Allah has never commanded merely to pray rather the Quranic command to pray has come in specific ways
Allah says “Establish the prayer for My Remembrance”
- When you pray heedlessly of God you have done the form of what your Lord has commanded you but you have not fulfilled its purpose.
- Establishing the Prayer is also known as iq’aamah – it is to make something upright without any crookedness or deficiency Uprightness has two aspects inward and outward
- Outward: You fulfill the integrals and Sunnah’s during the prayer. You pray according to the Divine command and the Prophetic example
- Inward: Praying with presence of heart. Your heart is directed to Allah because the prayer is the root meaning is Dua (supplication). You are calling on Allah.
Pray sincerely seeking the pleasure of Allah, with a heart that is mindful, a heart that is turning to Allah, a heart that is conscious of Allah during the prayer.
1. Who are you praying to?
The most significant reality is that you are praying to Allah.
The prayer is not an act you perform rather it is your turning to Allah.
The purpose is Allah and you must bring that to mind before you begin and in the prayer itself and after the prayer.
- I am praying Allah
- To my Lord
- My Creator
- My Sustainer
- My Bestower
- The One who has granted me all that I have
- The One who has given me the gift of life
- my health
- my wealth
- my knowledge
- my guidance
- my faith
- everything that I have.
§ “You have no blessing Except that it is from Allah.”
So you pray to Allah and bring that mind.
This is why we begin prayer saying “Allah hu Akbar – Allah is Greatest”
This consciousness is helped by upholding the Inward Virtues related to your prayer. Thankfulness, Yearning, Love, Awe, Beholding & Bliss
You are supposed to be praying out of Thankfulness to Allah,
You are supposed to be praying with a deep sense of Yearning for Allah,
You are supposed to be praying with a deep sense of Love for the Divine,
You are supposed to be praying with sense of Awe of Allah
And when these become true with Beholding Allah with the eye of our heart, the eye of faith and a sense of absolute Bliss in that state of Beholding and intimacy with Allah.
- The Prophet ﷺ said, “Spiritual excellence, the perfection of faith is that you worship Allah as though you behold Him.”
- When you behold Allah, you are with Allah
You are in a sense of Awareness, Consciousness and Active Remembrance
Then you experience absolute Serenity, Contentment and Joy.
To get these you should stir your heart with these meanings:
- The meanings of Thankfulness
- The meanings of Yearning
- The meanings of Love
- The meanings of deep Awe of the Divine
- The meanings of Fear of Allah.
The prayer is for Allah, and we may reach a day when these meanings are there in our hearts already and in our prayer we are nourishing and nurturing that which is already within us.
- Until then we have to stir these meanings within us.
- The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Cry when you pray, and if you don’t cry then make yourself cry for the sake of Allah”
“Knowledge is only through learning and Forbearance (Hilm) is only through making oneself act Forbearantly”.
2. Your neediness
You have to realise your neediness to Allah, your slavehood and indigence.
- He is Free of all need
- Worthy of All Praise
- Possessor of All Majesty
- Magnificence and Beauty.
Allah says in the Quran “O People you are the ones who are in absolute need of Allah, and Allah is Free of all need, Worthy of All Praise”
When Aisha (May God be pleased with her) asked the Prophet ﷺ why he prayed so long his reply was that “Should I not be a slave that is Thankful?”
The state of the slave is neediness to their Lord and their Master.
- That’s what made the Prophet’s prayer so beautiful because he ﷺ prayed it with a complete neediness to his Lord.
- The Prophetic supplication “O Lord, I am in desperate need for any good that you may send me.”
- This is pure Tauheed, Pure awareness of Divine Oneness.
- Tauheed is to affirm That there is none free of need than any other worthy of all praise Except Allah.
- There is none free of any other whom all are absolute need of Except Allah.
Allah defines Himself for us in the Quran in Surah Ikhlaas:
“Say He is Allah the Unique,
Allah the Absolutely Independent whom all depend upon”
- Allah is Al Qayyum – The Sustainer.
- At every moment your life is only yours because Allah is granting it to you at every moment.
- All that you have is not only given by Allah but is being kept for you at every moment by Allah.
Your state should be like the one whose hands are out begging their Lord in neediness, and you bring to mind the Majesty of Allah
- That He is the Possessor of absolute existence
- All else besides Him is fleeting and waning
- Its only there because He affirmed it
- He is the One who is possessed by absolute transcendence
- He is the One who is Beginningless and Endless
- He is the One who is absolutely distinct from Creation
- He is the One who is absolutely Independent in no need of any other
- He is the One who has the attributes of Perfection
- He has Absolute Life, Knowledge, Will, Power
- He has the attributes of Speech, Hearing and Seeing all things
- Think of the Majesty of Allah in prayer,
§ This is how you engage your heart in the prayer.
Even when you are standing silently in prayer i.e. in Taraweh prayer
- Busy your heart with a sense of your Lord.
Keep in mind your neediness and His Majesty.
3. Enter With Purpose
Start your prayer in the right way by entering the prayer with a purpose
- Pause for a moment
- Gather your resolve
- Bring to mind whom you’re praying to
- Fill your heart with the sense of yearning, loving, thankfulness
- Intend to pray for the sake of Allah
- Then you begin.
The most important prayer is the obligatory prayer
- The wisdom of having the Sunnah prayer before the obligatory prayer is for you to strengthen your sense of purpose in the obligatory prayer.
