by Suad Kamardeen in Soul on 21st September, 2017
If there’s anything I wish I was taught better, in relation to Islam, it would be that standing up in salah is a form of communication with Allah. That the reason we pray isn’t simply because we are Muslims and Allah ordained us to, but also because Allah wants us to have a constant form of connection with Him. He wants us to realise that we could get through to Him without an intermediary.
The one thing that has strengthened my relationship with Allah is recognising that every single time I am able to pray any salah, it’s not by my power or my might. It’s because Allah, azza wa jal, The Most loving, wants to communicate with me so He inspires me to make wudhu and speak to Him.
Most of us perform salah because we just want to get it over and done with or we don’t want to be ‘punished’, so we ensure we tick that box. I find that most of the time we feel that way because for us, establishing salah is just making robotic movements and reciting words we’ve memorised but with no effect on our hearts. And I don’t blame you.
I used to wonder why I’d pray five times a day but my heart still felt troubled and hollow, until I learnt about khushoo (loosely translated as calmness) and it all started to make sense. I expected my heart to feel at ease after I prayed, and it wasn’t the case because I wasn’t really communicating with Allah. My body was present but my heart wasn’t in the prayer. I wanted to feel like a beloved of Allah but I wasn’t truly spending quality time with Him.
Let’s think about it this way: for someone to become your close friend, a lot of effort is put into build the relationship and strengthen your bond. You spend time getting to know each other, you talk to them about your troubles, you share good times and bad times with them and you recognise that they’re there for you when you need them.
Allah can be all of this and more to us if we spend some time getting to know Him. The one thing I think we all need to recognise and accept is that Allah is the only one that can truly help us. If we want to feel at ease and content regardless of where we find ourselves in life, we need to seek and cultivate a relationship with Allah. Allah, our Loving and Kind Master has given us ways in which we can get close to Him.
The first thing I’ll advise us to do is:
Abu Huraira reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The servant is nearest to his Lord during prostration, so increase your supplications therein.”
I urge us all to change the way we pray and notice changes in the way we feel, think and the way we see our Rabb. Make the most of every opportunity Allah brings your way.
I pray that Allah instils His love in our hearts. I pray that He guides us to only perform acts that are pleasing to Him. I pray He helps us recognise and remember that He is always there for us. Ameen.
Suad Kamardeen is a British-Nigerian Muslim writer, editor, engineering graduate and a Creative Writing Masters student at the University of Oxford. She is also a founding editor at WAYF journal. She is committed to documenting histories and cultures, as well as impacting people’s lives positively through storytelling. Her young adult novel, Never Enough, won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022, and her adult novel was shortlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021. Her writing has also appeared in Bad Form Review and Sapelo Square. You can find her on Twitter/IG: @suadkamardeen