Maximizing Our Acts of the Salah—And The Heart’s States In Each Of Them | Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali

WHEN YOU HEAR the athân, let that remind you of the horrors of the Summons to come on the Day of Resurrection. Spare no time in fully preparing yourself to respond.

For those who hasten to answer this call are the ones who will receive gentle summoning on the Day of the Great Review.

So review your hearts now; if you find it elated and eager to respond, you can expect the Summons to bring you glad tidings on the Day of Judgment. That is why the Prophet used to address his muezzin, Bilâl, saying:

Delight us by the Salah, O Bilâl!

Wuu

When you perform ritual ablutions (wuû or ghusl), make sure to also tend to the cleanliness of your inner being, which lies at the heart of all these.

In cleaning your inner being use—in the place of water—repentance and remorse for your excesses, and a resolve not to perpetrate them in the future.

Thus you should cleanse your inner being, for that is the place where your Lord will be looking.

Covering Private Parts

When in Salah, make sure that certain parts of your body are covered from the eyes of other humans.

But you should also mind your internal shameful spots, those unworthy secrets of your soul that are beheld only by Allah. Beware of these faults and realize that nothing will escape the sight of Allah.

Facing the Qibla

In this you turn your face away from all other directions and set it toward the Ka¢bah.

More important than that, however, is to turn your heart away from everything else other than Allah, directing it towards Allah Almighty. This is the whole point of the practice of facing the Qibla!

Standing Upright

This means holding oneself erect – in body and in spirit – in the presence of Allah. Your head which is the highest part of your body should be bowed down as a reminder of the need to keep the heart meek and humble, free of arrogance and pride.

Intention

When forming the intention to perform Salah, resolve to be responsive to Allah by performing the Salah in full conformity with His requirements:

  • by doing the sequence of acts properly
  • by avoiding things that invalidate or detract from its wholeness
  • by doing all this for the sake of Allah alone:
  • hoping for His reward and fearing His punishment,
  • seeking His grace and favor for His leave.

Takbir

When making takbîr (pronouncing the phrase Allâhu Akbar to begin the Salah acts), your heart must be inundated with the meaning of takbîr. You should feel in your heart that nothing whatsoever is greater than Allah.

Reciting the Quran in Salah

People fall into three categories when it comes to Quran recitation:

(a) those who move their tongues unconsciously

(b) those who are conscious of the movement of tongue, understand the meaning while listening as if to a person outside themselves; this is the degree of ‘those on the right

(c) those who start from awareness of the meaning, then use the tongue to give expression to this inner consciousness.

Bowing

Bowing (rukû¢) indicates a renewed affirmation of your awareness of the supreme greatness of Allah. In bowing you confirm your submissiveness and humility, striving to refine your inner feelings through a fresh awareness of your own impotence and insignificance before the might and grandeur of your Lord.

To confirm this, you seek the aid of your tongue, glorifying Allah and testifying repeatedly to His Supreme Majesty.

Then you rise from bowing, hopeful that He will be merciful towards you. To emphasize this hope within you, you say: “Allah hears those who give thanks to Him.”

Acknowledging the need to express gratitude, you immediately add: “Grateful praise to You our Lord!”

Prostration

Then you go down into prostration. This is the utmost point of submission, for when you prostrate, you bring the noblest part of your body–your face–down to meet the lowliest of all things, the dust of the earth.

When you place yourself in this position of lowliness, be mindful of the fact that you belong there, from dust you were created and to dust you shall return.

At the same time you should renew your inner awareness of Allah’s majesty, repeating: “Glory to my Lord Most High!”

Sitting and Testifying

When you sit to make the testimony (tashahhud), sit decorously.

Declare that all the Salahs and good deeds you perform are for the sake of Allah, and everything belongs to Him. Such is the meaning of al-taiyyât.

Be inwardly aware of the Prophet œ, and of his noble person, as you say: “Peace be upon you, O Prophet, as well as Allah’s mercy and blessing.” Be sure that the Prophet will return an even more perfect greeting to you.

Then salute yourself and all of Allah’s righteous servants.

Then testify to the Unity of Allah, and to the mission of Prophet Muhammad œ.

End of Supplication:

Make sure to supplicate at the end of your ritual Salah and before taslîm, imploring and entreating with meekness and humility, confidently hoping to be answered. Let your supplication include your parents and the other believers.

Salutation

Finally, and with the intention of concluding your Salah, address your taslîm to the angels and the others present.

Feel a sense of gratitude to Allah for having enabled you to complete this act of worship. Imagine that you are saying farewell to this period of Salah of yours—with the possibility that you may not live to perform another one.

 

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