Alright, so you’re standing in namaz listening to exactly what the Imam is saying. The first Rakat goes well and everything’s on track then, all of a sudden, you’re fantasising about your tweets, your mind begins to wonder and before you know it the imam voices “Asalamo Alaikum Warahmatullah”
To start Namaz is entering a battle field: It’s you vs. (your own) Satan.
Here are methods to assist concentration, devised by Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudin Mahmood Ahmad(ra) , the second Khalifa of Ahmadiyyat.
Huzur said : “ It should also be remembered that just as the human body has joints, so do the Prayers. The joints of the Prayers consist of words which are recited during standing, bowing, and prostrating postures. Pay special attention to these joints to make your Prayer very strong and upright; otherwise, it will fall.”
1. Hold your horses: “If you are unable to concentrate, recite the words slowly. It is essential for those with poor command of Arabic to recite the words slowly. Until their mind forms a good picture of one phrase, they should not proceed to the next. They should say “Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem” (In the name of Allah, Most Gracious Ever Merciful) and try to form a good image of its true significance.”
2. Eyes on the ball! “The Holy Prophet(saw) has instructed that the eyes must be focused on the place of prostration during Prayers. Many people ignore this instruction. They close their eyes during Prayers, thinking that they would thereby achieve concentration. Not so. Concentration can only be achieved by keeping the eyes open.”
“There is great wisdom in fixing the sight at one point. It is a characteristic of human nature that when one of the senses is totally preoccupied the other senses become disengaged. When the eyes concentrate fully, the faculty of hearing will not work. If someone calls you at that time you will not hear his voice. Similarly, when the ears are preoccupied, the sense of smell will not function.”
3. Good intentions “ Niyyat (the intention) is required at the beginning of Prayer. It will also be helpful if, at the beginning of the Prayer, you resolve not to let any stray thoughts distract your mind.
4. The more the merrier: “Recitations made by the Imam will keep you awake and alert. The Imam thus protects his followers. This, incidentally, shows how important it is to offer Prayer behind an Imam. When offering Prayer alone, you should follow an excellent method applied by the Holy Prophet(saw), his Companions, and many pious Muslims. Some verses of the Holy Qur’an are particularly conducive of humbleness; repeat them often. For instance, when reciting Surah Al-Fatiha, repeat the following verse often:
This would put the soul to remorse. If it is lost in random thoughts, the soul will return to the act of worship feeling that since”
5. Step by step: “ The next method is to help those who cannot hold their concentration for long. Like infants unable to bear hunger or to hold food for long, they need frequent support. A useful technique for them is to concentrate on one posture at a time. When they stand for Qiyam they should resolve not to let any thoughts disturb them up to the end of Ruku. Going in to Ruku they should make the same resolution for the time up to the end of Ruku. They should do the same at every change of posture. “
6. Louder! “When you offer Nawafil at home, recite the words loud enough to hear them. Since the ears are not plugged; they continue to be partly functional. When you hear the words, your mind will be more inclined towards remembrance of God. This method should generally be practiced during the night. If you put the ears to use in Prayers during the day, they will be distracted by all kinds of noise.
7. Plain Lazy “Perform Qiyam, Ruku, and Sajdah with alertness. When standing for Qiyam do not put all of the weight on one leg leaving the other leg hanging loose. When you are slack yourself, the enemy can overpower you. Physical slackness leads to spiritual slackness.”
8. Think hard: “ The next technique is very useful; it takes spirituality to its zenith The Holy Prophet(saw) was once asked, “What is Ihsan (goodness)?” He responded, “Pray to Allah as if you are seeing Him; but as a minimum be aware that He is seeing you.”…” When you stand for Prayer imagine that you are standing in the presence of God and you can see Him—not in His physical form but in His Glory and Greatness”.
Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mehmood Ahmad(ra) also said:
“Make every effort to safeguard your Prayers. Put up a strong resistance to Satan for he is trying to keep you away from God. Remember that even if your entire Prayer is spent in a constant struggle and you do not yield to Satan, Allah will consider you present in His audience. But if you yield, He will let you go. Continue your struggle; you will succeed in the end.”
How do you ensure concentration in Salaat? Let us know in the comments below.