water, and when he washes his hands then the sin of everything he stretched out his hands to comes away with the water, or with the last drop of the water. And when he washes his feet every sin which his feet walked towards comes away with the water or with the last drop of the water - so that he leaves clean (clear/pure) from sins. [Reported by Muslim (1/148) and others].

Uthmaan (radhiAllaahu 'anhu) said: Rasoolullah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said Whoever makes wudu and makes it well, his sins come out from his body, even coming out from under his nails. [Reported by Muslim (3/133) and others].

Can you imagine? When you are washing your face, whatever you ‘watched’ or ‘heard’ or ‘said’ that was wrong….all those sins are being washed away. Whatever you touched….those sins are completely being erased. That’s before you even start praying!! What about when you actually start? What happens?

Well I can tell you this….Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala turns to you!

That’s right. When you turn to Him, He turns His Glorious Face to you...

Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet said: "Allah faces the slave while he is in the salah and keeps facing him as long as he does not turn.

But if you turn away from Him and you start thinking about something else, well, here’s the rest of the hadith:
If [the slave] turns, [Allah] turns away from him.”

Another hadith says that Allah calls out to the person who has turned away: To what is better than I? (which I basically think of meaning “Did you find something better than I??”

Did you? Did you find anything better than Him? Whenever you start to feel your attention slipping away, ask yourself that, before Allah asks you!

It’s also extremely important that when you start your prayer and say the istiadha or “I seek refuge in Allah from the Shaytan” that you mean it! If you feel in your heart that Allah is your Refuge and that He is protecting you from Shaytan’s whispers, you’re bound to concentrate more.

• The next essential thing to concentrate on is reciting surat Al Fatiha.

If Arabic is not your first language, it’s really important that you know EXACTLY what you're saying. So keep on looking over the translation and think that every WORD is worship. As you utter Surah Fatiha, think about the words in your mind. And what they mean to you. Do you want to be guided along the straight path? I bet you do - so when you pray 'sirratilmustakeem' - feel that you are really PLEADING to you Lord that you WANT to be along this path, and devoted to your Lord.

• Remember, each time you recite a verse, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala answers you!

• Hmmm, what else? Well, A lot of us fall into the trap of reciting the same surahs over and over again….more specifically, Qul huwa Allahoo ahad (or surat Al Ikhals). The problem with that is that it sometimes ‘becomes automatic’ or ‘routine’. We’re no longer even thinking about what we’re saying, right. That’s why, it’s really important that you VARY what you recite.

• Actually, this may come as a surprise to you but that also goes for what you say in your rukoo and sujood and even opening dua! That’s right. Islam didn’t say that you HAVE to say the same thing, day in and day out….The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam used to say several different things…

For example in the rukoo:

Subhaanaka Allaahumma Rabbanaa wa bihamdika Allaahum-maghfir lee.

Glory is to You , O Allah , our Lord , and praise is Yours . O Allah , forgive me.

Allaahumma laka raka'tu, wa bika 'aamantu, wa laka 'aslamtu khasha'a laka sam'ee, wa basaree, wa mukhkhee, wa 'adhmee, wa 'asabee, wa mastaqalla bihi qadamee.

O Allah , to You I bow (in prayer) and in You I believe and to You I have submitted. Before You my hearing is humbled , as is my sight , my mind , my bones , my nerves and what my feet have mounted upon (for travel).

And many others! You can see the different things that you can say here: 

It’s also really important you ‘give yourself time’. Pray slowly. If you don't pray slowly, then do... this way you can think about what you're saying. And, inshaAllah, stay focused on your prayer.

Some other tips….

• Try to actually have ONE ROOM in your house where you pray. I mean think about it. If you’re in the t.v. room and the t.v. is on, you’re probably not really going to be thinking about the salah. The same thing goes if you have your laptop open/ books on your bed….Chances are, you might find yourself peeking over there during your salah, rather than concentrating on what you’re actually doing. BUT, if you have one room where you always pray, inshaAllah, with time, you will be able to program yourself that this is the ‘salah room’. It will be your GETAWAY. That’s the room where you get away from this dunya and meet with your Lord. (A lot better than a secret garden, don’t you think?)

