Humility in prayer is not limited to preparing to pray in advance, or ensuring one prays correctly, or reciting long Surahs. Rather, it extends to every action done in the prayer. Hence, this article on Khushu’ will address some actions which are disliked if done during the prayer:
- It is detestable that one fidgets with anything during the prayer, be it his beard, his garment prayer mat or anything else. For all these actions detract from one’s concentration. However, it is permissible to pick up a child, or put one down, as the Prophet did so,
Abu Qutaadah al-Ansaari: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to pray whilst he was carrying Umaamah, the daughter of Zaynab bint Rasool-Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). According to the report of Abu’l-‘Aas ibn Rabee’ah ibn ‘Abd Shams, when he prostrated he put her down, and when he stood up he picked her up.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
If one becomes aware of dirt on one’s clothing it is permissible to remove that item provided one does not make unnecessary movements, nor exposes his awrah.
It is also permissible to kill a snake or scorpion in the prayer, based on the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah in which The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Kill the two black things during prayer, the snake and scorpion.” (Abu Dawud, Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani)
One may also alert others to danger, and reply to the salams by a gesture.
- It is also disliked that one place his hands on his waist for it is a symbol of arrogance and pride, and is similar to the cross.
Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) forbade putting hands on the waist during prayer. Abu Dawud said; The word Ikhtisar means to put one’s hands on one’s waist. (Abu Dawud, Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani)
Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn Subayh al Hanafi said, “I prayed by the side of Ibn Umar and I put my hands on my waist. When he finished his prayer, he said, “this is like a cross in prayer; the messenger of Allah forbade it.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud, taken from 33 ways to concentrate in prayer, pg 61)
- Interlacing fingers and cracking knuckles are a form of trifling and a means of distraction, they may be a sign of boredom. One should avoid doing these acts in the prayer.
- It is disliked to Level the earth for prostration:
Narrated Mu’aiqib, The Prophet (ﷺ) talked about a man levelling the earth on prostrating, and said, “If you have to do so, then do it once.” (Bukhari)
- Avoid praying behind one who is sleeping or talking, for one may be distracted by the conversation, and the one sleeping may do something undesirable.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: Do not pray behind a sleeping or a talking person. (Abu Dawud, Hasan by Sh Al-Albaani)
In conclusion one should avoid anything which may take away his attention from the prayer. A lack of Khushu in prayer reduces the quality of the prayer and in turn the rewards.
May Allah aid us to implement these steps and benefit from the knowledge we gain.