Rulings on Khushoo November 27, 2006Posted by Muhajirah in Heart Softners, Imaan, Islam, Khushoo.
According to the most correct view, khushoo’ is obligatory. Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah], may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And seek help in patience and al-salaah (the prayer), and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for al-khaashi’oon’ [al-Baqarah 2:45]. This implies condemnation of those who are not khaashi’oon. Condemnation only applies when something obligatory is not done, or when something forbidden is done. If those who do not have khushoo’ are to be condemned, this indicates that khushoo’ is obligatory (waajib). The fact that khushoo’ is obligatory is also indicated by the aayaat (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Firdaws (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.’ [al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2, 10-11] Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, tells us that these are the ones who will inherit Firdaws (Paradise), which implies that no-one else will do so. Khushoo’ is obligatory in prayer, and this includes calmness and khushoo’ [the original says ‘khushoo’; perhaps what is meant is khudoo’ meaning submission, humility]. Whoever pecks like a crow in his sujood (prostration) does not have khushoo’, and whoever does not raise his head fully from rukoo’ (bowing) and pause for a while before going down into sujood is not calm, because calmness implies doing things at a measured pace, so the person who does not do things at a measured pace is not calm. Whoever is not calm does not have khushoo’ in his rukoo’ or sujood, and whoever does not have khushoo’ is a sinner. Another indication that khushoo’ in prayer is obligatory is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned those who do not have khushoo’, such as the one who lifts up his gaze to the sky (in prayer), because this movement and raising of the gaze goes against the idea of khushoo’” (Majma’ al-Fataawa, 22/553-558).
Concerning the virtues of khushoo’ and as a warning to the one who neglects it, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Five prayers which Allaah has made obligatory. Whoever does wudoo’ properly for them, prays them on time, does rukoo’ properly and has perfect khushoo’, it is a promise from Allaah that he will be forgiven, but whoever does not do this, has no such promise – if Allaah wishes, He will forgive him, and if He wishes, He will punish him.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 425; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3242).
Concerning the virtues of khushoo’, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Whoever does wudoo’ and does it well, then prays two rak’ahs focusing on them completely [according to another report: and does not think of anything else], will be forgiven all his previous sins [according to another report: will be guaranteed Paradise].” (Al-Bukhaari, al-Bagha edn., no. 158; al-Nisaa’i, 1/95; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6166).
When we look at the things that help us to have khushoo’ in prayer, we find that they may be divided into two types: things that help you to have and to strengthen khushoo’, and warding off the things that reduce and weaken khushoo’. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) explained the things that help us to have khushoo’:
“Two things help us to [develop khushoo’]: a strong desire to do what is obligatory, and weakness of distractions.
With regard to the first, the strong desire to do what is obligatory:
[this means that] a person strives hard to focus on what he is saying and doing, pondering on the meanings of the Qur’an recitation, dhikr and du’aa’s, and keeping in mind the fact that he is speaking to Allaah as if he sees Him, for when he is standing in prayer, he is talking to his Lord.
Ihsaan means ‘that you worship Allaah as if you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, He can see you.’ The more the slave tastes the sweetness of salaah, the more attracted he will be to it, and this has to do with the strength of his eemaan.
The means of strengthening eemaan are many, and this is why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, ‘In your world, women and perfume have been made dear to me, and my joy is in prayer.’ According to another hadeeth, he said, ‘Let us find comfort in prayer, O Bilaal’ – he did not say, ‘Let us get it over and done with.’
With regard to the second, weakness of distractions:
This means striving to push away all distractions that make you think of something other than the prayer itself, and warding off thoughts that keep you mind off the purpose of the prayer. This is something which differs from one person to another, because the extent of waswaas has to do with the extent of one’s doubts and desires and the heart’s focus and dependence on what it loves, and its efforts to avoid what it dislikes.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 22/606-607)