How to concentrate on Salah?
Fajr was prayed in a sleepy trance, I had no idea what I prayed and quickly went to bed.
Dhuhr was over in a jiffy as it was almost time for lunch.
Enjoying a good book and a relaxing cup of tea that delayed Asr.
Maghrib was done in the blink of an eye, my favorite series was on.
Isha was added to the list of things to be done tomorrow.
At night I lay thinking, is this how is it supposed to be?
How to Focus While Praying?
Prayer or Salah is a very important act of worship. Being the second pillar of Islam, it is not a custom or ritual. Salah is obligatory (Fardh) upon every Muslim 5 times a day. Pay attention when offering Salah is known as Khushu, giving your undivided attention to Allah SWT, when a person’s heart and thoughts are focused on Allah. It is important because our Salah and other forms of worship are incomplete and unacceptable without it. Salah is our direct link to talk to Allah SWT.
When you stand for Salah,
Do you sometimes forget which Rakah, you are on?
Or did you make 2 sujoods or just 1?
Or did you remember to switch off the stove?
Or have you locked the door?
Or trying to decide what to make for dinner?
Why do all these thoughts cross your mind when you stand for Salah, have you ever wondered how can try you not to think about anything during Salah? The prognosis is pretty simple something only you can do.
Tips To Increase Concentration During Salah
1-Pinpoint Your Distractions
First and foremost try to narrow down what all distracts you, is it your cell phone, your children, or kitchen chores? Set everything aside or put it on hold, if your children run around in the room you pray engage them in something before you stand for prayer, switch off your cell phone till you have finished praying, if you are afraid of missing an important call, don’t worry they can call back, your kitchen chores can wait, switch off the stove so that you won’t be in a hurry to finish your prayer. Anything and everything can be delayed for prayer. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
There is no prayer when there is food prepared (smell could distract you) or when one is suppressing the urge to express waste matter – MUSLIM
Relieve yourself before you stand for prayer or the urge to go the bathroom will make you hastily finish your prayer. If you are hungry don’t finish your salah quickly so that you can eat, eat before you stand for prayer, or else the hunger pangs will be a distraction also.
2-Set Aside A Room Or Corner Of The House For Prayer
This Salah room or corner should definitely be set up, and no one should be allowed in there except for prayer. Even children will get disciplined knowing that they aren’t supposed to play and make noise there. If you want to make Zikr or read Quran that should be your go-to place, away from the rest of the house calm and quiet. No cellphones or gadgets of any sort should be taken there. Nothing is more important than Salah.
3-Prepare Yourself For Salah
When we are invited or guests arrive we don’t greet them disheveled we make ourselves presentable, fresh clothes maybe take a bath if we have time, clean up, apply some perfume and then go meet them. So why is it when we stand before the Lord of the world we don’t give any thought to our appearance, we may be reeking of sweat and different unpleasant odors but we still stand for prayer. Freshen yourself up, change your clothes, make Wudhu, apply some attar, keep reminding yourself you are going to stand in front of Allah SWT. Wudhu is a way to purify ourselves before Salah. Usman bin ‘Affan RA reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
He who performs the Wudu’ perfectly (i.e., according to Sunnah), his sins will depart from his body, even from under his nails.- MUSLIM
Salah might be one of the ways we can ask for forgiveness, but Allah SWT has given us Wudhu, one of the ways to purify ourselves of our sins before we even stand for prayer. Here’s our complete and detailed guide on How To Perform Wudu (Ablution).