- The Sunnah prayer is like a training ground for the training ground for the obligatory prayer because that is worth 80 times the Sunnah prayer.
- It is praiseworthy to sit for a few moments to gather your thoughts, and do some Dhikr before you begin praying
§ When you do this – your prayer will be completely different.
Allah is your beloved, and those who believe are more intense in their love of Allah.
- This is your moment of your direct encounter with Allah.
- When you are waiting for the one you love, how do you wait for them?
- That is why you prepare yourself
- That is why it is recommended to renew your Wudu because it creates a sense of break of what you were doing before and what you’re about to enter into right now.
- Enter the prayer with purpose
- Gather your intention
- Your resolve
- Your focus
- Get rid of distractions
- The Prophet ﷺ said “A person only has from their prayer that which they were conscious of”.
4. What you say. What you do.
Within they prayer focus on two meaning What you say and What you do.
In every position. When you’re standing focus not only on what you are saying but the meaning of what you are saying.
- Do you know what ‘Allah hu Akbar’ means?
- Do you know what ‘Audhu billahi min al-shaitanir-rajim’ means?
- Do you know the meaning of the opening supplication?
- These are High meanings!
Don’t say anything that you say in the prayer in a hurried way,
Say it in a calm manner.
- Pronounce it properly without emphasis without exacting
- Your prayer is not a tajweed class
- Say it properly with the tongue as it helps stir the heart
- Don’t make your pronunciation the focus rather say it in a way that is comfortable and move your heart with it
- Don’t say anything in prayer without bringing to heart what it means
- Recite without haste
- Say it with your tongue and with your heart
- Move your heart
- Review the meanings
- Bring to mind the position that you are in
- When you are standing, you are standing towards Allah
- When you bow, you are bowing toward the tremendous Majesty of Allah
§ You say “Subhana rabbi al-atheem”
“Glory be to my Lord, the Most Tremendous”
o When you prostrate yourself
§ “Subhana rabbi al-a’laa”
“Glory be to my Lord, The Exhalted”
This is the highness on Majesty.
He is closer to you than your jugular vein and He is with you wherever you may be. It is we who are heedless of our Lord.
5. Fight distractions – Flee to Allah
You have to fight distractions, and anytime you find distracted Renew your sense that your prayer is for Allah.
- Refocus on what you are saying and what you are doing.
6. After the prayer
After the prayer is finished, don’t just get up and leave
- Adhere to the Sunnah’s after the prayer
- Learn the Sunnah’s
- Make a routine and don’t leave it – even if you are in a rush
- Right after Salaah say:
“Astagfirullah” 3 times
“I seek Allah’s forgiveness from my sin and shortcomings”
- Say it sincerely for it is the tongue that guides the heart
- Learn the post prayer supplication:
- “Allāhumma Antas-Salām, wa minkas-salām, tabārakta yā Dhal-jalāli wal-ikrām.”
“O Allah, You are Peace, and Peace is from You, Exalted are You, O Possessor of Majesty and Grace”
o “Allahumma a’inni ‘ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni’ibadatika”
“O Allah assist me in worshipping You, O Allah assist me in remembering You, and to be thankful of You, and to worship You beautifully”.
7. Keep to turning to Allah – Knowledge. Action. State
You need three things to keep turning to Allah
- You need Knowledge: to know what Allah seeks from you at the level of obligation and that the level of what He’s encouraged you to do in order for you to draw closer to Him
- Acting upon that knowledge sincerely
- Result in State of becoming a true servant of Allah
- Someone whose on the footsteps of Al-Mustafa ﷺ
- Someone who draws ever closer to that state in which you worship Allah as though you behold Him and you’re granted true experience of the state of remembering Allah which is the state of true joy
§ It is only by the remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest.
8. Law as Love
If you’re with Allah in life, you’ll be with Allah in prayer
If you struggle to be conscious of Allah in life, you’re going struggle in prayer and you’re going miss out
- Everything that you do remaining within the limits of the sacred law
- Do it not as a burden but do it as a declaration of Love for Allah.
- Do it seeking the pleasure of Allah
9. Knowledge is the path to God
In order to succeed in seeking the pleasure of Allah in life, in order to succeed in having a meaningful prayer you have to seek knowledge.
- Knowledge is the path to Allah
- Make a commitment to seek knowledge
- You should know how the Prophet ﷺ prayed
- You need to know how to purify your conduct and your character
- You need to know how to be in a state of submission to Allah
- You need to instill in yourself the Islamic manners
- You need to know how to recite the Quran properly
- You do all these things for Allah.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whomever Allah wishes well for He grants deep understanding of religion”
- Knowledge is a light that shows the way to Allah
- Knowledge that is beneficial and inspired your heart helps you tread that path to the pleasure of your Lord
Commit to learn
- The Prophet ﷺ said “Whoever travels the path seeking knowledge therein, Allah facilitates for them through that the path to paradise”
- It’s a sustained seeking in an orderly fashion
- A path is a way that has been trodden by those before you that leads your desired goal and destination which is closeness to Allah
- Seeking knowledge therein, the knowledge is on the path but it is not the purpose of the path, its purpose is your Lord
Remember your prayer must be established
Strive to learn the Prophetic way of prayer Outwardly to gain the Inward sense of turning to Allah in your prayer out of remembrance of Allah
“Verily it is only by the remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest”
By , Shaykh Faraz Rabbani