Salaah: A Spiritual Journey

salaah

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A summary, for those who prefer reading to listening:

  • Literally thousands upon thousands of people have applied to go on a trip to Mars. Imagine if in the future you were one of those few people chosen to go on that journey. It would be a once in a lifetime experience! But imagine if you could go even further: imagine if you could go beyond our solar system… then beyond our galaxy… then beyond the realm of this universe and into the heavens… then from the first heaven right up to the seventh… and then even beyond all that, beyond the Lote Tree and into the Divine Presence. How much more amazing wouldn’t that journey be!? That would be the most incredible experience ever, something to treasure and value forever. And yet we are afforded the opportunity to embark on such a journey all the time, although we might not realise it.

  • This journey into the Presence of Allah is given to us through the salaah. The Prophet  was taken on the actual physical Mi’raaj, but we also go on our own personal spiritual Mi’raaj when we stand in salaah. At least, this is what should be like… So why then is our salaah not like this? Why is it that most of the time it is simply a hollow ritual, devoid of any spirituality? This is because we do not stand before our Lord in the way that He has commanded us: “And stand before Allah in a devout frame of mind.” (2: 238) So even before entering salaah, we need to mentally prepare ourselves and realise what a great and immense occasion this is.

  • We then enter into the salaah through the takbeeratul ihraam.  We need to realisse that this is a momentous event, something extraordinary and of great significance. When we perform this act, we are in essence departing from this mundane physical world and entering into the spiritual realm. We raise our hands when we so, symbolising our throwing the dunya behind us. All the acts which are normally permissible, such as eating, drinking and speaking now become forbidden. Our haal, our condition and state of mind, thus must be different! We can’t be in the same condition mentally and spiritually after the takbeer as we are before! There must be some change that overcomes us, some awareness of the fact that we are now standing before our Lord and Maker.  

  • And now when we stand in salaah, there are certain qualities and conditions which should be present within us, which are as follows:
      1. Awareness (Hudoorul Qalb). Literally it means ‘presence of the heart‘. It is an awareness of the fact that we now engaging in conversation with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
      2. Understanding (Tadabburul Ma’naa). Literally it means to contemplate over the meaning of whatever we utter in the salaah. We thus need to learn Arabic, or at least memorise the meanings of the adhkaar and duas that we recite in salaah, so that we are able to say them like we actually mean them, with passion and with conviction.
      3. Humility (Khushoo’). It means to stand before Allah humbly and fearfully, without being distracted by worldly concerns. It is the most important quality to have in salaah as it is the quality that the successful believers are described as having. (23: 1 – 2)
      4. Awe / Fear (Haibah). It is close to khushoo’, but it is a more intense fearfulness than mere humility. It stems from khushoo’ but goes beyond that. It is to feel fear that Allah ta’ala could punish us for our sins.
      5. Hope (Rajaa’). It is to keep the balance, so that we don’t become despondent and overwhelmed with despair. Our record of deeds may be filled with sinfulness, yet we are always hopeful that the Most Merciful One may choose to have mercy on us and forgive us those sins.
      6. Shame (Hayaa’). It is to stand before Him with a sense of shame and modesty: how can we stand in His Presence when we have committed so many shameless acts in the past? We should feel embarrassed by the fact that He is so good to us, and yet we respond to all of His favours with nothing but disobedience and transgression…

May Allah ta’ala grant us all the ability to perform salaah as it should be done – may He make it a spiritual journey of drawing closer to Him and not a mere movement of the body.

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