Guilty of not concentrating in salah?

Scenario : Alhumdulillah, you are in the habit of praying 5 times a day, and you just love to stand in prayer, but by the end of every salah you are guilty of not maintaining concentration in it. Your prayer time is the time to connect with the Almighty but instead it becomes the time when you plan your day, or think about who said what and why you told them what you did, or you remind yourself about the pic to be uploaded on fb or articles to be posted on your blog. Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

Well, if even you are guilty of ending your namaz in the same manner, like me (Astaghfirullah), here are a few tips from Salah 101 blog, on how to develop concentration in Salah!

May Allah help us in our intention of perfecting our Salah and make it a source for us to get closer to Him and seek His pleasure. Ameen.

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What is Khushuu’?

Khushuu’ during Salaat is misunderstood by some people as crying and weeping. Rather, it is the presence of the heart during an act of ‘ibadah. When a person’s heart is fully occupied of what he says or hears, he is in a true state of khushuu’. The concept of Khushuu’ in Salaat is very essential.

1- It is a vital factor in making a person successful in this life and in later life. “Indeed, the believers, who have khushuu’ in their Salaat, are the winners.”
قد أفلح المؤمنون الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون

2-It is a contributing factor for the acceptance of Salaat.

3- It is a way to gain more rewards from the Almighty Allah; the more the khushuu’ a person has, the more rewards he gets.

4- Without Khushuu’ the heart cannot easily be purified.

Ways to Gain Khushuu’

A. Pre-Salaat

1- A Muslim should know his Lord very well. Knowing whom one worships makes a person a better worshipper. Having clear and authentic knowledge about Allah increases His love in our hearts. Consequently, faith also increases.

2- Avoiding major and minor sins is very helpful in gaining Khushuu’, as the heart becomes more receptive to the words of Allah during and after Salaat.

3- Reciting the Qur’an frequently and consistently softens the hearts and prepares it for Khushuu’. Hard hearts do not gain Khushuu’.

4- Minimize attachment to worldly matters. Gearing one’s intentions towards the Afterlife helps against the temptations of life.

5- Avoid excessive laughter and useless arguments as they harden the heart and lead to heedlessness.

6- Stop working as soon as you hear the Azaan. When you listen attentively to the call of Salaat repeat after the muˆz-zin then offer the relevant supplication. This prepares you for a smooth transition from the business with worldly matters to the business with Salaat.

7- Performing wuduuˆ immediately after hearing the Azaan prepares you for the pending Salsat. Wuduuˆ also works as a buffer zone before engaging in Salaat.

8- Going to the mosque early for praying and continuing mention of Allah drives Satan away and help gain concentration.

9- The waiting time for the congregational Salaat helps create a buffer zone between the state of mind before Salaat and the state of during Salaat.

B. During Salaat

1- The Iqaamah itself is a final signal to the mind to be well prepared for performing the actual Salaat. Remember what the messenger of Allah said to Bilal (ra) “Let us enjoy the comfort of the Salaat.”

2- When you stand facing the Qiblah remember the following:

a. It might be the last Salaat in your life. There is no guarantee to live longer to catch the next Salaat.
b. You are standing between the hands of Allah, the Lord of the worlds. How can you be busy with something else?
c. The angel of death is chasing you.

3- Do not forget to make isti’azah. It wards off Satan’s whispers.

4- Keep your eyes focused on the place of sujuud. This helps you gain more concentration.

5- When reciting the Fatiha, try to recall the response of Allah to you after every ayah you say. (When you say: ”al-hamdu lillahi rab-bil ‘alamin) Allah responds: “My servant praised me.” etc. This feeling of speaking to Allah puts you in the right mood of khushuu’.

6- Beautifying the recitation of the Qur’an has a positive impact on the heart.

7- Recite the Qur’an slowly and reflect upon its meaning deeply.

8- It is recommended to change the suras that your recite from time to time to avoid the mechanic-like state of repetition.

9- Alternate between the various authentic sunan such as proclaiming a different opening supplication in every Salaat.

10- Undoubtedly, understanding Arabic helps you focus on the intended meaning.

