Part 20 - The secrets of peace, pleasure and relaxation

The secrets for reaching the levels of peace, pleasure and relaxation does not only lie in better focus and concentration, but in depths far greater:

1. Ensure the Presence of Heart: Your heart must be in it if you want to feel the effects. This is not at all difficult to achieve. All you need is 10 minutes to focus on the love you hold for Allah. Forget this world for now… there’s more than 23 hours for that! Devote these 10 minutes now to Allah and to the peace and pleasure that comes from being with Him.

2. Comprehend the Words and Actions of Salah: When you are aware of what you are saying and doing then you remain focused. Since Allah ordained Salah for us then this is achievable. Did you know, that you are only rewarded for the parts of Salah that you are aware and cognizant of? So if we can stay focused throughout a 2-hour movie or an exam, for sure we can stay focused now. Everything in this world worships Allah around the clock, surely we can do 10 minutes. Just seek Allah’s help and you will reach a point where you’d wish Salah never ended!

3. Come to Salah with a feeling of Hope (Rajaa’): Hope is a deeper emotion that must be present when you pray. The more you know about Allah, the more your heart can feel this hope- hope for His Mercy, for His forgiveness, His acceptance, His love, His closeness. Note that “hope” is different from “wish”. Hope is coupled with action- where you work for what you hope for. So hope for Allah’s Mercy and ask Him for it, “Call upon Me; I will answer you.”(40:60)

“O My servants who have transgressed against themselves, despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: For He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”(39:53)

4. Feel Allah’s Hayba: A sense of fear and awe paired with a deep reverence and veneration that one feels when standing in His hands. Hayba is the highest level of fear. Recall the duaas the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam taught us which arouses in us this Hayba: “There is no salvation from You except through You.” And “I seek refuge in You, from You.” The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam described the Hayba of angel Jibreel felt before His Lord on the night of Israa and Miraaj- He said, “Jibreel was like a worn-out camel’s cloth from the fear of Allah!”

5. Enter Salah with Great Love for Allah: For his beauty, for his kindness in dealing with you and for His favors and blessings upon you.

6. Feel a shyness and a shame: We commit much wrong but He continues to be so patient with us and he continues to cover and protect us despite all our transgressions.

Allah says, “Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who during their prayer are humbly submissive.”(23:1-2)

The above secrets will help you attain that “Khushu’”, that feeling of genuine humbleness and submissiveness that must be reached in Salah for you to benefit and succeed in this world and the next and for you to magnify the rewards of your prayer.

Best wishes to see you reaching the uppermost heights in your eman


Zakia Usmani

PS: This series is a compilation of the Ramadan 2008 e-mail series, “Taste It!” by Mona Hubbi, which summarized the popular lectures “How to Taste the True Beauty of Salah” presented by Mishari Al Kharraz at the Grand Mosque of Kuwait- Summer 2008.


Part 19 - The Farewell Scene

If you have just finished the first Rak’a (unit) of your Salah, then rise for the second and rise for a new chance to improve your focus and to ensure that this time, your heart and mind are fully alive with the humbleness and humility required of us in Salah.

If this is your last Rak’a, then we have arrived at the Farewell Scene… the sweet ending to this beautiful meeting between a servant and his Merciful Lord. We have arrived at The Tashahhud. Our hands are to be placed upon our knees or just above on the lower thighs. As is proper when speaking to Our Lord, our farewell address must also begin first, by sending all praise and glorification to Allah, for His eternal existence, His perfection, and His sovereignty. Greet Him directly; speak to Him with these beautiful words: “Attahiyyatu lillahi”.

All “Attahiyyat” (greetings/praises/glorification) is due to Allah alone and no one else.

“Wassalawatu”- and all our duaas and prayers are to Him.

“Wattayyibat”- and all the good deeds, in the form of actions or words, are for Him alone. For Allah accepts only what is good, pure, and sincere.

“Assalamu alaika ayyuha-nnabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakatuh”- May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you, O Prophet!

