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Beautiful Ṣalāh

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He awakes in the middle of the night with a purpose. Slowly, he gets out of bed and quietly slips off to the bathroom so not to awaken the others. Inside he feels refreshed as the cool water splashes on his face, arms and feet. Revived, he heads out with a purpose to his prayer room.

He has had a very difficult day with a lot of questions echoing in his head, but he did not complain to anybody, as he knows there is only One who can assist him. The One who ordered him to seek assistance through prayer and patience, so here he is, seeking assistance through prayer, while many others sleep.

He raises his hands above his shoulders and proclaims the greatness of his Creator “Allāhu Akbar!”, then folds them on his chest. Quietly, he seeks protection from the accursed Satan, and begins in the name of his Lord. He recites The Opening Chapter in beautiful rhythmic tones. He takes his time, knowing that after every verse, his Lord replies. “All praise is for Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds,” he begins. He can feel the response within him, “My slave has praised me!”

“Most Gracious, Most Merciful,” he continues. “My slave has glorified me!” is the response. “Master of the Day of Judgment,” he affirms. “My slave has related all matters to me,” Allāh responds. “You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help,” he attests. Allāh’s reply fills his heart with hope and joy, “This is between me and my servant and my servant will have whatever he asks for!”

At this point, he breaks down into tears as he asks Allāh for the most important thing in his life, “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those who have earned your favor, not of those who have earned your anger or have gone astray!” He feels peace as he internalizes Allāh’s response, “This is for my slave and my slave will have what he asked for.”

He then recites further and feels Allāh’s guidance in every verse he recites. For whichever chapter of the Qurʾān he chooses to recite from, he is assured that he will find guidance as Allāh has testified, “this is the book in which there is no doubt, it is a guidance for those who are conscious of Allāh.” After completing his emotional recitation in which he pondered over Allāh’s wise and reassuring words, he bows in rukū and glorifies his Lord for His guidance and mercy.

He then stands up straight and praises Allāh as he prepares for his favorite part of the prayer: the sajdah! He proclaims the greatness of Allāh and goes straight down into prostration, indicating his full submission to his Creator. It is a position which signifies complete obedience and humility and it is the position in which a person is closest to their Lord.

He stays in sajdah for a long time with no intention of getting up soon. He glorifies his Lord, The Most High, multiple times then breaks down into tears and begins to ask for everything he needs. He stays like this for several minutes with only Allāh knowing what he is saying. He is praying; praying for everything he needs, praying for everyone he knows, praying for people he doesn’t know, praying for people who might even hate or harm him. He prays and prays, in complete submission to his Lord.

He then sits up to take a short break and seeks forgiveness for any shortcomings in his prayer, then goes back into prostration to glorify His Lord more and ask Him again for His endless bounties. After a few minutes, he stands up and repeats the entire cycle again.

Several minutes later, the humble slave returns to his bed at peace with his Lord, and at peace with creation. He recites his dua before sleeping and closes his eyes for a short nap, ready to tackle the challenges of life in the morning with full faith in his Lord.

This is alāh, true alāh. alāh based upon understanding, concentration, sincerity and submission. It was never meant to be a ritual, but rather a means of communication with our Creator and spiritual revival. May Allāh grant us all the ability, guidance and commitment to pray like this every day in all our prayers.

Ismail Kamdar, a.k.a Abu Muawiyah, is the Head Tutorial Assistant of the Islamic Online University, and the host of Living Islam on Radio Al-Ansaar. He began his study of Islam at the age of thirteen, and has completed both the Alim course and a BA in Islamic Studies. He is the author of multiple books including Having Fun the Halal Way: Entertainment in Islam, Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management and Best of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mashita

    May 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Masha Allah, What a beautiful post. Jazakallah Khair for sharing, This May help, people like me who have no concentration some times when we pray!. May Allah Bless The Author and His family, Aameen!

  2. Pingback: Beautiful Ṣalāh | Sadif Raza Ditta

  3. Avatar

    Twahir Hussein Kassim

    May 18, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Masha-a-ALLAH Shaykh Ismail. May Allah Insha-a-ALLAH guide us to perform such salah. ALLAH BARIK Shaykh for this beautiful reminder.

