The devotion of standing upright before Allah in prayer comes into effect when the slave devotes his attention to the Greatness of Allah and His Attribute of Self-subsistence, as this will ensure that he turns neither his face nor his eyes from side to side.
The devotion of the statement “Allah is the Greatest” by which the slave commences the prayer is realized when the slave devotes his attention and focus to Allah’s greatness, glory, and exaltation.
Devotion in Various Acts in Prayer
Opening Supplication: The devotion of the opening supplication happens when the servant extols and glorifies and praises Him profusely, ascribing to Him all that befits Him and declares His transcendence above everything that does not befit Him, and praises Him for His Attributes and Perfection.
Ta`awudh (seeking Allah’s protection from Satan): The devotion of taking refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan is realized by having confidence and faith that Allah shall support him, protect him and aid him against Satan.
Recitation: The devotion of reciting the Qur’an lies in the slave’s endeavor to learn about Allah through His Words as if trying to see Him through His revelation. One of the righteous Salaf said: Allah manifests Himself to His slaves through His Speech (i.e. Qur’an). It is, however, the case that the degree of devotion while reciting and praying varies from one person to another, and the difference between them is like the difference between the one whose both eyes are sound and unimpaired, and the one-eyed individual, the blind person, the deaf person, etc. in their levels of perception. The slave should be as heedful as possible to His Essence, Attributes, Actions, Commandments, Laws, and Names.
Ruku`: The devotion of bowing down is contained in being mindful to the Greatness and the Pride of Allah, Exalted be He. For that reason, it is prescribed for him to say while he is in the state of bowing down, "Glory to my Lord, the Most High".
Raising up from the ruku`: After he rises up from his bowing stance, he should focus his attention upon glorifying and praising Allah repeatedly, so as to manifest his servitude to Him, the One in whose Hand is the sole authority to bestow and deny.
When the servant falls into prostration, he ought to focus his attention on feeling his nearness to Him, overwhelmed in humility in the hope that He forgives him, guides him, sustains him, protects him and bestows His mercy upon him. Then, when he raises his head and adopts the sitting posture, his inner condition takes on a different nature, one that is similar to the condition of the pilgrim when he performs the last circumambulation because at that point, his heart begins to realize that he is about to complete his prayer and with it leave this blessed condition that he is experiencing and that soon he will be returning to the dreariness of his worldly affairs that he had detached himself from just before standing before his Lord. Once again he will be subject to the feelings of pain and anguish that his heart endured before he started praying, all of which melted away as soon as he commenced his prayer. At that point, his heart rushes to enjoy the nearness of Allah for the last time, to bask in His grace, and to be saved from the disruptiveness of his worldly affairs.
The feeling of bitterness he endures is due to his recognition that all this lasts only as long as he is praying. At this stage, the heart cannot but feel burdened and troubled knowing that all this is about to end and that he is about to return to these worldly affairs and concerns. This agitates the slave to the point that he starts wishing that this prayer were the final act of his life. Not to mention the slave’s awareness that as soon as he finishes praying, he will resume communicating with those who bring him nothing but concerns, worries, and harm after he had been invoking and supplicating his Lord. However, this kind of feeling cannot be experienced except by those whose hearts are alive with the remembrance and love of Allah and who are cognizant of the negative effect that mankind leaves on their hearts. This is because interacting with people puts him in the way of harm and worries, agitates his heart and makes him overlook or miss good deeds, not to mention causing him to commit more sins. More importantly, it distracts him from invoking Allah, the most High.
Source: Quoted with slight modifications from Ibn Al-Qaiym The Inner Dimensions of the Prayer
The secret and the essence of Salah (prayer) is to devote oneself to Allah while praying. Just as the `abd (slave) should not turn his face away from the direction of the Qiblah (direction of prayer), he should also disallow his heart from giving attention to anything except his Lord. Therefore the salve should let the Ka`bah – the House of Allah – be the direction of his body and face, and let Allah be the direction of his heart and soul. Allah shall give His attention to His slave in proportion to the level of his devotion and focus in Prayer. Thus, if he turns away from Allah (by becoming unmindful), He too shall turn away from him – truly, as you judge, shall you yourself be judged.
