Praying is an act of worshipping that is performed with the utmost concentration and focus. The reason why is so we can contemplate on our religion and our souls. It is a way of reflecting on your life and all of the chaos that comes with it. When a prayer is performed with concentration, you can reap the benefits of what you sow. It’s beneficial for our hearts in a spiritual way. But we’ve all had moments where we’ve been distracted by something we think about or see. Sometimes we’re able to keep our environment out of our heads, but occasionally it has the upper hand on our concentration. It’s important to regain focus as soon as you find out you’re deviating from your ghushoo’ (meaning submissiveness and humility). Whether it’s your little brother who’s calling your name or something you forgot to take care of, it can be quite the distress.
Here is a list of things we tend to think of while praying:
1. “I wonder what we are having for dinner?”
You start imagining the food you’ll be eating later on that day. You might smell what your mother is cooking or you could be curious! Either way, it’s something that can distract you from your prayer. If I’m hungry, I tend to eat first before I pray.
Tip: don’t pray near the kitchen, but rather elsewhere.
2. “The TV is on. Wow that’s a cool movie.”
Having the TV on while praying, could lead to unwanted peaking. Turn the TV off if you think you might get carried away. However, the best way to avoid such circumstances is to pray in a no-TV-zone.
3. “My parents can be so loud.”
Talking to relatives or friends on the phone or via skype, when they’re on the phone they can be quite loud. They certainly can take away your focus and concentration in prayer. Our parents might disagree, but even the smallest sound can have an impact on the concentration. Tip: pray in a room all by yourself.
4. “I hope my boss doesn’t come in here.”
Usually the non-Muslim boss might walk in and see you praying, call your name a few times and then leave. As soon as you explain the situation, they’ll probably understand. Muslims who pray at work tend to overthink on many situations where their non-Muslim co-workers or their non-Muslim superiors might see them pray. This is very common at the beginning of the work-relationship. Tip: have an open talk with your co-workers so they are not caught up by surprise.
5. “I wonder what my bank account looks like right now?”
Many adults tend to think on their financial situation where they make all sorts of equations of their monthly spending’s. Thinking about saving money for the future. It’s not uncommon. However, prayer is a way to escape from the world and everything in it. So make sure you stop worrying about things you can’t control. You’ll notice you’ll start feeling a lot better.
Tip: start reflecting on the countless blessings we’ve been given.
6. “I forgot to take a doctor’s appointment.”
Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment or an e-mail you forgot to send, it’s not the right time to occupy yourself with it. As soon as you finish praying, you might have forgotten about it. Prayers therefore are meant to reload your spiritual energy. It’s a way of making yourself feel better.
Tip: keep a notepad to write down a to-do-list so you can visualize your priorities.
7. “I need to study for my exams.”
The exams are coming closer and many students are probably starting to worry about their classes and deadlines (including me). It’s normal to have these thoughts while praying, however we are obliged to pray in a right manner. Make sure you have a studying schedule so you can use your prayers as a form of relaxation. You shouldn’t stress about school when praying.
8. “I wonder how my life would look like if I were a millionaire.”
‘Million dollar homes, luxurious cars, no financial worries. Life would be so much easier!’ Blessings come in different ways. People who are rich but also have a severe case of health problems, might say the less fortunate (but healthy) people are more blessed than they are. Another example is education. Tip: try and think of things you’re grateful of such as food, shelter, freedom of religion, etc.
9. “So many problems… How am I going to solve them?”
The first step to solving your problems is to make sure they are indeed problems. We might consider an issue as a problem while in reality it’s just a minor setback or not even a problem at all. You’ll see your ‘problems’ fade away and you’ll start living life to the fullest. Have gratitude for the things you have and have patience for the things you don’t.
The best piece of advice I can give you guys is: as soon as you start praying, make sure you shut out the entire world and everyone in it. You’ll have an overwhelming sense of taqwa (= piety) and you’ll start seeing your personal life taking a better shape.
If you have advice on how to regain your focus and ghushoo’, please let us know in the comment section below so we can all benefit from it.