Everyday, you send this special greeting to him and he answers you back! Listen to this hadeeth: The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “There is not one who sends upon me his peace and blessings but Allah returns my soul to me, so that I can return upon him, my peace and blessings.”

How many of us have wished to have lived during his time, to see him and to be with him… With these words above, we are with him! So let us greet our prophet with a heart full of affection and full of appreciation and gratitude for the best example he has set and for this priceless message he has brought to us. And while we reflect over how much love and esteem we hold for him, let us remember that we are now sitting in the hands of The One who created our Prophet and how much love we hold

for Allah Himself- Whom as a result of your greetings and peace upon His prophet, now sends upon you a ten-fold share of the blessings and peace!

After sending off praise and greetings upon Allah, then upon His Prophet, we now send the blessings of peace upon ourselves and upon all of Allah’s righteous servants:

“Assalamu alaina wa ala ibadillahi-saaliheen”- upon every righteous servant whether in the heavens or earth- angel or man.

Next- those powerful words of Tawheed- those words that affirm and renew our faith and sincerity: “Ashhadu anna la ilaha illa-llah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluh”- I bear witness that none has the right to be worshiped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam tells us, “The one whose last words (in this life) are “La ilaha illallah”, enters Paradise.” This is no time to drift! These words of affirmation above are the key to paradise!

Finally, as this beautiful meeting nears its end, Allah has guaranteed that in these last precious moments you have with Him, your duaas made here are answered! So first, ask for Allah’s prayers and blessings upon our beloved prophet and his family, seek much forgiveness for yourself and for your parents, then ask The Most-Gracious, Most-Merciful the best of this life and the best of the next. Try to learn the prayers (duaas) that the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam used to say, as they cover every possible need we could ever have.

As you end your prayer and turn your head to the right in Salam upon those with you, you should be feeling a deep sense of comfort, peace and serenity now. If you don’t, then your deeds are to blame, as they weigh down and numb the heart and distance you from your Lord. Seek Allah’s forgiveness for the deficiency in your Salah at least 3 times upon its completion, and stand up for Sunnah prayer- for another chance to attain that needed peace that only Allah can supply.

And always remember, as your love for Allah grows and grows and as you draw nearer to Him, your heart will begin to come alive with the due humbleness before Him, your focus will improve, and finally, you will be able to taste the true beauty of Salah!


Part 18 - A Desperate Plea!

As we have seen so far, every station in Salah has a special meaning and a unique significance, so that with every position we move to, we are transported into a new and different scene. These transitions help our minds to stay aware of and internalize the words we utter. These transitions help our hearts to stay alive throughout our Salah… alive with alternating feelings and emotions before Allah: Those of love, hope, fear, and humility.

The station we arrive at now is one which should inspire immense humility and fear. It is a time to ask for much forgiveness as we sit this position of full servitude and helplessness. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam used to sit in this position a length equal to that of his sujood (prostration), seeking Allah’s forgiveness and making the following duaa:

“Allahumma ighfirli wa-rhamni, wa ihdini wa-jburni, wa aafini wa-rzuqni wa-rfa’ni.”

(O Allah forgive me and have mercy on me, guide me and enrich me, give me health and provide for me and raise me in rank.). The provision we ask of Allah, implies a provision in this life, and more importantly, in the next.

As we beg for Allah’s forgiveness, we proceed to make another sujood, for we need to draw closer still, to Our Lord. One sujood is not enough. And as the first Sura of the Quran, Sura Al Alaq, starts out with a recitation (“Read!”) and ends with a prostration, so is the case with the Rak’a (unit) of Salah- It starts with recitation and ends with prostration..

Every act of worship has a special beauty to it, a unique flavour. The more we learn the more we can taste that flavour and feel that beauty, after all:

“Are they equal- Those who know and those who do not know?” (39:9)


Part 17 - The Perfect Sujood

We continue with the greatest pillar of Salah, the Sujood! Now don’t you wish you could have watched the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam himself as he did his sujood? This is the aim of today’s segment, to carry to you the description of the proper sujood, just the way Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam prostrated before Allah, in hope that we can perfect our own performance of this precious pillar.

