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Question: Do I need to say “sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam” when hearing the Prophet’s name recited in prayer? Is my prayer invalidated by merely thinking about him (peace be upon him)?Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well.
1. When the Qur’an is recited, the sunna is to be silent and attentive—and one doesn’t send blessings upon the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) when his noble name is mentioned in the Qur’an, though there is no harm in doing so later, after the prayer. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar;Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah]
2. Building focus and concentration in prayer here is the desired goal, as prayer is truly beneficial when one’s heart and body work in concert, not when one is distracted by outside concerns. The Qur’an says, “Successful are believers; those who are attentive in their prayers” (Qur’an; 23.1-2).
However, while one should work on building this presence of mind, one should recognize that being distracted is a good sign that the devil is attempting to come between you and your Lord.
Please see: Am I a Hypocrite for Losing Focus in Prayer?
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