One person asked me: “I am in my business from the morning, and from the business I proceed to the Masjid, for Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib. I join the Salaah with “Allahu Akbar”, but then it seems as if the whole business comes into that Salaah. How do I get concentration?”
I replied: “You came out of business and went directly into Salaah. At least your complaint is about your business which is consuming your thoughts while in Salaah. Others complain of their Salaah being contaminated with television, pornography, sport, video games, etc. They too hear the Azaan, enter into Salaah, but their complaint is that the images of filthy women come before them, in their Sajdas… (Na uzu Billah).”
People have written to me, at a loss, because their minds are picturing Haraam in that Sajda … that Sajda where they are supposed to be closest to Allah Ta’ala.”
I then explained: “Allah Ta’ala’s Ihsaan (Favour) is always all-embracing, so He granted to us the Sunnah Salaah before the Fardh Salaah. It is only Maghrib which is read immediately after the Azaan.
When it comes to the Salaah, we should not wait for the Azaan and thereafter proceed to the Masjid or Musallah. If a person has no excuse, he should be in the Masjid, by the time the Azaan is completed, preferably having completed his Wudhu. After responding to the Azaan and making a Du’aa (since this is a time of the acceptance of Dua), the Sunnah Salaah should be read. Unfortunately we complete 4 Rakaats in one minute ‘flat’. We want to show speed in Salaah, since we cannot show speed in any marathon.
If carried out as is Sunnah, the 4 Rakaats of Sunnah will take about 5 minutes. After that Sunnah Salaah, there will still be a few minutes left before the Jamaat Salaah commences. During those minutes, make Istighfaar, Taubah, think of Aakhirah and accountability and presentation of deeds on the Day of Qiyaamah. Reflect on one’s life. What if my death has to come now?
Like this, you cut off from the business and from worldly thoughts as much as possible.
Now commences the Fardh Salaah, by which time 80% of the heart will be in that Salaah, Insha-Allah. If the effort continues, the person will experience “Mi`raj” in his Salaah.”
Alhamdulillah, many, having followed through with this advice, have found a world of difference in their Salaah.
When the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (RA) entered Salaah, how is it that they were able to maintain their Khushoo in Salaah, why is it that they were not disturbed by worldly thoughts – like how we are plagued with worldly thoughts?
They too came into Salaah from the business world, yet proceeded directly into the Mi`raj of Salaah. The Kaifiyyat was different. From the time they commenced preparation for their Salaah, making Wudhu, etc. the kaifiyat was different. It was very unlike our condition: We are talking, joking and laughing, and enter the Masjid in this manner. They, on the other hand, truly understood and believed that they are now going to stand before Allah Ta’ala – as will be on the Day of Qiyamah.
Theirs was the condition as described in the Ayah: “The person who feared standing before Allah (on the Day of Qiyamah) and restrained himself from evil desires…”
So then why was it that their Salaah was not affected, and they were not diverted or distracted by what they were, until then, occupied with? After all, they too were in business and trade, they too were in agriculture and other avenues of earning a living. They were also selling different items, selling animals, planting crops, moving into foreign lands and engaging in big business.
Allah Ta’ala says in Surah Noor:
“Men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of Salaah (prayer) and giving of Zakaah (charity). They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about…”
[Surah Noor 24 : 37]
Men, whose businesses and transactions, exporting and importing, do not divert them from the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, do not distract them from the establishment of Salaah, and giving Zakaah …
One very beautiful point which Allah Ta’ala brought to my heart in respect to why the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (RA) were not disturbed in their concentration was the fact that they are the men – the true believing men, whose businesses did not prevent them from obedience or divert their attention.
Why was their Salaah not affected even though they came out of business? ...Because they came out of one Ibaadah into another.
Therefore, from one Ibaadah, they simply entered into another Ibaadah. They were conscious of Allah Ta’ala’s presence at all times, even in their businesses. Thus, their business was also “Zikrullah”. The same awareness was required for Salaah but this was their condition at all times.
In their businesses, they were cautious. In their trade, their talking, selling, purchasing were all carried out in the manner sanctioned by Shari’ah. Their intentions were noble, their efforts were clean and their earnings, Halaal and pure. They worked so as not to have to extend their hands and beg of others, they worked to support their families, to contribute to good causes, to assist others, to give Zakaah, to go for Hajj and so forth. Their intentions were correct and their businesses were conducted in the manner approved by Allah Ta’ala. That person who has made his business into Ibaadah, then his concentration will remain in Salaah. …
It does not mean that a person is just holding a Tasbeeh all the time, and reading: ‘SubhanAllah, SubhanAllah…’.
Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) mentioned, that if a person is selling – for example, mangoes - and goes on repeating : “Mangoes, Mangoes …”, he will get the reward of Tasbeeh, because the person’s effort is to acquire Halaal sustenance.
So the Sahabah (RA) were conscious of Allah Ta’ala’s presence and were mindful of all the Ahkaam (Laws) pertaining to trade and business, so they simply moved from one Ibaadah to another. Unlike us, our businesses are not Ibaadah. How many can say that their business is Ibaadah? When does the business become Ibaadah?
When we apply the laws of Shari’ah in that business, that is, in the transactions, deals, importing, exporting, there is that conscious realization and understanding that we are slaves of Allah Ta’ala and He is the one that sends Rizq (sustenance); He is sending customers as means of our livelihood.
As an example: A person hands over a parcel or gift and pays the post office or courier service to deliver it. The parcel is thus delivered. Whether the postman or the courier, do we thank him for the parcel? We thank him for the delivery, but we understand that the postman was the means of us receiving the parcel. The giver was someone else. We understand that. So we do not forget the giver.
Similarly, Allah Ta’ala is the Provider. He uses people to deliver our Rizq – in different ways.
If we apply the laws of Shari’ah: We do not deal in Haraam, we are honest and truthful, we do not hide defects, we do not cheat, deceive and so forth, then that Tijarah becomes Ibaadah - and from that Ibaadah, we enter the Ibaadah of Salaah.
If we engage in Haraam, in interest and cheat, our dealings are not straight, our employees are strange women, dressed scantily, there is music playing, and we promote Christmas, Valentines, Diwali – then this is definitely and most certainly not Ibaadah. In fact, this will invite Allah Ta’ala’s Anger and Curse and deprive the person of Barakah (blessings) in his business and earnings.
Haraam indicates that there is no conscious awareness of Allah Ta’ala. The person’s concentration in Salaah will be seriously affected.
It is left to us to turn business into Ibaadah. It is not impossible. It is something that will always, always be workable and viable – in any time and age.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq of being Rijaal – true believing men - who are not distracted by commerce or sale, from the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, who perform Salaah, give Zakaah willingly and happily and who fear Allah Ta’ala in their business undertakings.