When you are ready to perform the prostration, make sure to call out “Allahu Akbar” on your way down for sujood. Not before, nor after, but during the descent. Next, the head makes a gentle contact with the ground till the forehead (and nose) is firm upon the ground. Ensure that there is no barrier (as that of a head covering) that might prevent direct contact of your forehead with the place of prostration. With palms firmly down, keep fingers close together. Point fingers, knees and toes towards the Qibla. Palms can either be parallel with the head, or parallel with the shoulders. Keep the elbows elevated off the ground. Extend elbows as far away from your sides as possible. Keep abdomen away from the thighs.

The Sujood is done on a total of 7 body parts: The forehead (including the nose), the two palms, the two knees, and the two feet (toes). All firm upon the ground till every bone and joint is fixed in place with peace and calm.

The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam never recited Quran in this position, but instead, he made much duaa. He said, “The closest a servant ever is to His Lord, is when he is prostrating (in sujood), so make in it much duaa.” And what have we been taught to say, when we are down so low? “Subhana Rabbiyal-A’ala” (How perfect My Lord is, The Most High!). 3 times or more.

We can add, “Subhanak-Allahumma Rabbana wa bi-hamdik. Allahumma ighfirli.”

(How perfect You are O Allah, Our Lord, and I praise You. O Allah, forgive me.)

And we can add, “Subboohun Quddoosun, Rabbul-mala’ikati wa-rruuh.” (Perfect and

Holy (is He), Lord of the angels and Ruuh (i.e. Angel Jibrael).)

The Prophet taught us many supplications, each with a different meaning, each with a unique flavor. Each serves to renew our focus. To make duaa is to talk to Allah. When you love someone, you love to talk to him more. You love to stay engaged longer! Remember the love you hold for Him. Talk to Him, praise Him, ask Him, unload your burdens at His door, and reach out for the peace that only He can bring.

"Allahumma, inni a’uthu biridaka min sakhatek, wa bimu’afaatika min uqubatek, wa a’uthu bika mink, la uhsi thana’an alaik anta kama athnaita ala nafsek.” (O Allah, I seek refuge within Your pleasure, from Your displeasure. And within Your pardon, from Your punishment. And I seek refuge in You, from You. I cannot enumerate Your praise. You are as You have praised Yourself.)

We have one Rukuu in each unit of Salah, but two prostrations, why? Because the Sujood is the Salah’s greatest pillar, it is performed twice! Once is just not enough. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam used to lengthen his prostrations, savouring in these precious moments with Allah.

Stay tuned for more.


Part 16 - Where True Happiness Really Lies?

What is sujood really about? Many of us have been performing the sujood robotically over the years, out of a mechanical routine, and thus have not felt its powerful effect.

We will not be able to taste the true sweetness of any part of Salah until we get our heart into it! Sujood is the ultimate symbol of complete submission to our Creator.

Sujood is the real secret to true happiness. How? Ask yourself this: Where does Jannah (Paradise) lie- the place of ultimate bliss? Up above in the seventh heaven, close to Allah. Where does Hell lie the place of ultimate misery? Down below, furthest from Allah, as the gateways of Heaven do not open up for the wrong-doers.

What is the highest rank that can be reached in Jannah- the point of ultimate bliss? It is a place called “Al Firdous Al A’la”. Its ceiling/upper limits is Allah’s Throne! It is the highest place in Heavens; the closest one can ever come to Allah! In other words, for those who reside there, their neighbor is Allah Himself!

So, where does happiness lie? It lies high above with Allah. So the secret formula goes like this: the closer you become to Allah (The King!), the higher your spirits will rise, and thus the happier you will be! But how do we reach the levels of this great happiness? We must rise closer to that elevation. How do we do that? By lowering ourselves down! Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said: “The closest a servant ever is to His Lord, is when he is prostrating (in sujood)” And what does Allah say at the end of Surat Al Alaq? “...Prostrate and draw near (to Allah)”

Rabi’a Ibn Ka’eb was once helping out the Prophet with water for his wudu’ (ablution) when the Prophet said to him, “Ask me.” Rabi’a replied, “I ask to be with you in Paradise.” “Anything else?” The Prophet asked. “Only that”, Rabi’a said. To that the Prophet replied, “Then help me to help you (get there), by performing much sujood.”

