Bad Thoughts in Prayer

By Mufti Shafiq Jakhura
Posted: 20 Muharram 1432, 26 December 2010

Q. Whenever I go to the mosque and start my prayer, strange thoughts come to my mind. Whenever some holy verse is recited, I suddenly think of some foolish meanings. Please help me in this regard.

A.You should try your level best to concentrate in your salah and should not entertain such thoughts. Remember that the thoughts coming on their own is not objectionable. Bringing the thoughts in one's mind or entertaining them further once they come is what is objectionable. The following are some useful points that could assist in acquiring concentration in salah.
1. Be always deeply thankful and grateful to Allah Ta'ala for having blessed you with the ability to perform salah in congregation punctually.

2. After making wudu with the correct adaab reading the specific duas and without wasting water etc. proceed to the masjid with wudu with the firm belief that your sins have been washed away by the wudu and in the steps you take when proceeding to the masjid. Wear good clean clothes that the pious wear. Apply attar (perfume).  Aim to get the entire reward of your salah. 

3. Avoid all types of worldly and unnecessary talks when proceeding to the masjid.

4. Gracefully come to the masjid at least a few minutes before the salah can commence.

5. After reciting the masnoon dua of entering the masjid and the two rak’ahs on entry etc, meditate about death, sincerely engage in istighfar and repentance and consider the possibility that this may be your last salah. Imagine that this is your last salah. Perhaps you will not have a chance to offer another salah. Reply to adhan and read the prescribed dua after the adhan. If there is any sunnats to be performed perform them. Between the adhan and iqamah make dua.

6.  Contemplate and think of the ayat verses and adhkar that you are reciting or listening to during the prayer. Isn’t is disheartening that someone may perform salah for decades, day after day, and still not know what they are saying? 

At the time of changing postures, feel that your entire body is performing that posture for Allah Ta'ala. Try and maintain the thought that Allah Ta’ala is watching.

7. Make dua regularly that Allah Ta'ala grant us all the true spirit and acceptance of salah.

8. Avoid all doubtful things, people and places especially the media (TV, magazines, newspapers, questionable sites on the Internet etc.)

9. For a few minutes in the day read up the stories of the pious as well as the books of Fadail (Virtue). Books like Fadail A'mal, Fadail Sadaqat and Bihishti Zewar are recommended for this.

May Allah Ta'ala grant us all the true spirit and acceptance of salah, and ultimately His pleasure.