بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
One of the best things a person can do in this life is to have his heart in constant remembrance of Allah. And so much good comes from this. And we know of the goodness it brings but were always sidetracked by the goods of this life. We’re distracted by the things we want to amass, the things we want to accomplish, the success we want to achieve. But in reality, the remembrance of Allah is a success. Haven’t you heard in the athan frequently called throughout the day and night?
“hayya ‘alas, salah, hayya ‘alas salah, hayya ‘alal falah, hayya ‘alal-falah..”
“Come to prayer, come to prayer, come to success, come to success..”
Ultimate success is when reach paradise and the prayers help us get there. They help us to remember our ultimate goal of finally meeting Allah. When we pray, we are engaging in the remembrance of Allah. We recite His words, the Qur’an, we praise him, we implore him, we seek his guidance. We connect our hearts in remembering Allah. The prayers are there for us. To seek Allah’s pleasure, to seek His forgiveness, His reward and blessings. It’s a time when we can unburden ourselves and ask of Allah whatever we need, and supplicate to Him. It is our time to express our gratitude to him. And what is greater than the remembrance of Allah.
ۗ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
“And surely the remembrance of Allah (during your prayers and Allah’s mention of your name in response to your prayers) is the greatest of all deeds, Allah knows what you do.”
Surah 29. Al-‘Ankabuut, Ayah 45
And it’s great. If we can only maintain the khushu’ in our prayer. Many of us pray. But little indeed benefit from it the way it’s meant to be benefited from. Because when we pray, sometimes our minds wander. Sometimes we think about the work we have to do as soon as it’s complete, or we’re thinking about just anything another thing than the words we recite. In the end, sometimes our hearts are not engaged at all, and we notice we”re in the last rak’at of the prayer and realized we didn’t focus at all. Then we feel a little sad. Because we are wanted to enjoy it.
And there’re many reasons why we cannot maintain khushu’ in our prayers. One of them is the condition of our hearts. They haven’t yet become softened to the remembrance of Allah. And this is an important thing.
۞ أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۖ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the truth which has been revealed (to them) and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.
Surah Al-Hadiid, ayaah 16
We have to do a lot to keep our hearts in a softened state because the majority of the things we do only brings it hardness. Our love for entertainment brings more harm than good. We’re human, and we like to enjoy ourselves at times. But if done excessively, that’s when the heart begins to suffer. The heart thrives off the remembrance of Allah, so if it doesn’t get what it needs, it begins to die slowly. One laughter at a time.
It is narrated with a sound chain of transmission that our Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not laugh too much, for verily excessive laughter kills the heart.” [Bukhari, Adab al-Mufrad; Sunan Tirmidhi; Sunan Ibn Maja; Musnad Ahmad]
And in some narrations, there is an addition, “For verily excessive laughter kills the heart and removes the light of one’s face,” or in another version, “For verily excessive laughter corrupts the heart.” [Bayhaqi, Shu’ab]
We live in a time where we love to be heard, even if we don’t make sense or speak the truth. We love to talk, excessively. Even in our conversation, it’s about whose “right.” Sometimes we listen only to respond. All of this excess in speech also brings hardness to heart, especially when the speech is free from the remembrance of Allah.
And so many other things that we do daily bring the heart hardness, and then when it’s time to pray, we’re heedless. If these sins accumulate and add up, they begin to form a thin seal on the heart called “Rann.” Eventually, the rann covers the heart, and then the heart is no longer able to respond or recognize guidance when it comes to him or her. Any person is capable of accumulating this on his heart. Sins added up and not rectified. The thing with sins is you never really know where it will lead you. One day you may be on the path, but that one day you’re exposed to this one evil thing, is a day changed forever because now, the heart may prefer to do this bad thing, and it will shy away doing good and remembering Allah. All of this negligence adds up over the years resulting in the death of the heart. That is why we must avoid sins as eventually they may cause the heart to turn away from Allah if the person doesn’t seek forgiveness. I’m not talking about sins we do and then feel sorry about and ask for forgiveness. I’m talking about the sins we do, and then not think too much about and then consider it as small until it grows and eventually turns the heart in the other direction.
كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ ۜ رَانَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
“Of course not! In fact their misdeeds have caused a covering on their hearts.”
كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَنْ رَبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَمَحْجُوبُونَ
Imagine a blackened window. If you look at the house, you see the windows are blackened. From the paint. Do you think this house will ever benefit from the light of the sun? No. It will not. Imagine the person living inside had his windows painted like this while entire life. The person inside will not even know there is a sun outside that shines such beautiful light. It will not benefit from its warmth either. But rather, the home will be dark and probably dreary with cobwebs in every corner. This is the example of the heart of a person who has turned away from the remembrance of Allah. The heart is not able to recognize the good that comes it’s way. It will confuse the evil for good. It is in a state of darkness.”Nay, but surely on that day they will be covered from (the mercy of) their Lord.
(Surah 83. Al-Mutaffifeen, ayah 14-15)
Anyone can reach this state with his heart. One should never feel secure that they will forever be on the path and die on it. Because you never know. Why do you think we ask for guidance more than 17 times a day times a day. This is because ultimately guidance comes from Allah and only he can give it. So we must ask. We can live a life of righteousness, but it’s the ending that matters.
A man of good can die in a bad way and then that is how he will be resurrected. We must ask Allah to give us a good ending and seek his guidance until our final moments. Many have become lax in this regard, thinking the little effort is needs to be put into attaining paradise. But in reality, we must work. We must work hard to get the things we wish for and if it’s Jannah we should, at least, try to work harder.
But of course, if we want to ask for guidance in our prayers, our hearts must be engaged. What do we do if we want to participate, but we can’t focus because of the sickened state of our hearts? Well, then it’s time to fix that.
“How to attain Kushu in our Salaah” will be our next topic.
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