As we all are aware, there is a Satan appointed to distract us in our prayers and purposely make us lose Khushu’. He brings to mind all the thoughts of the day, and makes us forget the prayer we are in. We may find ourselves the best poet in prayer, or able to recall where we put that valuable item, or we remember things we had long forgotten. All this, just because Satan wishes to lead us astray so that we bear the same fate as him.
We have to resolute in our intentions, and be firm against Satan for he is our sworn enemy. We should be patient, and do our utmost to concentrate and remember Allah during our prayers. Nonetheless, sometimes we may become distracted. In such cases we should follow the Prophetic advice,
- Seek Refuge with Allah:
After reciting the opening supplication, one begins the recitation with the isti’adha, seeking refuge in Allah from Satan. This can be done in the following ways,
أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم من همزه ونفخه ونفثه
A’uthu billahi minash shaytaanir rajeem min hamzihi wa nafkhihi wa nafthih
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan, from his madness his pride and his (condemned) poetry.
أعوذ بالله السميع العليم من الشيطان الرجيم من همزه ونفخه ونفثه
A’uthu billahis Samee’ il ‘Aleemi minash shaytaanir rajeem min hamzihi wa nafkhihi wa nafthih
I seek refuge in Allah, the All-Hearing, All-Knowing from the accursed Satan, from his madness his pride and his (condemned) poetry.
When one becomes distracted in the prayer:
Uthman b. Abu al-‘As reported that he came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said, “Allah’s Messenger, the Satan intervenes between me and my prayer and my reciting of the Qur’an and he confounds me.” Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “That is (the doing of a) Satan (devil) who is known as Khinzab, and when you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allah from it and spit three times to your left.” “I did that and Allah dispelled that from me.” (Muslim)
- The 2 Prostrations of Forgetfulness:
Narrated Abu Hurairah, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When anyone of you stands for the prayers, Satan comes and puts him in doubts till he forgets how many rak`at he has prayed. So, if this happens to anyone of you, he should perform two prostrations of Sahu while sitting. (Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Hurairah, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When the call for the prayer is pronounced, Satan takes to his heels, passing wind with noise, When the call for the prayer is finished, he comes back. And when the Iqama is pronounced, he again takes to his heels, and after its completion, he returns again to interfere between the (praying) person and his heart, saying to him. ‘Remember this or that thing.’ till the person forgets whether he has offered three or four rak`at: so if one forgets whether he has prayed three or four rak`at, he should perform two prostrations of Sahu (i.e. forgetfulness). (Bukhari)
- Moving the Forefinger in Tashahhud:
It was narrated that Waa’il ibn Hajar said: I said: I will certainly watch how the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prays. So, I watched him…then he sat with his left foot tucked underneath him and put his left hand on his left thigh and knee, and he put the edge of his right elbow on his right thigh. Then he held two of his fingers and made a circle, then he raised his forefinger and moved it, making du’aa’ with it.” (An-Nasaa’i, Saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Maajah, Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)
The Prophet said, “it has a more terrible effect on Satan than even iron.” (Ahmad, Hasan sanad)
Thus, the companions used to reproach each other if one of them did not move his forefinger in tashahhud.” (Ibn Abi Shaybah, with a hasan sanad)
- Avoid Yawning in Prayer:
The son of Abu Said al-Khudri reported on the authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “When one of you yawns while engaged in prayer, he should try to restrain so far as it lies in his power, since it is the Satan that enter therein.” (Muslim)
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Yawning in prayer (salah) is from the Shaitan, so when one of you yawns then let him suppress (it) as much as possible.” (Tirmidhi, Saheeh)
If Satan enters one’s mouth he will only detract from one’s Khushu, thus one should avoid yawning as much as possible to dispel the Shaytaan.