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How to Have concentration in  the Prayer (20 Recommendations)

 

The Muslim community in the French  Describing  the faithful persons (Mo’menin ), Allah (st) says in Holy Quran they are those whose hearts are present in  their Salah. Our prophet also says Allah (st) would not accept the prayer of the man whose heart  is not present in his prayer. But how can we have a present heart in our Salah? There are 20 practical points that might be helpful:

  1. Setting the Prayer Scene and Burning Incense

The place you say your Prayer should be special. Every item that can distract you from your Prayer should be taken care of. The room should be the one that you don’t use regularly, and should be neat and clean, a comfortable temperature, and dark. With comfortable temperature, you do not have to worry or entertain thoughts that may distract you when the room is hot or cold. Human skin is filled with thermal receptors that will constantly remind you of any discomfort to your body.

  1. Wudhu as a Way to Increase Your Attention

 Wudhu (formal/minor ablution) is one of the most effective ways to prepare the scene for your daily Prayer. It has powers to re-organize your thoughts before Prayer and assist you in offering your Prayer with confidence and not to be swerved by Satan, The Accursed.

  1. Understanding and Appreciating Allah (SWT)’s Presence

 It is always to your benefit if you were to ponder the Existence of Allah (SWT) and His Power, Signs and Decisions related to this world and the next. Appreciating His presence is one way of bringing humility into your heart and humbling yourself in Prayer, performed with attention and concentration. It is only He Who looks at you Mercifully during your Prayer, and you ought to keep this in mind every time you say your Prayer.

  1. Reminding Yourself Of Allah

One of the reasons why Adhan and Iqamah have been much emphasized before Prayer is to establish a strong link between the worshipper and his Creator, before he ventures into this sacred journey of Prayer and be in direct communication with The Almighty. This way, you start reminding and convincing yourself of the presence of Allah (SWT) before you begin Prayer.

  1. A Relaxed and Alert State of Mind

 An alert state of mind is one of the many vital ingredients of Prayer. If you are tired and exhausted, it is better to rest and do some deep breathing and relaxation exercises before you make the commitment to stand in front of your Lord.

  1. Understanding What You Recite

It is clear that if you don’t strive to learn and appreciate the meanings of the verses and glorification you proclaim in your Prayer, you stand very little chance of developing and maintaining the concentration you need to focus in Prayer. Focusing on the meanings of what you recite would generally keep your mind busy and involved in Prayer.

  1. Proper Pronunciation

Arabic language is considered one of the sweetest of all the languages. So, reciting Prayer with proper Makhaarij (proper pronunciation) and Tajweed (following the rules of the Arabic Language) and learning the rules of reciting The Qur’an, would make your efforts in maintaining attention a lot easier.

  1. Alternating Recitations

Next, you need to alternate recitations by reciting different chapters of The Qur’an, different supplications and different forms of glorification in your Prayer. This is vital because your brain will not become accustomed and habituated to what is being recited daily and switch off attention to something else.

  1. Continued Cleanliness

An important and attractive aspect of Islamic teaching is related to cleanliness. It means to be ritually pure at all times by performing ablution (wudhu) and ghusl (major ablution) whenever necessary.

  1. Seeking Forgiveness and Accepting Limitations

After every Prayer you should seek forgiveness, as this will indirectly increase your attention and concentration during Prayer and bring you nearer to Him. While reciting this invocation, you should sincerely repent to Allah (SWT) that the Prayer you just finished was not up to the required standards and pray to be forgiven for it by The Merciful Lord. Then, you return to Him promising that the next Prayer will be a better one. This process in itself is a motivation to perform better next time you stand before the Almighty. Accepting faults will create in you desire to perform even better.

  1. Stress Management

Of the important cordial disciplines of worship, especially the invoking worship, one is tranquility. The person who prays should perform his worship with quietude of the heart and a tranquility of the mind.

  1. Moderation In Eating

Eating and drinking is also one of those matters with regard to which people go to extremes and, of course, mostly towards excess. No doubt, you need food to live and it is necessary that food should reach the cells of your body to maintain life. However, the important question is how much food your body needs and whether excessive food is good or harmful.

  1. Checking And Inspection

Keep track of the level of your attention and concentration in Prayer. If it is the right level, give thanks; if wrong, ask for forgiveness.

  1. Putting Thoughts in Writing

Unfortunately, in any relaxed state and in particular the Prayer, it is only human to have numerous creative thoughts, as well as recollections of things you forgot or need to do. These thoughts may haunt your continued meditation if you don’t write them down.

  1. Removing Obstacles

Also, before the Prayer, all obstacles in attaining heart’s presence must be removed. As such, you should relieve yourself before starting Prayer, and you should satisfy your hunger or thirst as well. Also, since over-eating creates a lack of attention and concentration, you should observe moderation if you have to eat before Prayer.