11- Interact with the recited aayahs;

a. if you hear an ayah about Allah, glorify Him by saying “Subhaana Allah”;
b. If you hear an ayah about Hellfire, say “a’uuthu billaahi mina-n-naar”.
c. If you hear a command to make istighfaar, do it.
d. If you hear an ayah that requests tasbiih, make tasbiih.

12- These forms of interactions are very helpful in keeping you focused.

13- When you prostrate, remember that this position brings you closer to Allah. Seize the opportunity to make sincere du’aaˆ. Invest these moments in making sincere supplications.

C- Post-Salaat

a. When you make tasliim, make istighfaar to Allah as you might have made during Salaat.
b. When you praise Allah, thank Him from the bottom of your heart that you have experienced the beauty of Salaat in your heart. Getting used to this habit prepares your for the next Salaat, as you will always be eager to focus in your prayer.
c. One perfection leads to another perfection. If some one perfects his Salaat once, he would be self-motivated to continue on the same level.

[Source: http://www.areweprepared.ca/post/2009/07/08/How-to-gain-Khushu-in-Salah.aspx ]

Read more on Salah 101.

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Why and How to wake up for fajr??

If you are an insomniac like me, who catches sleep only during the late hours of night, or even otherwise, then I’m sure you’d agree that waking up for fajr can get really hard at times. So, here is an article form ProductiveMuslim website with some tips to help you wake up for fajr! 🙂 But before reading this article, watch the video to understand how satan tricks you into not offering your fajr prayer. So, next time when you turn off that alarm and plan to go back to sleep, remember it’s your enemy there who vowed to mislead you [38 :82]. Choice is yours, are you going to let him win?

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Source:How to wake up for fajr?

How do you wake up for fajr? And I don’t mean wake up for a day or two, but how do you keep waking up for fajr, constantly, everyday, without fail.

There’s loads & loads of websites online giving you tips and advice on how to wake up early. But our focus is not on worldly tips (which should be taken by all means, part of tying the camel ;)), our focus is on the spiritual means.

 

My dear brothers/sisters, every day when you read Surat Al-Fatiha, at least 17 times a day, you recite the verse “You Alone we Worship, and You Alone we Seek Help from”: You want to worship Allah? “Yes!” You need His help then. You want to wake up for Fajr? “Yes please!” Guess what, you need Allah. You cannot, I repeat, cannot, wake up for fajr without Allah’s help. Now ask yourself the question, what can I do to show Allah that I truly and utterly want to wake up for fajr?!


Have you ever had days when you’re about to go to sleep, and you have this deep feeling that you’ll definitely wake up for fajr? And have you ever had days when you know for certain that you’ll oversleep? Imagine the two scenarios, which I’m sure some of us have gone through:

Scenario 1:

You feel high with Eman, you’ve prayed your witr, read some Quran, and even though you’ve got 2 hours to sleep till fajr, you’re certain you’ll wake up because you’ve set your mind, heart and body to make sure you wake up. In fact, sometimes you keep on waking in the middle of the night thinking it’s fajr time out of fear that you’re going to miss it. If you haven’t experienced this, think of a time when you had to catch an early flight or a bus/train, and think of how your mind, heart and body were switched on, and it doesn’t matter what time you slept, you’ll wake up.

Scenario 2:

There are days when deep down you really don’t want to wake up, you hope that you “oversleep” so you feel less guilty about it, and Allah may have mercy upon you and still wake you up, and that’s when the battle with the snooze alarm starts and the classic shaytaan trick “just 5 more minutes…” begins.

How do we maintain scenario 1 everyday?

With these 2 scenarios, one details a feeling deep down inside that you’re definitely waking up, and another where you know you won’t wake up because deep down inside you don’t want to and you’re not ready to take the fight against shaytaan of waking up in the morning.

