How many times have you made Salah only to find yourself thinking about your kids, your job, your schoolwork, or even worse, something you saw on TV? Do you find it difficult to have khushoo in prayer? You’re not alone.
One of the biggest problems many Muslims have today is being able to focus in prayer, or having Khushu’. In today’s hectic world, it is very difficult to concentrate on during Salah and we often find ourselves thinking of various worldy things.
Being able to focus during our prayers in vital to becoming better Muslims. We will not move up through the levels of faith unless we are able to concentrate when praying to Allah.
Having Khushoo in prayer is a commandment from Allah as He has stated in His book:
Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the khaashi-oon, Who know that they will have to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are returning.
Chapter 2 Verse 44-45
And in another verse He says:
Successful indeed are the believers. Those who in prayer are khashi-oon.
chapter 23 Verse 1-2
These verses from the Book of Allah prove that Allah wants us to have khushoo’ in prayer, and those of us that do will achieve success and happiness in this life and the next.
We also have statements from Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) demonstrating the importance of khushoo’ and sincerity in salah.
Whoever does wudoo’ and does it well, then prays two raka’ateen focusing on them completely, will be forgiven all his previous sins.
Related by Bukhari
We cannot expect this great reward without having sincere focus in prayer.
Inshallah, it should be obvious from the evidence presented above that having khushu’ in salah is mandatory, and we should constantly strive to achieve it.
How To Have Focus In Prayer
There are many ways to help improve your focus in prayer. Many of these options have to be done during prayer. However, there are some things you can do outside of prayer to raise your khushoo’.
- Control or limit outside disturbances.
- Increase your good deeds.
- Decrease your bad deeds.
This might sound obvious but is very important. How can anyone focus on their Lord and Creator when a television is playing in another room? This is even more disturbing when the television show that is playing is about foolish or forbidden topics (eg beer commercials, sitcoms about sex, sports etc).
Children are another major disturbance (at least in my household). Of course, you can’t put your children outside everytime you pray, but there are steps you can take to limit their noise. For example:
- Teach your children to be quiet while you’re praying.
- Encourage your children to pray with you. This is especially important if they’re older than seven.
- Put away their your kids toys before prayer, especially the ones that are noisy.
- Men should pray in the Masjid (mosque) as often as possible. This gives you an excellent chance to focus on your prayer.
Another major disturbance is cell phones going off during Salah. How often has one heard a cell phone ringing some crazy tune during Jumuah salah or while the Imam is delivering the khutbah (sermon).
It’s very simple. Just turn off your cell phone before you enter the Masjid.
Increse Your Good Deeds
Your faith is not constant. It goes up and down. Doing good deeds increases your faith, and those with more faith are bound to be more fearful of their Lord and more mindful of death.
This will bring us hope for the Mercy of Allah while also breeding fear of His wrath.
Hence, performing extra good deeds like reciting Quran, giving charity, making extra prayers, and performing voluntary fasts should also improve our focus in prayer.
Decrease Your Bad Deeds
If increasing good deeds will improve your concentration in prayer, then obviously decreasing your bad deeds will have the same effect.
When we commit sin, we open ourselves up for the Shaytan (Devil) and his whispers. If the noble companions had to struggle to ward off his plans, then how much more vulnerable are we?
Inshallah, let’s watch our sins, keep them to a minimum, and seek repentance when we fall short. This will also increase our faith and in turn, our khushoo’.
Methods to Improve Focus While Praying
There are many ways to improve your khushu’ during prayers also. In fact, there are really too many to list in this article. But we’ll discuss some of the easiest methods to implement.
- Understand what you’re reciting.
- Reciting different verses and duas.
- Avoiding potential distractions while praying.
Understand What You’re Reciting
It is very difficult to concentrate on the words of Allah if you don’t know what you’re saying. For most Muslims, Arabic is not our first language. But that is no excuse. We can still learn the meanings of the words we’re saying.
Reciting the Quran with understanding is a great benefit in and of itself. But being able to fully understand the warnings, instructions, and orders from Allah while we’re praying is even more tremendous. So we should strive to learn some Arabic, or at least understand the translation of the Quranic verses we’re reciting.
And it isn’t just the Quran that we should try to comprehend. Throughout the prayer we say many other things during Ruku’ (bowing), Sajdah (prostration), and Tajlis (sitting). You can get the meanings of all of these duas and sayings at this page about Salah.
Many of these recitations are praising Allah or asking for His forgiveness. For example, in between the two prostrations, we say (the translation of which is):
My Lord forgive me and have Mercy on me!
How much more likely is it for Allah to respond to this call when we know what we’re saying and we’re saying it with conviction?
And when we rise up from bowing we state (the translation of which is):
Allah hears the one who praises Him. Our Lord! To You belongs the Praise!
This is a powerful statement. After all, we are stating that Allah hears the one who praises Him, and then we praise Him in the very next breath. But is it really praise if we say it and don’t know what it means and don’t mean it when we say it?
Reciting Different Verses and Duas
We should learn and recite as many different verses of Quran as we can in prayer. So every time we pray, we have to focus and remember a different section of the Quran rather than recite the same handful of verses everytime we pray. This will improve our concentration and help prevent the prayer from becoming a monotonous and repetitive exercise.
similarly, there are many other parts of the prayer that can be said in different ways. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon) did not always say the same thing everytime he prayed.
For instance, there are several different versions of the At-tashahuud, which is reciting while sitting in the second and last rakah (unit) of Salah. You should learn them and use them when you pray.
Avoiding Potential Distractions While Praying
There are still a few things that we can do to make it easier to have Khushoo’ while praying. These are things some of the most common distractions we face while making Salaah.
- Use the bathroom before praying. And if the urge comes, break the Salah and answer the call of nature rather than try to hold it in.
- Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing if you think it may distract you. And definitely do not wear clothing with pictures of people or animals.
- Try not to smooth the ground, adjust your clothes, scratch your head, swat a fly, or anything of the other minor distractions that will inevitably come your way.
There are innumerable rewards and blessings in store for us with the proper Khushoo’, or focus and concentration in Salaah. Inshallah, this serves as a reminder to both you and me of the important aspect of Islam and we utilize these tips to bring us closer to Allah.