  1. Grief-Stricken, Submission and Sadness

No doubt, sadness brings to your soul many benefits, one of which is a revolution of the soul. It is the time when you are sad and grief-stricken, that you are able to fully organize and empower yourself to be most attentive in Prayer. It is widely accepted that a sad mind is more attuned towards an objective (Allah (SWT), in this case) and more capable of maintaining a high level of attention and concentration.

  1. Patience, Accepting Fault, and Addressing The Problem To Allah (SWT)

You should be patient with your practice of attention. You do not perform masterfully the first time in any given circumstance. It is the continued practice of meditation, relaxation and attention that reaps benefits. You should not expect specific benefits in a short period of time. Invoking Allah (SWT) and addressing your problem of inattention is a good practice, as He would definitely assist you in this matter.

  1. Arresting Thoughts

Because any individual’s mind is filled with thoughts at all times, he is supposed to arrest them, and put a stop on them during Prayer. When a thought comes, a command stop is used subconsciously to arrest and halt that thought and the person does not dwell on it. If this strategy is used on all incoming thoughts, then one will assume command and control over his incoming thoughts during Prayer.

  1. Remembrance Of Death

Great Scholars have advised you to keep busy reminding yourself of death as a way to fear Allah (SWT) and maintain vigilance in your daily Prayer and communication with Allah (SWT). The idea is to develop piety and fear in you and to convince your soul the importance of Prayer.

  1. Fixing Your Gaze

The Prophet (S) has said: “While a person is in the standing position during Prayer, he must be looking down fixing his gaze to the point where he places his forehead while in prostration; while in Ruku’ (bending position) the gaze should be between his two feet; while in Qunoot (when he raises his hands reciting the invocation) he should fix the gaze on the palms of his hands, placing them in front of his face; during Sajdah (prostration) his eyes looking at his nose; and while in the final sitting position the gaze to be towards his armpits.”

 

 

 

 

What is the philosophy behind the importance of night Prayer in Islam?

islam-prayer

One of the most recommended worships and Ibadah is night prayer.

There are 11 Rak’ats for night prayer, five prayers which each have two Rak’ats and a single prayer which has one Rak’a.

There are so many benefits for the night prayer which appear in this world and the worlds after death, that we will mention some of them.

There are some recommended and Mostahab prayers that are called Nafilah which literally means, something that is additional and is not obligatory, among them and one of the most important one of them is night prayer. As it is clear from the name of this prayer, it is a prayer which its time is from the religious midnight till the time of morning Azan(call to prayer), and as much as it is performed nearer to the time of morning Azan, it causes more rewards and blessings.

There are some recommended Doa and rituals for this prayer, but just like the base of this prayer that is not obligatory, they are not obligatory too, and we can perform as much as we are jolly and ready and eager to perform, for example we can just perform last three Rak’ats of it or we can perform it in the state of sitting, because the recommended prayers (even though we are able to perform it at the state of standing) can be performed while siting or even while walking. And if we cannot perform it in its time, we are allowed to perform it out of its time and as Qaza prayer (out of its specific time) and all of these, show the importance of this prayer.

Waking up in the midnight or the time near to the morning Azan for worshiping Allah, is very praised by Islam. Allah said in the holy Quran chapter Isra verse 79:

وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا

“As for the night there is a voluntary deed for you to keep vigil in part it. Perhaps your lord will raise you to a praiseworthy station”.

Imam Sadiq peace be upon him said:

“The one, who does not perform night prayer, is not among our (real and perfect) Shia and followers.”

There is an interesting Narration in which Imam Sadiq peace be upon him narrated for his father, and his father from his father till the holy Prophet of Islam, that he said:

“Allah prides of a servant who performs the night prayer as Qaza (it means that the servant could not perform night prayer in midnight, so he/she performs it during day instead of night) and Allah says: O’ my angels, my servant performs something that I did not make it obligatory upon him/her as Qaza(as compensation), be witness, I forgave him/her.”

Let me mention some of the benefits of night prayer which are derived from the holy Quran and the Narrations.

1) Fulfilling our Doa and wishes.

One of the companions of Imam Sadiq peace be upon him said: I asked the Imam: people say that the holy Prophet of Islam has said: there is a time in the night, that if a servant, asks Allah in that time, definitely his/her Doa and wish will be fulfilled, the Imam said: yes (it is true). I asked the Imam: when is that time? And the Imam replied: between the midnight till the last third of the night. I asked the Imam, is it something that is in a specific night or every night? And the Imam answered: it is for every night.

2) Friendship with Allah.

The holy Prophet of Islam said: “Allah did not adopt Prophet Abraham as His friend, except because of feeding people and performing night prayer while the people were asleep.”

3) Glory.

Imam Ali peace be upon him said: “Allah has put five things in five things (it means that these five things can be obtained through those five things), among them, the Imam said: and majesty and grandeur (can be obtained) in performing night prayer.”

4) It makes the face, good and loveable.

