“Should any of you stand in Salah before his Lord, he should know Allah in his heart by the great blessings which He bestows upon him and the abundant favor which He grants him, for Allah has honored him with great goodness, but he has saddled himself with sins. Therefore it is incumbent upon him to be excessive in his humility and meekness towards Allah.” – Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
A sequel to this post. Some things that have helped me experience some degree of khushoo’ in Sujood.
- I think of how much ease and comfort Allah (swa) has blessed me with. This helps with fearing what is ahead and knowing that Allah (swa) can change a persons’ situation in a blink of an eye.
- Reflecting on Qadr. Allah knows what happened to me, is happening to me, and will happen to me. He knows my beginning, my end, and my final destination. ya’lamu ma bayna aydeehim wama khalfahum – He knows what is before them and what is after them (2:255). Think about it, Allah knows whether your grave will be a garden from the gardens of Jannah or a dark reminder of what’s ahead, Allah (swa) knows how your hisaab will be on Yaum ul Qiyama, Allah knows how long you will stand and how much you’ll sweat, Allah knows whether you will run across the siraat or stumble on it, Allah knows whether your destination is Jannah or Jahunnum. May Allah enter us into Jannah bi ghayri hisaab. Say Ameen.
- Thinking of all the du’as of mine Allah has answered over the years, and knowing that whichever ones were not answered are also known to Him, that He is not neglecting them.. rather Allah has something better planned that is in accordance with his limitless mercy and wisdom.
- Feeling saddened at the thought of not being able to do the physical arkaan of Salah if/when I reach old age. Reflecting on this makes it easier to pray more.. you never know when an affliction may strike.
- Imagining praying behind ar-Rasool (Salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Imagining his beautiful recitation, hearing his weeping, seeing the swelling on his feet, salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.
- Reflecting on the verses recited in Qiyam
- Reflecting on Allah’s attributes as a means of acknowledging who I am and who He, ‘azzawajal is. The meaningof Al-Jabbar, Al Wadood, Al Muhaymin, Ar-Razzaq, Al Aleem, Al Baseer, etc.
- Imagining the feeling of the cold tiles of masjid al Haram touching my forehead.
- I also imagine a time-lapse of my life in the different positions of Salah, especially Sujood… from when I started praying at seven years old till now. Allah subhanahu wata’ala was there, listening to my du’as when I was seven and every day, every second since then. Brings to mind the the name of Allah, al-Lateef .. Allah (swa) cares for things in the most subtle ways that are not always immediately apparent. Yusuf (as) had what appeared to be a miserable life, but in the end, he refers to Allah by His name Al-Lateef, recognizing all the subtleties that Allah (swa) took care of throughout his life.
- This one is a little different, but it’s very very effective. I read ‘My Guantanamo Bay Diary’ a while ago and ever since, I’ve kept up with cases of many Muslim prisoners here in the U.S., Bagram, and Gitmo. I’ve been keeping up with Br. Tarek Mehanna’s case since October ’09 and he recently sent a sketch of his prison cell in addition to a letter about how he’s doing. He says that he gets so much khushoo’ in his Salah and that “prison is a great place to get used to more Sunnah prayers and extra adhkaar” SubhanAllah! So sometimes I try to picture myself in that situation, in the shoes of a Muslim prisoner. SubhanAllah, it’s a totally different experience because each and every word of Salah carries a completely new meaning. Try reading Al-Fatiha while imagining that you are restricted in a foul smelling room with grey walls that serve as a constant reminder of your lack of freedom…knowing for a fact that you have done nothing wrong to deserve this treatment, rather it is the Qadr of Allah and patience is your only option. ‘Al-hamdu Lillaah alladhi ‘aafani mimma abtalaaka bihi wa faddalani ‘ala katheer mimman khalaqa tafdeela.
- Think of how much Allah loves you just by the mere fact that He led you to pray. SubhanAllah, how many people continue to ignore the signs and messages Allah sends them.. Humble yourself and know that every single good deed you ever did was by the tawfeeq of Allah and if it weren’t for Him, we would surely have been misguided. The last couple ayaat of Surah A’raf come to mind. “Indeed those who are with your Lord are not too proud to serve Him, and they declare His glory and prostrate in humility before Him.”
- Imagine all the angels that are making du’a for you.
- Think about when you are no longer alive and how the very place you used to pray on will weep for you and remember you. A man came to Ibn ‘Abbās and asked to him: ‘O Abu Al-Abbās, “Do the heavens and the earth weep for anybody?” He said, ‘Yes, there is no one who does not have a gate in the heavens through which his provision comes down and his good deeds ascend. When the believer dies, that gate is closed; it misses him and weeps for him, and the place of prayer on earth where he used to pray and remember Allāh also weeps for him’. (Tafsir ibn Kathir)
- The sujood is the closest position to Allah, think of it like high-speed internet. Whatever du’a you make and any praise you send is directly reaching Allah.
- “Whoever lowers himself for Allah, Allah will raise him.”
- Knowing that Allah knows what I need better than I do and He can provide for me even before I ask. He knows your sorrows, your worries, your wishes and dreams..
- Praying in natural environments. When the weather is nice, I pray dhuhr and ‘asr in my backyard. Hearing and being around Allah’s creation relieves me.
If you can’t, cry because you can’t cry.