Eliminating Confusing Thoughts And Ideas During Prayer

You complain that when you stand in prayer confusing thoughts and ideas, dirty and indecent reflections begin to assail you from all sides. In this respect you should bear well in mind that your ablution remains valid as long as something impure which nullifies ablution does not ema-nate from your body, although your body is filled with those impurities. For the purpose of ablution blood is impure which is circulating in your body. The stomach is full of gases. Similarly the bladder and the stomach are filled with urine and faeces respectively. Despite all these impurities concealed in your body the Shari`ah declares you clean, unpolluted and fit for prayer. Yet your ablution will become void if even the slightest quantity of any of these impurities comes out of your body. You should understand on the some analogy that these confusing thoughts and obscene ideas which fill your mind and heart automatically are all pure and harmless for you prayer, Just like the other mate-rial impurities present in your body. The laws of the Sha-ri`ah ordain that these dirty and foul thoughts and ideas do not render you unclean and impure until you translate them into action. Just as you renew your ablution when it be-come void on account of factors that invalidate ablution, in the same way if your indecent thoughts involve you in some sin, you can get rid of the harms of that sin by asking for Allah's forgiveness with a repentant heart. Allah who is All-Forgiving will forgive your sin and purify you. Why do you complicate a thing which is so easy and simple? Why do you desire to offer a prayer which should be faultless and free from all thoughts, ideas and evil suggestions which are a part of nature and which assail the human mind from time to time. If we translate these dirty thoughts into actions we are unclean and sinners, but if we ignore them we are pure and pious. We become sinners only when we actually commit sins and, even then, we are ab-solved of our sins when we repent for them from the core of our hearts. Thus the dirty thoughts, ideas and sugges-tions that surround us during prayer without any effort on our part are not harmful and do not spoil the prayer. It is, therefore, futile to take notice of them and to suspect that they spoil the prayer. They can, of course, be harmful only when they are invited and entertained intentionally.

Allah Almighty accepts the prayer when it has been of-fered with due regards to its prescribed conditions. However, sometimes the mind becomes neglectful of the elements of the prayer owing to the influx of confusing evil thoughts and these elements are not observed and com-pleted properly. This is indeed objectionable and requires rectification. It is, however, a great favour of Allah that even in such a situation Sharrah has allowed us a concession that we may make good the mistake of omitting uninten-tionally a Wajib (essential act) by making at the end of the prayer Sajdah Sahw (prostration of forgetfulness or omis-sion). This will render the prayer duly corrected. For this purpose one has to learn what parts of prayer are Farz (obligatory), Wajib (essential), Sunnah and Nafl (optional) etc. It is an additional favour of Allah upon His absent -minded servants that He has taught them how to rectify their faulty acts. He has also promised them to accept such acts after their rectification.

There is one very gratifying point to note, whatever the standard of the prayer we have offered. At the end, we should recite three times  (Astagh-firul-lah) meaning "I seek Allah's forgiveness". This is a Prophetic practice (Sunnat). Then we should submit to Allah, saying: I have offered a prayer which is not worthy of being accepted in Your sight, but you are All-Aware and Most Merciful, so kindly accept it. Do not disappoint me from Your forgiveness, and guide me to pray with due regard and right etiquettes, that I may do full justice to my duty of glorifying and exalting you. Thus the confession of the weakness and shortcomings of our prayers become a cause for their acceptance and approval.

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