Below I detail some practical and spiritual tools, that will help you in achieving scenario 1 all the time inshaAllah:

SPIRITUAL TOOLS

  • Know who Allah is: This is the key and number one tool to waking up for Fajr. If you know Who you’re worshipping, and you know that He requests that you get up in the morning and pray to Him, you’ll wake up. It’s our lack of understanding of who Allah is that makes us slump into scenario 2 all the time. Know your Lord, that’s key.
  • Sincerity: Be sincere about waking up for fajr, don’t just say to yourself: “InshaAllah, it’ll be nice if I wake up for fajr” be sincere about it, and say: “I will wake up for fajr” I find it useful sometimes to talk to myself about it before going to sleep and say: “I will wake up for fajr, i don’t care how, but I’ll definitely will!”
  • Wudu before sleep: Ibn Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger said: “Purify these bodies and Allah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the Angel] says, ‘O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.” Do you think that such a person would be left to oversleep and miss fajr?
  • Witr Prayer + Dua: Make sure you don’t sleep before performing your witr prayer, and supplicate to Allah during your Witr prayer to help you wake up for Fajr, remember, “You Alone we Worship, and You Alone we Seek help from”
  • Read some Quran: Ending the day with verses of the Noble Quran will sure put your focus straight on waking up for salaat. Prophet Muhammad used to recommend that we recite Surat Al-Sajdah, and Surat Al-Mulk (Chapters 32 and 67) before going to sleep.
  • Remember Allah before you go to Sleep: This is part of the first point I made, and you can find all the supplications you need to recite before going to sleep here. You might need to print them off and read them off paper at first, but within a week or two you should be able to memorize them fully and just recite them before dozing off.
  • Remember the rewards attached to Fajr Salaat: from being safe from being a hypocrite, to having light on the day of judgement, to being under Allah’s protection the whole day, to having laziness removed from us that day and being productive. Remember these rewards and you’ll sure wake up.

Other tools I use that help me a lot:

Ask a friend/family member to wake you up: This is the number one rule for me to wake up. Get a family, friend, spouse to wake up, and help each other, if you get up before them, don’t be selfish and make sure they are awake too.

  • 1.5 hours sleep rule: Aaaah.. here’s a secret trick, there’s a theory in the Sleep science that says that every human being completes an entire sleep cycle in 1.5 hours, therefore, if you can wake up at the end of a multiple of 1.5 hours (e.g. 1.5 hours, or 3 hours, or 4.5 hours..etc) you’ll wake up fresh and rejuvenated. Otherwise, you’ll wake up lazy. So if fajr is at 5am, and you sleep at 12am, make sure you set your alarm at 4.30am, because that gives you 4.5 hours to sleep. (Of course, if you take 1/2 an hour to fall to sleep, you might need to add that into your calculation).
  • Nap in the afternoon: Another lifehack, taken from the Sunnah and recommended by many, make sure you nap in the afternoon, for just 20 minutes! yup, just 20 minutes. Trust me, for the past 3 years, I’ve mastered the 20 min nap, and everytime it never fails to rejuvenate me. If you need to train yourself to nap for that long, I highly recommend www.pzizz.com, a wonderful software that trains you for these short naps, it’s what I used to train myself.
  • Promise yourself a grand breakfast if you wake up for Fajr: I’m a breakfast guy, so if I wake up early, I sure like to have a big breakfast. Sometimes i look forward to my breakfast from the afternoon before, and just like a small reward, treat yourself to a massive breakfast in the morning. It’ll definitely set your day straight as well inshaAllah.

“Pray as you have seen me pray”

Prophet Muhammad   said (which means): What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayer. [Muslim, Aboo Dawood, Nasaa’ee]

Salah- The second and most important pillar of Islam after the shahada.

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said “Pray as you have seen me pray…” (Sahih Bukhari  91:352)

Here is a video showing a step by step guide to perfecting Salah.

Also Download this documentary for a more detailed descreption on performing salah. I have this one and find it very beneficial. Right click here and save link as to Download. (279 MB) (Source: Iloveallah.com)

 

 

 

 

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Salah-Life’s forgotten purpose – By Sister Yasmin Mogahed

Man has taken many journeys throughout time. But there is one journey that nobody has ever taken.

Nobody—except one.

On a vehicle no man has ever ridden, through a path no soul has ever seen. To a place no creation has ever before set foot. It was the journey of one man to meet the Divine. It was the journey of Muhammad ﷺ, prophet of God, to the highest heaven.

It was al Israa wal Miraaj (the magnificent journey).

