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THE FORGOTTEN ASPECTS OF PRAYER

Taken from Inner Dimensions of Islamic worship by Imam Al Ghazali ( Ihya Ulum Al deen) and 33
ways to develop Khushu’ in prayer by Muhammad Salih al Munajid

Alhamdullillah we are blessed with being Muslims. Alhamdullillah Allah has put enough noor,
enough ENLIGHTENMENT- a radiant enlightenment in our hearts so that we may understand
ourselves if at least ambiguously and then therefore from understanding ourselves make an
attempt to understand Allah. For as Abu Bakr once said, May Allah be pleased with him, “the Way
to Understand Allah is to know that you can never understand Allah.”
Although a Muslims life revolves around understanding that they can never comprehend Allah, this
doesn’t deter them from seeking closeness to Him, seeking His Love and fearing His punishment.
One of the ways in which we seek closeness to, and love from Allah is to worship Him. AND
worship him intimately!!
Al-Hasan the Son of Ali May Allah be pleased with them both, was asked one day, ‘How is it that
those who stay up at night have the most attractive faces?’ His reply was, ‘Because they are on
intimate terms with the Merciful and he robes them in some of his light.’
Let us reflect on that for a second here. Al-Hasan was referring to the night prayer here but why
did he not say they are the ones who pray at night? Why did he instead choose to say they are on
intimate terms with the Merciful?
Because to the Sahaba and to the predecessors, prayer was never a momentary, mechanical
thing. Prayer was Always an intimate communication between the slave and the Master. The
created and the CREATOR. Between the human and Allah.
This is the way they viewed prayer. That is why he didn’t have to mention prayer, rather he
mentioned it as being intimacy with the Merciful. And then he goes on to say HE, referring to Allah
robes them in some of his light.
What an Amazing concept!
I mean think about it. Imagine Allah, your Lord, Your Creator and Provider robing you in his
infinite light so that your face then becomes so beautiful in the eyes of people? SubhanAllah!
Glory be to Allah!

Noor is roughly translated as light but that is an unjust translation because noor is a radiant light,
it’s an illuminating light. It is that which blinds the normal eye in a dark place where you had no
hope of seeing light.
Therefore imagine the faces of those whom Allah robes in his noor.

Now we can begin talking about prayer.


The forgotten aspect of prayer.
What is the forgotten aspect of prayer? Do we ever question ourselves? Do we ever really ponder
and become fearful? Prayer as I mentioned before has become very mechanical and I’m sorry to
say but especially so when a New or non Muslim is taught about it.
We throw a prayer kit at them, we give them a tape and say learn Salah. How ignorant we are!
This new Muslim or Non Muslim might think to themselves ok fair enough I’ve learnt what to say
and the actions but why? Why do I do all these things and what is the purpose of everything I say
and do in prayer.
Inshallah this is what we aim to convey to you today although the real essence behind it all is
never up to us to push onto u but rather for you to develop alone..... to develop a real connection
with Allah.

Salah is derived from the verb SAL^LA. Salah literally means to make a du’a or supplication. But
SALLA means to hallow or deify sanctify make sacred.
To idolize, worship, exalt, glorify or adore. That’s the verb of the word Sal^la. But Salah as we
said means to make a du’a.
Du’a as we know is a supplication. Really in Christian terms that’s all they do when they claim to
pray. It’s merely a supplication.
The Islamic prayer on the other hand is much more than a supplication.
Salah is a ritual prayer as opposed to a spontaneous asking of your Lord.
It involves the body in certain movements and the tongue with certain words that other forms of
prayer do not.

These series of movements and verbal pronunciations are not merely the worshippers self directed
actions and thoughts as in other traditional religons, rather it has been ordered upon us by our
Lord through the Prophet Muhammad (pbbuh) hence the real essence of it being for your Lord
becomes more apparent.
It makes much more sense that if Allah had ordered us to pray then he would tell us how to pray.
It doesn’t make sense that Allah should order us to do something and then leave us to figure it
out. Alhamdullillah.

Ok so Salah is a ritual form of worship. We all see the bowing and prostrating and raising of hands
in prayer. But what does it all mean? Why would Allah ask these things of me? Or why would the
Prophet do them?

This is the point we start getting into the deeper aspects inshallah. The forgotten aspects. The
spiritual aspects.

