Introduction Concealment of Khushoo' Rulings on Khushoo' The means of developing Khushoo' Knowing the advantages of Khushoo' in Salaah Warding off distractions and things that adversely affect khushoo When a person suffers a great deal of waswaas Conclusion
Bismillaah il-Rahmaan il-Raheem
In the Name of Allaah, Most Gracious Most Merciful
Praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, Who has said in His book (interpretation of the meaning), “…and stand before Allaah with obedience” [al-Baqarah 2:238] and has said concerning the prayer (interpretation of the meaning): “… and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for al-khaashi’oon…’ [al-Baqarah 2:45]; and peace and blessings be upon the leader of the pious, the chief of al-khaashi’oon, Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah, and on all his family and companions.
Salaah is the greatest of the practical pillars of Islam, and khushoo’ in prayer is required by sharee’ah. When Iblees, the enemy of Allaah, vowed to mislead and tempt the sons of Adam and said “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…” [al-A’raaf 7:17, interpretation of the meaning], one of his most significant plots became to divert people from salaah by all possible means and to whisper to them during their prayer so as to deprive them of the joy of this worship and cause them to lose the reward for it. As khushoo’ will be the first thing to disappear from the earth, and we are living in the last times, the words of Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) are particularly pertinent to us: “The first thing of your religion that you will lose is khushoo’, and the last thing that you will lose of your religion is salaah. There may be a person praying who has no goodness in him, and soon you will enter the mosque and not find anyone who has khushoo’.” (al-Madaarij, 1/521).
Because of what every person knows about himself, and because of the complaints that one hears from many people about waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan) during the salaah and the loss of khushoo’, the need for some discussion of this matter is quite obvious. The following is a reminder to myself and to my Muslim brothers, and I ask Allaah to make it of benefit.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their salaah (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” [al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2] – i.e., fearing Allaah and in a calm manner. Khushoo’ means calmness, serenity, tranquillity, dignity and humility. What makes a person have this khushoo’ is fear of Allaah and the sense that He is always watching. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Daar al-Sha’b edn., 6/414). Khushoo’ means that the heart stands before the Lord in humility and submission. (al-Madaarij, 1/520).
It was reported that Mujaahid said: “’…and stand before Allaah with obedience” [al-Baqarah 2:238 – interpretation of the meaning]’ – part of obedience is to bow, to be solemn and submissive, to lower one’s gaze and to humble oneself out of fear of Allaah, may He be glorified.” (Ta’zeem Qadr al-Salaah, 1/188).
The site of khushoo’ is the heart, and its effects are manifested in the physical body. The various faculties follow the heart: if the heart is corrupted by negligence or insinuating whispers from Shaytaan, the worship of the body’s faculties will also be corrupt. The heart is like a king and the faculties are like his troops who follow his orders and go where they are commanded. If the king is deposed, his followers are lost, which is like what happens when the heart does not worship properly.
Making a show of khushoo’ is condemned. Among the signs of sincerity are:
Hudhayfah (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to say: “Beware of the khushoo’ of hypocrisy.” He was asked, “What is the khushoo’ of hypocrisy?” He said, “When the body shows khushoo’ but there is no khushoo’ in the heart.” Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “It was disliked for a man to show more khushoo’ than he had in his heart.” One of them saw a man showing khushoo’ in his shoulders and body, and said, “O So and so, khushoo’ is here” – and he pointed to his chest, “not here” – and he pointed to his shoulders. (al-Madaarij, 1/521)
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, explaining the difference between the khushoo’ of true faith and the khushoo’ of hypocrisy: “The khushoo’ of true faith is when the heart feels aware and humble before the greatness and glory of Allaah, and is filled with awe, fear and shyness, so that the heart is utterly humbled before Allaah and broken, as it were, with fear, shyness, love and the recognition of the blessings of Allaah and its own sins. So no doubt the khushoo’ of the heart is followed by the khushoo’ of the body. As for the khushoo’ of hypocrisy, it is something that is put on with a great show, but there is no khushoo’ in the heart. One of the Sahaabah used to say, ‘I seek refuge with Allaah from the khushoo’ of hypocrisy.” It was said to him, ‘What is the khushoo’ of hypocrisy?’ He said, “When the body appears to have khushoo’ but there is no khushoo’ in the heart.’ The person who truly feels khushoo’ before Allaah is a person who no long feels the flames of physical desire; his heart is pure and is filled with the light of the greatness of Allaah. His own selfish desires have died because of the fear and awe which have filled his heart to overflowing so that his physical faculties have calmed down, his heart has become dignified and feels secure in Allaah the remembrance of Him, and tranquillity descends upon him from his Lord. So he has become humble (mukhbit) before Allaah, and the one who is humble is the one who is assured. Land that is “mukhbit” is land that is low-lying, in which water settles, so the heart that is “mukhbit” is humble and content, like a low-lying spot of land into which water flows and settles. The sign of this is that a person prostrates to his Lord out of respect and humility, and never raises his head until he meets Him. The arrogant heart, on the other hand, is one that is content with its arrogance and raises itself up like an elevated portion of land in which water never settles. This is the khushoo’ of true faith.”
As for overdoing it, and the khushoo’ of hypocrisy, this is the attitude of a person who tries to make a great show of khushoo’, but deep down he is still filled with desires. So on the outside he appears to have khushoo’, but the snake of the valley and the lion of the forest reside within him, watching for prey. (Al-Rooh, p. 314, Daar al-Firk edn., Jordan).
“Khushoo’ in prayer happens when a person empties his heart for it (prayer), and focuses on it to the exlusion of all else, and prefers it to everything else. Only then does he find comfort and joy in it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘… and my joy has been made in salaah.’” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 5/456. The hadeeth is in Musnad Ahmad, 3/128 and Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3124).
Allaah has mentioned al-khaashi’eena wa’l-khaashi’aat (men and women who are humble (before their Lord)), and described this quality as one of the qualities of those who are chosen. He tells us that He has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e., Paradise). [See al-Ahzaab 33:35].
One of the benefits of khushoo’ is that it makes prayer easier for a person. Allaah tells us (interpretation of the meaning): “And seek help in patience and al-salaah (the prayer), and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for al-khaashi’oon [i.e., the true believers, those who obey Allaah with full submission, fera much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise and in His Warnings]” [al-Baqarah 2:45].
The meaning is that the burden of prayer is heavy indeed, except for those who have khushoo’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/125). Khushoo’ is very important, but it is something that is easily lost and is rarely seen, especially in our own times, which are the last times. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The first thing to be lifted up (taken away) from this ummah will be khushoo’, until you will see no one who has khushoo’.” (Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’, 2/136: It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and its isnaad is hasan. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb, no. 543. He said it is saheeh).
According to the most correct view, khushoo’ is obligatory. Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah], may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And seek help in patience and al-salaah (the prayer), and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for al-khaashi’oon …’ [al-Baqarah 2:45]. This implies condemnation of those who are not khaashi’oon… Condemnation