Most of us do realize that our performances of ‘salaat’ (prayers) and dua (supplications) are not of quality they should be. However, we do not make attempts to correct the situation. Though Shaitan does play an important role in diverting us from making serious attempts in... Show More >>Most of us do realize that our performances of ‘salaat’ (prayers) and dua (supplications) are not of quality they should be. However, we do not make attempts to correct the situation. Though Shaitan does play an important role in diverting us from making serious attempts in this regard, we can hardly escape the responsibility of taking concrete steps to correct ourselves.
One of the strangest issues that confounds us and is somewhat unique to our community is the fact the most us ‘recite’ our prayers and supplications rather than ‘pray’ or ‘supplicate’. There is probably no other community in the world, most of whose adherents do not understand what they say in their prayers, supplications or even while reading their holy book. But many in our community reach their ripe old ages diligently reciting their salaat, dua and the Holy Qu’ran without ever understanding a word of it! While there is no denying that there are sawaab (rewards) for mere recitation of these, it is astonishing that it never occurs to us that we should make some attempt to understand what we recite.
If we do make an attempt to understand what we recite surely the spiritual experience of prayer and supplication will be far more refreshing and uplifting.
Here are some tips to improve the quality of one’s salaat (prayers) and dua (supplications) to bring about greater spiritual upliftment and increased rewards in this world and the Hereafter.
1.First and foremost know and realize that you are able to recite salaat and dua due to the supreme sacrifices of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who, to bring to us these Divine Blessings, have faced enormous trials and tribulations and with the exception of the Imam of Our Time (a.t.f.s.) were eventually martyred. Most notably, do remember the supreme sacrifice of the Greatest Martyr of Mankind, Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions who faced the toughest trials, captivity and martyrdom, without which let alone this blessing of salaat, Islam itself would not have reached us.
2.Keep yourself free of mental and physical fatigue whilst praying. Keep your mind free of worldly worries, evil thoughts, and ideas.
3.Plan what verses/duas you are going to recite.
4.If you do not understand Arabic, learn the meaning of what you recite in your Prayer. Better still, start learning Arabic- it is the language the Almighty Allah (swt) has addressed us in through the Holy Qu’ran. The least we can do is try to understand what the Almighty Allah (swt) is telling us.
5.Remind yourself that engaging in prayers offers you an opportunity to release from the tension of the world. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has said that ‘in prayer was placed the comfort of his eyes’. Therefore cherish the opportunity to remove the burdens of the world from your shoulders.
6.Use your prayer to remain focused on your mission in life, which is to bring your entire being to serve only Allah (swt)
7.Use your prayer as a source of strength, inspiration and enthusiasm of your life and activities.
8.Fulfill all your personal needs before you commence your prayer, for e.g., thirst, hunger and calls of nature.
9.Do not procrastinate and do not let the time of salaat lapse without your having performed the obligatory salaat. Know that we pray because Allah (swt) is worthy of and deserves your worship and this is besides the fact that we can earn sawaab (reward) by praying and save ourselves from the azaab (punishment) of avoiding prayers.
10.Pray in pure physical state. Perform wudhu with attention, care and perfection. Although the whole earth is a Masjid or a place of worship, choose a place that is clean.
11.Pray in an environment free of noise and one where there is no distraction.If that is not possible try not allow your attention to be diverted from your prayers.
12.Adorn yourself with clean and respectable clothes.
13.Assess your mental readiness for prayers before its commencement, during the various postures, after each rakaat and ultimately at the end.
14.Pray with humility both in your mental state and in your physical manner. Realize that you are before the All-Powerful and humble your entire being before Him.
15.Pray with hope and awe.
16.Remind yourself continually that you are talking to the most important ‘One’ in your life- your Creator and Sustainer. He is Omnipresent. You are before Him, facing Him and you are involved in a dialogue with Him.
17.Commence your prayer by seeking Allah’s help and protection from the influence of the cursed Shaitan.
18.Lower your gaze while praying and do not allow the physical environment to distract you.
19.On each occasion that you recite the sifat (attributes) of Allah (swt) in ruku and sajdah (prostration), consider how indebted you are and how grateful you should be to Allah (swt) and express your true emotions.
20.Utilize the occasion of sajdah to make additional dua to Allah (swt). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: “A servant is nearest to his Lord when he is in sajdah, so increase your supplication when in sajdah”. There are many duas recommended by the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) for this purpose.
21.Pray as it is your last prayer. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said: “When you stand up to pray, perform your prayer as if it were your last prayer”.
22.After each salaat do ask Allah (swt) for fulfillment of your legitimate desires and wishes. Such a salaat earns the pleasure of Allah (swt). And of course, do not harbor desires and wishes that are not legitimate.
23.It is only an expression of gratitude that you send salutations to Imam Husain (a.s.), the other Martyrs of Karbala and those who suffered the following trials of captivity. Therefore, include and appropriate Ziayarat with your salaat and duas. Show Less >>
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