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"Inna as-salaat mahal li 'l–munajaat. Prayers are the places where you are most near to Allah swt to ask Him what you need. “In it, feeha yatasa` feeha ma yaleeq min al-asrar - in it all kinds of secrets are there in the prayer itself.” What Allah swt will open to His servant when he is praying no one knows.

Really many people come to problems and they face difficulties, and we don’t realize that when we have difficulty or problem to solve, run to make wudu and pray 2 raka`ats and pray Salaat al-Haajjah. Something tat you need. You go ahead and ask Allah in that sajda that Allah swt relieve you from these problems. But unfortunately we don’t remember that. We might do du`a, and Allah said, "id`unee astajeeb lakum - call on Me, I will respond to you," but the best place is to ask when in prayer. You make wudu and 2 raka`ats and you make sajda and ask Allah that is most efficient way to ask and instead of raising hands in du`a, you raise your hands in your heart.

The prayers are the balance if we are doing good or not doing good. Because Allah said in Holy Qur'an that prayers will stop us from committing any kind of forbiddens. So if we want to see if our prayer is good or bad prayer we have to stop doing forbiddens. If we are not stop doing forbiddens, then what does it mean? It means our prayers are not up to the standard that Allah likes. "Inna as-salaata tanha `ani'l-fahsha'i wa'l-munkar - Prayers prevent sins, fahsha’i and munkar." If we are committing sins it means our prayer is not up to the standards. Because for sure when Allah says that "prayers will prevent from sins and wrongdoing," then it means there is a secret in the prayers that will prevent the praying person from doing fahsha’i and munkar. The prayer that doesn’t stop the person performing it, is not a prayer.

And that is why Sahaba were so focused in their prayer. And the example of that is when Sayyidina `Ali (r) had toothache, he said, "Pull my tooth when I am in prayer.” So when in prayer in at-tahiyyaat they put a plier or they put a rope at that time, and pulled the tooth. And he was praying and he said, "as-salam`alaykum wa rahmatullah” he saw blood and he said, "when will you pull it out?”

His prayer was not in dunya. He was not there. He was with the Prophet (s), he was with Allah. So that is the example. We know we cannot achieve that, even if we live one million years.

And what did Abi Dharr al-Ghifari say? He said, "That every breath that comes out of my mouth and not coming out with dhikrullah is ya hasratee `alayh - my sorrow on that breath that came out without dhikrullah. I am sad, I cannot express myself how I let my breath to go out without dhikrullah and how I let it come in without dhikrullah.”

How many times our breath goes in and out with breath of shaytan.

Now people go to movies. They watch all kind of garbage there. They spend 3-4 hours in movies. But do they spend 3-4 hours in dhikrullah. See how much we are behind. Parents are taking them here and there, spoiling them and where they are learning only garbage there. And we are raising them in sins. And if we try to prevent him, the mother or the father, then the other says, “O why are you stopping him? He is young. Let him, we are living in this dunya.”

If so, why not balance for akhira as well. Let them learn for akhira. We put the scale. Wada` al-meezan. Balance for dunya and akhira.

The Prophet from Ibn Abbas qaala idha adayta as-salaat wa lam tajid fee qalbika khashiy wa qirat al quran wa lam tajid … ala raasik at-turaab.

Ibn Abbas learned from the Holy Prophet (s). He was one of the biggest muhaddiths who learned Holy Qur'an. He said, “If you prayed and you didn’t feel any fear of Allah and didn’t feel any love and didn’t feel any softness (i.e. then you are doing like a habit, praying 2 or 4 raka`ats when adhan comes), if you don’t feel that fear and if you read the Qur’an and don’t feel any feeling from reading it, (and many people come and say we are bored reading Qur’an), and if you remember Allah and tears don’t come out of your eyes, then go outside and bring dirt and throw it on your head, and ask Allah to give you a different heart because your heart is dead.”

Look how they were so advanced in every work they do. And if the adhan is called we are at work, we quickly run to pray our 4 raka`ats and go back to normal life. That is a problem what we need to do? “Throw dirt on our head.”

It means we have to cry, “O Allah we are weak servants!” Ask Allah to give you another heart - your heart is finished. You need to go to a doctor. When you have heart problem what do you do? Go to the doctor. When you have tumor in the heart where do you go? To a surgeon. Surgeons are waiting for you. The Prophet (s) is waiting for you. He is waiting to knock on his door, asking him “Ya sayyidee we are coming to you. We are asking another heart. We are asking for a heart connected to akhira, not to dunya.” These small things the Sahaba brought to us are something that we have to put in our eyes.

When we are praying and saying iyyaka na`budu wa iyyaka nasta`een. Who are you talking to? It means you are speaking directly to Allah asking for support and that “to You we worship.” It means speaking directly with no veil. It is not indirect. We are not saying iyyahu. We say iyyaka. Directly.

When Allah revealed Surat al-Fatiha he revealed it iyyaka na`budu wa iyyaka nasta`een. When some Sahaba were reading it, and one was Ibn Mas`ud, he was reading it different. And they said, “No it is not correct. As if you are facing Him direct.” He could not accept, “how can I speak to Allah directly.” He was reciting it iyyahu na`budu. “I have to say in the tense where I am not seeing Him.” But He is seeing you. So you have to speak to Him directly. He likes His servant to come to Him directly. We are worshipping Him, we cannot see Him but He can see us.

So also we say as-salaamu `alayka ayyuhan-nabi. The letter kaf at that end in tahiyyaat, “greetings to you O Muhammad (s),” directly you are speaking to him, with no veils.

They used to read it as as-salaamu `alayh in passive tense as if not present. But Allah wants you to recite al-Fatiha as if you are present before Allah. And recite at-Tahiyaat to be present with the Prophet (s) and speaking to him directly.

Those who did not pray all their prayer and have many prayer to make up, qada, don’t leave it and say when you die, O, I missed so many raka`ats. No make them up.

If you don’t pray Sunnah, use that time to make up the prayers you missed. Else you have to make the prayers in hellfire. Allah doesn’t want to have you do it there. He wants to send everyone of Ummat an-Nabi to Paradise.

We are asking, we lack sincerity, we don’t know how to bring sincerity into our hearts. The Sahaba with the Prophet (s) between them, they were overwhelmed with sincerity, they did everything with sincerity with love. They gave their lives for Allah and His Prophet; for Islam. We don’t feel that, nothing changed. That is why we are afraid, as many scholars say, “our prayers might not be accepted.” That is because prayers will prevent us from committing sins. If not then there is lack of piety and lack of sincerity.