In order for your spirits to be lifted up higher and higher, you must bring your body down, lower. And just as your body does its sujood, make sure your heart is in sujood as well… in sujood to The One, Who above the Throne is established, every day, directing new affairs. To Him rise the needs and deeds of everyone. Everyone needs Him and He needs no one.

Sujood is the most special part of prayer. Sujood is very precious! How many a worry has sujood relieved. How many a difficulty and trial has sujood resolved. How many a need has sujood fulfilled. How many a duaa went unanswered, till it was made in sujood!

Bring yourself down to the ground, to bring yourself closer to The Lord. Prostrate with body, heart and soul and taste the sweetest feeling in the world. Taste the real happiness of this world!


Part 15 - In Preparation for the Greatest Pillar of Salah

We just completed a beautiful station of Salah, the Rukuu’. The Rukuu’ is the prelude to Sujood… from one posture of submission, to a greater, more complete posture of submission! But before the Sujood, comes another beautiful station of Salah- and that is, the standing after the Rukuu’.

The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassalla said, “Allah does not look to a servant’s Salah if he does not straighten (upright) his back between his rukuu and sujood.” Therefore, that motionless, peaceful calm maintained in the other parts of Salah must be especially maintained here as well… allowing for the bones to return to their joints, for he also told us that “The worst thief is the one who steals from his Salah” (by rushing through it). The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam used to stand in this part of the prayer a length equal to that of his rukuu’.

But as we rise for this stand, this time it is not “Allahu Akbar” that we call out, but instead, “Sami’a-Allahu liman hamidah” (May Allah answer he who praises him).Why?

Remember what we said? That any duaa/request made before The King is only proper and acceptable when preceded by praise and much extolling, right? Just as the Fatiha starts out with praise before the greatest duaa is made (Ihdina-Sirat-Al-Mustaqeem), the same holds true here. For we are about to enter upon the greatest pillar of Salah the Sujood! In which we will be the closest we can ever be to Allah! And during which, the duaas/supplications, are always answered!

“Sami’a-Allahu liman hamidah” therefore, signals us to praise Allah much before we are to make our duaas when in Sujood. And so what do we say upon that signal, once we have risen? We begin our praise: “Rabbana walaka-alhamd “ (Our Lord, for You is all praise!). We can add, “hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubarakan feeh!” (..An abundant beautiful blessed praise!).

The Prophet was once leading in prayer. When he said “Sami’a-Allahu-liman hamidah”, one of the companions behind him added the above extension, “hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubarakan feeh!”. When the prayer was finished, the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam turned to his companions and asked, “Which one of you just said those words?” And the man replied “Me, ya Rasulallah.” The Prophet commended, “I just saw thirty something angels racing which of them will write it first!”

The variety of sayings available to us helps us to regularly renew our focus in Salah, for better concentration.

Let us praise and praise, and praise some more. We will never be able to praise Our Lord enough… For no one can ever praise Allah the complete praise justly due to Him, save for one... Do you know who that one is? It is Allah Himself! Only He can praise Himself the complete due praise! For there are attributes and qualities belonging to Allah that we cannot even imagine nor have they been revealed to us or to any other creation! Attributes, the knowledge of which lies with Him alone, A Magnificence completely beyond our scope!


Part 14 - Satisfy Your Greatest Need

We have now finished our recitation; we pause momentarily, then begin the bow as we simultaneously call out “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is greater!)- A reminder to refocus should we have drifted, a reminder that…We stand here on earth in prayer, while Allah looks upon us from above the seven heavens. Our Salah should thus be a beautiful one, especially our Rukuu’ (bowing), for Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautiful and complete! We will not meet anyone this day, greater and more grand than Allah.

So let us beautify and perfect this prayer to Him:

- Let the palms rest on the knees, fingers apart.

