The Struggle of Khushu

Gaining Khushu is something people have struggled with for decades. It doesn’t come easily, and may take a whole lifetime to achieve. To yearn for the salaah is an anomaly to many, rather salaah has become a burden, a quick, up, down, touch the ground routine. Yet, the Prophet is reported have said, “my joy is in prayer.” The scholars of the past and present have addressed the issue repeatedly in detail in an attempt to help us improve our conversation with our Creator.

“And seek help in patience and prayer and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for those who are Khashi’oon (i.e have khushu).” (Surah Al-Baqarah 02:45)

The first step of gaining Khushu is to know what Khushu actually is. It is often loosely translated as humility, but in reality it is much deeper than mere humbleness before the Lord of the Worlds. It is a mixture of concentration, tranquillity, submissiveness, understanding and the ‘presence’ of our hearts. It is a quietude within the body which is manifested in the limbs due to consciousness of Allah’s Majesty and Grandeur. For when the heart is humbled, the rest of the body is humbled in limbs and action.

“Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their prayers with Khushu’.”  (Surah Al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2)

Khushu is imperative to us because it is the basis for acceptance of the Salaah, and Salaah is the greatest act of worship. That is why Allah describes the chosen ones for whom He has prepared a great reward as “Khashi’eena wal Khashi’aat” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:35) meaning men and women who are ‘humble’ before their Lord. Those who possess this characteristic are successful, and will have a mighty reward with Allah.

The Scholars are in unanimous agreement that Khushu in Salaah is compulsory. Without Khushu a person’s prayer may be rejected, and they risk gaining a sin.

The Prophet (Peace and Blessings upon Him) would supplicate to Allah, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from a heart that is not humbled…” Khushu begins in the heart; which is the centre of spiritual intelligence. So, as the Prophet explained, “there is a morsel of flesh in the body, which if it is sound, then the rest of the body is sound, if it is corrupt then the rest of the body will be corrupt. Indeed it is the heart.”(Bukhari and Muslim)

“The first thing to be lifted from this ummah, is Khushu, until you will see no one who has Khushu,” (At-Tabaraani)

As daunting as the above hadith seems, it is reality. Rarely do we see anyone in the mosque or anywhere else, who focus on their salaah, so much so that they are unaware of what is happening around them. People pray, but their hands are reaching for their phones, or their eyes are admiring the work of the architecture, how do they expect to find comfort, patience or help in Salaah?!

As Ibn Katheer aptly put it;

“Khushu in prayer happens when a person empties his heart for it (prayer), focuses on it to the exclusion of all else, and prefers it to everything else. Only then does he find comfort and joy in it, as the Prophet Peace and Blessings be upon Him said “…my joy has been made in Salaah.”” (Tafseer Ibn Kathir, Hadith from Musnad Ahmad)

Khushu is not difficult to attain, if we really put our minds and heart to it. We simply have to drain out all else for Allah to take priority in our hearts. Salaah is relief from worry and distress, a break from the hustle and bustle, and a peace of mind for the one attached to his Lord. If our Salaah is performed properly with Khushu, it will have a lasting effect. Our hearts will be filled with the remembrance of Allah, and we will begin a journey of attaining nearness to Allah.

The first step on this journey is to ensure we are praying correctly in accorandance with Sunnah of our beloved Prophet. To help you do this, I have some very precious resources;

  • The book entitled “Description of the Prophet’s Prayer From Beginning to End” by our esteemed Shaykh Nasiruddeen Al-Albaani

Click on the link to download the pdf: The Prophet’s Prayer Described

The book is also available to purchase from most Islamic bookstores (Darussalam.com)

  • Videos (in English) which explains the book, with demonstrations and more, taught by Shaykh Abu Suhayb Aal Bassam, a student of Sh Al Albaani. Below is the first class, the rest of the classes may be accessed from the youtube playlist.

I hope you benefit from this series of classes. May Allah accept all our efforts.

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