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Salah requires more from us mentally than just focusing. Salah asks our mind to be fully present and then transports us to an intimate meeting with our Lord. Our mental effort is called on more than we are used to and we often don’t have the stamina to mentally commit to such an experience. That’s why taking some moments to set a mental scene for yourself can help you tune into the prayer more effectively. Not sure what I mean? Take some of the following ideas as starting points and then get creative.
Stand Among the Angels:
The Prophet ﷺ tells us that the skies are moaning, and they should be moaning, for there is not a spot in them – not even a hand’s length – that doesn’t have an angel praying to Allah. So, even if you’re in your room praying alone, know that you’re not alone! You’re joining the ranks of the angels in the heavens and all around you.
As you stand there waiting, visualize all the angels who are asking Allah to forgive you and have mercy on you. Visualize yourself standing surrounded by the light and yet Allah is responding to you specifically because you called out to Him.
The Earth and the Skies are Watching You:
When the believer dies, the gate in the heavens, through which his good deeds (like prayers) used to ascend, cries at the death of this believer because it misses those good deeds that used to come through it when he was alive. There is a place in the sky that knows you and knows the good that you do. Not only that, but the place(s) of your prayer here on Earth will also weep at your departure.
Imagine that the skies and earth are watching and waiting for your prayer. What kind of testimony will they give? What kind of prayer would you want them to reminisce about when you go?
Pray Your Last Prayer:
If you knew this was the last time you were going to see someone, you’ll spend as much time as you can with them. You’ll try to connect with them in a special way and you’ll show them the best of you … right?
Imagine that this prayer you’re about to pray right now is actually the last prayer you can pray on this Earth. How perfect would you try to make this prayer be? How much would you plead to Allah in it? How much of what you’re saying will you be keen on saying from the heart?
Remember, after all, this really could be your last prayer …
When do people cry in salah the most? While pleading and making duaa to Allah, right? When we make duaa, we feel like we’re talking directly to Allah. We realize how insignificant we are and how magnificent He is ﷻ.
Our Prophet ﷺ told us that as soon as we enter prayer, we are in direct conversation with Allah. Allah faces you when you stand to pray to Him, no matter who you are. So long as you don’t turn away from Him, and start thinking of other things, Allah continues to face you. Allah mentions you by name as soon as you start praying. Let that sink in for a second … your name, mentioned above the seven skies, and near the throne of Allah! Knowing this, how long can you keep your focus during the coming prayer? How long will Allah be facing you?
Just a Start …
Don’t get stuck with just these ideas. Most important of all is that you pick a scene that tunes you into your prayer. This means that you need to reflect on where your relationship with Allah is and what will best help you (re)connect. Just as with your other relationships you may find that things change with time and different scenes will be more effective in helping you focus. The important thing is to be attentive to what your needs are and imagine accordingly.
It’s about time we changed our approach to prayer from “Man, do we have to pray again?…”, to: “Oh my God, I’m being offered a chance to speak directly to Allah, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth! How lucky am I?”… May Allah Bless