Concentration in prayer – Imam al-Akhdari and Shaykh Rami Nsour

Imam al-Akhdari said in his Mukhtassar:

Prayer has an immense light that causes the hearts of those who pray to radiate.  None will attain it except those who are fearful in their prayer. So, if you come to the prayer, empty your heart of the dunyā and what it contains.  Preoccupy yourself with your Lord the One to whom you are praying.  Believe that the prayer is submissiveness and humbleness to Allāh through the standing, bowing and prostration.  It is exaltation and glorification of Allāh  through the takbīr, tasbīḥ and dhikr.  So protect your prayer, as it is the greatest act of worship.  Do not allow the devil to play with your heart and distract you from the prayer to the point that your heart is blind and you are prevented from experiencing the pleasures of the lights of the prayer.  You must maintain khushūʾ (submissiveness) during the prayer, as the prayer prevents foul and evil acts because of that submissiveness.  Seek assistance from Allāh and He is the Best Assister.

Shaykh Rami Nsour:

The last point that he mentioned, to have constant humility in it. For surely it prevents such a one from foulness and misdeeds because of that very humility in it. So all the actions of evil and the misdeeds in the dunya can be prevented if a person is praying. If he’s praying, the humbleness that is attained in the prayer would prevent him from doing evil deeds. So if a person is doing evil deeds, he should look to his prayer. If he’s doing his prayer correctly, then the humility and the awareness that he’s going to gain from that prayer that will allow him to stop doing those things. The more a person is doing those things that means the less awareness he has in his prayer, the less humble submission he has in his prayer.

Also another ayah in the Qur’an says that you see the marks of the believers in their faces from the remains of the prostration, or because of the prostration. And this is not a physical mark that is seen in the face. The ‘ulama have said that some of the ignorant people think that it’s a physical mark so they try to make a mark in their forehead by prostrating on rocks or prostrating on hard ground excessively so as to callous the skin on the forehead. The ‘ulama have said that’s the sign of ignorance to do that. If it happens without a person intending it, then there is no harm in it but if a person intentionally tries to cause that, then that’s considered a sign of the ignorant people. The sign that Allah is talking about there is humility that is gained from that. So a person Allah says that you will see the humility in their faces and that’s the remanence of the prostration. The prostration and the prayer holy will cause a person to have humbleness and people will see that in their faces, they will see that in their deeds, they will see that in the way they walk, in the way they talk, in the way they treat people. If they have humble submission in their prayer, Allah will give them success in having humility in all other aspects of their life.

A good friend of mine and fellow student of Murabit al Hajj, asked one of our teachers, Murabit Muhammad Al-Amin (Haddameen) about how to get this concentration in the prayer. Murabit Muhammad Al-Amin said that before making the takbir of ihram, one should think about the following:

Imagine that you have died, been washed and buried.  Then imagine that the trumpet has been blown and now everyone is coming back to life.  Then everyone is gathered together for the Qiyama.  Then you see all the things described on the Day of Judgment (people running from their loved ones, the Hellfire being brought by the angels, people having their actions weighed, etc) and you are watching this.  Then, all of a sudden, you are snatched up from behind and taken higher and higher above the Plain of Standing. Below you, you see everything that is happening.  You also see Paradise and the Hellfire.  Then you are dropped.  Now you are falling.  And you don’t know if you will fall into Paradise or the Hellfire… “Allahu akbar” and start your prayer.

Subhan Allah, I have tried this and it really works.  I also have heard others who have benefited from this.  One thing that I noticed while praying in the masjid of Murabit al Hajj, must have a connection to Murabit Muhammad Al-Amin’s advice; I would see his takbir be delayed for a short while after the Imam (Murabit al Hajj) would have made his takbir.  He must have been going through this process.  And Allah knows best.

There is a text by Shaykh Muhammad Mawlud entitled “Ihsraqul Qarar” (The Illumination of the Hereafter) and deals with the spiritual aspect of the prayer and is a great way to learn more about how to attain the “Vast spiritual light” that the prayer contains.

Source: Explanation of the Kitab Al Akhdari

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