Salah is a sila between you and your Lord. The word sila and Salah don’t have any connection
with each other but funnily enough the word sila means to Connect or a connection. Salah is a
communication between the humble slave and the Great Creator.

Unlike the kings and rulers of this World Allah is far above their imperfections and greed. Allah is
always ready for you to converse with him intimately without barriers or intercession of men or
women. Unlike the Kings who only accept you when it is to their benefit. Quite the opposite Allah
actually gets angry when you DON’T ask of him and ask of humans instead. Where as the human
gets angry of you if you ask them.

So Salah is the perfect time to ask Allah.

Obviously the first thing one does before Salah is make sure they have physical purity. i.e. they
have performed their wudduh which is translated as ablution.
I’m not going to get into the hows and what’s of ablution but rather get straight into the prayer.
However I will mention the beautiful story. It is said that Ali ibn Al-Husayn the son of Ali the
Caliph (may Allah be pleased with them all) used to turn pale when he made his ablution.
When his family would ask what came over him during his ablution, he would say: ”DO YOU
REALISE BEFORE WHOM I WISH TO STAND IN PRAYER?”

Ali ( may Allah be pleased with him) used to Quake, shake and shiver and change colour. They
asked him: ‘What is the matter with you, commander of the believers?’ To this he would reply:
‘The time has come for a trust which God offered the heavens and the earth and the mountains,
but they refused to carry it; and they were wary of it but I have taken it on.’

This is the mentality these great men had when entering into prayer! And this is the first thing we
want to discuss.

Do you see how they all of a sudden became so conscious of what they were about to do? See
how their mentality changed, their hearts changed and it showed immediately on their external
appearance? Why? Because they knew that once the Initial Takbir was made that they left the
presence of the Dunya and entered what?....... the Presence of ALLAH ALONE.
Because we do not worship anyone BUT ALLAH!

Making that initial Takbir saying Allahu Akbar one has to understand what they are saying. Allahu
Akbar when translated means God is greater or God is Greatest. Either way, think about it. When
you say Allahu Akbar then know that the real meaning of the word is everything else is Asghar,
everything else is smaller! Nothing even compares to Allah. It means whatever you’re doing or
whatever you’re thinking then you drop that action or thought and remember only Allah and how
great He is. The one worthy of rememberance alone at that point of time.

To try and explain this further ill give you an example. When you watched the movies as we were
younger and we used to see the people traveling from dimension to dimension or from past to
future. You see them step into that other dimension or the future like as if they were totally
changing environments and left the old environment behind them.

This too is the way the companions of the Prophet and the Prophet viewed prayer. It is leaving
this world behind and entering the presence of your Lord. To add to this you have the Physical
action of raising your hands behind your head or ears as if you are throwing all worldly thoughts
worries and issues behind u and lifting that veil between you and Allah so that you may begin
your excellent conversation.

Your body would be in a comfortable position, hands placed appropriately feet as well, you’d be
perfectly balanced and ready to go. Your limbs would become humble and you’d raise your hands
for prayer. Indeed The Prophet once observed a man playing with his beard during prayer and
said, “If this man was truly submissive in his heart then his limbs would also be submissive”.

Bakr the son of Abdullah said, ‘Human being, if you wish to enter the presence of your Lord
without permission and speak to Him without an interpreter, you only have to enter!’ When
someone asked him how this could be he said: ‘You do your ablution correctly and enter your
prayer-niche……. And There you are! You have entered your Lords presence without permission
and may now speak to Him without an interpreter.’

This now brings us to the Speech with Allah. We have thrown all worldly thoughts behind, entered
into the Presence of Allah but what do we say? Well Again Allah has described to us what we say.
The prayer is not complete unless the Fatiha which is the first Verse in the Quran is recited in
every rakkah or cycle of prostration.
What is the Fatiha? Interestingly its translation is the Opening. What more of a beautiful
explanation could you want for the beginning of your Prayer. You want to know how to open your
communication with Allah, SO you begin reading the Fatiha.
And the Fatiha is the ultimate communication with Allah as described by the Divine narration of
hadiths. This hadith is divine because it was directly sent by Allah to Muhammad and this is what
it says. Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with him said that he heard the Prophet say that Allah
said: I have divided the prayers into two parts between Me and My servants, and My servant shall
have what he asked fore.

