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Improving your relationship with salah

by Musa Bukhari

The salah is an important aspect of Islam. It is one of the five pillars thus making It obligatory for all Muslims. It encompasses both spiritual and physical components. When a person stands for salah their attention is averted towards a more spiritual realm where they are connecting with Allah and reciting His verses. Whilst the person is spiritually connected, he is also moving his body by standing, bowing, and prostrating to match what he is saying in his prayer.

Allah mentions the importance of prayer multiple times in the Quran:

“But those who hold fast to the Book and establish prayer – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of the pious.” -Surah Al Araf, Verse 170

“Your ally is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed – those who establish prayer and give zakah, and they bow [in worship].” -Surah Maidah, Verse 55

“And to establish prayer and fear Him.” And it is He to whom you will be gathered.” -Surah Al Anam, Verse 72

The command of Salah

It is recorded in the seerah (biography) of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) that during his life, he went on a journey called Al Isra wal Miraj (The night jourey). This is when the Prophet Peace be Upon Him took a night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascended to the heavens with the Angel Jibreal. During his time in the heavens, Allah gave the commandment to the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) to establish 50 daily prayers. The Prophet then went back and forth between Prophet Musa (as) and Allah until the prayers were reduced to 5 daily prayers whilst still being equivalent in reward to 50 prayers.

Anas ibn Malik reported: Fifty prayers were obligated upon the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he was taken on his night journey. Then, it was reduced until it was set at five and an announcement was made, “O Muhammad, My word is never changed, so these five prayers will be counted as fifty.” –(Trimidhi).

Once you understand the significance of salah and how it came to be you will naturally start to be more present in your salah.

How do I maintain my Focus in Salah?

One of the best ways to deepen your relationship and connection with your salah is to remind yourself Whom you are praying to. If you remember that you are praying to Allah, your Creator, your Master, and the One True God. When we learn about who Allah is, by reading His Book, reflecting on His power, through His miracles and wrath, and by learning about His 99 Names and Attributes, we can deepen in our love and understanding of Him. This will give us a more clarity in our prayer and it will be more sincere and honest and less robotic.

Below are some of Allah’s 99 Names and Attributes, take a moment to reflect on each of these Names and how they at one point have had an impact in your life.

Ar Rahman - The Most Merciful Ar Raheem - Bestower of Mercy Al Wadud - The Most Loving As Salam - The Perfection and Giver of Peace Al Azeez - The All Mighty Al Hadi- The Guide

The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam):

“Allah has 99 names, anyone who memorizes them will enter Jannah (Paradise.)" - (Bukhari)

Another way to connect in your salah is to focus on the physical movements in your salah. For example every time you say Allahu Akbar you are changing positions in your prayer. After reciting Surah Fatiha and reading your surah immediately you say Allahu Akbar (All praise is to God) before going down to Rukhu. After coming up from Rukhu you go down to Sujood and repeat the same pattern. What exactly does this signify? It is showing that you are submitting to Allah and praising Him as you bow down to Him. And while you are in Rukhu and Sujood you continue to praise Him by glorifying Him. Throughout your salah you will notice the pattern of physically and verbally submitting to Allah and praising Him as you prostrate towards Him. When you focus on these actions and learn more about Allah you will start to experience a more powerful salah. This is a powerful reminder of submitting your heart and your limbs in His worship no matter the position or state you may find yourself in in your life outside of the five daily prayers.

Understanding Surah Al Fatihah

During salah we recite verses from the Quran. Many times we are verbally reading the surahs but many of us who are not able to speak Arabic will not understand what is being read. For example, have you pondered over the meaning of Surah al Fatihah? We recite this a minimum of 17 times a day, but what exactly does it mean?

Below is a translation of the surah.

  1. In the Name of Allâh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

  2. All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Âlamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists).

  3. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

  4. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).

  5. You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).

  6. Guide us to the Straight Way.

  7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (i.e. those who knew the Truth, but did not follow it) nor of those who went astray (i.e. those who did not follow the Truth out of ignorance and error).

When you take a moment to read the translation of Surah Fatihah and ponder over its meaning you realize how impactful and deep this surah is and it allows our heart to open up and grow in our love for our Creator.

The importance of Salah is conveyed multiple times throughout the Quran. Every Muslim is commanded to pray. Once you start to learn how the command of salah was revealed and Who Allah is, it will make it easier to be focused.

May Allah provide for us from places we did not expect. May Allah cure our ill and have mercy on our deceased. May Allah show us His Power and Mercy by removing us from the troubles that have befallen us. May Allah allow us all to learn His Names, to call on Him by them, and to live by them and to enter Jannah by them, Ameen.

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