……The next difficulty in prayer is Khushu’ (humilty). The Qur’an says: “Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble-minded,Who know that they will have to meet their Lord, and that unto Him they are returning” (2:45-46). Furthermore in the same surah we are advised:”Be guardians of your prayers, and of the midmost prayer, and stand up with devotion to Allah” (2: 238).

Although these ayat have provided an easy method of establishing khushu, still on the practical level, the question of how khushu could be established and maintained continued to bother me for some time.

The purpose of khushu is is in-fact calm and tranquility of heart. The heart is calm when it is no longer disturbed by stray thoughts and reflections. To a great extent this can be achieved by focusing on something praiseworthy such as the image of the Kaaba, or the meanings of the words being recited, or if possible the Divine Presence which is best of all. One should not be overly concerned about what is focused upon or the depth of concentration achieved. As long as there is a reasonable attentiveness that is sufficient. If then there are still some stray thoughts arising one can simply regard them as involuntary and ignore them. For example, when looking at a word or a few words on a page one also glimpses other words too but one does not say one looked at those because one did not intend them. If this be the case with outer vision then it is also the case with inner sight. It also falls on unintended objects but one need not worry about them and khushu is not affected by that. For us this level is sufficient, the elect may have other standards but then how do we compare to them?

Shahabnama (last chapter)

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