  4. Avatar

    Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

    May 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    May Allah (SWT) give all of us the ability to wake up in the middle of the night and to read our Salah with such focus. Aameen.

  5. Avatar

    Abdur Rahman

    May 18, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Masha Allah tabarakallah. Short, inspiring and mind blowing. Jazakumullah Khairan for this and may Allah make it easy for us to have deep concentration in our Salah.

  6. Avatar

    Yasmin

    May 18, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Jazakallah khair for this beautiful short story. It really inspired me to try to start praying the night prayer!

  7. Avatar

    asma

    May 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    alhamdulillah i experienced this and cant describe the sweetness of it…sometimes i wish the pain never goes away so i can always taste the sweetness of it…

  8. Avatar

    Shenaz

    May 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    JazakAllah Khiran for helping and sharing. I am always wondering what can help me stay focused on my prayers. This is a great way, slowly pondering upon each movement and every word from begining to end will greatly help me with staying in kushoo. InshAllah I will send this to other sisters.

  9. Avatar

    Mehdi Siddique

    May 19, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Beautiful article Shykh. MashaAllah

  10. Avatar

    Aziza

    May 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    JazakAllah Khair for reminding us of the true beauty of salah and motivating us to attain it!

  11. Avatar

    taha

    May 19, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    masha allah what a brilliant article jazak allahu khair sir for sharing,inspiring and motivating us to offer salah with full of heart and deep concentration, may ALLAH reward you and bless you and your family……ameen!!!

  12. Avatar

    Ahsan Arhsad

    May 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Subhanallah, this is the true purpose of salah, may Allah grant us the ability to get up at night and pray in a manner acceptable to HIm

  13. Avatar

    TSPMuslim

    May 26, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I strive everyday to feel the sweetness of prayer, but lack understanding. May Allah grant me the knowledge and understanding of His message in the language it was revealed, ameen

    • Avatar

      Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar

      May 27, 2012 at 3:09 AM

      Learning Arabic is one of the best ways to help gain Khushoo in Salah but it is not the only way.

      Even if a person doesn’t know Arabic they can still experience this by:
      1) Learning the translations and Tafseer of the basic Surahs they recite daily in Salah
      2) Learning important duas (with translation) to make during Salah
      3) Clearing mind of all distractions and making a firm intention to pray with Khushoo before beginning the prayer.

      I hope these points assist you.
      Barakallah Feek

  14. Avatar

    sf

    May 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    JazaakAllah Khair for sharing this beneficial post! May Allah(swt) grant us the tawfiq to achieve khushoo in our salaah. Ameen.

  15. Avatar

    Syed

    June 1, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Mashallah….very beautifully framed into words which is usually very hard. Salah the beautiful gift to a Muslim!!
    Jazakallah

  16. Avatar

    John Harrop

    June 2, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    This article changed me, i want to submit properly to Allah all of the time

  17. Avatar

    Muna

    September 22, 2013 at 6:27 AM

    I am just mesmerized. May Allah purify our salah. jazakallahu khayr ..May Allah reward you abundantly.

  18. Avatar

    sana

    March 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    subhan allah soo soo beautiful,

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Heart Soothers: Fahad Niazi

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More Baby, Less Shark: Planning For Kids In The Masjid

Zeba Khan

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Of all the challenges that your focus can face in prayer, there are few as insidious as Baby Shark.

Doo-doo-doo doo. Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo. Baby Shark.

If you are not a parent, or have the type of amnesia that parents sometimes develop once their kids grow up, then you might assume that not having kids in the masjid is actually a solution to Baby-Shark induced distraction.

The inconvenient (and often sticky) truth is that not having kids in the masjid is a serious problem, not a solution. No kids in the masjid means an entire generation of the Muslim community growing up outside of the Muslim community.

Restricting the presence of children and assigning masjid priority to fully-formed, quietly attentive, and spiritually disciplined attendees – like adults – is a bit like restricting health club membership to triathletes. You’re already fit. So can we please let someone else use the treadmill, even if they’re not using it as well as you could?

