Have you ever felt that your performance in salat was reduced to mumbled words? Or that mindfulness and connectedness was absent during your prayer? Well, you are not alone! Many people express the same concerns and desire to experience more meaningfulness during salat which supports their spiritual growth. The goal of this series is to illustrate different ways, or keys, to rescue and enliven salat.
The first key is to approach salat as a form of Munajah, or an intimate conversation with Allah (SWT). Missing the sense of Munajah will cause your performance in salat to be automatic, machine-like movements. The following are examples drawn from the Sunnah which illustrate the power of Munajah in the salat of Prophet Muhammad (S):
(1) After the first Takbirah, Prophet Muhammad (S) started with “Du’aa’ al-‘Istiftah” or an opening prayer. There are a variety of opening ‘ad’iyah Prophet Muhammad (S) was reported to have used. Here are some examples:
“I turn my face in complete devotion to One Who is the Originator of the heaven and the earth and I am not of the polytheists. Verily my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds; There is no partner with Him and this is what I have been commanded (to profess and believe) and I am of the believers.”[Muslim]
“Glory be to you, O Allah, and all praises are due unto You, and blessed is Your name and high is Your majesty and none is worthy of worship but you.”[Al-Tirmithi]
“O Allah, put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West. O Allah, cleanse me of sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth. O Allah, wash away my sins with snow and water and hail.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
(2) Besides "Subhana Rabbiya al-‘Atheem” during his ruku’ (bowing position), Prophet Muhammad (S) would add:
“O Allah, to You I have bowed, in You I believe, to You I have submitted and in You I put my trust. You are my Lord. My hearing, my sight, my blood, my flesh, my bones and sinews are humbled before Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” [Muslim]
(3) Rising from ruku', Prophet Muhammad (S) would add:
"Our Lord, praise is Yours, abundant, good and blessed praise, fills the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, and whatever else You please. (You Allah) are most worthy of praise and majesty, and what the slave has said - we are all Your slaves. O Allah, there is none who can withhold what You give, and none may give what You have withheld. And the might of the mighty person cannot benefit him against You." [Muslim]
(4) Besides "Subhana Rabbiya al-A’la” during his sujud (prostrating position), Prophet Muhammad (S) would add:
“O Allah, to You I have prostrated and in You I have believed and to You I have submitted, and You are my Lord. My face has prostrated to the One Who created it and formed it, and brought forth its hearing and sight. Blessed be Allah the best of Creators.” [Muslim]
(5) Between each sajdah, Prophet Muhammad (S) would say:
"O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, heal me, and provide for me." Or "My Lord, forgive me." twice [Abu Dawud]
In our next section we will briefly explore Surat al-Fatihah and how Prophet Muhammad (S) approached it as a form of Munajah with Allah (SWT).