Salah: The Time When Time Stops

[The following is a transcript of a lecture by Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui, where he reflects on the Qur'anic recitation during the nights of Ramadan. It contains minor modifications from the spoken word for the purposes of readability.]

Surat an-Nisaa is a Madani surah, and it has a lot of very rich lessons like Surah Ali-‘Imran and Surat al-Baqara before it, pertaining to all aspects of life from ‘aqeeda to akhlāq to social issues to economic issues to political issues to world issues and to personal issues. It would be of course impossible to cover even a bit of Surat an-Nisaa in these brief moments, but I elect to remind myself and you of something that Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala begins to tell us about as a characteristic of the munāfiqūn.

The munāfiqūn are human beings who harbor lack of faith and lack of imān inside, while showing outside amongst the people that they are believers and faithful. Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala knows what they conceal and describes some of their external actions. For example, in ṣalah, He says, subḥanahu wa ta’ala,

إنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
وَإِذَا قَامُوا إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ قَامُوا كُسَالَىٰ يُرَاءُونَ النَّاسَ وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little. [Surat an-Nisaa 4:142, Sahih International]

The munāfiqūn – and refuge is with Allah, may He teach us and forgive us and protect us – think inside of them that they are deceiving Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala (“yukhādi’ūn Allah”), and of course Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala knows what everyone harbors inside of them. Their deception simply reflects against them in their internal as well as external life. And He says subḥanahu wa ta’ala that when they come to ṣalah – when they stand for ṣalah and they are in ṣalah – they stand up lazy. They stand up lazy (“qāmū kusāla”).

A Time of Utmost Focus

This is what I want to, very briefly, focus on my dear brothers and sisters. Alḥamdulillah, we are in ṣalah and we seek the pleasure of Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala and we seek to ameliorate the state of our hearts and minds and lives through ṣalah. And we have to do our utmost to focus in ṣalah, to fight off these inclinations of Shaytan and these inclinations of self to make us like the munāfiqūn, and refuge is with Allah. [We must strive not] to come to ṣalah lazy and bored and in a hurry to leave to go again to the matters of dunya, as the munāfiqūn themselves do. And this is an external manifestation of something that is harbored inside: lack of imān, lack of faith. And that is to come to ṣalah lazy. And therefore we ask Allah [to help us]. We should never come to ṣalah lazy. Never stand in ṣalah lazy. Never stand in ṣalah as though it is not the most important thing and [as if] there are other more important things outside of ṣalah.

I Love Being with You Lord, I Never Want to Leave

We should not behave inside of ṣalah – and we seek Allah’s refuge – as though we want to leave away from Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala. For where else could we go? Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala says, as some ‘ulemā [scholars] teach us in some reports, that when the ‘abd is in ṣalah and he or she turns his face or his eyes or his heart away from Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala, Allah says,

الى اين يا عبدي؟ الى خير مني؟
Where are you going, O My servant? To someone better than Me?

The Best Investment We’ll Ever Make

Subḥanallah. Let us not be of those who have the characteristics of nifāq [hypocrisy] my dear brothers and sisters. Let us struggle to focus our hearts and minds inside of ṣalah. This is the best investment, spiritually, in our lives that we can make while we are here inshallah ta’ala. Keep struggling, alḥamdulillah. Keep warding off and chasing away any type of distraction that comes to your heart and your mind [to distract you] away from ṣalah, away from Allah subḥanahu wa ta’ala.

Take your time. While you are in ṣalah, you should feel as though time stops. There is nothing in the universe and in life that exists that is worth anything. Try to be like that all the time inshallah ta’ala and consequently Allah will give us, bithnillah [by His permission], the sweet fruits of ṣalah in our hearts.

And May Allah send His peace and prayers and blessings upon our Master Muḥammad and upon all of his family and companions.