The masjid is the center of the community for all Muslims, not a sanctuary for the preservation of reverent silence.  For a more detailed discussion on this, please see this great Soundvision article, Children in the Masjid, Making Space for Our Future.

For suggestions on how to help your children enjoy the masjid without Baby-Sharking the rest of the congregation to tears, I present the following recommendations.

Come Prepared

Rather than assume your child will be entertained by nothing but the carpet and how many weird faces they can spot in the bilaterally symmetrical patterns, bring them something to play with. One way to do this is to prepare your child a special bag for the masjid.

Stock it with as many things applicable:

  • A reusable water bottle: Select a bottle that your child can drink from on their own, preferably not likely to tip or spill onto the masjid carpet. No one appreciates a soggy sujood
  • A nut-free snack: If you think it’s too much trouble to be considerate of people with life-threatening allergies, consider how much trouble it is to bury a child who dies of anaphylaxis. Children share snacks in the masjid, and that’s ok as long as no one dies.
  • A small, quiet toy: The dollar store can be tremendously helpful in keeping your inventory fresh and financially feasible. Please be aware of swallowing hazards, since your child is likely to share the toy with others. One hopes.
  • A sweater or blanket: Sitting for long periods of time in an air-conditioned building can make anyone cold.
  • Art Supplies: Pack crayons, pencils, or markers IF you feel your child can refrain from drawing on the walls, or allowing other, smaller children from doing so. Magic Erasers don’t work on the prayer rug.

Reverie in Blue – Artist Unknown

Critically- and I do mean critically- don’t let your children access the special masjid bag unless they are in the masjid. The last thing you want is for your child to be bored with its contents before they even make it to prayers. Storing this bag somewhere inaccessible to your child can help keep its contents fresh and interesting longer.

Non-parent tip: Keep allergen-free lollipops in your pocket. Reward the kids sitting nicely (with parents’ permission) and you have killed two birds with one stone.

  1. You’ve  helped a child establish a happy memory and relationship to the masjid.
  2. Kids with lollipops in their mouths make less noise.

Do not pack:

Balls: Not even small ones, not even for small children. Your child may not have the gross-motor skills to kick or throw a ball at people who are praying, but there will always be children in the masjid who do. They will take your child’s ball, and they will play ball with it, because that’s what balls are for. Consider also the potential damage to light fixtures, ceiling fans, audio/video equipment, and the goodwill of people who get hit, run down, or kicked in the shins. The masjid is just not the place to play ball, even if the floor is green and has lines on it.

Not every green thing with lines is a soccer field.

Scooters: Do not bring scooters, skateboards, heelies, or other mobility toys that would turn your child a faster-moving object than they already are. Your child’s long-term relationship with the community can be fostered by not crashing into it.

Slime: Slime and carpets do, in fact, go together. They go together so well as to be inextricable of one-another. Please, do not bring slime to the masjid.

Gum: Please, for the love of everyone’s socks, no gum.

Toy Guns, Play-weapons: It should go without saying. And yet, I have seen nerf guns, foam swords, and toy guns in masjid. Apart from the basic indoor etiquette of not sword-fighting, nor launching projectiles in a house of worship, please be sensitive. No one wants to see guns in their masjid.

Non-parent tip: If children playing near you are making “too much noise” smile and find another place to sit if possible. It is not always possible to ignore or move away from disruptions, but glaring, eye-rolling, and making tsk-tsk sounds is not likely to effect long-term change in either the child’s behavior or the parents’ strategic abilities. At best, you will embarrass the parents. At worst, you will push families away from the faith and the community while confirming the opinion that masjids are full of cranky, impatient people who wish kids didn’t exist in the masjid while criticizing Muslim youth for not being there. 

Avoid Electronics. But if you can’t…

I am prefacing this suggestion with a disclaimer. Habitually putting your child on a smartphone or tablet so that you can “enjoy” the masjid without the “hassle” of you making sure they behave properly is not good parenting. A child being physically present but mentally absent in the masjid is not a long-term strategy that any parent should get behind.

