Dear brothers and sisters, after discussing in last weeks reminder about the concentration and tranquillity in prayers, we will discuss some of the dos and don’ts in prayers, and the mistakes that many Muslims make who do not know or pretend not to know.
It is important that recognise that we are always students of learning, regardless of our age and experience. We should aim never to fall into the trap of assuming that we have learnt and mastered our faith as this is arrogance and our path should instead be one of progression and growth.
We ought to recognize that any mistakes that we are making in regards to our faith cannot be taken lightly. It is said that ignorance is no excuse and that is also true of us Muslims. We must know that these mistakes carry weight and be serious in fixing them.
Alongside that, many Muslims choose to leave many of the Sunnahs that have been prescribed which means a lot of good deeds are wasted, and great rewards missed out on.
In fact, on occasions our actions which we think are part of the Sunnah could fall into the impermissible and therefore the sins of not doing a certain act.
We spoke last week of the need to focus in our prayers. The need to disconnect with this outside world, this matrix, this illusion and reconnect with the reality of our existence and that is the preparation for the actual existence in the next life.
This week, we focus on the practicals and so with the remainder of this weeks reminder, we conclude with 10 practical acts that we should be mindful of.
- The item of clothing we wear for salat. Whether it is wearing figure-hugging clothes, or those that can be seen through. We need to be mindful that what we wear is permissible generally or practical during the salat.
Obviously clothes for brothers that do not protect the navel to knee area is out of bounds but alongside that we need to be mindful of the practicality of the clothes we wear. For example, if you are wearing a t-shirt and jeans in the warmer months then this is OK but have you considered what happens when you go into Ruku or Sajda? Remember the back of your top rides up in these positions and if it exposes your body in this positions then you are at a danger of invalidating your prayer.
- It is obligatory to perform sajda or prostration with 7 parts of the body touching the ground. The imam mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS commanded others to perform this action correctly. It says:
I was commanded to prostrate myself on seven bones and not to fold back clothing or hair.
The 7 parts are your forehead including your nose, your two hands and not your forearms, your two knees and your toes.
- Do not pray in clothes that has picture on it. The imam spoke of a hadith in which Aisha (may Allah SWT be pleased with her) reported:
The Messenger of Allah SAWS stood for prayer with a garment which had designs over it. He looked at these designs and after completing the prayer said: Take this garment and bring me a blanket for it has distracted me just now.
Dear brothers and sisters, current fashion has pictures as being the norm. We also have phrases and quotes written on our clothes and this is also considered OK. However, as mentioned last week, if we are fighting to keep focus then surely we should help one another by covering anything that can distract others around us?
- To protect our prayer from being invalidated by someone walking in front of us. Some scholars argue that it is even compulsory to put something in front to protect such as a chair or a bag. In the masjid we have wooden poles which are at the windowsill to put in front of us when praying but alongside that we can help by picking a row that does not block others wishing to walk past.
Instead of praying in the back row and blocking it for others, move towards the front of a room so that it is easier for people to move past you by going behind you.
- Read at the correct volume. Reading prayer loudly so it distracts others is impermissable as is reading in the heart. Not moving the lips is a mistake and so the correct method is a whisper so that your ears strain to hear it but nothing more.
- Read as early as you can in the time permitted. Unless you are going to congregation, you should read asap when the time permits for a prayer. This is because life will always distract you. Even when you think that you could pray now or pray later too, choose the now because something will most likely come up and cause you to miss the prayer later.
- Understand that prayer is a two-way conversation with Allah SWT. It is not simply about zooming through the prayer, doing the salaam and running back to the world. The prayer should be your 5 times a day, reconnection back to Allah SWT in which you speak of anything that has worried you, upset you, caused you to commit a sin, caused you to want for something or anything to that effect. It’s your opportunity to speak in a one-to-one with Allah SWT so cherish your prayers for this reason and make the most of it.
Dear brothers and sisters, prayer is a key part of our day. A common misconception is that we do it because it is something that is asked of us. However, if we perform with focus and perform it correctly, we will find that it isn’t something that is asked of us, it is something that is given to us as a gift and a blessing from our Creator. Once that fact is realised, our prayers will be cherished and a highlight for our day.