are practical ways we can improve and enjoy our Salat as it was meant to
be! Today we have indeed come to treat the Prayer (Salah) as something
insignificant in our lives. Very often we hear our elders say, "I
will start praying when the time comes." Others, especially the
younger Muslims, do not find much comfort, and joy in their Prayers. Due
to our treatment of Prayer as a burden, our love and passion for the
Prayer has vanished.
Our hearts have become
hardened, and we have become a depressed and defeated people. As a
result, many are searching for 'cures and remedies' to the distress in
our lives, through any means available, but are unable to find any
because they have ignored the greatest medicine - Salah! If we look deep
into our daily lives and diagnose the causes of our spiritual, social
and psychological illnesses, we will realize that probably something as
uplifting, revolutionary, and empowering as Salah is missing. If we, the
youth, realize the potential role of Prayer in changing our lives and as
a constant source of hope, we would regret
missing even a single Salah.
THE ROLE OF SALAH IN CHANGING OUR LIVES
purpose of Salah is to be ever conscious of Allah, the Creator and
Sustainer of all things. Salah is indeed, one of the most Comprehensive
forms of Dhikr (Remembrance). No wonder, Allah states in a Hadith qudsi:
"Out of all the ways through which my servant gets closer to Me,
Salah is the dearest to Me." (Bukhari)
unfortunate, therefore, that we do not always take full advantage of
this gift. We may compare the obligatory Salah to bathing five times a
day. If after such frequent bathing, your body still remains dirty,
then we may question the usefulness and efficacy of such bathing.
Similarly, if after regular observance of Prayer your heart remains
unmoved and your morals remain corrupt, we may question the usefulness
of your Prayer. If you enter into Salah and come out of it the same
person, then you have missed something great. How can you improve the
quality of your Salah? Remember, first and foremost, that as soon as you
commence your Salah, Shaytan makes it his duty to fill your mind with
anything and everything but thoughts of Allah. He tries ceaselessly to
disengage your mind and heart from such remembrance. It is this state of
absentmindedness that destroys the quality of your Prayer.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said: "Allah does not
accept the Prayers of an individual until his heart achieves in it what
his body has achieved." [Al- Ghazali in Ihya-Uloom ad-Deen] The
ability to concentrate in Prayer may be improved by undertaking adequate
psychological, mental and physical preparation before the prayer and by
utilizing certain techniques during the Prayer. This is not 'just a good
thing' but an obligation on every Muslim. For men, according to the
Prophet (s), if we knew the good in praying in jama'ah we would not miss
it even if we had to crawl to the masjid!
WAYS TO IMPROVE SALAH
* Avoid praying in a state in which you are mentally and physically
fatigued. Keep your mind free of worldly worries, evil thoughts, and
* Plan what verses/duas you are going to recite.
* If you do not understand Arabic learn the meaning of what you recite
in your Prayer.
* Remind yourself that engaging in Prayer offers you an opportunity to
release yourself from the tensions of this world. The Prophet (S.A.W.)
has said that in Prayer was placed the comfort of his eyes. Therefore
cherish the opportunity to remove the burdens of this world from your
* Use your Prayer to remain focused on your mission in life, which is to
bring your entire being to serve only Allah.
* Use your Prayer as a source of strength, inspiration and enthusiasm
for your life and activities.
* Fulfill all your personal needs before you commence your Prayer, for
e.g.,thirst, hunger and calls of nature.
* Pray in a pure physical state. Perform your wudu with care and
perfection. Although the whole earth is a masjid or a place of worship,
choose a place that is clean.
* Pray in an environment free of noise and one where there is no
distraction. Adorn yourself with clean and respectable clothes.
* Assess your mental readiness for Prayer before its commencement,
during the various postures, after each raka and ultimately at the end.
* Pray with humility both in your mental state and in your physical
manner. *Pray with hope and awe.
* Remind yourself continually that you are talking to the most important
'One' in your life - your Creator and Sustainer. He is in front of you.
You are facing Him and you are involved in a dialogue with Him.
* Commence your Prayer by seeking Allah's help and protection from the
influences of Shaytan.
* Lower your gaze while praying and do not allow the physical
environment to distract you. Anas related that the Prophet (s) said:
"My dear son, be sure to avoid being distracted during Prayer, for,
to greater concentration and awareness.
* Adopt a whispering technique in your recitation in order to remain
focused on what you are saying, and not distract others.
* As you recite the Quran, translate it into your own language so that
your attention is held. As you ponder upon the meaning and implications
of the words, insha-Allah, all worldly thoughts will disappear.
* On each occasion that you recite the Sifat or attributes of Allah in
Ruku and Sajda, consider how indebted you are and how grateful you
should be to Allah and express your true emotions.
* Utilize the occasion of Sajda to make additional dua to Allah. The
Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "A servant is nearest to his Lord when he is
in Sajda, so increase your supplication when in Sajda." (Muslim.)
* Make your Prayer of moderate duration so that you do not become
physically and mentally tired but be aware that while in Prayer you must
take your time praying.
* Give due regard to the proper performance of all the physical
* Do not 'peck like a crow' when doing rukus and sajdas as every posture
in Salah, even the rests, are important.
* Pray as if it is your last Prayer. The Messenger of Allah (s) said:
When you stand up to pray, perform your prayer as if it were your
your prayer in a satisfactory manner should lead to a radical change in
the way you lead your daily life. Salah must be as the Quran states:
Surely, Salah prevents indecency and evil [al-Ankabut 29: 45.]
improved and more disciplined life will in turn help the quality of your
Prayer to increase even more. The two should continuously reinforce Each
other. Remember, Salah is an obligation. Whether your heart is attentive
or not, it must be performed. You cannot give up Prayer because to you
it appears useless. There is punishment for a Prayer not performed
satisfactorily. It will be a witness against you rather than a witness
for you on the Day of Judgement. Don't give up the obligation but try to
infuse it with the purpose it seeks to serve - remembrance of Allah. It
is important to remember the saying of the Prophet (S.A.W.): "If a
man performs two rakas of Salah without the distraction of any worldly
thought, all his previous sins will be forgiven." (Bukhari.)