5) It makes the temper, good.

6) It removes the sorrow.

7) It compensates the sins which are committed during day.

8) It is a cause for making the heart, awake and alive.

And as the last point and as a summery to all of above mentioned benefits, let me bring a saying from Ayatullah Qazi, one of the most important Islamic scholars in the field of practical morality, he said to one of his students:

“O’ my son, if you seek the material and worldly matters, perform night prayer and if you seek the spiritual and hereafter positions, perform night prayer.”
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Source:
Akhlagh.porsemani.ir

Why is it recommended to perform Prayer in its early time?

sMuslim-praying

There are Five Obligatory Prayers that we should perform every day and they each have a period of time, in which The prayer has more value or Thawab. We call that period “The Time of Merit”.
At the beginning let me mention a verse from the holy Quran, Allah said in chapter Bagharah verse 238:

حَافِظُواْ عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ والصَّلاَةِ الْوُسْطَى
“Preserve the prayers and the middle prayer”

It is obvious that preserving the Prayer does not have just one dimension, but rather some things can be included in this meaning like: performing the Prayer in its Time of Merit or being in the state of remembering Allah and consideration while performing Prayer, etc.
There are some benefits and philosophies behind this recommendation that have been mentioned in the narrations, and we mention some of them:

1) Imam Sadiq peace be upon him:
Performing Prayer in its first time brings the satisfaction of Allah.

2) It is a cause for removing the sorrow, the holy Prophet of Islam peace be upon him said:

If a servant of Allah gives importance to the times of the Prayer and the places of the sun (which shows the times of Prayer), I guarantee for him/her three things:
– removing the sorrows and problems.
– calmness and happiness at the time of Death.
– being released from the fire (of hell).

3) It is a way that shows how much the orders of Allah is important to us, you know we are the servants of Allah and He is our Master, and it is obvious that when a master orders his/her servant, he/she wants to see the servant to be obedient and Submissive to his/her commands, and the servant who is more obedient to the orders, is more beloved to the master than the servant who is not so much eager to obey the commands of the master.
Imagine a businessman who has two apprentices, one is lazy and the second is active, at the end, it might be that both of them, follow the orders of their boss, but one always delays them, and the other always follows ASAP, the difference between them is obvious.
Let me mention a very interesting and really practical tradition, as I heard from one of the Islamic moral scholars, a lot or let’s say most of the problems that we have, are related to this Narration, so let’s read it very deeply. Imam Sadiq peace be upon him said:

The one who performs his/her Prayer in its early time and performs it correctly, an angel brings it to the sky in a state of purity and light and that Prayer calls out: May Allah protect you just like you protected me. And if the servant, delays his/her Prayer without any excuse, and performs it carelessly, an angel brings it to the sky in the state of darkness and that Prayer calls out: May Allah ruin you, just like you ruined me.

And we know that the Doa and curse of angels and the deeds (that they are manifested in a face) are accepted, so it is a very important key point.

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Let me mention very interesting story, a young man came to Ayatullah Nokhodaki Isfahani (one of the greatest Islamic scholars in the field of morality) and asked him of a way in which his three problems gets solved. His wishes were as following:
He said: I want to get married and I cannot do that. Second, I want to have a blessing job and the third I want to have a good ending at the time of death.
That great scholar said to him, for the first wish, perform your Prayer in its early time, for your second wish perform your Prayer in its early time and for your third wish perform your Prayer in its early time.
The young man asked the scholar: One key for three locks? And that scholar replied: yes, because performing the Prayer in its early time is the Master key.

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At the end let me mention very briefly some reasons for being indifferent and reluctant to the performance of Prayer in its early time:

– Being ignorant of the benefits and blessings of the Prayer in the early time.
– Committing sins. because it is a way that makes us reluctant to worshiping Allah.
– Being extremely attached to the material world and its attractions.
– Having a weak willpower and getting disappointed quickly. (for example because of not seeing the effects of that after a few days)

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Sources:
akhlagh.porsemani.ir
tebyan.net
islamquest.net
tmubasij.ir

 

As-sahifa Al-Kamilah Al-Sajjadyya – eBook

as-sahifa

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Al-Sahifat Al-Sajjadiyya is the oldest prayer manual in Islamic sources and one of the most seminal works of Islamic spirituality of the early period. It was composed by the Prophet’s great grandson, `Ali ibn al-Husayn, known as Zayn al-‘Abidin (`the adornment of the worshippers’), and has been cherished in Shi’ite sources from earliest times.
Zayn al-‘Abidin was the fourth of the Shi’ite Imams, after his father Husayn, his uncle Hasan, and his grandfather ‘Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law.
Shi’ite tradition considers the Sahifa a book worthy of the utmost veneration, ranking it behind only the Qur’an and `Ali’s Nahj albalagha.

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[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”350px” ]Name: As-sahifa Al-Kamilah Al-Sajjadyya
author: Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin
Translated B