- Straighten the back and keep it level with the head.

- Maintain a calm hold till every part and joint is relaxed and has peacefully set in place. “Subhana Rabbiyya- Al-Adheem” (How perfect My Lord is, The Supreme!). Focus on the pronoun that means “My” (in Rabbi). It adds that element of bonding, that ingredient for connection and love. He is My Lord (Rabbi) who has raised me in His care, clothing me, feeding me, healing me, nurturing me. A heartfelt “Subhana” meaning- far removed is He from any imperfection!

“Subhana Rabbiyya- Al-Adheem” a second and third time as our hearts are humbled in submission before Him. Realize His Majesty, recall His sovereignty. I place all my hopes with You, My Lord.

Many of us perform this part of the prayer mechanically, devoid of any emotion or connection like that felt when reciting Quran or when down in prostration. But in reality, Rukuu’ is an intense symbol of worship and servitude to our Lord! In it lies the essence of tremendous humbleness and humility!

The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam once saw a man rushing through his prayer, pecking up and down his rukuu and sujood. He said, “If this man dies (with his prayer) in this state, then he dies belonging to a creed other than the creed of Muhammad.” Thus, our rukuu should be performed calmly, peacefully, according to the Prophet’s example.

This worldly life is full of hardships and aches. We laugh one day, only to cry the next. Its demands and toils leave us thirsty and tired. What can quench this thirst better than prayer? The Prophet sallahu alaihe wassallam said, “The one who does not complete his rukuu’ properly, is like one who is starving and eats just a date or two. It does nothing to satisfy his hunger!” Let us then, find our comfort and relief in our rukuu and sujood.

17 times each day, we bow... Our love for Allah has to grow with that. And when you love Him, He will love you even more for He is the Most Kind, the Most Generous. And who can ever harm you… when the Creator Himself, loves you?


Part 13 – Why do we recite Qur’an in standing position?

Did you ever notice that any Quran recited in Salah is always recited when we are in the standing position? We do not recite Al-Fatiha or any other Sura in the sitting position, nor during our Rukuu (bowing), nor during our prostration. Why?

The standing position is man’s most dignified, honourable and respectful position possible. And because this Quran speaks the most honourable and noble Speech, it is thus only befitting for the most noble Speech to be recited while in the most dignified and respectful of positions. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam tells us that he was prohibited from reciting the Quran while in Rukuu (bowing) and while in sujood (prostration).

The Quran is the Speech of Allah, The Most High, and is due our utmost respect. But how many a time have we recited it absentmindedly, without any feeling or emotion, without any reflection on its powerful words? For many of us, if asked what of Allah’s prohibitions did we just recite, we would have no answer. What of Allah’s commands did we just recite? We cannot recall! People stand behind their Imam in prayer. He recites of Hell and Heaven, and they are off drifting of food and drink.

If ever were we to conduct a historic interview with a powerful ruler, how attentive would we be? We would grant not only our submissive ears but all our hearts as well, wouldn’t we? In fact, we would be so in tune that we’d probably even memorize this ruler’s every word as he speaks! So how can we not be mindful of what we’re reciting when it is Allah who speaks to us in this meeting??

“Will they not seek to understand this Quran or are there locks upon their hearts??”(47:24).

So we are to recite with feeling, aware that we are talking to Allah and He is speaking to us. But how do we know what to feel with any given verse? Ibn Al Qayyim gave us basic guidelines to help us even if we lack thorough knowledge of tafseer. He says that:

1. If a verse speaks of Allah’s favors upon you, His names, His attributes… then it is Love that should fill your heart.

2. If a verse speaks of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, the people of Heaven… then it is Happiness, Comfort, and Hope that should fill your heart.

3. If a verse speaks of Allah’s wrath, punishment, destroyed civilizations… then it is Fear and Worry that should fill the heart.

Thus we are always in a state between Love, Hope and Fear when reciting Allah’s words.


Part 12 - Concluding Al- Fatiha

Today we will bid farewell to Surat Al-Fatiha as we conclude with its last remaining verses.