4-Pray On Time
No matter how much chaos is going on in our life, prayers should never be delayed. We are created weak and without Allah SWT’s help we can fall into Shaitan’s trap not knowing, we can very easily be misled. Salah is the only way we can satisfy our spiritual needs and be in direct contact with our Creator. Allah SWT doesn’t need our Salah, if we don’t pray, or delay our prayers, or pray half-heartedly it won’t do Allah SWT any harm. The way out of any trial or problem is our strong relationship with Allah SWT. As soon as you hear Azaan (call for prayer) it is binding upon you to drop everything and stand for prayer. The importance of praying on time has been mentioned in Quran and Hadith. Abdullah RA asked the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
“Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” He replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.”–BUKHARI
It can also be understood by these Quranic verses:
“Surely the Salah at fixed hours (of the day and night) has been enjoined upon the believers.” – 4:103
Don’t delay your prayers thinking you have time to pray, time is one thing none of us have been guaranteed of having. Bittersweet truth we want our prayers to be answered o time but we don’t want to pray on time. Ibn Qayyim said:
Wasting time is worse than death because death separates you from this world whereas wasting time separates you from Allah SWT
5-Know The Meaning Of What You Are Reciting
You don’t need to be a scholar to know the meaning of what you are reciting. We should make an effort to understand what is meaning of the verses being read during Salah. Surah Fatiha is read in Every Rakah, do we know the meaning of,
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
Ihdinas Siraatal Mustaqeem
Guide us to the straight path
It is advised to get a copy of the Quran with translation and read the meaning of what is being recited. It will help us focus more once we understand the words we are saying. It will make us become closer to Allah SWT when we understand what He is trying to teach us. Try to understand the meaning of all the Surahs we usually recite during Salah, after this Salah will become more enjoyable than before. Make a habit of reciting each and every verse slowly, the more time you spend in salah is the only way you can try to perfect it.
6-Praying In Congregation
For men, praying together not only gives a sense of unity but also increases the rewards. The concentration in salah is increased by default and Shaitan might have a hard time trying to mislead you. It creates discipline and makes us time-conscious as well. We all stand as one before Allah SWT race, culture, social status, and language are all set aside. Anas RA narrated :
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to pray a short prayer (in congregation) but used to offer it in a perfect manner. BUKHARI
Hadith has mentioned the virtues of praying Fajr and Isha with the congregation. It doesn’t mean the other Salahs have any fewer rewards but it is mentioned in Hadith Isha and Fajr prayers are very burdensome to hypocrites.
One who performs Isha prayer in congregation is as if he has performed Salah half of the night. And one who performs fajr prayer in congregation is as if he has performed Salah the whole night. -MUSLIM
It is also mentioned in Hadith the severity of not praying with the congregation.
By Allah, if each of you prays the obligatory Salah in his house, you will have abandoned the Sunnah of your Prophet ﷺ – IBN MAJAH
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said:
7-Take Your Time
When you stand for Salah leave every thought behind. No need to be in a hurry when standing in front of Allah SWT. Give each aspect of Salah its due right, the recitation, and the positions. Not performing Sujood and Rukoo properly is deemed as stealing from Salah in Hadith. It is narrated by Abu Qatadah RA that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“The worst kind of thief is one who steals from his prayer.” The companions said, “O Prophet of Allah how can someone steal from their prayers?” He (saw) said, “He does not fulfill the rukoo of the prayer nor its sujood.” AHMAD
What happens if we don’t give Salah the time and attention that is its right? The Prophet ﷺ said,
“Verily, a man will leave from (his Salah) and only a tenth of his Salah is written for him, a ninth, an eighth, a seventh, a sixth, a fifth, a fourth, a third, half.” ABU DAWUD
8-Spend Some Time In Dhikr And Duaá After Prayer
One of the most common mistakes people make is wrapping it up as soon as prayer is over. Be it home or Masjid, spend some time doing Zikr (remembrance of Allah) and making duaá. Making duaá after salah is one of the desirable times and is mentioned in Hadith as well. Ask Allah SWT to help you rectify your Salah, even if you are doing everything right, praying as per the rules of Sunnah you still need Allah SWT’s help to make it better. Make duaá that Allah SWT keeps you steadfast on this path you have embarked to make your Salah better. Keep asking for forgiveness that you aren’t able to deliver that level of quality of Salah Allah SWT wants.
May Allah SWT make it easy for us to maintain our prayers on time & stay focused throughout.