Let Us Perform Our Prayers in Awe, Khushu

When we perform something we love, we concentrate fully on our business. Sometimes we concentrate so well that we would not hear if someone called us and would not notice the things that are happening around us. To feel awe is to realize that we are in front of Allah when praying, and not paying attention to any-thing else, and concentrating on our prayer.

We would not want to leave someone we love a lot, or that person to leave us. Even if hours passed, we would not notice the time. When we are spending time with our friends or chatting with them, it would be wrong to do something else, would it not?

Similarly, doing something else when we are in front of Allah in a prayer would be wrong as well. Our prayers should not turn into a session in which we review our issues at work, in school, with family or friends, and plan our day. As we turn our bodies towards Kaaba, we must turn our hearts to Allah as well.

By think-ing of the meanings of the chapters that we recite and the fact that we stand before Allah Most High, we must keep our respect.

We should not be busy with something else when we are with our Lord, when He sees us, when our tongues are reciting supplications to Him and reciting His chapters.

We get closer to awe when we strive to perceive our ritual prayers as a time when we show our love to our Lord and are with Him, rather than a time when we cast off a burden by performing our prayers quickly.

The outward prerequisites of prayer are regulated by Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh). A prayer that does not observe the regulations set by Islamic law is not acceptable. However, a prayer that is not done in pious reverence is not a respected one. Therefore, a prayer should combine the outward regulations and the inner ones that adorn the heart. Adornment of the heart can be accomlished by actualizing the secret of purification. It is said in the Qur'an:

"But those will prosper who purify themselves."

(Al-A'la (7: 14). This spiritual cultivation is so important for prayer. Allah does not mention the obligatory (fardh), the necessary, (wajib), and the number of units of prayer, but rather repeatedly states the importance of pious reverence, sincerity, and peace of mind. The importance of these states covers our entire life. So, the spiritual side of prayer is the most important component that the praying person should observe. It is said in the Qur'an:

"The believers must (eventually) win through: those who humble themselves in their prayers..."

(Al-Muminun 23: 1-2). The Prophet (pbuh) says:

"Whoever makes ablution accordingly, and prays in time, and bows down and prostrates in pious reverence, his prayer arises as a luminous light and calls to the praying person: ' –May Allah save you as you observed my details!' And whoever does not make ablution accordingly, and does not pray in time, and does not bow down and prostrate in pious reverence, his prayer arises as a dark object and calls to the praying person: ' – May Allah waste you as you wasted me!' So that the prayers, following Allah's decree, goes to a place and then comes back to slap the face of the praying person." (Tabarani).

The Prophet (pbuh) says: "When a person completes his prayer, one tenth of its reward is given to him; or he is given one ninth; or one eighth; or one seventh; or one sixth; or one fifth, or one fourth, or one third, or half..." (Abu Dawud, Salat, 124).

"Many persons cannot get one sixth, or even one tenth, of the reward for his prayer. He only gets the part he does in pious reverence." (Abu Dawud, Nesai).

Namely, the servant gets reward for only the prayer he does in pious reverence.

Those who do prayers in sincerity to perform prayers adequately, and thereby to commit themselves to Allah, and they engage themselves only with prayer, and perform prayer in order that they open to spiritual accomplishments. They fix their eyes on the point to which they prostrate, and sensing that they are under Divine scrutiny, they go into rapture in spiritual pleasure.

This is, of course, the condition of the sincere servants with a sound heart. Namely, pious reverence is the fruit of sincerity. Then, sincerity provides the servant with pious reverence, and it advances him to high degrees before Allah as well as providing Divine protection. The Prophet (pbuh) says in this regard:

"Good news is for those who are guided into the right way. It is just because of them strong troubles vanish." (Fadail-i Amal).

Allah the Exalted says: It is the believers who are successful: those who are humble in their salat. (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 1-2)

Allah the Exalted says: Seek help in steadfastness and salat. But that is a very hard thing, except for the humble: those who are aware that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him. (Surah Al-Baqara, Ayat 45-46)

When we start our prayers, we think about the greatness of Allah and stand in front of Him saying “Allahu Akbar.” We stand in a respectful posture by clasping our hands in front of our Creator. We con-sider that Allah Most High is speaking to us when we recite or listen to the chapters of Quran. We bow (al-ruku) by remembering the greatness of our Lord. After rising again with respect, we place our forehead in prostration (al-sajdah) with our body and soul. Remembering that the moment of prostration is the time when we get closest to Allah, we say “My Almighty Lord, I glorify You.” We reflect that the purpose of our creation is to worship Allah and praise Him, and we would sacrifice anything for Him. We perform all the other rakahs with these thoughts in mind. At the end, we sit like a humble, destitute person, and recite the supplications of “Al-Tahiyyat, Allahuma Salli, and Allahuma Barik.” With the hap-piness of performing worship that gets us closer to our Lord, we complete our prayer by giving salutation (As-Salam) to all the angels and people to the right and left sides of us.

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