Having said that, if you do give your kids a tablet or phone in the masjid, please disable Youtube and bring over-ear headphones.

Do not rely on YouTube Kids to take responsibility for your child’s content choices either. Long after Baby Shark has sunk to the depths of the internet, there will always be loud, inappropriate, or just plainly distracting and disturbing things that your child can access on it.

Instead of relying on Youtube at all, install child-friendly apps that you know won’t have external links embedded in their ads, and won’t lead to inadvertent, inappropriate viewing in case your child – or my child sitting next to them – click out of their app and into the great wide world. I highly recommend anything from the Toca Boca suite of apps.

Parents at Taraweeh – Making it Work

Non-parent tip: If you see a child on a tablet, do not lecture their parent. As a special needs parent, there are times when I too allow my autistic son onto a tablet to prevent a meltdown or try to get just 15 more minutes out of him so I can finish attending a class. Do not automatically assume laziness or incompetence on behalf of parents whose children you see on an electronic device. 

Reward for Success, in this life and the next

You show up in the masjid because you hope for a reward from Allah. As an adult, you have the ability to delay the gratification of this reward until well after you die. Your kids, however, don’t.

Motivate your kids with small rewards for small accomplishments as you remind them of the reward that Allah has for them too. You can choose to reward a child after every two rakah, or after every two days. How often you reward them, and what you choose to reward them for depends on their age and their capabilities.

Make dua for your kids when you reward them. If they get a small handful of gummy bears after a good evening at the masjid, pair it with a reminder of the bigger reward too.

“Here’s the ice cream I promised you for doing awesome in the masjid today. May Allah grant you mountains of ice cream in Jannah so big you can ski down them. Ameen.”

Non-parent tip: It’s not your job to discipline the children of others, but you can help praise them. Randomly compliment kids who are sitting nicely, sharing toys, playing quietly, or wearing cute headgear. Their parents will likely not mind.

Reinforce the rules – but define them first.

“Be Good In the Masjid” is a vastly different instruction depending on who you’re instructing. For a teenager, praying with the congregation is reasonable. For a two-year-old, not climbing the congregation is reasonable.

Define your rules and frame them in a positive context that your children can remember. Remind them of what they’re supposed to be doing rather than calling them out for what they are not. For example, no running in the masjid vs. please walk in the masjid.

Avoid saying this:

Try saying this instead:

Stay out of my purse Please use the toys in your bag
Don’t draw on the walls Crayons only on the paper
No yelling Please use your “inside” voice
No food on the carpet Please have your snack in the hallway
Don’t run off Stay where I can see you, which is from [here] to [here.]
No peeing the carpet We’re taking a potty break now, and we’ll go again after the 4th rakah’.
No hitting Hands nicely to yourself.

While it might look like semantics, putting your energy into “To-Do’s” versus the “To-Don’ts” has long-term benefits. If your child is going to hear the same thing from you a hundred times before they get it right, you can help them by telling them what the right thing is. Think of the difference between the To-Do statement “Please use a tissue,” versus the To-Don’t statement of “Don’t pick your nose.” You can tell you kid a hundred times not to pick his or her nose, but if you never tell them to use a tissue, you’re missing the opportunity to replace bad behavior with its functional alternative.

Plan for Failure

Kids don’t walk the first time they try. They won’t sit nicely the first time you ask them to either. Decide what your exact plan is in case you have to retreat & regroup for another day.

  • How much noise is too much? Do your kids know what you expect of them?
  • Where are the physical boundaries you want your kids to remain in? Do they know what those boundaries are?
  • For kids too small to recognize boundaries, how far are you ok with a little one toddling before you decide that the potential danger may not be worth it?
  • Talk to your spouse or other children and get everyone on board. Being on the same page can look like different things according to different age groups. A plan of action can be “If we lose Junior Ibn Abu, we’re taking turns in prayer,” or “If you kick the Imam again, we’re all going home.”
  • If your child is too small, too rowdy, or too grumpy to sit quietly at the masjid, please take turns with your spouse. The masjid is a sweet spiritual experience that both parents should be able to enjoy, even if that means taking turns.

