Converts To Islam 2015
Converts To Islam  Focus in Worship
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Focus in worship is something that all God conscious people strive to attain but even the more pious from amongst us still struggle with from time to time, let us therefore give ourselves a fighting chance of attaining that sweet communion by pondering and implementing some of the following. The famous saying "By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail" should not only be applied to worldly related matters, in fact much of our lack of attention is because we simply haven’t prepared ourselves. For believers who have attained higher levels of faith, their lack of focus is fleeting, but for the regular believers like us we first need to build to those higher levels and connection with Allah (swt) and then enhance our focus. Needless to say that achieving a higher status with Allah (swt) and attaining focus in our acts of worship are intertwined. Patience is a key part so we must continue and not get disheartenned, as eventually we will learn how to achieve our goals. If we had to prepare for an interview for a new job we would wash, dress and perfume ourselves appropriately so that we would connect with the interviewer hoping that he/she would then fulfil our wish of getting the job. This we also do in other aspects of life for our worldly needs which in actuality deflects from the true authority and power over everyone who is Almighty Allah. The daily prayers also have certain pre-requisites and as such we should focus on these pre-requisites before we move to the place for prayer. When we go through our Wudhu (Ablution) we should remember this is a spiritual wash not a physical one, it is preparation for us to communicate with Almighty Allah(swt) who already knows all our wishes and dreams and can fulfil them at will and in his wisdom and knowledge some He(swt) will and others He won’t. Wearing clean clothes and perfuming ourselves also enhances the importance of the task we are about to undertake. A few moments to reflect on our insignificance and complete reliance on Allah(swt) will also help to create humility which is vital for connecting with Allah(swt). As we raise our hands and recite the first Takbir (Allahu Akhbar) know that we have now divorced ourselves from everyone and everything and our complete attention is only for Allah(swt). Unwanted thoughts will inevitably crop up in our minds, temporarily disconnecting us from our goal, it is very important not to fight these thoughts, rather gently let them flow through your mind and out again, like a leaf floating gently across the top of a pond. As many times as thoughts come into your mind do the same, let them flow gently in and then out again and then realign your thoughts to the worship at hand. The late great Scholar Mohammed Taqi Behjat(r.a) has advised on these matters as such:   "In order to acquire the necessary concentration in prayer one should observe": A) Certain pre-requisites before prayer B) Certain discipline during prayer. Explanation: A) Before prayer one should observe Taqwa (God-Consciousness) and one should abstain from all sins that lead to the darkening of the God-given purity of heart. Sins pollute the purity of the heart and therefore reduce the luminosity of the heart. B) During prayer one should erect a "high security wire" around one's heart as such that no unwanted trespasser (distracting devilish thoughts) is allowed inside the holy sanctuary of the heart. One's thoughts should be intensely directed towards God and none other than Him should be allowed in. If one's thoughts start straying, immediately when one comes to know, one should guide these towards the right direction again. Worship is of course not limited to prayers and supplications, worship is our every day living and as such we should aim to be conscious of Allah(swt) during these time also. Once we create an awareness that Allah(swt) sees us we will then Insha-Allah learn to create the necessary resistance and shame to start to reduce our sins. 6.162: Say. Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are (all) for Allah (swt), the Lord of the worlds: One of the evils that takes us away is something as simple as ‘negativity’, this wretched thing should not consume our souls, rather we should look towards all aspects in our life with a positive and happy attitude, knowing that Allah(swt) has given us each new day with the chance to progress in goodness. A positive attitude is proven to produce better results, if we try to remain positive in all aspects of life and thankful we will Inshallah naturally develop higher awareness, resulting in being able to focus moreso in any act of worship. These purification processes are a continuous struggle and one should never get disheartened during a bad phase, in fact that ‘bad’ phase may be that Allah(swt) is pleased with your current progress and now wants you to further your efforts, in effect wanting you to progress further and further. Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (a.s) stated: You should Know that you are never beyond Allah (swt)’s observation, therefore, keep yourself safe for now and find out what he has in store for you in the future.  (Tuhfat al-Uqul, p.478)