We talked about the Siraat and how we must strive, with Allah’s help and guidance, to remain steadfast on this path in order to succeed in this life and the next.

And since the right company makes all the difference in providing the support, reinforcement and good example to staying firm in faith and conduct, we specify that Allah guide us to “the path of those on whom You bestowed Your Grace/blessings...” (Siraat-al-latheena an’amta alaihim)

This is a reminder of all the good men/women that have succeeded before us. These are the prophets, the righteous, the companions, and foremost- our Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wassallam. We are consoled when we remember them and the hardships they endured. It makes our trials bearable and we are relieved and comforted that insha’Allah we will be of their company in our next eternal life.

“Ghair-il-maghdhoobi alaihim” (not of those whom upon them is wrath). These are the people, who know very well the truth and what is right, but deliberately reject it and refuse to abide by it. So they have the knowledge but refuse to conform.

Example: Those who know they must pray, but choose not to.

“Wala-dhaalleen” (nor of those who go astray). These are the people who lack the knowledge of the truth and don’t search for it, so they conform but to the wrong path.

Example: Those who pray, but in an unacceptable way.

And finally, “Aaameen”. Ameen means “My Lord, grant/answer (my prayers).” With Aameen, we are pleading to the One whose in His hands is our guidance, success and salvation.

So express wholeheartedly, your need for Allah. And here’s another great reason for a wholehearted “Aameen!” The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam tells us that if our “Aameen” coincides with the “Aameen” of the angels above, Allah will forgive all of our previous sins!

So this is no time to be drifting in our Salah, this is too good to miss! Our heart needs to be present and alive!

So the next time you are in prayer reciting Al-Fatiha, remember to pause momentarily as the Prophet did after every verse, because His Majesty- with His beautiful face to yours, is responding to you… Feel it! What an honour it is to be His servant!


Part 11 - The Greatest Duaa You Can Ever Make

Now we come upon the greatest, wisest, most comprehensive Du’aa (supplication) we can ever make… “Ihdina-Sirat Al-Mustaqeem!” (Guide us to the straight path!)

If Allah guides us to the straight path, then He has helped us to worship Him like we should. (Recall the request for help that we made in the prior verse, “You alone we worship and unto You alone we turn for help.”)

If you notice, Surat Al-Fatiha teaches us the proper etiquette of how to ask Allah when we have a need. It teaches us the proper way to make du’aa so He will listen to us and answer.

As befits a Majesty, we begin with the glorification and praise due Our Lord and then we make our request. Now the path we need to win Allah’s pleasure is called the Siraat- the straight path.

But this path is not so easy to follow without assistance:

1. Because there are specifics to this path that we will know, and specifics which we may not know (What is halal, what is haram. What is right, what is wrong.) In fact, the specifics we don’t have enough knowledge of far outnumber the specifics we know enough about.

2. And of these specifics we do know, there will be some we are physically able to carry out, and some we will not. (Like Hajj, fasting, etc...)

3. And of those requirements which we are physically able to carry out, at times we will enjoy them, and at times we may find them quite burdensome (Like waking up for Fajr prayer.)

4. And even when we do accomplish that ordained duty, at times we fulfill the sincerity requirement, and at times we may not. And at times we may perform it properly according to the prophetic example necessary for its acceptance, and at times, we may not.

5. And even if we fulfill all of the above: the knowledge, the ability, the right attitude, the sincerity, and the adherence to the prophetic example, we will still need one more thing- Steadfastness- To perform it properly every time.

Do you now see why we are so desperate for Allah’s guidance to the straight path? Do you see why we can’t do it without His help? And do you now see how comprehensive this Du’aa is?

Now as you know, there are 2 Siraats. One in this life: the one we spoke of above. The second one, is in the next life- described to be dangerously thin with a “sword’s edge” sharpness! That is the one that spans over the fires of Hell, over which every one of us must pass if we are to reach Paradise.

