Khushoo’ in prayer increases as our love for Allah increases. Think of meeting with someone; when you meet with someone you love, what you feel in your heart is different than when you meet with someone you don’t love.
We have mentioned in previous articles that love increases due to the beauty of the person, the character of the person, or what they have done for you; and Allah combines all of these to the maximum degree. We mentioned how Allah is the Most Beautiful, but what about the ‘character’ aspect? What He has done for us? You know a person’s character when you deal with them. So what can we say of the Most Forbearing (al-Haleem), the Most Merciful (ar-Raheem), the Generous (al-Kareem), the Loving (al-Wadud)?
Dealings with Allah
Ibn Al-Qayyim says we can recognize the Mercy of Allah in how He speaks to His servants gently. When talking to those of us who have transgressed, He does not say, “O you sinners!” Rather Allah says:
“…O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful,” (Qur’an, 39:53).
Look at Allah’s dealings with us. He has given us all of our faculties which we take for granted: eyes, nose, ears, tongue… Then we use it for what He has forbidden and He does not punish us. Rather, He is forbearing and gives us chances to return to Him. When we do return to Him and ask forgiveness, He erases that sin and it is as though we did not even commit it.
Think of the way Allah treats us—how many things have we thought were bad at the time, then later realized the good in them? We spend time complaining, and then say, “Oh wow, alhamdillah (all praise be to Allah) it was actually great for me.” Imagine someone gives you a gift which you don’t like and you show them you don’t like it. Then later when it benefits you, you say, “Oh thank you, your gift saved me!”
Ibn Al Qayyim says, “Allah is shy of His servants, yet His servants do not feel ashamed in front of Him.” Allah sends us Prophets so that we return to Him, He comes down to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night asking us to ask Him if we need anything, to repent and He will forgive us. All of this, yet He has no need for us. And we have all the need for Him and are not ashamed to ignore all that He has given.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said that if you know Allah, you will love Him. How could you not love the One who answers du`a’(supplications), who rewards more than you give, who forgives, who veils the faults, and who is more merciful towards you than your mother?
Watch the following video. It is a true story about two men who raised a lion. When it grew too big, they then had to send it back to the wild. They missed it and decided to go back and look for it. Look what happens (the music is a little distracting so you can mute if you want):
They were told that the lion would be too wild, but subhan’Allah (glory be to Allah) look at how the lion greeted them.
This should make us think of our relationship with Allah. He takes care of us everyday, and gives us all of our sustenance, and when we make a mistake, if we repent, He forgives. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” (Qur’an, 55:60)
An animal that is by its nature wild and ferocious knew to appreciate those to whom it attributed goodness. What about us? This is the way we should feel in our salah (prayer)!
If you were to visit a King, you would have to make an appointment, and if your appointment is accepted, if he decides to let you, only then can you appeal to him; and when you ask him he may or may not give you what you ask for. And if he gives it to you, you feel so grateful and small.
What of Allah, who only requires us to stand between His Hands by raising our hands “Allahu Akbar (Allah is great)” in prayer?