Khushoo' means calmness, serenity and humility. The fear of Allah and the sense that He is always watching us is ultimately what leads to a person having Khushoo'. Khushoo' is important as it lets us focus during solat. How many times do we find ourselves thinking of worldly things during our rukoo? Or remember what we forgot minutes earlier? These thoughts are whispers from shaytan and only disappears when one develops proper khushoo'.
"Successful indeed are the believers, those who offer their prayers with all solemnity and full submissiveness." - Q23:1-2
One can develop Khushoo' in several ways:
- Preparing oneself for prayer. This includes making wudoo properly, repeating the words of the Athan after the muezzin, reciting dua between the athan and iqaamah.
- Moving at a measured pace during prayer. The one that rushes his prayer can not have khushoo' as haste is a barrier to khushoo'.
Abu Qataadah said: The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: "The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer." He said, "O Messenger of Allah, how does a person steal from his prayer?" He said, "By not doing rukoo and sujood properly." - Ahmad and al-Haakim
- Remembering death while praying
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Remember death in your prayer, for the man that remembers death during his prayer is bound to pray properly, and pray the prayer of a man who does not think he will pray any other prayer." - al-Silsilat, 1421
- Think of the ayah being recited during prayer. Studying tafseer is important as it lets us have some knowledge on the meaning of what we recite during our prayers so one can think and reflect upon them.
"This is a Book (the Qur'an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that you may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember." - Q38:29
- Pausing at the end of each ayat is the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammed (SAW). He would break up his recitation ayah by ayah. This slow and measured pace of recitation is more conducive for reflection and khushoo' than a rushed and hurried one.
"and recite the Qur'an (aloud) in a slow, (pleasant tone and) style." - Q73:4
The rewards of having khushoo' is enormous as only the parts of our solat in which we are completely focused will be rewarded.
The Prophet said: "A slave may pray and have nothing recorded for it except a tenth of it, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a quarter,or a third, or a half." - Ahmad, Saheeh al-Jaami, 1626
Things that can prevent Khushoo' include:
- praying in a place that contains distraction; this includes places where people will constantly pass by or one that is filled with people engaging in conversation.
- Praying when one is hungry.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: 'Do not pray when there is food prepared." - Muslim
The Prophet (SAW) also said: "If dinner is served and the tim for prayer comes, eat dinner before praying Salat al-Magrib, and do not rush to finish your food." - Bukhari
- Praying when one has to answer the call of nature. The Prophet (SAW) forbade this.
- Praying when one is sleepy
Khushoo' is important part of solat and can only be achieved with the help of Allah. Lacking is a major ordeal and the Prophet (SAW) used to recite the following dua: "O Allah, i seek refuge in you from a heart that has no khushoo'." - Tirmidhi.
There are five attainable levels of Khushoo'
- the first one who wrongs himself, doesn't make wudoo properly, or pray at the right time and if he does pray, he misses necessary parts of the prayer. This level is punishable.
- the second one displays outward essential of prayer, prays on time, makes proper wudoo but has lost the battle against himself and is overwhelmed with insinuating thoughts from shaytan (waswas). This level is accountable.
- the third one is similar to the second except he strives against his ownself and against waswas, but he is preoccupied with his struggle against shaytan. At this stage, one is engaged in prayer and jihad. At this level, one is not counted as a sinner as he is striving.
- the fourth one stands up to pray at the right time, he fulfills all the requirements of solat. His heart is fully focused and alert and his concern is to do the prayer properly. His heart is deeply immersed in his prayer and the worship of his Lord. This level is rewarded.
- the fifth is one who does all what the fourth does but takes his heart and places it before his Lord. He prays as if he actually sees Him. The waswas is gone and the barriers between him and his Lord are lifted. The difference between the prayer of this person and anyone else is greater than the difference between heaven and earth. At this level, one is drawn closer to Allah.
For more information on this topic, i recommend Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid's book titled Concentration in Prayer.
May Allah make us amongst those who have Khushoo' and have their solat accepted. Ameen.