prayer

What to intend in Prayer

‘Abdullâh b. Mubârak said:

I asked Sufyân Al-Thawrî, “When a man stands to pray, what should he intend by his recitation and prayer?” He replied, “He should intend that he is personally entreating his Lord.”

Muhammad b. Nasr Al-Marwazî, Ta’dhîm Qadr Al-Salâh Vol. 1 p199.

From the Benefits of Winter

It is reported from Abû Hurayrah – Allâh be pleased with him – that he said:

Shall I not point you to comfortable proceeds? People responded, “And what is that o Abû Hurayrah?” He replied, “Fasting in winter.”

The Arabs used to refer to matters which were relatively easy to gain as being cool. In this narration, the relative ease of fasting in winter and its consequent reward is likened to acquiring war proceeds without the heat of violence.

It is reported from ‘Umar – Allâh be pleased with him – that he said:

Winter is booty for the devout worshippers.

This is further explained in the following narration:

It is reported from ‘Ubayd b. ‘Umayr – Allâh have mercy on him – that he said:

It used to be said when winter came: O people of the Qur`ân, the night has become long so you can pray (more) and the day has become short for you to fast.

Abû Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliyâ`.

As with other experiences in this world, the Salaf used to be reminded of the hereafter when experiencing cold weather:

It is reported from the famous worshipper Râbi’ah – Allâh have mercy on her – that she said:

I have never heard the adhân except that I remember the caller who will announce the Day of Resurrection, and I never see the falling snow except that I imagine the flying pages of the records of peoples deeds (on that day), and I never see swarms of locusts except that I think about the Great Gathering on the Last Day.

Ibn Al-Jawzî, Sifah Al-Safwah Vol. 2 p433.

You haven’t prayed for 40 years!

Zayd b. Wahb reports:

We were once sitting in the masjid with Ḥudhayfah (ibn Al-Yamān) – Allah be pleased with him, when a man entered from the gates of Kindah and stood to pray; but he did not complete the bowing or prostration postures. When he had finished praying, Ḥudhayfah asked him, “How long have you been praying in this manner?” The man replied, “For forty years.” Ḥudhayfah said, “You have not prayed for forty years! And if you were to die praying in this manner you would die upon a way (fiṭrah) other than the way of Muḥammad – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ, The Book of Adhān, without the mention of 40 years. A version in Al-Nasā`ī, Chapter on the Deficient Prayer,  mentions the question and reply about 40 years. Shaykh Al-Albānī graded its chain of transmission ṣaḥīḥ in Sahīh Sunan Al-Nasā`ī no. 1311.

The other Fire

A fire once broke out in a house where ‘Alī b. Husayn – Allah have mercy on him – was prostrate in prayer. He didn’t raise his head until the fire went out. When asked about this he said:

The other Fire kept my mind busy.

Al-Dhahabī in Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā’ under the biography of ‘Alī b. Husayn Zayn Al-‘Ābidīn.

‘Alī b. Husayn, known as Zayn Al-‘Ābidīn for his devout worship, was the great-grandson of the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. He was the only surviving son of Husayn, son of ʿAli b. Abī Tālib – Allah be please with them.

Thinking Ahead for Prayer

Abū Al-Dardā’ – Allah be pleased with him – said:

It is from a person’s knowledge and understanding that he sees to his needs first in order to turn to his prayer with a heart free of distractions.

Ibn Al-Mubārak in Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqā’iq Vol.2 p726