• Get rid of needless distractions. Check the temperature of the room beforehand. You really don’t want to be saying “Malik yawmid deen’ and actually thinking “Dang, it is so hot in here….wish I could turn on the .a.c.” Switch your mobile onto the SILENT mode. If you suffer from ‘fixthisscarf a million times during salah syndrome’, try to get a safety pin and pin it properly before salah time. Again, these are small tips, but I know that they can be major distractions.

• You might also want to consider having special prayer clothes. This is also to help get you in the mood of salah.

• Avoid having a really colorful carpet.

• Tell your family beforehand that you are going to pray. It would be great of course if you prayed WITH them, but let’s say you follow the thinking that women should not be imams for each other……tell your mom, “Okay, mom, I’m going to go pray now. If you need anything, I should be done in 15 minutes or so” (or however long it takes you but do remember to pray slowly, hehe). This way you won’t have the whole family searching for you/calling your name/ sorta thing that happens…

  • -Qur'an. Alhamdulillah, develop a beautiful relationship with the Quran and read with meaning, understanding, contemplation, sincerity and above all - devotion., Every word, every LETTER is sacred and from ALLAH. SubhanAllah - Allah will guide you , inshaAllah.

• Oh and if you’re a person who hangs out on the computer a lot, let me tell you about this awesome computer program that fellow blogger Rukhpar Mor talked about. This program counts down the prayer times for YOU…..It’s like whenever you’re on the computer, you’ll see how many more minutes/hours left till the next prayer time and it says the Adhan and all….Coolio, or what?!

Besides all this, I encourage you to read this really short but fantastic book called “Taste it!” which I put up before as well as this other answer in our blog to a question on salah:

Finally, I know it’s morbid, but reflect on the fact that at the end of the day, you are going to have ONE LAST prayer. Every person dies after a prayer….this prayer could be your last.

So make it count!

May Allah make us among these people:

Certainly will the believers have succeeded: (1) They who are during their prayer humbly submissive (2)… And they who carefully maintain their prayers - (9) Those are the inheritors (10)Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally. (11) (Surat Al Mu’minoon)

These are just a few little suggestions....I pray you will be rewarded and always smiling inshaAllah! (:

11 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

bintZaynab October 13, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

MashaAllah, good advise! =)

Rukhpar Mor October 13, 2010 at 4:56 PM  

I loved your advice. And it's something I was actually looking for because I have a real hard time in concentrating. Haha, and thanks for mentioning me=)

Anonymous,  October 13, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

I have the exact same problem in Salat. It seems harder to focus and concentrate when i'm not reading the quran out loud, which i dont in duhr and asr. So i guess im really distracted in those salats.

MoOn October 13, 2010 at 8:47 PM  

Mashallah, I never thought of giving myself a break-time from whatever I do before salah, and I think that's a great idea really mashallah.
I love the way you give advice with a lovely sense of humor ..lovely mashallah
Jazakum Allah khairan sisters xx

Anonymous,  October 14, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

If only i could hear the adhan wherei live. *sigh*

athoofa October 16, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

JazakumAllahu Kheiran. I really, really needed to read this! I loved the point about getting ready for Salah 10 to 15 minutes before the adhan. Have never tried that before...inshaAllah will be doing it! How beautiful is it, to take time off, get ready and prepared before meeting Allah!!

JazakumAllahu Kheiran again!

Anonymous,  December 11, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

mashallah insightful tips! =)

Marium Jamil,  March 24, 2011 at 11:19 PM  

MashAllah.. what a beautiful blog! Its like a small world that i love visiting daily or whenever i find time. JazakAllah Khairun. It gives me immense happiness even just randomly reading different blog posts here! :D

Anonymous,  May 8, 2012 at 10:09 AM  

Mash'Allah lovely post, it helped me very much :D


Anonymous,  July 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM  

Salam, jazakillah for this =)
I can't open the link that gives the other things one can say in ruku and sujood. Can someone please post them here in the comments? Or maybe share some other link, please =)

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