Sunday, 3 July 2011

Salat: Concentration in Prayers I

Assalaamu'alaikum wa Rahmatullah!
Notes from the lecture of Ustad Yeop Sa'idin 

All praises belongs only to Allah 'Azza wa Jalla, Lord of the Universe. Praising Allah, the King of kings... O our Lord, open up for us Your Wisdom and gather for us from the bountiful of Your blessings. O the One who is Merciful full of Blessings! 

Our title today is about tama'ninah in salat. It means that our body stays still according to the pillars of fi'lee (acts) where it consists of i'tidal (bowing) and tama'ninah. 

Tama'ninah means that we stay still in our salaat while chanting glory be to Allah. Tama'ninah in this sense means, concentration and tranquility. There is a narration about Rabi' bin Haitham while he was performing his salaat. Rabi' bin Haitham is an example of a salafi or the earliest followers of the prophet s.a.w. While he was performing his salaat, there came a thief and stealing his horse. People around who witnessed the incident cursed the thief. Rabi' said that he saw the thief and he realized that he untied the rope which ties his horse. People around asked: "then why don't you stop your salaat and chase after him????!"

This incident has shown us that salaat is among important things for these people. Rabi' bin Haitham said that his salaat and prayers is more important than his horse. He can just stop his salaat if there are urgent things coming up like nature calls but he said that his horse is not as urgent as his obedience to the God. He can stop his salaat and chase after the thief but he refused to. He wanted to concentrate on his salaat and prayers because he had made his promise in the iftitah (opening) prayer in salaat: "I turn up my face only to You who creates the heavens and earth..." thus he must not go against his promise in prayers. 

We must strive hard to concentrate in our salaat due to that He prepares us the place of torment which is the Unfortunate Hell and losing focus in prayers is a sin (surah al-Ma'un). The God knows that we are able to concentrate because if we have no capability to do that, why did He asks us to do it? Let us check surah al-Mu'minun verses 1-9. Who are the ones achieving success in the world and the hereafter? It says that indeed the ones who are successful among the faithful servants males and females are the ones who concentrate in prayers and salaat.

The first source for us to achieve concentration in salaat and prayers is that we must take a good care on our food sources. They must be halal (legal) and no doubtfulness in it. We need to be careful with something which looks physically legal but it brings doubt because doubtfulness will lead us to prohibition or haram. Sometimes prohibited stuffs could look like the legal ones. Our noble prophet peace be upon him said, many people care less about doubtful stuffs and it is not good for heart purification. How could we concentrate in salaat with doubtful stuffs that we take? Through salaat and heart purification, we will gain the success in the world and the hereafter.

We pray and supplicate to Allah for us to be given goodness in the world and the hereafter, being saved from the torment of the hell. We can concentrate in our salaat. Our Lord gives us only one heart. If we have two hearts, then it would not be wrong if we think of many things while performing salaat which leads us to lack of focus to Him.  

There was an incident of another salafi brother of the past who prayed in an orchard and he saw birds in the orchard flying here and there. He was astonished with those birds and careless in his salaat. He had forgotten that he was in salaat, so he lament himself after he realized that. He sold out his orchard for charity because he had done a great sin. These people had reached the level faith where they feel so sinful although the error is only in one salaat. 

We aren't yet at that level of faithful servants. But we still need to strive hard so that we won't be careless in our salaat and prayers. At least we could imagine the letters of the divine revelation in the salaat, since we might not all understand Arabic because it is not our mother tongue or daily language. This is a jihad or an effort on our selves. It means that we have efforts to perform something diligently to please the Lord and not being an irresponsible servant of the Lord. We are not only performing salaat according to the thirteen pillars of salaat but also with our heart and soul facing Him. 

If jihad is about to kill others with swords or bombs, then we would have to bomb or kill ourselves because we are careless in salaat, hahaha. What a crazy notion. I hope cable medias could stop this nonsense sense on jihad or at least learn Arabic. Don't show that Western civilization are of the people who are lazy in pretext of academics because many people respect Western civilization especially after the establishment of the European Union. 

The same should also goes to the States. It is among the champion of humanity where many had fled to the States due to the messy situation in the Europe in the past. No need to be a Muslim to understand Arabic. It is among ancient dialects of Semitic world like Hebrew and Aramaic.

The meaning of certain words in these languages would be broadly translated. English only began as a rough tongue of barbaric Germanic and Scandinavian tribes in British Island around the 6th C while Arabic had been around the world since BCE with ancient Arabian tribes who were the nomadic people of the Middle East descended from Shem the son of Noah.

Umar bin al-Khattab may Allah be pleased with him had also cried while performing salaat until his beard becomes wet because of his tears. Abu Bakar may Allah be pleased with him can still concentrate in salaat while the house is burned down in a fire. He could feel the burning of hell fire if he runs away without completing his salaat and turning his face away from Him while in obedience.  

Allah 'Azza wa Jalla would at least would prevent us from the torment if we have the efforts because He knows that we have the effort to concentrate although the concentration is not coming. Honorable Imam al-Ghazali had said that keeping the salaat means that performing the salaat in term of the physical acts of salaat and concentration in salaat with care. 

There are 13 physical acts of salaat. We can check it in furu'uddin or the branches of the path. For example our forehead should not being covered with our scull cap since our neck should be lower (for male), or else our salaat wouldn't be complete. Because a physical part of salaat which is prostration is not complete. There are 7 parts of prostration which are the forehead, palms, knees, and six fingers at our feet.     

to be continued...

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