1. KNOW ITS WORTH
If one does not know the merits and necessity of salah, the immense bounties that come with it, and the unspeakable spiritual pleasure and bliss of the company of Allah that is the reward of an attentive salah, one is likely to be tired of it.
Salah separates the believer from the disbeliever. The prophet, sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam , said in an authentic hadeeth, “So whoever has left it (the salah) then he has committed an act of disbelief”.
On the that terrifying day of reckoning, the first thing a servant will be asked about his salah: if she/he is successful in it, the rest is easy. If not, the rest is ruined as well.
2. DELAYING THE PLEASURE IS THE WAY TO SUCCESS:
Any worth-mentioning achievement in this world, whether it is excellence at work or at school, all-nighters in colleges or some other task, all require a degree of self-control and curbing of immediate desires. In fact, experts discover that in general the wisest of people even in worldly transaction is one who can curb his desires and delay the pleasure. Such a person is a successful businessman, a productive scientist and an outstanding student. What, then, about the real test of this life, the reward for which is nothing less than the Paradise of your Lord?
Salah requires this attitude of patience, curbing of desires and delaying of pleasures. However, as one does it regularly, it also trains the worshipper to curb desires and delay the pleasure in all other aspects of life, thus making him or her a successful person in all aspects of life, worldly or religious.
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3. FIGHT LAZINESS & PROCRASTINATION:
Performing salah in time is a trial. Indeed, the Hellfire is surrounded by whims and desires, whereas Paradise is surrounded by adversity. Everyone faces this difficulty proportional to the level of his or her faith. The weaker the faith, the higher the difficulty. Accordingly, salah is hardest on the hypocrites.
Be determined to fight the laziness. As you win these fights, your faith increases and performing salah becomes easier. Allah says, “Whoever comes to me the distance of a hand span, I come closer to him an arms length…” until He said, “If he comes to me walking, I come to him with a quick pace (in a manner befitting His Majesty).”
4. DO NOT WAIT FOR THE LAST MINUTE:
Rather, hasten to salah in the first hour, and it will become easier on you. The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, warned against delaying salah and indicated that this is the sign of a hypocrite. Gradually, it becomes a habit to perform salah well and it hurts to not do it right.
5. WORSHIP IS NOURISHMENT FOR THE SOUL:
Ibnul -Qayyim mentioned that Ibn Taimiyyah used to wait after the Fajr salah remembering Allah until the sun had risen. He used to say, “This is my nourishment” meaning the means of his sustenance. “Should I not consume it, then I would not have the strength to last through the day.” Similarly, it has been reported from a number of righteous salaf that they did not used to regret missing anything from the matters of this life, like they would in missing such acts of worship.
Therefore, if you were to wonder how you could reach that same level of righteousness your answer is: by faith and actions. Just wishing by itself is not enough and just because one is able to reach the lower level of worship does not necessitate that one will automatically be able to reach the more advanced level. Indeed, all of this is dependent on patience and hard work. Allah says, “And thus did we make them Imams (leaders) guiding with our permission when they had patience and had certain faith in our signs.” [32:24]
6. TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT SALAH:
Rest assured that your enthusiasm to every matter is based upon your quickness or slowness in performing it. Thus, if you were to come to it early and quickly, you would find yourself forthcoming and spirited in performing it. However, were you to come to it lethargically, you would find it burdensome and hope that you could be free from it. If you want a suitable example, then look at the one who comes to salah early. You will find him the last to leave and the opposite goes for the one who comes in late. Similarly, in yourself you will also find the same. In the salah that you came early to, look at the manner in which you offered it and your disposition after it and the manner in which you made your supplications after it. On the other hand, in the salah that you came late to, remember how you hurried up the salah and hardly did that which comes later on from supplications or supererogatory salah. This matter is not just limited to salah only; rather it is for all matters and examples.
7. LOVE IT, AND IT WILL GIVE YOU:
Sow the seeds of love for salah in your heart and harvest its fruits by the will of Allah. How can that not be so when it is a link between the servant and his Lord? It is a door from the doors of Paradise and a vast river that flows past our doors cleansing us of all dirty deeds. It is expiation for sins between it and the next. Its benefits are so numerous that to mention them all would run into many volumes.
8. WHEN HESITANT, REMIND YOURSELF OF THE HEREAFTER:
This is because the time of hesitation is the time that Satan tries to affect you. So, if you were unwavering then you would find the Satan humiliated and disgraced. Just as when hesitating at the time of taking out money for charity and the amount of it. If you remember the Hereafter, then Satan would not be able to distract or deter you. After you had given charity, then you would never accept it back even if you were to be given millions in return. This is because it was the Hereafter that you were aiming for then. Similarly, at the point when you are standing at the door to your house about to enter and suddenly hear the call to salah and hesitate between entering the house or answering the call, then take a minute to wait and think. If you were to enter your house, then you would not feel anything. Rather, it would be the easy thing to do. However, if you were to sacrifice an insignificant amount of your time and proceeded to the masjid, then you would feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, insight and understanding that would demonstrate the ease of what you are doing and the mistake and loss of those who are not doing similar. So, whoever repents to Allah then he it is that will remember and ponder, and whoever forgets then it was he who was unrepentant.
This truly is the decisive factor. One can be punctual in offering the salah during free time and energy, such as the Dhuhr salah during holidays. However, is this also the case when work piles up and the requirements increase or at times of lethargy? Do you give salah secondary important at such times?
9. ESTABLISH IT BY ANSWERING ITS CALL:
It is important to know that the command to salah has never come in the Qur’an except with the word “Iqamah” (i.e., establishment). Similarly, it is known when someone can be said to have truly established an action. To establish an action is to carry it out to the highest level of performance. Thus, whoever does not establish it, it is not surprising that he does not truly like it, nor finds himself turning to it. This ultimately leads to his salah being deficient.
One of the greatest means to establishing the salah is to have the presence of the heart, to understand meanings of the words that are recited and of the actions that are done. Ibnul-Qayyim says, “If you see a person in salah perfecting his bowings and prostrations, then he has performed the salah correctly in its outer aspects. As for the inner aspect, then Allah knows best about it.” Ibnul-Qayyim said this about the one who offers his salah correctly outwardly. So, what can we say about the one who is deficient even in his outward performance of the salah? When saying: “Alhamdulillah” in your salah, be sure to make your heart ponder about its meaning. Do the same while you say “Subhana Rabeel-atheem”, “Subhana Rabeel-A’laa”, “Ashadu al-la Ilaha Ilallah”, while bending your back, bowing to Allah and putting your forehead on the earth in prostrating to Him. If you were to loose concentration throughout the salah, then try your best even if it comes at the last minute in the fourth Rak’ah. Truly, the best of supplications is that which is done by the heart as well as the tongue.
10. SUPPLICATION IS SUREST WAY TO ALLAH’S PLEASURE:
In addition, we know that Allah does not disappoint the one who calls upon Him. Knowing this, then what do you think about someone who supplicates and asks for help and aid in performing that which Allah loves and is pleased with? Allah said in a qudsi hadeeth, “O my slaves, all of you are astray except whom I have guided; so, ask me for guidance and I will guide you.”
Therefore, we must make a part of our duaa for the Hereafter. Have you not seen how the close friend of Allah, Ibraheem alayhes-Salam, say, “My Lord, make me and my progeny from those who establish the salah.” By Allah, how many times have we said this? Or, do we think that the matter will be established even though we have not asked the one and only to make us from those who establish it? Never will this be the case.
If we were to call upon Allah, subhanahu wata’la, and He knew us to be truthful in our request, He will never deny us. So, call on Allah, and be certain of His answer.