If we are firm and steadfast on the first Siraat (the one in this life), then we will be firm on the second (in the next life). So stability on the second is directly related to the degree of faith and good deeds earned in this life. Our strong faith and good deeds will be our guiding light on that dreadful bridge, amidst the darkness of Judgment Day.

“The day you shall see the believing men and the believing women, their light running forward before them and on their right..”(57:12)

And so accordingly, some will cross it with the quickness of lightning! Some the speed of a shooting star! Some like the wind, some like a speeding stallion, some at running speed, while others will crawl on it with hands and knees, and others… will fall and never make it... And the Prophet will stand pleading in desperate prayer, “My Lord, spare them. My Lord, save them…”

The Siraat of this life leads us to Allah.

The Siraat of the next life leads us… to Jannah (Paradise).

Do you now feel how serious this Duaa is? “Ihdina-Siraat Al-Mustaqeem”- Our entire existence depends on it. The “Ameen” you’ll pronounce now, after knowing the above, will be much more heartfelt, won’t it? As a matter of fact, for any duaa to be answered by Allah, the condition is that it must come from a focused, attentive heart for Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “Allah does not answer a supplication that comes from an absent/preoccupied heart.”

May Allah help and guide us all to His straight path, Ameen.


Part 10 - “Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een”

If we take the time to contemplate upon “Maliki Yaumi-Deen”, it is a verse that should truly shake us! Many when they stand in prayer pay no attention to the words they utter. Those words never reach their hearts, but are an unconscious recitation of what they’ve memorized.

So what will save us from the horrors of that terrifying day? The answer lies in the next verse, for the next verse summarizes Sura Al-Fatiha- The greatest surah in the Book! And Al-Fatiha summarizes the Quran! “Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een” (You alone we worship, and unto You alone we turn for help).

So what should be our ultimate goal in this life? To worship Allah and nothing else. For this reason we were created. And what are our means to attaining this goal? It is through seeking Allah’s help.

And what is the most important aspect of worship? It’s sincerity of heart! That all that we are and all that we do is for Allah alone and no one else. To seek His pleasure only. Without that sincerity of intention, it would be as if you are a traveler traveling with bags of sand- carrying a heavy load, but a completely useless load!

Make Allah alone your focus, not people, for what they think and say is irrelevant and cannot harm nor benefit you. So if you were to be asked why you did what you did for any given deed/task, you can firmly answer “for Allah!” and if asked “Sure, and for what else?” You will affirm with certainty, “for nothing else!”

“Shall we tell you who are the greatest losers in respect to their deeds? It is those whose labor has been wasted in this life while they thought they were doing good work...” (18:103)

Sincerity pure to Allah will change your life! The time has come to correct our intention in everything we do. The time has come to teach it to our children, so that every new thing they learn to do “is because Allah likes it!” and everything they are to refrain from doing “is because Allah doesn’t like it!” -To learn that their rewards are with Allah alone, not with people.

Indeed however, pure sincerity of intention is not easy to attain, but it is not impossible either because we have been taught the magic words “wa Iyyaka nasta’een” (and unto You alone we turn for help). If Allah helps you, there is nothing you cannot do. It is all in His hands. Ask and He will grant you. After all, doesn’t He remind us that “you are all astray save for whom I guide!”

“Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een” was a verse over which those who came before us would weep for hours. One of them was once praying in Mecca, his friend went ahead and did the tawaf and when he returned to him, he was still at this verse, repeating it and crying, till the sun came up.

“Iyyaka na’budu wa Iyyaka nasta’een”... let us pause and reflect on it for a while, let it cleanse any hypocrisy that has ever tainted our hearts.


Part 9 - A Little Shake-Up

We now come to “Maaliki Yaumi-Deen” (Master of the Day of Judgment!)…

Why does Allah choose the word “Maalik” (Master, Lord, sovereign)? This is because any authority or power that was granted to creation in this life will be neutralized completely then! All dominion and power will now belong to the real King! In fact, no one can even utter a word or intercede for anyone else until He permits it. There are two recitations for this word: Maaliki (from ownership) and Maliki (from the sovereignty of a king) Two meanings to demonstrate Allah’s sole and absolute control and authority on that dreaded day:

“When the sky is cleft asunder... When the sun is folded up... When the stars dim and fall... When the mountains vanish... When the oceans boil over... When the earth is pounded... When the beasts are herded... When the graves are overturned... When man will flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his spouse and his children... (80:34)

On that day, the heavens will be rolled up like written scrolls! (21:104) ...And the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand...(39:67)

And the trumpet will be sounded and all that are in the heavens and the earth will fall senseless… (39:68)

Who is left? The angel of the trumpet. So Allah takes his soul.