Devotion in Prayer is of three levels:
1- The devotion of the heart: This level safeguards the heart and rectifies its affairs from the sickness of desires and the whispers of Satan, as well as all thoughts that may nullify his Prayer or lessen its reward.
2- The devotion of Ihsan: This level is when the slave is mindful of Allah in his prayer to the degree that he becomes as if he worships Him while seeing Him.
3- The devotion of understanding: This level is reached when the slave reflects upon and comprehends the meanings of the words of Allah (i.e. Qur’an) that he recites. And, when he contemplates the details of the worship (i.e. prayer) in order to pay its due right in humility and tranquility. Even if we ponder about Surat Al-Fatihah, there is so much to think and ponder about that one can get overwhelmed. Scholars have explained seven different levels of understanding of this surah and written volumes and volumes of books on this surah alone. If this one surah requires this much pondering, then how about the whole Qur’an and what Allah Almighty has legislated for us to recite in our prayer.
If the slave successfully reaches these three levels, he will have truly established and performed his prayer in the most perfect manner and in return, he will receive the full attention of Allah.
Source: Quoted with slight modifications from Ibn Al-Qaiym The Inner Dimensions of the Prayer
Observing prayer in congregation for healthy men who are capable of going to the mosque is obligatory according to the consensus of the jurists. Almighty Allah says:
And when you are among them and lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand [in prayer] with you. (An-Nisa’ 4:102)
Allah Almighty has prescribed the congregation of prayer during the fear of in a journey; hence congregational prayer during safety or peace should be more mandatory.
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I have seen the time when no one stayed away from prayer except a hypocrite, whose hypocrisy was well known, or a sick man, but if a sick man could walk between two persons (i.e. with the help of two persons with one on each side) he would come to prayer. And (further) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) taught us the paths of right guidance, among which is prayer in the mosque in which the Adhan is called.” (Muslim)
It was narrated from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever hears the call and does not come, his prayer is not valid, except for those who have an excuse.” (Ibn Majah)
Abu Hurairah also narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No prayer is heavier upon the hypocrites than the Fajr and the `Isha’ prayers and if they knew what is in them (in reward), they would have attended them, even if (it was) crawling. Certainly, I felt the urge to order the muezzin so that he would pronounce Iqamah, then order a man to lead the people (in prayer), then take a flame of fire so that I burn (the houses) upon those who had not left for the prayer yet.” (Al-Bukhari)
According to the above hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not burn the house of those who did not attend the congregational if it is not obligatory. He also would not describe them as hypocrites if the congregational prayer is not obligatory.
Prayer is the foundation of the religion and the most important pillar of Islam.
Why don’t we make Ramadan the beginning to enhance our relation with mosques?
It is regrettable to say that many Muslims miss the congregational prayer at mosques without valid excuses. Allah almighty created the humans and the jinn except they should worship Him as mentioned in the Qur’an. Salah (Prayer) is the foundation of the religion and the most important pillar of Islam. It is the first act of worship that a person will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The first of man’s deeds for which he will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be Salah. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser.” (At-Tirmidhi)
A Muslim must offer the prayer on its time with the congregation of Muslims in the mosques for which they were built. Almighty Allah says:
The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided. (At-Tawbah 9:18)
This blessed month is a great opportunity for most of us to overcome our shortcomings such as offering prayer in congregation. Offering prayer in congregation has great rewards in the Shari`ah:
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: He who purified himself in his house, and then he walked to one of the houses of Allah for the sake of performing a Fard (obligatory act) out of the Faraid (obligatory acts) of Allah, both his steps (would be significant) as one of them would obliterate his sin and the second one would raise his status.” (Muslim)
We ask Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty, to help us to fast and offer prayer in congregation, and to do acts of worship and to avoid doing evil. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Christchurch Massacre Attack
Last Friday, the world woke up on an ugly crime against humanity: an extremist attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand; killing about 50 worshipers and injuring dozens in one of the worst forms of abhorrent terrorism fueled by hate speech and racism.
There is no doubt that this abhorrent incident, which is not approved by any person, regardless of religion or race unless it is imbued by feelings of extremism and racism, emphasize the following:
The need to admit that terrorism has no religion and no race, and to put it into its true character and logical context. This needs to interact with all the events of terrorism with the same reaction and with the same force. It is not fair to interact with an event if it is from a certain religion and exaggerate it, and overlook other events if they are relating to another religions.
Islam is the religion of coexistence and it does not coerce people of other faiths to convert.
It must be noted that Islam is the religion of coexistence and it does not coerce people of other faiths to convert but made freedom of conscience a voluntary choice. Almighty Allah says in His Book:
There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
In another verse, Allah says:
The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve. (Al-Kahf 18:29)
How Does Islam Protect the Places of Worship of Non-Muslims?
Since Islam acknowledges freedom of faith, it allows non-Muslims living in Muslim countries to freely practice their religious rites inside their places of worship. As such, it guarantees the security of their places of worship and accords them special protection by prohibiting all forms of aggression against them.
Islam goes even further and commands its followers to be just, merciful and kind towards non-Muslims. The Qur’an says:
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)
In addition, we as Muslims reiterate and re-emphasize that Isis and other such terrorist groups are met by complete condemnation by the whole Muslims communities. The Muslims scholars denied their brutal actions by legitimate evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, clarifying that their beliefs and deeds are un-Islamic.
The Mosques, the Houses of Allah Almighty
The Mosques, the houses of Allah Almighty, are places of worship for Muslims and it is built for offering prayers, mentioning Allah, strengthen their relationship with their Creator, meet their Muslim brethren, and renew their sense of belonging. A mosque means a place where people prostrate; where they show extreme humility and humbleness in total submission and obedience. By placing your forehead on the ground, it demonstrates total humility. Whenever the real concept of a mosque emerges in the mind of a true Muslim, it will always manifest itself as a place of worship of total obedience.
Almighty Allah says:
[Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings. (An-Nur 24:36)
The Virtues of the Mosques
– There is great reward in building a mosque for Allah’s sake.
It was narrated that The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, Allah will build for him likewise in Paradise.” (Agreed Upon)
– Performing Prayers in Congregation is better than an individual prayer by twenty seven times.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a Prayer performed individually.” (Agreed Upon)
– Cleaning and taking care of the mosques has a great reward.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “A black man or a black woman used to sweep the mosque and he or she died. The Prophet (peace be upon him)asked about her (or him). He was told that she (or he) had died. He said, “Why did you not inform me? Show me his grave (or her grave).” So he went to her (his) grave and offered her (his) funeral prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)
– The Angels will pray for the one who attend the Mosques.
Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: “The angels invoke blessings on everyone among you so long as he is in a place of worship with these words: O Allah! pardon him, O Allah, have mercy upon him, (and they continue to do so) as long as, he ablution (of the worshiper) is not broken, and one among you is in prayer and so long as he is detained for the prayer.” (Muslim)
– There is also a great reward for walking to the Mosque.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah will prepare for him who goes to the mosque (every) morning and in the afternoon (for the congregational prayer) an honorable place in Paradise with good hospitality for (what he has done) every morning and afternoon goings.” (Al-Bukhari)
To sum up, we should fight terrorism in all its forms, deny hate speech and racism. Islam is the religion of moderation. It rejects extremism and isolation. There is a need to confront deviant ideology where it appears, including in school curricula. Islam is the religion of diversity and tolerance.
Offer Prayer till Death
Almighty Allah says on the Quran:
And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive. (Maryam 19:31)
This is a very powerful reminder about our approach to Salah, how we approach prayer, and how we perceive and think, and how we implement prayer in our lives. You see we supposed to pray… it’s saying as long as I am alive.
Now what is that exactly meant? It means no matter what comes up, Salah is something that will I hold on to till my last breath. I will concern myself with, till death. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) demonstrated this, he lived this. This isn’t just theory, this isn’t something just fancy to say, it’s not just a fancy slogan.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) lived it. You know, about a week before the passing of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he fell very ill. He became ill and the Prophet was incapable of standing up and even walking on his own, very soon after. So, the Prophet (peace be upon him), what he did? He would send for a couple of hid Companions to come to his home to get him, alright.
You could watch this interesting talk about the importance and excellence of Prayer with Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda.
Source: Quran Weekly Youtube.
A detailed explanation on how to offer the Prayer correctly.