When the servant recites:


Praise be to Allah
Allah says, My servant has praised Me
When he recites:
The Compassionate and Merciful
Allah says My servant has praised Me
When My servant recites:
Master of the Day of Judgement
Allah says: He has glorified Me. Allah once said: Man has surrendered his affairs to Me.
When man recites: Thee Alone we worship and Thee alone we seek help
Allah says: this is between Me and My servants, and My servant shall have what he asks
for.
And when he recites:
Guide us to the right path- the path of those You have blessed, not of those who have incurred
Your wrath, nor of those who are lost”,
Allah says: This my servant shall have; My servant shall have what he asks for.
Allahu Akbar! Imagine that! Such a conversation with Allah we all get to have.

Once we complete this opening chapter we are allowed to recite any part of the Quran after it. Or
immediately go into bowing or rukku’ as known in Arabic.

But before you do you are reminded about Allahs greatness by saying Allahu Akbar. Meaning if
you were starting to ward off in your concentration then saying Allahu Akbar should remind you
that Allah is greater than any thought you had or any heedlessness in your heart.

The Purpose of rukku’ is to renew your submissiveness and humility. It is to acknowledge how
insignificant you are in the sight of the Significant one: Allah.
So you bow your heads while at the same time you seek the aid of your tongue and your heart by
saying Subhana rabi-al Atheem, meaning How Perfect is my Lord, the Supreme! You say that 3
times acknowledging your own imperfection in your heart as you complete it and rise up.
When you rise up its as though you are seeking a recognition from your Lord for your humble act.
As you raise up you say Sami’ Allah liman hamidah and then repeat Rabbana wa lakal Hamd.
Meaning Allah listens to those that praise him. ( sami’ Allah liman hamidah) and the you follow
with Rabana wa lakal Hamd. An immediate praisal in the hope that Allah listens to your praisal.

Once the Prophet was praying and as he came up from bowing he said: “sami’ Allah liman
hamidah.” To Which a man repeated Rabanna wa lakal hamdau hamdan katheeran tayiiban
mubarakan fih which means our Lord to you be much good and much blessed praise. When the
Prophet finished the prayer he asked who is the one who spoke? The man said, ‘Me.’ And the
Prophet said, I saw thirty Odd angels rushing to see who would write it down first.”
Meaning the angels flocked to write down the blessings that this man had earnt just from that
small saying.

Then immediately from understanding that nothing is enough to show Our Lord our humility or
our appreciation of his greatness, or to praise him enough, you fall to the floor into prostration.
But not before you again reaffirm your firm belief and clear your heart and mind of any worldly
matters by saying Allahu Akbar, God once again is Greater!

In Prostrating to the floor this is seen as the ultimate act of obedience to Allah and having
humility before him. In your heart once again remember your worthlessness in the sight of Allah
and repeat the words with your tongue to further give you that conviction Subhana rabi al A’ala.
Meaning how perfect is my Lord the most high. This indirectly implies how imperfect everything
else is. Why? Because humans are constantly obsessed with thinking that they or other things can
attain a state of perfect ness. NO! rather only Allah is perfect so say it with true knowledge in
your heart of why you’re saying it.
Also the Prophet peace be upon him said that one is closest to their Lord while in sujjod or
prostration, so ask of your Lord and he shall grant you what you wish.
An interesting scientific fact is that that Allah says in the Quran in regards to a non muslim who
was bent on denying the Prophet to pray at the Ka'ba in verse 96: 15-16 Nay! if he desist not,
We would certainly smite his forehead, A lying, sinful forehead. Why would Allah choose to
say such? I will let Proffessor Keith Moore answer this and this is taken from the website www.it-
is-truth.org/AboutHumanbody.shtml

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The Qur'aan On The Cerebrum
Allah said in the Qur'aan about one of the evil unbelievers who forbade the Prophet Muhammad
(sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) from praying at the Ka'abah: Let him beware! If he does not
stop, We will take him by the naasiyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful naasiyah!
[Qur'aan 96 :15-16]
Why did the Qur'aan describe the front of the head as being lying and sinful? Why didn't the
Qur'aan say that the person was lying and sinful? Is there a relationship between the front of the
head and lying and sinfulness?
If we look into the skull at the front of the head, we will find the prefrontal area of the cerebrum.
What does physiology tell us about the function of this area? A book entitled, Essentials of
Anatomy & Physiology, says about this area: "The motivation and the foresight to plan and initiate
movements occur in the anterior portion of the frontal lobes, the prefrontal area. This is a region
of the association cortex... The book also says: In relation to its involvement in motivation, the
prefrontal area is also thought to be the functional center for aggression..."

