Building your connection with salaat is vital for every Muslim. Salaat (prayer) is the cornerstone of the Islamic faith. To neglect it is a major sin and it’s the second pillar of Islam. Having said that, it’s one of the hardest things that people struggle with, why? Because we don’t fully know Allah and haven’t built our connection with salaat. The way many of us view our prayers is wrong – we see it as a chore to get done – something that is blocking us from what we really want to do. But I’m here to tell you today that you need salaat in your life – not just because it is something you have to do. If you can build that connection with salaat it will change your every waking moment and increase your productivity in ways you couldn’t imagine. If you lend me your time, I’ll try my best to explain how in sha Allah. It may be a bit of a long read but isn’t Jannah worth it?!
This month on the Single Muslim Mums blog is concerned with productivity. It’s something all mothers whether they are single mothers or married mothers need to be good at in order to keep a smooth household running. In my last post we explored how the Qur’an can increase productivity – today it’s the turn of salaat.
Allah swt says in the Qur’an:
“And I have chosen you, so listen to that which is inspired to you. Verily, I am Allah! there is none worthy of worship but I, so worship me and offer prayer perfectly for my remembrance.”
From this ayah we learn several things: salaat is important, the way we pray – our technique is important. Finally, salaat is obligatory upon us as it is a means of remembering Allah swt.
Just me and my Allah!
Praying salaat builds our connection with our Rabb, it’s a special time between our souls and Allah. That time is just for us. It’s a time when you ask for help, tell Allah swt your worries and thank Him for what He has given. When we make sujood (prostration on the ground) it has positive medicinal effects upon our bodies such as harmonizing basic biological rhythms, boosting self-healing mechanisms, reducing inflammation and pain, and improving sleep and feelings of calmness [Dr. Stephen Sinatra, cardiologist, psychotherapist, and nutrition and aging specialist].
Discipline and purpose
Building a connection with salaat takes discipline which will only come into effect when we understand the importance of salaat. If you can force yourself to get up and pray every day at least 5 times a day then there is nothing you can’t achieve. But you have to long for salaat in your heart and you need to appreciate it.
When we pray we remind ourselves of our purpose as the creation of Allah swt – to worship Allah swt and submit to Him. That reminder gives us structure for our day and our life because we remember our goal is not the dunya and its worldly goods but the aakhirah and Jannah.
Building a connection with salaat also helps us to develop resilience – praying even when you don’t want to, several times a day encourages resilience. Our salaat teaches us to be grateful to Allah swt for all we have. At least 17 times a day we are praising Allah which enables us to remember the blessings/ barakah we have in our lives. In this way we also develop humility.When you submit to a higher power, put your face on the ground and accept that you are inferior to your Lord, you are instantly humbled. Click To Tweet
It’s enlightening because you know you don’t have to be in control and can relinquish that control over to Allah swt, the only One who ever has full control.
Salaat keeps you from sinning:
“it has been reported that a youth from the Ansar, who used to offer his prayers with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny), used to indulge in sinful and corrupt deeds. When this was brought to the notice of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny), he said: “A day shall come when his prayers shall refrain him from commiting sins.” Before long, the youth repented.”
Baharul Anwar, volume 82, page 198.
Prayer helps you to be more mindful. It’s a time when you can disconnect from the world and its demands over you and just be with Allah. It’s a time when you can be your true authentic self and you don’t have to hide or put on a mask or worry you have to be in control because you know Allah swt is listening and has infinite knowledge and wisdom to understand you.
Building a connection with salaat
So how can we actually build a connection with salaat after realizing why we need it and how its so important for us in our daily lives and not just an act of ibadaah?
- Revolve your day around your salaat, not revolve your salaat around your day. This is probably one of the most important aspects. Plan everything you have to do around your salaat. Work, meetings, social events – salaat comes first! Block in your salaat in a planner or piece of paper and then set your daily agenda.
- Set goals for yourself daily with your salaat. What is it you want to achieve? You probably won’t be able to do everything in one day like developing khushoo or remembering all of the translation of the salaat, or perfecting your stance – especially if you are a beginner so having goals can help.
- Make your salaat a ritual. In order to make it into a habit, have a fixed pattern of things you do around salaat to prepare – not to add to salaah. An example would be winding things down around 10 – 15 minutes before salaat is due. Prepare yourself mentally for salaat, perhaps read over the translation of salaat, remind yourself what alhamdulillah means, think about your blessings, etc.
- Do your wudu slowly with meaning. Take care with each action and do it according to the sunnah – with as little water as possible. Notice how the water feels against your skin, be aware of your breath and feeling. Allow it to calm and humble you. With every action remember why you are doing your wudu – because you are about to have a meeting with your Lord.
- Dress for the occasion – you are about to address your Lord. It’s a big deal, Allah swt deserves to see us at our best. If you can remember that and make the effort to change out of your PJs at Fajr you’ll be more enthusiastic.
- Pray on time and take your time! Don’t rush your salaat, if you fit things in around your salaat – you won’t have to!
- Be mindful in salaat. Be aware of the words you are saying as you say them and their meanings. Be aware of your breathing and how you are feeling in yourself. Be conscious of Who you are addressing. Be aware of your body and the movement of your limbs as you transition your positions. Don’t let your thoughts drift away and if they do bring them back in line. Pray as if Allah swt is in front of you although you are aware you cannot see Him – this is known as Ihsaan. Don’t focus on what just happened but on what is happening in the present. This is mindfulness.
That’s all fine and dandy but I have young kids!
Perhaps some of you are thinking “I’m a busy mum, my kids don’t let me pray in peace – how can I do all of this?” Let me first say make your intention about Allah and pleasing Him. Ask for guidance and Allah will make a way in sha Allah. In some ways it’s better if it’s not easy for us – this tests our resolve and whether we truly love Allah swt even more. There will be times during the day when you are able to pray alone – perhaps Fajr or Isha after the kids go to sleep – how about tahajjud? During these times you can really try to implement the tips and it will in sha Allah get easier with time.
Put it to the test
Ok, so I like to practice what I preach. I tried to pray using these tips today to help build a connection with salaat. My two little ones aged 4 and 2 were running circles round me. The older one, was trying to poke my eye out with a water bottle and the younger one climbed on my back and used my head as a slide when I went into sujood! I also got kicked in the face accidentally with excited little toes as they ran round me in sujood! Nonetheless I tried to maintain my composure and imagine Allah swt in front of me. I paid attention to the words I was reciting as much as I could and attempted to focus on the breath.
I have to admit it was darn near impossible to focus fully. I was distracted by the kids often and weary of being hit again. But even then I had more khushoo than I usually do when I race through salaah without thinking about what I’m saying. And I still felt that peace and tranquility descend upon me alhamdulillah! Normally, I would have lost it with the kids after. I would have yelled at them and gotten very upset with myself. I would have thought I will never attain sabr or Jannah because I’m so useless subhanallah. But not this time! I remembered the kids are an amanah (trust) from Allah swt and this was my test. I was happy to see that I had more sabr all by the mercy of Allah swt.
If I can do it then so can you in sha Allah!