So far in this series we have covered a variety of ways to help attain and maintain Khushu’ in Salah. From preparing for the prayer, how to expel Satan and much more. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read those, or would like to review the methods covered, you can find all the articles here.
Today’s article looks at making duaa in the Salah in order to help maintain concentration. Salah is essentially a personal conversation with Allah. Thus, if one contemplates this fact, and realises that one is having a private consultation with His Maker, it would help him/her build a connection and thereby attain Khushu’.
Duaa is such an integral aspect of the Salah, that it is done at every stage, and in every position. Duaa is not limited to asking Allah for one’s personal needs, but it includes praising Allah, confessing our weakness to Him and sending prayers upon the Prophet.
After Takbeeratul-Ihram (the opening takbeer), we begin the prayer with supplications. There are several supplications the Prophet used to recite. It is upon us to learn these different supplications and their meanings in order to perfect our prayers and gain Khuhsu knowing we are following the prophetic way in our prayer. Due to the fact that the Prophet used to alternate his supplications, we learn that we too should vary our supplications in the prayer, though keeping within the boundaries of what has been authentically narrated from the Prophet. There are several invocations, many of which can be found in the book ‘Sifatu Salaatin Nabi,’ or in ‘hisnul muslim’ (fortress of the Muslim).
Let’s look at Surah Fatiha,
In the Hadith Qudsi reported by Muslim, Abu Hurayrah said: I have heard the Prophet say:
“Allah (the Mighty and Sublime) has said: I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says: All praise belongs to Allah the Rabb of all the Worlds. Allah (Mighty and Sublime is He) says: My servant has praised Me. And when he says: The Most Gracious the Most Merciful. Allah (Mighty and Sublime is He) says: My servant has extolled Me. And when he says: Master of the Day of Judgement. Allah says: My servant has glorified Me [and on one occasion He said: My servant has submitted to My power.] And when he says: You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help. He says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. And when he says: Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom you have favoured, not of those upon whom is your anger, nor of those who are astray. He says: This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.”
This beautiful narration is worthy of reflection and thought. When we struggle to concentrate, let us remember that Allah responds to every phrase we utter, He addresses us with “my servant,” honouring us, pleased with us. We then conclude Surah Fatiha by saying, “Ameen,” meaning ‘O Allah accept.’
In ruku’ and Sujud too are opportunities to invoke Allah. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The closest that a person can be to his Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, is when he is prostrating, so increase in supplication then.” (An-Nisaa’i, Sahih)
And also in the tashahhud, Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When any one of you recites the Tashahhud, let him seek refuge with Allah from four things – from the punishment of Hell, the punishment of the grave, the trials of life and death, and the evils of the Dajjaal, then let him pray for himself for whatever he wants.” (An-Nisa’i)
If one is unable to memorise the relevant duaa and athkar for the prayer, he should say what is easy for him, without being extravagant or excessive.
The prophet (ﷺ) said to a youth: My nephew, what do you do in prayer? He replied: I recited fatihat al-katab and I ask Allah for paradise and seek his refuge from hell-fire I do not understand well your sound and the sound of mu’adh. The prophet (ﷺ) said: I and Mu’adh go around both (paradise and Hell-fire), or he said something similar. (Abu Dawud, Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani)
To conclude, the duaas of the Prophet are the best of duaas for he was endowed with concise speech and he was inspired with divine revelation. His guidance is the best guidance and so we should do our best to follow his footsteps. We should limit ourselves to what he has prescribed in supplications, but should avoid repeating without understanding. We should endeavour to understand the supplications we recite and vary them, just as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did.
May Allah aid us in perfecting our salah.