Khushoo in salah

Khushoo in Salah Pt 1


Bismillaah il-Rahmaan il-Raheem (In the Name of Allaah, Most Gracious Most Merciful). In sha Allah in the upcoming series of blogs, we will discuss matters relating to Khushoo in Salah. The importance of concealing Khushoo, rulings on Khushoo, the means of developing Khushoo in Salah and how to ward off waswasas. We will draw on the teachings of Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid in his excellent book 33 Sababun Lil-Khushoo’ Fi Salaah. Let’s begin with the matter of concealment of Khushoo and the rulings related to Khushoo.

What is Khushoo in salah?

Khushoo’ means calmness, serenity, tranquillity, dignity and humility. What makes a person have this khushoo is fear of Allah (SWT) and the sense that He is always watching. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Daar al-Sha’b edn., 6/414).

Khushoo means that the heart stands before the Lord in humility and submission. (alMadaarij, 1/520).

Khushoo is in the heart. Its effects are manifested in the body. If the heart is corrupted by negligence or the whispers of Shaytaan, the worship of the body’s faculties will also be corrupt.

Shaytaan’s strategy

We have been commanded to stand in salaah with obedience.

“…and stand before Allaah with obedience” [al-Baqarah 2:238, interpretation of the meaning]

Shaytaan vowed to mislead the sons of Adam. He said “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…” [al-A’raaf 7:17, interpretation of the meaning]. One of the strongest ways to attack is to divert people from salaah. He does this by whispering during salah, so as to distract people and cause them to lose the reward for the salaah and the joy of worshipping Allah (SWT).

Hudhayfah (RA) narrated: “The first thing of your religion that you will lose is khushoo, and the last thing that you will lose of your religion is salaah. There may be a person praying who has no goodness in him, and soon you will enter the mosque and not find anyone who has khushoo.” (al-Madaarij, 1/521).

“Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2]

Concealment of Khushoo in salah

Hudhayfah (RA) used to say: “Beware of the khushoo’ of hypocrisy.” He was asked, “What is the khushoo’ of hypocrisy?” He said, “When the body shows khushoo’ but there is no khushoo’ in the heart.”

Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “It was disliked for a man to show more khushoo’ than he had in his heart.” One of them saw a man showing khushoo’ in his shoulders and body, and said, “O So and so, khushoo’ is here” – and he pointed to his chest, “not here” – and he pointed to his shoulders. (al-Madaarij, 1/521)

“Khushoo in prayer happens when a person empties his heart for it (prayer), and focuses on it to the exlusion 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 of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘… and my joy has been made in salaah.’” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/456. The hadeeth is in Musnad Ahmad, 3/128 and Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3124).

Allaah has mentioned al-khaashi’eena wa’l-khaashi’aat (men and women who are humble (before their Lord)), and described this quality as one of the qualities of those who are chosen. He tells us that He has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e., Paradise). [See al-Ahzaab 33:35].

Allaah tells us (interpretation of the meaning): “And seek help in patience and al-salaah (the prayer), and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for alkhaashi’oon [i.e., the true believers, those who obey Allah (SWT) with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise and in His Warnings]” [al-Baqarah 2:45].

The meaning is that the burden of prayer is heavy indeed, except for those who have khushoo. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/125).

As we can see from the above evidence, Khushoo is extremely important in salah, but it can be easily lost.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “The first thing to be lifted up (taken away) from this ummah will be khushoo’, until you will see no one who has khushoo’.” (Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’, 2/136: It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and its isnaad is hasan. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb, no. 543. He said it is saheeh).

Rulings on Khushoo

Khushoo is obligatory

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah], may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And seek help in patience and alsalaah (the prayer), and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for alkhaashi’oon …’ [al-Baqarah 2:45]

This implies condemnation of those who are not khaashi’oon. Condemnation only applies when something obligatory is not done, or when something forbidden is done. If those who do not have khushoo are to be condemned, this indicates that khushoo’ is obligatory (waajib).

The following ayaat also indicate the Khushoo is obligatory:

‘Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness… These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Firdaws (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.’ [al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2, 10-11]

Whoever pecks like a crow in his sujood (prostration) does not have khushoo’, and whoever does not raise his head fully from rukoo’ (bowing) and pause for a while before going down into sujood is not calm, because calmness implies doing things at a measured pace, so the person who does not do things at a measured pace is not calm. Whoever is not calm does not have khushoo’ in his rukoo’ or sujood, and whoever does not have khushoo’ is a sinner.

Another indication that khushoo in prayer is obligatory is the fact that the Prophet (SAW) warned those who do not have khushoo, such as the one who lifts up his gaze to the sky (in prayer), because this movement and raising of the gaze goes against the idea of khushoo’…” (Majma’ al-Fataawa, 22/553- 558).

Virtues of Khushoo

The Prophet (SAW) said regarding the benefits of khushoo and as a warning to those who neglect it:

“Five prayers which Allaah has made obligatory. Whoever does wudoo’ properly for them, prays them on time, does rukoo’ properly and has perfect khushoo’, it is a promise from Allaah that he will be forgiven, but whoever does not do this, has no such promise – if Allaah wishes, He will forgive him, and if He wishes, He will punish him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 425; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3242).

Further evidence comes from the following hadith:

“Whoever does wudoo’ and does it well, then prays two rak’ahs focusing on them completely [according to another report: and does not think of anything else], will be forgiven all his previous sins [according to another report: will be guaranteed Paradise].” (Al-Bukhaari, alBagha edn., no. 158; al-Nisaa’i, 1/95; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6166).

In the next blog, we will in sha Allah look at ways to increase Khushoo in salah. One of the best ways to achieve this is to learn Arabic meanings of the Ayaat we regularly recite in salah. You can learn Arabic online with the best Quran teachers through Qutor.

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