Reading Time: 4 minutes
We’re always looking for simple hacks to help with everything from finishing the dishes quicker to writing the best term papers. Why not apply this towards your salah experience?! A simple tip isn’t going to fix any deep issues with your prayers, but it might add just a little life to something that has become one more to do list item.
1: Call the Iqama
A lot of the times when we have to pray, we just jump into it. We’re rushed. We have things to do. We pray and move on to the next task. You may have heard that it’s best to pray some nafl, or supergatory, prayers before getting into the main obligatory prayer. That would definitely help you get more into the zone. If however, you don’t feel ready to commit to adding another couple of rakas, or units, consider saying the Iqama to yourself before beginning. The Iqama1The words/meanings of the Iqama are as follows: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar (Allah is greater, Allah is greater) /Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah (I witness that there is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah) /Ashhadu anna Muhammadar-rasoolullah (I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah)/Hayya ‘ala-ssalah (Come to the prayer)/Hayya ‘alal-falah (Come to prosperity)/Qad qamati-ssalah, Qad qamati-ssalah (Prayer is to begin, prayer is to begin)/Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar (Allah is greater, Allah is greater)/La ilaha illallah (There is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah) is the shorter call to prayer you usually hear when praying in a group right before prayer starts. It is a declaration of your intention to put Allah before all else and to turn to Him in prayer. Calling it aloud will give you a few moments to focus on the prayer (not on whatever task you were just doing), and you’ll gain more reward2That’s based on the hadith that Allah is pleased when He sees a single person making the call to prayer found here.
Bonus: Have a few extra minutes? Call the Athaan too!
2: Say Your Prayers Out Loud
For Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers, there is a strongly encouraged option to recite Quran during the first two rakas out loud3Based on the scholarly opinion sited here here. Unfortunately though, and especially when praying alone, this is often passed up. Praying out loud though, can really enhance your experience. It will allow you to contemplate the verses you are reading more easily and to better recall them. Have you ever recited the same verses in both the first and second rakas of prayer because you weren’t paying attention? That’s a lot harder to do if you’re reciting out loud.
Bonus: If you usually pray alone, consider finding a partner at home to pray with or looking for a nearby mosque to join for salah. If you usually pray in a group, consider leading if you don’t usually, or consider letting someone else lead if you do. All of these small changes can help you reconsider how intentional you’re being about your prayers.
3: Take a Deep Breath while Prostrating
Sujood, or prostration, to Allah is supposed to be one of the most intimate experiences of prayer4The Prophet ﷺ told us that it’s the place where we are nearest to Allah. It epitomizes submission to our Master. It indicates our status as slaves to the One who holds all of our affairs. It is a moment in which we can release our burdens and hand them over to Allah. Trying to rush through sujood really robs you of a great relief. If however, you’re already rushing through the rest of your prayer, you’re bound to rush here as well. Next time you make sujood, take a moment to inhale and exhale deeply. Feel your heart sink closer to the ground. Feel your moment with Allah.
Bonus: If you have a specific challenge you’re dealing with, consider making a specific request to Allah while in sujood. He is the only One who can fix it, so hand it over to Him.
These tips may be simple, but sometimes a small change can really impact something we do, especially if it has become a habit. We hope these small changes can help you better engage in your coming prayers and that Allah blesses them for you. If you have any tips that you’ve found helpful in improving your salah, please share them in the comments. Happy Praying!