Concentration (Khushu') in Prayers

Why can’t we concentrate in prayers even in Ramadan?

It’s exactly like someone telling me: “Listen brother, I like body building but I went to the gym and I put, you know, a 100 kg, two plates here, two plates there, I couldn’t lift it! Why?!”; it’s the same thing, it needs training, it needs a lot of preparation and it is a way of life, you can not just switch on - switch off! You just go to the Masjid, “Allahu Akbar” and Masha’Allah! You’re flying in paradise and the heavens! NO! It’s a way of life.

If you’re coming to the Masjid with a hip-hop and a hipitaly-hipity-hop-hop or whatever they say, what are you doing?! You said: “Sheikh I love contemporary music”; and at night you're going to watch tonight’s feature film, and in the morning you intermingle and you deal in Reba and you lie and you backbite and you may sell Haram things, intoxicants and so on, and when you come to the Masjid: “Allahu Akbar”, you think you going to have Khushu’ and contemplation?! No way! It’s a way of life.

When you find the taste of Qur’an when you recite it, then, we’re progressing. When you stop doing Haram, why?! Because Allah says it’s Haram! Okay, logical. When you do what’s mandatory, obligatory, why?! Because Allah instructs you to do it, then, you’ll find the taste and beauty of prayer.

Other than that, you have a big problem because the essence of your existence is worshiping Allah, through prayer, and if you can not achieve prayer, your worship is in vain! The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) tells us the first thing that the servant of Allah will be questioned on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Salat, if it’s good, then, all of the other deeds will be accepted regardless if you have missing few things here and there; Allah will accept them. But if your prayer is bad Allah will reject all of your deeds even if you have good fating, good Zakat, Umrah, but your prayer is awful, there is no Khushu’.

We have a disease in Arabia, it’s called “the prayer itching”, the man is normal, the minute he says: “Allahu Akbar”, he starts itching and playing until he finishes Salah and then he’s normal. What kind of prayer is this?! He doesn’t know who he is praying to, if I give you a paper and say: write what you know about Allah, you would probably write three lines and that’s it. If I tell you write the attributes of Allah and explain them to me, you don’t know who you are worshiping! You don’t know Allah! And this is our biggest problem! We know Fiqh, we know Tafsir, we know lots of good things, we know Arabic, but we neglect, we fail to know our Creator! Because if we do, when we say: “Allahu Akbar”, you start to tremble, like one of the followers of the companions when he used to perform Wudu’ he used to have a pale face, his face would turn yellow and his companions said: “What’s wrong?! Are you feeling ill?” and he said: “Don’t you know who am I going to stand in front of in a while?!”; from that time, so to have Khushu’, it doesn’t start from saying: “Allahu Akbar”, it starts way before and I think I did a talk, in Birmingham, on this subject, so again you can get the lecture.

Sheikh Assim Al-Hakim