Have you ever considered that perhaps it is because we are not giving it its due justice? Or maybe we just don’t know how to connect.
Consider the following examples of those who came before us:
- The Muslims once headed out with Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم. During the trip Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم ordered two companions, one of the Ansār and one of the Muhājireen, to stand guard. The Muhājir decided to rest while the Ansāri chose to stand in Salāh.
Along came a non-believer and cast an arrow striking the Ansāri in the chest. The Ansari pulled out the arrow and continued his Salāh. The non-believer struck him with a second arrow.
Again, the Ansari removed it and continued with his Salāh, a third arrow was cast, but now the Ansari could no longer stand and finally fell bleeding into Rukū’ and Sujūd. The aggressor fled as the Muhājir rushed to his brother’s aid, “SubhānAllah! Why didn’t you alert me??” The Ansari replied, “I was in the middle of a (beautiful) Sūrah and did not wish to stop my recitation.”
- At the time of the campaign against the Murtaddīn (renegades), Hadhrat Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه dispatched an army under the supervision of Hadhrat ‘Ala Hadhrami رضي الله عنه towards Bahrain. They had to cross a desert where there were no signs of water. The soldiers nearly died of thirst. Hadhrat ‘Ala رضي الله عنه dismounted from his horse, performed two Raka’āh of Salāh and supplicated to Allah. After a little while, a very ordinary looking cloud appeared and it began to rain profusely.
The renegades had taken refuge at Darben. To reach them, the Sahabah d had to cross the sea, but the Murtaddīn had set fire to every single vessel that stood at the harbour. Once again, Hadhrat ‘Ala Hadhrami رضي الله عنه performed two Raka’āh of Salāh and supplicated to Allah Ta’ala.
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه narrates: “We walked on water. By Allah, our feet did not even get wet, neither our socks, nor the hooves of the horses and the army consisted of four thousand men.”
- When Hadhrat Ali رضي الله عنه made Wudhu, he always turned pale and trembled with anxiety at the thought of standing before his Rabb (Lord).
- A Sahābi رضي الله عنه needed an amputation. He requested that it be performed while he was engaged in Salāh.
How did they attain that level of pleasure and inner peace that Salāh is meant to inspire? Is it possible for us to reach that level too? Can we perform such Salaahs as described above? This is what we hope to learn.
Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Yūsuf Khandelwi رحمه الله used to give the example is having a real living cow and a picture of that cow. Having a cow in one’s possession will bring great benefits such as milk, manure and it may also be used for cultivating purposes. The one, who only has a picture of the cow, will still have to purchase milk from someone else.
Similarly, one is the reality of Salāh and one is the outward appearance of Salāh. When we establish Salāh with contentment, devotion and subservience, Salāh will be a means for us to achieve Qubūliyat (divine acceptance), Maghfirah and Allah Ta’āla’s proximity. Before Salāh, we must meditate for a moment. We must try to ponder that:
- I am standing in front of Almighty Allah
- Allah Ta’ala sees me
- Allah Ta’ala knows my deepest desires and thoughts
Hadhrat Maulana Yusuf Sahib رحمه الله used to say that there are only two aspects and conditions with regards to Salāh: pray as if you can see Allah Ta’ala or pray while believing that Allah Taa’la sees you at every given moment. There isn’t a third condition.
Outlook is Key
Why do I pray?
Is it just because I have to?
Is it just to get this daily duty out of the way and over with?
Or maybe it is because everyone just does it so I do it too?
It’s time to make a change.with the one you lo
UPON “ALLAHU AKBAR”
So what really happens when you say “ALLAHU AKBAR” – ‘ALLAH IS THE GREATEST’?
Before we go into what really happens, have you ever wondered why we start our Salah with ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’? Why don’t we say ‘SubhānAllah’? “ALLAHU AKBAR” is the key phrase because with it we affirm that ALLAH, before whom we are standing, is greater than anything occupying us or existent at that moment.
He is greater than our job, greater than our business, greater than our sleep, our wealth, our family and children, greater than all our troubles or preoccupations.
And why do we raise our hands with it?
We raise our hands, as a gesture of complete surrender c. When one stands in Salah, Allah commands, “Raise the veils that are between ME and My servant!” From the instant you proclaim ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’, Allah Ta’āla’s mercy, love and blessings converges towards you, and Allah Ta’ala does not turn away from you… unless you do: when you turn away with your heart and mind and go back to your worldly matters.
When you turn or drift, Allah Ta’ala calls to you:
“(O’ My servant) is there anything or anyone better than Me, for whom you are turning against Me? “When you say ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’, realise that you are being watched. It is not ordinary people who are watching you; it is The King Almighty Himself. In His control is everything you are and everything you will ever be. In His control is the entire universe, running in perfect order. Nothing, however big or small, escapes His control. How will you stand? Feel your heart race! –
Upon ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ and as we proceed to recite, our bad deeds suddenly begin to float away… up until they reach our head and shoulders. Subsequently, with every Rukū (bow) and Sujūd (prostration), these sins fall off and away, scattered and gone! With ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ things we were allowed moments ago suddenly become forbidden: like eating, drinking, talking, unnecessary movement etc. What happened? What is so different now?
Well, these mundane acts are not befitting in a meeting of this nature – a meeting with Allah, the Almighty. For the servant has answered the call and now stands in humility before his Master. You are on a much higher level now. Focus. Are you still drifting? This is why we repeat these great words, ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ as we move to each posture.
It is a reminder, and a chance to refocus.