Concentration in prayer

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Sir i want to ask that i was praying. I was feeling sleepy and i was not fully concentrated to my prayer. and during prostration a thought of a person came i my mind. and i unintentionally called him as the sacred and the most highest lord. sir please tell me have i committed shirk. Will i be forgiven? Please sir reply me quickly thanks.

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Khushu humility in prayers

Beloved brother in Islam,  no matter how pious and God-fearing a believer is,  very very few amongst the believers can control their flow of thoughts in their prayers,  for our avowed enemy, the Shaitaan,  always tries to put thoughts into our minds when we offer our prayers.  

There are a few basic things one can do to minimize these thoughts:

  • Seek the refuge in Allah Subhanah from the accursed Shaitaan,  before starting the prayer.
  • Understand the simple and basic meaning of the prayers,  so that one may try to concentrate on the meanings of what one is beseeching his Merciful Lord when in prayer.
  • Remember that when one is in prayer,  he is actually in audience of the Lord of the Worlds;  and try to bring himself to a state as if he is reciting his prayers in the Presence of his Lord.
  • If one cannot bring himself to that state while in prayer,  he should at least try to remember and know for sure,  that his Lord is watching over him;  for indeed,  Allah Subhanah is All-Seeing,  All Knowing.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 6.300         Narrated by Abu Huraira

Hadrat Jibrael (a.s.) (who came in the form of a human being)  asked the Messenger of Allah (saws) : , "O Messenger of Allah,  what is Ihsan (i.e. perfection or benevolence)?"   The Prophet (saws) said, "Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him,  and if you do not achieve this state of devotion, then (take it for granted that) Allah sees you."

Beloved brother,  this feeling and pain of yours,  and your ardent desire to remove the worldly thoughts when you are in state of prayer,  is in itself a sign of your ‘emaan’ and your love for Allah Subhanah and His devotion!   And it is your this ‘emaan’ and love for Allah Subhanah,  that the evil Shaitaan is trying to negate,  for the cursed Shaitaan hates nothing more than when he sees a believer worshipping his Lord with humility and devotion!    Shaitaan is the avowed enemy of the believer,  and if he cannot hold back the believer from his prayers,  he will try to put thoughts into the believer when he prays,  and tries to despair the believer of Allah’s Worship!  

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 114 Surah An-Naas verses 4-5:

4        (Say,  I seek refuge in Allah) from the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil),  who withdraws (after his whisper)

5        (The same) who whispers into the hearts of mankind.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verses 16-17:

16      He (Shaitaan) said: "because Thou (Allah)  hast thrown me out of the way;  Lo!  I will lie in wait for them (the believers) on Thy Straight Way.

17      "Then will I assault them;  from before them,  and behind them,  from their right,  and their left: nor wilt Thou find in most of them gratitude (for Thy mercies)

Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet (saws) said: "When the call to prayer is made, the Satan takes to his heels... and when it is finished, he returns.  He flees again when the iqamah is made,  and when it is finished,  he returns until he comes between the man and his thoughts, saying: 'Remember this and remember that,' which he had not recalled, until the person does not know how much he has prayed, [i.e.,] three or four rak'at.”

(This is narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Thus,  my beloved brother in Islam,  don’t let the thoughts bother you,  and as soon as you realize that this is a ploy and tactic of the Shaitaan to take you away from your prayers,  try your best to concentrate on your prayers and continue your supplications to the Merciful Lord in humility and in sincere devotion.   

Such thoughts also came into the hearts of some of the most noblest companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws),  and he (saws) advised them thus:

Sahih Muslim Hadith 5463     Narrated by Uthman ibn Abul'As

Uthman came to Allah's Messenger (saws) and said:  “OAllah's Messenger (saws), the Satan intervenes between me and my prayer,  and my reciting of the Qur'an and he confounds me.”   Thereupon Allah's Messenger (saws) said:  “That is (the doing of the Satan) who is known as Khinzab,  and when you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allah from it,  and spit three times to your left.”  I did that and Allah dispelled that from me.

Sahih Muslim Hadith 6623     Narrated by Hanzalah Usayyidi,

I met AbuBakr.  He said: “Who are you?”  I (Hanzalah) said: “Hanzalah has turned out to be a hypocrite.”  He (AbuBakr) said:  “Hallowed be Allah, what are you saying?”  Thereupon I said: “I say that when we are in the company of Allah's Messenger (saws),  we ponder over Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them before our very eyes.   When we are away from the Messenger of Allah (saws) we attend to our wives,  our children,  our business;  and most of these things (pertaining to the After life) slip out of our minds.”   AbuBakr said:  “By Allah, I also experience the same.”   So AbuBakr and I went to Allah's Messenger (saws) and I said to him:  “ O Messenger of Allah (saws), Hanzalah has turned to be a hypocrite.”   Thereupon Allah's Messenger (saws) said: “What has happened to you?”   I said: “O Messenger of Allah (saws), when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes,  but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, many of these things go out of our minds.”   Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:   “By Him in Whose Hand is my life,  if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah),  the Angels would shake hands with you in your beds and on your paths.  However, Hanzalah, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation).”  He (the holy Prophet) said this thrice.

Your Question: I unintentionally called him as the sacred and the most highest lord. sir please tell me have i committed shirk. Will i be forgiven?

The question of committing shirk does not arise, but you can and should make taubah to Allah swt., and InshaAllah you will find Mercy and Forgiveness always.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 79 Surah Naziat verses 40-41:

40      And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord,   and had restrained (their) soul from lower Desires

41      Their abode will be the Gardens (of Paradise).

There are a few basic things,  which when done earnestly,  will help man from doing evil deeds:

  1. Regularly recite and read the Quran with understanding.
  2. Always try to be in the company of good,  righteous,  God-Fearing believers.
  3. Whenever one is about to embark on an evil deed,  seek the refuge in Allah Subhanah from Shaitaan,  and immediately turn to Allah Subhanah.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verses 200-201:If ever a suggestion from Shaitaan assails thy mind,  seek refuge in Allah Subhanah.  He indeed is All Hearing,  All Knowing.    The fact is that if ever an evil suggestion from Shaitaan so much as touches those,  who are God-Fearing people,  they immediately get alerted and clearly see the Right course they should adopt.  

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 39 Surah Zumur verses 53-54: (O Prophet) say: “O My servants who have wronged their own souls….Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy!  Surely,  Allah forgives all sins.   He indeed is the All Forgiving,  All Merciful.   Return to your Lord and submit to Him before the scourge overtakes you;  for then you may get no help from anywhere.”

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imraan verse 135-136: Allah likes such good people very much, who,  if ever they commit a base deed or wrong their own soul by the commission of a sin,  remember Allah instantly,  and ask for forgiveness from Him for their shortcomings.  For who,  but Allah,  can forgive sins?   (And Allah loves those) who do not knowingly persist in the wrongs they did.   These will be rewarded with forgiveness from Allah,  and with Gardens beneath which canals flow,  and they will reside therein forever!   How excellent is the reward of those who do good deeds!

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verse 54:When those come to you who believe in Our Signs,  say: "Peace be on you!  Your Lord had inscribed for Himself (the rule of) Mercy.  Verily if any of you did evil in ignorance,  and thereafter repented and amended (his conduct),  Lo! He is Oft-Forgiving,  Most Merciful."

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,


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