So, this area of the cerebrum is responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful
behavior, and is responsible for telling lies and speaking the truth. Thus, it is proper to describe
the front of the head as lying and sinful when someone lies or commits a sin, as the Qur'aan said:
"...a lying, sinful naasiyyah (front of the head)!" Scientists have only discovered these functions of
the prefrontal area in the last sixty years, according to Professor Keith Moore.
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This is primarily one of the reasons why Muslims also place that part of the head ( All revealed to
us through Allahs wisdom) on the floor in prostration. think about that..... this is also one of the
reasons some scholars have said, when one feels they are about to commit a sin, they should
prostrate or offer two rakkats and seek refuge in Allah. That is, placing that part that will initiate
the sin in the most humble position..... the ground.

Once you begin to feel content in your humility before your Lord raise up knowing that he flows
easily to the weak and humble not to the proud and arrogant and call Allah once again the
Greatest, ALLAHU AKBAR. Forgetting everything in this world but Allah.

In your kneeling position ask Allah to forgive you and have mercy upon you for you are but a
humble slave and Again Call Allah the greatest and fall to your face as all Prophets did to reinforce
your submissiveness.
You then stand up to converse with your Lord again in the manner in which he chose for you.
After Again calling Allah the Greatest.

You repeat everything for the second time but this time you remain kneeling instead of getting up

As you come back to kneeling and making the first tashahud then do so with this in
rememberance. Remember that the way this came about is that it was a conversation between
Allah and his messenger and the Angel Gabriel.

On the night of power and ascention where the Prophet miraculously passed through the heavens
he came to the last heaven where Gabriel would not go forth anymore. SO the Prophet entered
the Presence of Allah. Once in his presence he couldn’t say Asalamu a3laykoum because Allah is
the Salam so instead he said At-Tahiy-yatu lil-lahi was-salawatu wat-tay yibatu meaning All
compliments, all physical prayer , and all monetary worship are for Allah.

Then Allah replied Asalamu a3layka ayuhal nabi wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh, meaning : Peace
be upon you, O Prophet, and Allah's mercy and blessings. Peace be on us and on all righteous
slaves of Allah . Then the Prophet replied As salamu 'alayna wa 'ala 'ibadil-la his-saliheen which
means Peace be on us and on all righteous slaves of Allah . Upon hearing this Jibreel was blown
away by the conversation between Allah’s beloved Prophet and Allah and Proclaimed : Ash hadu al
la ilaha illal lahu, wa ash hadu an-na Muhammadan 'abduhu wa rasuluh. I bear witness that no
one is worthy of worship except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his
slave and Messenger.

When you make this tashahud, then always remember of the beauty of that night that the Prophet
came to Allah and had this magnificent conversation.

When you say the second part of it in either in your second raka’ in fajr prayer or fourth raka’ in
duhur asr and isha prayer or third raka’ in maghrib prayer you then finish off with saying
Allah humma sal-li 'ala Muhammadin wa 'ala aali Muhammadin, Kama sal-layta 'ala Ibraheema wa
'ala aali ibraheema innaka hameedum majeed, wa barik 'ala Muhammadin wa 'ala aali
Muhammadin, Kama barakta 'ala Ibraheema wa 'ala aali ibraheema innaka hameedum majeed.
Meaning : O Allah, send Grace and Honour on Muhammad (peace be upon him) and on the family
and true followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) just as you sent Grace and Honour on
Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and on the family and true followers of Ibrahim (peace be upon
him). Surely, you are praiseworthy, The Great . O Allah, send blessings on Muhammad (peace be
upon him) and on the family and true followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) just as you
sent blessings on Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and on the family and true followers of Ibrahim
(peace be upon him). Surely, you are praiseworthy, The Great .

Please when you say this then remember Muhammad and Ibrahim and Allah the way they should
be remembered for if you don’t it’s a mere utterance of the lips and not really what Allah wants to
see in your prayer

Allah says in the Quran in Surat Al Haj verse 37 It is not their flesh nor their blood that
reaches God : it is your devotion that reaches him.
Neither your movements nor your sayings are what reach Allah rather it is what is in your heart as
u give to Allah.
Upon finishing the tashahud one may make a small du’a but this is between you and your Lord.
Once the prayer has been completed you say Asalamu A3laykoum wa rahmat Allah to the angel
on your right shoulder and then the Angel on your left shoulder. Why do we do this? Obviously as
a sign of respect to those two angels that one was recording the great deed of prayer you just
performed and to the other which was erasing sins you may have performed. Also some say that
it is a type of acknowledgement that you are leaving the Presence of Allah and entering back into
the Dunya so you bid farewell to your two companions by making salams.