Who is left? No one.

And Our Lord calls, “To Whom does the dominion belong today?!”

No answer.

“To Whom does the dominion belong today?!”

No answer.

“To Whom does the dominion belong today?!”

Dead silence.

Allah finally answers Himself and declares, “To Allah, The One, The Overpowering!” (40:16)

Then a second (trumpet) is sounded, when, behold, they will stand and look on.. (39:68)

And the earth will shine bright with the light of its Lord! (39:69)

And your Lord stands revealed, and His angels, rank upon rank! And Hell, on that day, is brought face to face… (89:22)

And the sun draws near above the heads, on a day the length of which will be 50,000 years! How can we be saved from the horrors of that day?? The answer, coming up next.

In the meantime, let’s call upon these real images with “Maaliki Yaumi-Deen”. As you recite it in your prayer, pause upon it for a while. These words should not fall upon deaf ears and closed hearts, for a true Muslim’s heart always oscillates between hope and fear. Hope for Allah’s mercy and fear of Allah’s displeasure and punishment.


Part 8 – Have you ever wondered?


Now we come to “Arrahman Arraheem” (The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful).

Have you ever wondered why this comes before “Maliki Yaumi-Deen” (Master of the Day of Judgement) in Al-Fatiha?

Picture this scenario. You happened to be at the scene of a crime and there is an ongoing investigation. The trial begins and though you are innocent, the judge summons you for questioning. He proceeds to question you in one of two manners:

He at once bombards you with interrogation! (Why were you at the scene of the crime? What were you doing? At what time did you arrive? What did you see? Etc.) When your heart nearly stops and your nerves can no longer stand it, the judge then reassures you, “by the way, we know you are innocent but we are collecting as much information as we can.”

Or, he declares to you from the beginning that “we know you are innocent, but we appreciate all the information you can help us with”, and then proceeds with his questions.

You would be much more relaxed and comfortable in the second scenario, wouldn’t you?

So what does “Arrahmaan Arraheem” have to do with “Maliki Yaumi-Deen” and why does it come before it? To remind us that it is “Arrahmaan Arraheem” who will judge us on Judgment Day. These 2 names should kindle within us that sense of relief and reassurance in Salah when we are reminded of our stand before Allah on that terrifying day- Judgment Day. (Let us always strive to remain, worthy of this Mercy.) “Arrahman Arraheem” declares that Allah’s sovereignty is that of an all encompassing

Mercy (not Wrath). In this life, He is there for everyone- believers and non-believers, the righteous and the wrongdoers. He feeds, clothes, heals, and provides, for all. He’s not quick to punish but provides ample time for people to return to Him a whole lifetime!

And Allah’s Mercy is manifested either through His giving (of favors) or through His withholding of them. And when He sometimes withholds a favor from us, this in reality is the heart of giving, for we have been given of knowledge but so very little to immediately realize the wisdom. Again, it’s a mercy in disguise!

“…But it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you, and God knows, whereas you do not know.”(2:216)

Now “Arraheem” is the One who delivers His mercy to His creation. You will see this name used in the Quran when Allah speaks of His mercy to believers, specifically.

If we knew well the true nature of Allah and the true nature of people, we would prefer without an instant of hesitation to deal with Allah, over having to deal with people. It suffices us to know that Allah’s Mercy for us far exceeds the mercy of our own mothers for us. So “Alhamdulillah” for the kind of sovereignty He reigns by.

Feel the rhythm of Arrhamaan Arraheem lift the heaviness off your heart.

Wassalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu