Monday, August 29, 2011

Random Facts about Prayers - Part 7

by Syed Adam Alhabshi

This is a simple series on some interesting facts on our obligatory prayers. For all of the articles in this series please click here.

Fact 11: The Five Levels Of Prayers
I got this piece of information from the MPF Summer Camp I attended which was facilitated by Moez Massoud back in 2003. 

These levels are actually arranged by scholars to gauge where they ranked in their prayers in terms of khusyu’ (concentration).

Before I begin, I need to explain about the exterior and interior part of a prayer which is relevant to this post.

The Exterior Part indicates the preparation taken before one is about to make his prayer such as the taking of proper wudhu’, the wearing of proper clothes that covers the aurat (which includes the sister in ensuring that all of their hair is covered and not have strands of hair out beside her face with a disoriented head scarf), the place of prayer (a place which is clean and not obstructing people) etc.

The Interior Part indicates the taking care of the recitation that we make in our prayer, the proper structure of our body when we stand, ruku’, sujud, make our tahiyyat etc. These two hadith would be good to understand how the Prophet’s body was when he prayed.

1.   Narrated Rifa`a bin Rafi` Az-Zuraqi: Prophet rose (from bowing) and stood straight till all the vertebrae of his spinal column came to a natural position. [Bukhari].

2.   Narrated Muhammad bin `Amr bin `Ata': I was sitting with some of the companions of Allah's Apostle and we were discussing about the way of praying of the Prophet. Abu Humaid As-Sa`idi said, "I remember the prayer of Allah's Apostle better than any one of you. I saw him raising both his hands up to the level of the shoulders on saying the takbir; and on bowing he placed his hands on both knees and bent his back straight, then he stood up straight from bowing till all the vertebrate took their normal positions. In prostrations, he placed both his hands on the ground with the forearms away from the ground and away from his body, and his toes were facing the Qibla. On sitting In the second rak`a he sat on his left foot and propped up the right one; and in the last rak`a he pushed his left foot forward and kept the other foot propped up and sat over the buttocks." [Bukhari].

The first level of prayer is when someone does not take care of his exterior and interior part of his prayer. This person will be punished for his prayer.

Na’uzubillah - We seek Allah’s Protection from being in this level.

The second level is when someone takes care just a little bit of his exterior and interior prayers. Jaga sikit-sikit. This person’s prayer is accepted but he will still be punished.

Na’uzubillah - We seek Allah’s Protection from being in this level.

The third level is when someone takes proper care of his exterior part and the moment he starts to pray, every single thought other than Allah comes to his mind. He starts to think if he had locked his door, where he left his keys, how he should make a decision for this or for that etc. The interior part is just not there.

However, he knows that he must be khusyu’ so he tries to focus his attention to his prayer. He lowers his gaze and tries to focus at his prayer mat. This last for a good 30 seconds, and BAM! he realizes that the Kaabah on his prayer mat looks a bit funny and not proportionate, the prayer mat’s colour seems faded, he forgot to cut his toe nails etc. This cycle goes on and on and on until he completes his prayers.

In other words, he takes care of his exterior part and does his best to care for his interior part but fails miserably.

Most of us are in this level. I know I am for sure!

But fear not. The scholars have concluded that for this type of prayers, WE GET DOUBLE THE REWARD!

The first reward is because we pray for Allah and take proper care of our exterior part and (tries to take proper care of) our interior part as well. The second reward is for the jihad (the strive to succeed) against Shaitan who comes and whisper all sorts of nonsense to distract us.

Not bad eh?

But remember the key word here. We must do our best to stay focus and not just let our mind wonder away in prayer. We don’t want to fall back into the second level now do we?

The fourth level is when someone cares for his exterior and interior part of his prayer. This person obtains khusyu’ in his prayer. This person is regarded as Habibur Rahman (One who is loved by Allah)!!! The companions of the Prophet were in this level.

Once a companion had an arrow stuck in his calf and it was too painfull to pull it out. So he asked his friends to wait for him to start praying and then to pull the arrow out. While he was praying, his friends pulled the arrow out. After prayer, he said he didn't even feel the arrow being pulled out. Masha Allah!.Another companion asked his grandchildren to start making noise when he prayed because then he would not even hear them then...

Look at how these companions attained khusyu' when they prayed. =)

If we are already in the third level, we should strive to be better and climb into the fourth level.

Let us set it as our own personal mission when we pray that we get to be in this level Insha Allah.

The fifth level is when that person starts to pray, it is as though he takes his heart out and just give it to Allah.
No more worldly matters for this man. It’s a highway to heaven for him.

This is the Prophet’s level of prayer.


If you by any chance or sheer hardwork manage to reach this level, please contact me for I have a lot to learn from you!

So all the best in achieving the highest level of prayer!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Random Facts about Prayers - Part 6

by Syed Adam Alhabshi

This is a simple series on some interesting facts on our obligatory prayers. For all of the articles in this series please click here.

Fact 9: The Three Recitations in Ruku’ and Sujud
I learned in my sprirtual class that there is a hadith reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet mentioned if you read subhana rabbial azimi (in ruku’) and subhana rabbial a’la (in sujud) once, one-third of your body is forbidden to enter Jahannam.

Therefore, reciting it three times would free your whole body from entering Jahannam (Hellfire).

So do not rush in "employing" these magnificent bodyguards the next time you pray. 

Read it slowly and take your time to do so. Discover its meaning and also pray and hope that it will be our shield from entering Jahannam

In this era, we will certainly need all the firewall and anti-Jahannam software/hardware we can get!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Random Facts about Prayers - Part 5

by Syed Adam Alhabshi

This is a simple series on some interesting facts on our obligatory prayers. For all of the articles in this series please click here.

Fact 8: Tahiyyat/Tashahud
This is the recitation of tahiyyat/tashahud that is common to Malaysians as we are taught this in school.

“All compliments, blessed words, prayers, pure words are due to Allah. Peace be on you, O Prophet, and also the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous slaves of Allah. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (in another narration: ... is His slave and messenger).

I was once told that the tahiyyat that we read in our prayers is actually the beginning of a three party conversation.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Faith Fridays - The Social Justice of Umar ibn al-Khattab by Alyas Karmani [VIDEO]

Every Friday we hope to bring you a khutbah or short lecture in English that we feel may be of benefit to you. Think of it as a weekly khutbah from a different perspective. All you need to do is spend 30 minutes (or less) a week to learn something new.

If you have any suggestions on a video that we should share please send us an email via "Write for Us".

This weekend YMP will be hosting Paying it Forward as part of our Ramadhan Chit Chat Series. Check out the event here. As such this week's video will focus on the charity work and social justice.

Alyas Karmani is a social justice activist in the UK that has been involved in anti-racism work since his early teens. He has previously worked in universities and governments with regards to social policy covering a wide range of issues - mental health, housing, HIV/AIDS, religion and religious discrimination. He is a regular khateed at mosques in the UK and has shared the stage with Tawfique Chowdhury and Khalid Yasin.

In this video he explains a little about Amir al-Mu'minin Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) whose reign was the first time social policy was put into place and how this has evolved into welfare that we see today. He ends with a beautiful story of Caliph Umar and his wife and how they attended to the health and well being of a poor family in their city.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Facts about Prayers - Part 4

by Syed Adam Alhabshi

This is a simple series on some interesting facts on our obligatory prayers. For all of the articles in this series please click here.

Tonight is the 25th night. If tonight is Lailatul Qadr and you put into practice our tip for today it could be the equivalent of asking for forgiveness for your parents for 1000 months.

Fact 8: Seeking Forgiveness For Your Parents
I have mentioned in Fact 7 that there are many recitations that we can memorise to add more spice to our prayer. There’s a lot to pick from. I would suggest that you take those which are the shortest and most familiar to you. Practice it before thinking of adding any other. Better to be steadfast than to just do things in one go and forget about it later on.

One of the shortest extra recitation for ruku’ is Allahumaghfirli (O Allah, please forgive me) and for sujud is Rabbighfirli (My Lord, please forgive me). Maybe I could suggest you to start with these two first. It adds an extra objective to our prayers i.e. to seek Allah’s forgiveness.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random Facts about Prayers - Part 3

by Syed Adam Alhabshi

This is a simple series on some interesting facts on our obligatory prayers. For all of the articles in this series please click here.

Fact 5: Synchronization
There are numerous hadith in Sahih Muslim that state that the Prophet mentioned that when we utter "amin" after surah Alfatihah in a jama’ah prayer and when the Imam says: "Allah listens to him who praises Him." and we reply: "O Allah, our Lord for Thee is the praise” (rabbana walakal hamd), if what we say synchronises with the angels in the heaven, our past sins will be forgiven.

How cool is that?

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