I am on an ongoing quest to improve the quality of my salah as it’s something I still struggle with. I’m sure I’m not alone so I thought it would be beneficial (for me and you) to create an ‘Improve Khushu In Salah’ series. The posts are designed to be as simple and as brief as possible, making them suitable for parents to share with their children too.
(I will not be covering tips for mothers with children as this topic deserves a whole series by itself!)
What’s the best way to begin this series?
With the words of Allah!
These ayahs provide us with clear guidance about salah. We are advised to take care of our daily prayers, perform them in the best way, with devotion, and in a humble manner.
Definition of Khushu
Before we head into the tips, let’s look at the word ‘khushu’ or ‘khushoo’.
Sister Nabila explains the term beautifully and goes further in her article by using an analogy of handing in an assignment.
You’ve just finished praying and kick yourself for not achieving more khushu, focus or mindfulness. For letting your thoughts wander in and out of your connection with Allah. What can you do?
Tip #1 to Improve Khushu In Salah is broken up into 4 parts; the main being Make Dua. You can make dua in any language you want. Be as honest and as needy as possible. Even more powerful, go into sujood to apologise and make dua.
Here is a heartwarming hadith about an Arabic dua we can all learn. Heartwarming because that’s exactly what happened when I imagined our Prophet Muhammad -saw- holding a sahaba’s hand, saying he loves them & giving them advice. ?
Here’s the dua in Arabic:
I also found another dua in several places on the internet:
“Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bika min qalbin laa yakhsha’…
(O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from a heart that has no khushoo’…).”
(Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 5/485, no. 3482; Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2769).
33 Sababun Lil-Khushoo’ Fi Salaah
33 Ways of developing Khushoo’ in Salaah
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Cited in https://muslimconverts.com/prayer/khushoo.htm
So you’ve made dua to Allah to help you improve your khushu (tip #1). Now it’s time to show Allah that you’re taking action. That you’re trying to put your worship, your purpose, as your main goal of the day. Everything else will be planned around salah times.
Do you know the timings?
Where will you be when you’re called to prayer?
Will you be at home or somewhere else? Where will you do wudu, where will you pray?
Plan ahead so that you’re not squeezing salah into a few minutes. Allow enough time to meet with your Lord.
You hear the adhaan or beep on your phone. Or you see a notification. (Tip #3) Appreciate The Adhaan.
An athlete has a higher chance of success if he/she puts in hours of training rather than just turning up to the track expecting to win gold right? We are Allah’s athletes. We need to train too. Treat the moment of the adhaan/beep/notification as the beginning of your warm-up session: it is preparing you for the main event.
If you’re at home, I highly recommend having the adhaan play out loud in full:
1. Shaitan runs away at that moment
2. Listening to the adhaan and repeating the words carries rewards for us
3. You have the opportunity to make dua after hearing the adhaan
Athan app by Islamic Finder
Now you’re eager to prioritise salah over the task at hand: to pray on time.
This tip reminds me of a story a colleague told me… She had been typing an important assignment and was almost at the finish mark when the Magrib adhaan happened. She recalled being so absorbed that she heard it in the background but a voice kept telling her ‘just a few more minutes’. Moments passed. She is still affected by what happened next. Her laptop crashed. She lost the entire assignment and everything else on that laptop. But she gained in other ways that day; she always made an effort to pray on time.
It’s time for wudhu, but with mindfulness. Be in the moment, imagine your sins being washed away as you splash water and wipe.
You are going to perform wudhu with mindfulness. What about Wudhu with fresh breath? Did you eat any onion or garlic? Consider brushing your teeth as part of getting ready for salah. Using a miswak is highly recommended.
And if you ate raw onion in your salad with your hand (guilty!) or you ate a strong smelling curry with your hand (guilty again!) – regular soap may not be enough. Rub toothpaste on your fingers and wash off. Works a treat!
Achieve a balance in dressing well for Allah whilst ensuring your garment doesn’t cause a distraction in prayer. I’d suggest jazzy outfits with disco-dancing jewels are out!
Perfect not only your recitation of Arabic, but commit to memory the translation in a language you understand.
Use resources which match your learning style to make the task easier.
If you memorise information better by listening, Youtube has many explanations of surahs. I particularly benefited from the explanation of Surah Fatiha by Ustad Nouman Ali Khan and the Tafsir of Surah Fatiha by Mufti Ismail Menk. Did you know that Allah responds three times in between us reciting the first three ayahs of Surah Fateha? I didn’t! Now I try to pause between each ayah and revel in the thought that Allah is talking about me right there and then!
If you’re a visual learner, I highly recommend My First Quran with Pictures. I have memorised the meanings of surahs quicker than ever thanks to this valuable resource!
If you need to revise the meanings of other parts of salah e.g. thashahhud, then I recommend The Beginner’s Book of Salah. It has been my salah companion for many years alhamdulillah.
Try to pray with Ishaan because Allah is in front of us when we pray.
Imagine if this was your last salah before your life ends. Your last chance to fulfil your physical act of worship before meeting Allah.
33 Sabahun Lil-Khushoo’ fi Salaah
33 Ways of Developing Khushoo’ in Salaah | English Translation| Book by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid
You’ve just finished salah and kick yourself for not praying with khushu throughout. And so the cycle begins. Because let’s face it, improving khushu is a lifelong journey, something we continually work on.