Factors of Khushoo'
The Islamic definition of faith is: The belief in the heart, the words of the tongue, accompanied by actions of the body. All three must be found in a person to have true faith. The belief in the heart is evidenced by the actions which are performed, and the actions are accepted according to what is in the heart, so it's a combination of the two. They cannot stand alone. Faith is bound by the following precepts:
To pronounce the Shahadah as well as spread it to others.
To believe in whatever we were told by the Prophet (saws). To believe the truth of the complete knowledge and wisdom of Allah in what he has commanded us to perform or abandon.
To perform good deeds and refrain from bad ones.
To comply and obey and accept.
"And they say; 'We hear and we obey; (we seek) Your forgiveness our Lord; and to You is the end of all journeys'."(Qur'an, 2: 285)
If these things are applied to Salah, along with firm belief in the importance and benefit of Salah, then it is sure, Insh Allah, to increase our khushoo' which will in turn increase our faith.
The main constituents of faith may be grouped under two important conditions:
Ikhlas - sincerity
Emulation - following the Sunnah
"Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion, and He has power over all things. He Who created death and life that He may try which of you is best in deed." Qur'an, 67:1-2
"Blessed in deed" involves sincerity and emulation of the Sunnah. No better advice is given to a brother Muslim than to tell him to fulfill these two things. Without them, he will have lived his life for nothing; all his deeds will have been lost. Through them, all deeds will be saved and protected, and by Allah's mercy, accepted.
Ikhlas, or sincerity, refers to the complete absence of shirk. It means not only performing Salah to fulfill the obligation, but to really feel your need, your poverty for it, and to purify ourselves, all out of total love for Allah, wanting to get nearer and nearer to Him, hoping for the highest level in paradise amongst the Muqarraboon, those close to Allah. The Messenger of Allah (saws) related the following:
"Allah the Almighty has said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have imposed upon him, and my servant continues to draw near to Me with voluntary works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant it to him." Related by Al-Bukhari
Salah is indeed a gift. There are many who don't like Salah at all, and when they hear the Adhan they could car less. Those who find in Salah the benefits that Allah bestows upon His servants, who perform it as it should be performed, are joyful to be called to prayer. Be thankful and appreciative in your heart for the gift of being able to perform Salah.
One of the enemies of sincerity is admiration of one's self. Pride is a type of shirk, an association of oneself with Allah.
"He who has in his heart a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise."Muslim
Never admire yourself or your deeds, particularly your prayer. Look to those who are better than you. This will encourage you and humble you.
As true sincerity is built mainly on true love, desire, and fear of Allah, the following will assist you in establishing your sincerity:
Knowing Allah (swt) by His names and attributes, appreciating His Lordship.
Ihsan: "To worship Allah as though you see Him, knowing that though you cannot see Him, He sees you."Muslim
To acknowledge religion and guidance as being from Allah.
"And you have no good thing but it is from Allah."Qur'an, 16:53
If it wasn't for Allah's guidance we would not be Muslims, so at least out of thankfulness we should be humble and sincere.
"But Allah has endeared faith to you and has made it beautiful in your hearts and he has made hateful to you unbelief, wrongdoing and rebellion; such indeed are those who walk in righteousness. A grace and favor from Allah; and Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom."Qur'an, 49:7-8
To look at our defective selves and actions. No matter how much we try, we will never be able to perform worship to the level that Allah deserves. This should build a competitive feeling in us, an ambition to do more, to try harder, hoping for Allah's mercy. This is what it means to feel complete poverty to Allah. As well, we should look to those who are better, who are very God-conscious and fearing. This will help to develop the desire for humility. Failure to apply reflective inspection to oneself will only serve to increase one's defects.
To appreciate the blessings bestowed upon us. Anas bin Malik related that on the Day of Judgement every servant will be presented with a record of is good deeds and a record of his bad deeds. Then he will be shown a record of all of the blessings he was given by Allah (swt) (such as sight, hearing, feeling, etc.). The Lord will say (to the blessings he granted his servant) "Take from the good deeds of my servant what you deserve." If only one of the blessings of Allah were to come forth and take what it deserves from the servants good deeds, there would be none remaining. (Al-Khushoo' fis Salah 'Abdullah Al-Jaar Allah)
"And He gave you (the faculties) of hearing and sight and understanding; little thanks do you give!"Qur'an, 32:9
Go and visit the sick, the very sick, that lie in the hospitals. You will deeply appreciate your seemingly simple blessings which will in turn increase your sincerity in worship.
Emulation of the Sunnah
Emulation is a required principle of every act of worship in Islam. The act you perform and the way you perform it cannot be a fabrication of your own which has no basis in the Sunnah. This is according to the Hadeeth of 'Ai-ishah (ra) who related the Prophet (saws) as saying:
"Whoever innovates something into this religion of ours which does not belong to it will have it rejected."Muslim
According to the words of the Prophet (saws): "Pray as you have seen me pray."
Prayer, as well as all other acts of worship, can only be considered perfect and complete if it is in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws). They must be totally free of innovation. Otherwise they will be rejected by Allah (swt).
"The Day that the wrongdoer will bite at his hands, He will say, "Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger!" Qur'an 25:27
Recitation of the Qur'an and Remembrance of Allah (Dhikr)
"Don't speak a lot without remembering Allah, for verily speaking much without remembering Allah hardens the hearts. And the people who are most distant from Allah are those with hard hearts."Tirmidhi
Recitation of the Qur'an and Dhikr, accompanied by contemplation of the meaning is one of the most tremendous ways of softening one's heart.
"Allah has revealed the most beautiful Message in the form of a book, consistent with itself, repeating; the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble threat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah."Qur'an 39:23
Recitation of the Qur'an and Dhikr is a protection from shaytan and a cause of tranquillity of the heart. Sadly, the hearts of today's Muslims are no longer sensitive to the Qur'an. If our hearts are really pure, then we never stop reciting Qur'an. 'Uthmaan bin' Affaan, radi Allaahu 'anhu, would pray Fajr then remember Allah in Dhikr. Then he would recite Qur'an till Dhuhr! If our hearts were purified, we would never stop reciting Qur'an:
"Those who believe and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah; for without a doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." Qur'an 13:28.
"And remember Allah frequently that you may prosper." Qur'an 62:10.
Shaytan always works to distract us so we should always seek help from Allah by saying "Audthu billahi minash shaytan nirrajeem". The same can be applied in Salat. When you become so distracted in your prayer that you can't control it say "Audthu billah himinash shaytan nirrajeem" then spit lightly over your shoulder three times. 'Uthman bin Affaan related that he came to the Prophet (saws), and said:
"Allah's Messenger, Satan intervenes between me and my prayer and my reciting of the Qur'an and he confounds me." Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (saws), said, "That is (the doing of the Shaytan) who is known Khanzab. When you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allah from it and spit three times to your left."Muslim