Muslim Women Praying

When In Salaat: 8 Ways to Increase Focus During Prayer

Show of hands: who has trouble focusing during prayer?

The first step to conquering a problem is realizing there is one, right? The five daily prayers shouldn’t be a quick jumble of Arabic words and physical movements thrown together for a span of a few minutes. But with our minds in 20 places at once, it can be difficult to focus all our attention on the one part of life that matters most.

I came across an infographic on Pinterest the other day and found its message to be beneficial to share, as it addresses this problem.

Here are some tips (from the graphic and elsewhere) on how to develop khushu in your daily prayers:

1. Make a Sincere Ablution

You can prepare to focus in your prayer by concentrating during ablution. When washing your hands, make du’a that Allah forgives all the sins you committed with your hands. When rinsing out your mouth, ask God to wipe away anything foul you uttered with your tongue. When cleaning the face, beg Allah to have mercy on you for the wrong you may have seen with your eyes. The same can be applied to sins committed with the ears and walked toward with the feet.

2. Don’t Delay

As the infographic linked above mentions, try to pray as early as you can. A teacher once advised my class, if Zuhr prayer comes in at 1 pm, you should finish praying by 1:30. The more you procrastinate, the more of a burden prayer becomes. Don’t let that happen. Drop what you’re doing, make fresh wudu, and pray.

3. Cover Properly

One of the things that distracts me most when I pray is whether I am fully covered. Make sure your hijab isn’t see-through and is pinned securely, and your arms and ankles are hidden. Do yourself a favor, and wear garments that properly cover your body when preparing for prayer, so as to not distract yourself by having to pull and tug after the Takbir.

4. Clear Your Mind

Before you raise your hands to begin prayer, make sure you aren’t worried about school, work, unanswered texts, and unreturned calls. Excuse your body and mind from your chores and remember Allah.

“When you stand for the prayer and utter the words, ‘Allah is the Greatest,’ it means that everyone and everything else should become secondary. But how many of us experience that in our prayer? Ramadan is the month to taste the reality and the sweetness of the prayer.”
        -Shaykh Khalid Abdul Sattar

5. Stand with Respect

Remember, you’re standing in front of your Creator. Think each inch of your body as submitting to Allah during prayer. Position your hands and feet a certain way, and fix your eyes at a specific location all out of obedience to Him. Don’t move around unnecessarily. (Be extra mindful of this when praying in congregation — too much moving around is distracting to your sisters!)

6. Take Time to Recite

Recite the verses of the Qur’an in your prayer slowly. Allow the words to resonate with your soul. Turning your head to the right and left and giving salaams is not some finish line to win first place at the Indy 500. Again, taking time to recite will be easier if you’re not already preoccupied with a boatload of tasks to accomplish.

Even if you don’t know Arabic, try to focus on the words. Read translations of the chapters you recite often before you pray, and listen for words that are easily recognizable — Allah, names of prophets, etc.

7. Remember Your Grave

You hear some Imams say this before leading salaah: “Pray as if this is your last prayer,” because it may very well be. Realize the truth in that statement, for death is the one thing we are guaranteed.

8. Make Du’a

After completing the prayer, don’t run away! Remain seated in your spot, recite istighfar for any mistakes made in the prayer, and supplicate. There is power in du’a, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

What do you do to focus when in salaah? Share your tips to help your fellow sisters out in performing this great pillar.