How to gain Khushu in Salat
Dr. Mamdouh N. Mohamed
Associate Professor at the American Open University
What is Khushuu'?
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'
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 mu^z-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 wuduu^ immediately after hearing the Azaan prepares you for the pending Salsat. Wuduu^ 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'aa^. Invest these moments in making sincere supplications.
e. When you make tasliim, make istighfaar to Allah as you might have made during Salaat.
f. 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.
g. One perfection leads to another perfection. If some one perfects his Salaat once, he would be self-motivated to continue on the same level.
May Allah fill our hearts with khushuu' - Aameen.