Don’t Give up

If you find yourself frustrated with being unable to enjoy the masjid the way you did before your child starting sucking on prayer rugs, remember this:

Raising your children with love and patience is an act of worship, even if it’s not the act of worship you thought you were coming to the masjid for. No matter what your expectations are of them – or how far they are from meeting them – the ultimate goal is for your child to love Allah and love the House of Allah.

When they get things right, praise them and reward them, and remind them that Allah’s reward is coming too. When they get it wrong, remind them and forgive them, and don’t give up. The only way children learn to walk is by falling down over, and over, and over again.

Avoiding the masjid because your kids don’t behave correctly is like not allowing them to walk because they keep falling down. The key is to hold their hand until they get it right, and maintain close supervision until you can trust them to manage on their own, InshaAllah.

May Allah make it easy for you and bless your children with love for the masjid in this life and love for Allah that will guide them through the next. Aaaaaaaameeeeeeeeen

Children @ Taraweeh: Storm in a Teacup

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Etiquettes of Praying For Your Brother And Sister | Imam Omar Suleiman

Level up your duas by including those who least expect to be in your most private moments and get angels to say Ameen

Imam Omar Suleiman

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It’s very common to find in the stories of the pious predecessors those who kept lists of people they prayed for on a nightly basis. This was a testimony to their sincerity, selflessness, and sacrifice. The basis of the act comes from a famous hadith:

وعنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يقول‏:‏ ‏ “‏دعوة المرء المسلم لأخيه بظهر الغيب مستجابة، عند رأسه ملك موكل كلما دعا لأخيه بخير قال الملك الموكل به‏:‏ آمين، ولك بمثل‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

“The supplication of a believer for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says Ameen! May it be for you too’.” [Sahih Muslim].

Since the supplication of the fasting person is accepted, this is the best time to do it. But it’s also important to be intentional about how you pray for someone. Any prayer for your brother or sister is accepted if sincere, but it becomes even more blessed when made personal and customized. Under normal circumstances, It’s also best to keep your personal prayers to yourself and without the knowledge of the person you’re praying for. Sometimes it’s ok to tell someone you’re praying for them for the sake of solidarity. But the general rule is that it’s best to conceal it even from them for the sake of sincerity. Also, make sure to include in your prayers people who would never expect you to pray for them.

Then as you start to make dua for someone, think about how you can diversify the supplications and people you make dua for so that you are 1. Touching numerous lives 2. Covering different issues and ailments 3. Guaranteeing that the return on your prayers is also comprehensive.

So, in particular, think of a person in each of the following categories and make dua for them daily:

  1. A person who has good qualities but hasn’t been guided to good faith. Make dua for guidance for that person so that perhaps Allah grants you further guidance.
  2. A person who is involved in good work, that Allah accepts from them and keeps them sincere so that perhaps Allah uses you for His cause and keeps you sincere.
  3. A person who is committing a public sin. Make dua that Allah forgives that person. Imagine if the dua is accepted for a major public sin, then the angels will say Ameen for you also and perhaps Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will forgive you for both your public and private sins.
  4. A person who is ill, that Allah grants him or her full health so that perhaps Allah will either heal you if you are sick or preserve your health for you if you are healthy.
  5. A person who is struggling financially or suffering a worldly hardship, ask Allah to help that person so that perhaps Allah will help you in that same situation.
  6. A person who has a particular blessing that you wish for, that Allah maintains that blessing upon that person without making it a means of taking him or her away from goodness in the hereafter so that perhaps Allah will grant it for you or maintain your blessings upon you without making them a means of harm for you.

This is how you bring together the Prophetic tradition of praying for your brother/sister, and the other tradition about not truly believing until you love for your sister or brother what you love for yourself.

May Allah accept your Ramadan and Laylatul Qadr, as well as all of your good deeds. And may He forgive you for your sins, and distance you from all that distances you from Him. Ameen

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