This is the way in which a Muslim should pray and remember their Lord. Imagine all hearts were
as active as this? Where would the ummah be now?

To the Prophet (pbbuh) he ha no dearer thing to him than prayer. He used to tell Bilal the Mu-
adthen, the caller to Prayer “Let us find comfort in Prayer Bilal.”

I was reflecting a little on the meaning of this and realized something about myself. I work in a
busy environment in the City. Noise, people, rushing and worldly things are in my face the whole
day. It gets to a point where I can’t wait to close the shop doors go to the back make wudduh
slowly and feel the cold water on my skin. Its something I really look forward to, but it doesn’t
really hit me until I'm about to begin my prayer. For those 5 minutes I feel the world came to a
standstill and being in the Presence of Allah I am at total peace for once throughout the day.
Totally comfortable as the Prophet says.
That prayer is so dear to me because I really feel the presence of Allah.

But then I thought to myself, why shouldn’t I feel this all the time regardless of prayer and then
my prayer might become even deeper. As

Muslims prayer shouldn’t be the only time we remember Allah deeply rather it should be as the
great sahaba were. Where one had to put rocks under his tongue before entering the toilet
facilities because remembrance of Allah was on his tongue so much.

Ibn Mas’ud had a friend by Al Rabi ibn khaytham. Rabi was a man with so much humility towards
Allah that he barely raised his eyes in his whole lifetime. His head was always lowered in shame
and humility. Ibn Mas’uds maid would often say upon Rabi’s knocking at the door, “Your blind
friend is here,” to which Ibn Mas’ud would roar in laughter.
One day they were walking together and walked past a blacksmith. Upon setting eyes on the
crackling fire at the blacksmith workplace Rabi fainted and failed to get up. So ibn Ma’ud carried
him home. But Rabi didn’t come to conciousness until a whole day later. This is the amount of fear
of the fire this humble man had. This is how much he remembered Allah.
Then you also have the sahaba who had a gangrous Leg. The Sahaba knew they had to amputate
it yet they didn’t know how they would do it. So the Wife made a suggestion of removing it in his
prayer since he gets so involved in his prayer he sees nothing else but Allah. So they waited for
him to pray and then cut of his leg without a single flinch from the man.
Let Us also not forget The hadith Qudsi where Allah says, ”Whoever loves to meet me I love to
meet him.”
Prayer is a meeting with your Lord it’s a relationship you develop so concentrate on it.
It is said that Rabi’a el a’dawiya could be heard calling out through the nights ya Habibi ya houbi
and calling him by all these beautiful names. The people thought she was calling out to her lover
but were then told that she was conversing to none other than her Lord. Her beloved was Allah
and therefore one should reflect on Allah’s words to Muhammad where he tells him in another
Hadith Qudsi that “we will be reunited with ones we love.” Make Allah your Beloved.
Remember Also the Prophet Ibrahims heart throbbing could be heard two miles away when it
came time to pray.
When Allah sent The angel of Death to take Ibrahims soul, Ibrahim was frightened and said to the
Angel of death, I have never heard of a friend take another friends soul. So the Angel went back
to Allah and told him so. Then Allah told the Angel to tell Ibrahim that he has never known of a
friend that didn’t want to meet with another friend. Upon which Ibrahim said in that case take my
soul!
This is how much we should want to meet with Allah both in the hereafter and in this life.
This has been a very summarized talk on the forgotten aspects of Prayer. The deeper spiritual
aspects. May Allah remove the act of heedlessness from our hearts and allow his remembrance to
penetrate into our every limb.
Allah says “and perform the prayer in REMEMBERANCE OF ME!” Surat taha verse 14

Allah Also says” Do not be one of those who are neglectful” Surat Al araf verse205

Whatever that I've said that is correct is from Allah and what ever I’ve said that is incorrect is
from myself and may Allah forgive me and not hold me account.

Wesam Eldahabi
Asalamu a3laykoum