On that journey Allah took his beloved prophet ﷺ to the seventh heaven—a place not even angel Gibreel could enter. In the Prophet’s mission on earth, every instruction, every commandment was sent down through angel Gibreel. But, there was one commandment that was not. There was one commandment so important, that rather than sending angel Gibreel down with it, Allah brought the Prophet ﷺ up to Himself.

That commandment was salah (prayer). When the Prophet ﷺ was first given the command to pray, it was to be fifty times in a day. After asking Allah to make it easier, the commandment was eventually reduced to five times a day, with the reward of the fifty.

Reflecting upon this incident scholars have explained that the process of going from fifty to five was a deliberate one, intended to teach us the true place salah should hold in our lives. Imagine for a moment actually praying fifty times a day. Would we be able to do anything else but pray? No. And that’s the point. What greater way than that to illustrate our life’s true purpose? As if to say, salah is our real life; all the rest that we fill our day with…just motions.

And yet, we live as if it’s exactly the opposite. Salah is something we squeeze into our day, when we find time—if that. Our ‘lives’ don’t revolve around salahSalah revolves around our ‘lives.’ If we’re in class, salah is an afterthought. If we’re at the mall, the Macy’s sale is more urgent. Something is seriously wrong when we put aside the very purpose of our existence in order to watch a basketball game.

And that is for those who even pray at all. There are those who have not only put aside their life’s purpose, they have abandoned it completely. What we often don’t realize about the abandonment ofsalah is this: No scholar has ever held the opinion that committing zina (fornication) makes you a disbeliever. No scholar has ever held the opinion that stealing, drinking or taking drugs makes you a disbeliever. No scholar has even claimed that murder makes you a non-Muslim. But, about salah, some scholars have said he who abandons it, is no longer Muslim. This is said based on ahadithsuch as this one: “The covenant between us and them is prayer, so if anyone abandons it, he has become a disbeliever.” [Ahmad]

Imagine an act so egregious that the Prophet ﷺ would speak about it is such a way. Consider for a moment what satan did wrong. He didn’t refuse to believe in Allah. He refused to make one sajdah. Just one. Imagine all the sajdahs we refuse to make.

Consider the seriousness of such a refusal. And yet, think how lightly we take the matter of salah.Salah is the first thing we will be asked about on the Day of Judgment, and yet it is the last thing that is on our mind. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The first thing which will be judged among a man’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the Prayer. If this is in good order then he will succeed and prosper but if it is defective then he will fail and will be a loser.” [Tirmidhi]

On that Day, the people of paradise will ask those who have entered Hell-fire, why they have entered it. And the Qur’an tells us exactly what their first response will be: ”What led you into Hell Fire? They will say: ‘We were not of those who prayed.’” (Qur’an, 74:42-43)

How many of us will be among those who say “we were not of those who prayed, or we were not of those who prayed on time, or we were not of those who made prayer any priority in our lives?” Why is it that if we’re in class or at work or fast asleep at the time of fajr and we need to use the restroom, we make time for that? In fact, the question almost sounds absurd. We don’t even consider it an option not to. And even if we were taking the most important exam of our lives, when we need to go, we will go. Why? Because the potentially mortifying consequences of not going, makes it a non-option.

There are many people who say they don’t have time to pray at work or school, or while they’re out. But how many have ever said they don’t have time to go to the bathroom, so while out, at work or school have opted instead to just wear Depends? How many of us just don’t feel like waking up at Fajrtime if we need to use the bathroom, and choose instead to wet our bed? The truth is we’ll get out of bed, or leave class, or stop work, to use the bathroom, but not to pray.

It sounds comical, but the truth is we put the needs of our body above the needs of our soul. We feed our bodies, because if we didn’t, we’d die. But so many of us starve our souls, forgetting that if we are not praying our soul is dead. And ironically, the body that we tend to is only temporary, while the soul that we neglect is eternal.

Originally published by InfocusNews

“What’s the point of going to Friday Prayers?”

“What’s the point of going to Jumah?”

A Muslim wrote a letter to the editor of the Jammat newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to Mosque every Friday.
“I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can’t remember a single one of them. So I think I’m wasting my time . . . and the Imaam they are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the dismay of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today.”

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