Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh! I would now like to totally contradict my previous post, and give you a story from my life, only because I feel it has a great message and deserves to be on this blog.
So without futher ado, here goes:
A couple of weeks ago, my sisters and I had decided to pray Maghrib in jama’ah, and they had elected me to be the imam (when I say elected, I mean forced.) I wasn’t happy with this, because when I’m put under pressure, I forget everything, even my Fatiha. Alhamdulillah, my Fatiha remained intact, but it was infact my second surah that got messed up. My mind had gone blank, and I just couldn’t think what the next ayah was. In the end, my sister had to help me, and I finally finished it. Come the second rakah, I’d made up my mind, I was going to read surah Ikhlas for my second surah. I didn’t want to take any risks. After that, the salah finished smoothly Alhamdulillah.
You might be reading this thinking “…..and?” Well, the message I want to get accross to you is to not think too hard about what your reading, and just let it flow out of your tongue, easily and simple, like the flowing of a river. This was a surah that I knew quite well, but come Salah time, my mind thinks too much about it, and makes up some thing I call the ‘Devil Ifs’. There are two types.
The first one is when you always think “what if I did this instead?” In my opinion, that is totally wrong, and you can’t question your previous actions, because they aren’t actually even from you, but from the Qadr of Allah. The ‘if’ that was going round in my head was ‘what if I had point blank denied to be the Imam?’
The other ‘if’ is when you make up scenarios in your head about something that hasn’t yet happened. And example: ‘What if I mess up this surah?’ This funnily enough was circling my head aswell, and I was focusing so much on the ‘ifs’ that what I didn’t want to happen actually did. However, had I let that aside, and focused on my actual prayer, this mistake wouldn’t have happened. (See how I just used the word if there just in a different way? I did this without noticing, it’s only when I read through that I noticed. But this time I’m allowed.. )
I pray and focus better when I’m angry. The reason for this is because I know I have to calm down, that I can’t present my self infront of Allah like that, not in prayer. This helps me calm down immediatley, and it’s almost as if by doing that, I have defeated Shaytan and can pray without any distractions.
May Allah give us Khushoo (concentration) in prayer. Ameen.