An Explanation of What should be Present in the Heart During every Pillar and Moment from the Actions of the Prayer
And these are the Call to Prayer, purification, covering ones awrah, facing the qiblah, standing, the intention, the takbeer, seeking refuge, the basmalah, the recitation of Faatihah and another soorah, the rukoo, sujood and tashahhud.
The Call to Prayer (Adhan)
When you hear the Call to Prayer then make the terror of the call on the Day of judgement present in your heart and prepare yourself externally and internally to respond and race towards it. Those who race to answer this call are the ones who will be called out with benevolence on the Day of Judgement. Remember also the description which Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, has given to the Hypocrites when he said:
And when they stand for the prayer they stand without earnestness (lazily). [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):142].
The description of the Believers is the opposite of that. They stand for the prayer whilst rejoicing and with eagerness and liveliness, turning themselves towards Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.
Then you purify yourself in your home which is the furthest place (from the place of prayer), then your clothes which are your nearest covering and then your skin which is your lowest and innermost covering do not forget to purify your heart with repentance, remorse, firm resolution not to return to sins, and avoiding
injustices (to others). The purification of the inner self precedes the purification of the external form.
Covering One’s Awrah
Its meaning is that you conceal the undesirable parts of the body from the creation, but bring to mind along with this the ugly traits and characteristics and the scandals of your inner self. Try to bring about modesty and feel shameful in front of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, from Whom no secret is hidden, as it is not possible to cover it.
Facing the Qiblah
This is turning your face away from all other directions to the direction of the House of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Know that it is also obligatory to turn the heart away from all other things towards Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Thus there occurs in one of the opening supplications of the prayer, “I have turned my face towards the One Who Created the heavens and the earth, sincerely.” The purpose is the turning of the heart towards Allaah and its sincerity towards Him after the body has been made to face the House of Allaah.
This is making the body and the heart stand erect, upright in front of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Bring to mind along with this the standing in front of Allaah on the Day of judgement for questioning and try to feel and sense the Might of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Prepare yourself to stand in front of Him (in prayer) in such a way that it will lead you to safety on the Day of Judgement.
Fill your intention with sincerity to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, hoping for His reward, fearing His punishment and loving His nearness. Train and nurture yourself to recall this sincere intention along with every speech and action and know that none will be saved on the Day of judgement except the sincere ones. Every action which has a desire for other than Allaah is adulterated and obscured. Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, said regarding this:
And We shall turn to whatever actions they did and make them into scattered dust. [Soorah al Furqaan (2S):23].
When you declare the takbeer with your tongue it is desirable that your heart does not treat it as having lied. If there is something in your heart which is greater than Allaah, the Sublime, or if your whim and desire is greater to you than Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and you are more obedient to it than to Allaah, the Exalted-then you have taken it as a god and you will have declared its greatness. So your saying, “Allaah is Greater,” will have been but a mere expression of the tongue and the heart will have refrained from supporting the tongue. If it had not been for repentance, seeking forgiveness and harbouring good thoughts about Allaah’s generosity and forgiveness, this would have been one of the greatest dangers.
Know that this means seeking a sanctuary with Allaah, the Mighty, from Satan, the Rejected and Accursed-the one who lies in wait for you, jealous of your private conversation with your Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, and of your bowing and prostration to Him, together with the fact that Satan did not agree to or offer a single prostration to Him. He has made it his concern to prevent you and cut you off from conversing privately with your Lord by his whisperings about the concerns and affairs of the world and its engagements and occupations until he prevents you from the honour of secretly conversing with Allaah, its blessing and its reward. He also tries to cut you off from your Master, whose love and secret conversations make the hearts happy, and from gaining nobility in this life and the Hereafter by His remembrance and beautiful worship.
When you pronounce this, intend to receive blessings by the name of Allaah along with which nothing in the heavens or the earth can cause harm, He is the All Hearing the All-Knowing. When you say Ar-Rahmaanir-Raheem, recall in your heart His various benevolences so that His Mercy becomes manifest to you and hope arises in your heart.
Recitation of the Fatiha
Remember the saying of the Messenger (r), that he has narrated from his Lord, “I have divided the Prayer between Myself and My
servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says:
All praise belongs to Allah the Rabb of all the Worlds.
Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, “My servant has praised Me.” And when he says:
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, “My servant has extolled Me.” And when he says:
Master of the Day of Judgement.
Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, “My servant has glorified Me…” and on one occasion He said, “My servant has submitted to My power.” And when he says:
You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help.
He says, “This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.” And when he says:
Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured, not of those upon whom is Your anger, nor of those who are astray.
He says, “This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.””
An-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “The scholars have said, ‘And the meaning of the word ‘prayer’ (in this hadeeth) is the Faatihah.'”
(His saying), ‘I have divided it …’ is in terms of its meaning because the first half of it contains praise of Allaah, His glorification, extolling Him and submitting (one’s affairs) to Him and the second half contains a request, an imploration and a need.
Al-Qaasimee (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “These meanings are related to the levels of understanding and the levels of understanding are related to the abundance of knowledge and the clarity of the heart. The levels and degrees of this (amongst people) cannot be comprehended. The prayer is the key to the hearts. Within it, the secrets of the words (which are recited) are
uncovered. This is the right of the recitation and is also the right of the remembrances, and the glorifications. Then the worshipper should observe and maintain awe and fear of Allaah during his recitation by reciting with slow rhythmic tones (Tarteel) as this makes it easier to reflect.”
The Bowing and the Prostration
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “Try to feel modesty in your bowing and humility in your prostration because in such a position you have placed the soul in its proper place. In prostration you have returned the limbs to their place of origin-upon the dust from which they were created. Understand also the meaning of the remembrances with inclination and zeal.”
Al-Qaasimee (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “It is desirable that you renew the mention of the Greatness of Allaah, the Sublime, during them, that you strive to soften your heart, renew your khushoo’ and that you sense and realise the power of your Master and His transcendency, then your own lowliness and insignificance. Seek help from Allaah to establish all of that in your heart and upon your tongue. Glorify Allaah (above all defects) then give testimony for His Grandeur and that He is Mightier than every single thing. Repeat this so that it is confirmed and established (in your heart).
By saying, “Allaah listens to the one who praises Him…” which means He will respond to the one who is grateful to Him, you raise your head from the bowing with certain hope. Then follow that with additional gratefulness by saying, “O Lord! To You belongs all praise.” Then fall into prostration which is the highest form of submission and yielding oneself (to Allaah). Place and fix the noblest of your limbs, the face, upon the lowest of things, the dust. Along with this renew in your heart the greatness of Allaah and say, “Glorified is my Lord the Highest,” then raise your head while declaring His greatness and asking Him for your need by saying, “O Lord! Forgive me and show mercy to me.” Confirm your modesty and humility by repeating this a number of times and then return to the prostration for a second time.
This then, is the explanation of the prayer of the khaashi’een those who are humble and submissive in their prayers, the ones who guard their prayers, the ones who are constant in offering them, the ones who converse with Allaah to the extent that they are able to
become enslaved to Him. Let the worshiper turn himself to this prayer, let him rejoice to the extent to which it has been made easy for him and let him be grieved to the extent that the prayer has passed him by, and let him strive to find the cure for that.
As for the prayer of the inattentive and heedless, it is very risky, unless Allaah covers him with His Mercy and Allaah’s Mercy is vast and His Generosity is abounding. We ask Allaah that He covers us with His Mercy and that He showers us with His forgiveness as there is no way for us except to admit our incapacity to perform His obedience.
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