Islamic Studies Prayer With the Divine


The Salah Series

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII

02088_rabacal25waterfalls_1280x1024The Highest Emotion

Today we will go deeper; now that we have a present heart, have understood our words, and having added two emotions, we are going to add one more. With this emotion, our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes (insha’Allah). One person who began applying this said that he wished the prayer would never end.

A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

Do you know what this emotion is?

Love (الحب)

Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope—it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him” (Qur’an, 5:54).

We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an:


“And [yet] among the people are are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah” (Qur’an, 2:165).

And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A du`a’ of the Prophet ﷺ:

اللهم إني أسألك الشوق الى لقائك

“O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (Nisa’i, Hakim).

Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children—but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet ﷺ said:

“Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith…”

The first thing he ﷺ mentioned was:

“…that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…” (Bukhari)

Ibn Al-Qayyim says, “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”

If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.

I want to feel this love, but how?

Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself—why do you or should you love Allah? Because know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons:

  1. For their beauty;
  2. Because of their exalted character;
  3. Because they have done good to you.

And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

1. Beauty

We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitra (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib (radi Allahu `anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) said about the Prophet ﷺ that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jaabir (ra) said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmdhi). Allah made all his Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination towards them.

And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea… Something about certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. If we’re living in the city and it’s been a while, take a look:

And Allah is the One who made it beautiful. So what of Allah’s beauty? Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”

This fitra for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses. Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf (as), and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (as) request:


“And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, “My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.” [Allah] said, “You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.” But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious” (Qur’an, 7:143).

Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa (as) saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic, or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor” (Qur’an, 55:27).

Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet ﷺ said:

إن الله ينصب وجهه لوجه عبده في صلاته ما لم يلتفت

“Allah directs His Face towards the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).

Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.

Shall we take this love to another level? Next week insha’Allah!

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan's main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities.


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