Home » Hanafi Fiqh » Seekersguidance.org » How do I deal with unwanted thoughts and memories that distract me during my prayer?

How do I deal with unwanted thoughts and memories that distract me during my prayer?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question Summary

How do I deal with unwanted thoughts and memories that distract me during my prayer?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Distractions that occur in the prayer are either avoidable or unavoidable. Avoidable distractions are caused by the environment in which we choose to perform our prayer: praying in a noisy place, in front of objects that catch or draw our attention. These are preventable and can easily be overcome by choosing a better place to pray.

As for unavoidable distractions, these are the unwanted thoughts that come to our minds. These distractions are seen as involuntary and as coming from outside sources. One is not accountable for these types of distractions as long as they don’t actively entertain such thoughts.

These thoughts are seen as a visitor that comes knocking on the door of your house, you can’t stop them from knocking, but you are accountable if you choose to let them in. [Khadimi; Risala al-Khusuiyya]

Getting Rid of Unwanted Thoughts

These unwanted thoughts can be dealt with in two ways, the short-term cure and the long-term cure.

The short-term cure is to strive to ignore such doubts and constantly bring one’s focus back to the prayer. This will prove difficult to do, and one’s efforts will be rewarded accordingly. Working hard to focus on what one is reciting and reflecting on the meanings will greatly facilitate this. [Ibid.]
Stilling the Heart

The long-term cure is to work on the stillness of one’s heart. The prayer mirrors for us the state of our heart. If we find ourselves fragmented, anxious, unable to be still, etc… in the prayer, this is a sign that the heart is fragmented, anxious, and lacking stillness. [Ibid.]

These problems can be solved by striving to bring the heart to a focused, tranquil level of spiritual stillness. Of the greatest tools to achieve this is the remembrance of Allah Most High.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “Has the time not yet come for believers’ hearts to be humbled at the remembrance of Allah and what has been revealed of the truth,” [Qur’an; 57:16]

The word in the above verse, ‘khush’u’ translated as humbled, also contains the meaning of stillness.

Allah Most High also said, “those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” [Qur’an; 13:28]

Likewise, the word above for comfort contains the meaning of tranquility and stillness.

Remembrance of Allah

Take some time out of your day, start with five minutes, to remember Allah Most High. Sit facing the Qibla in the state of wudu. Repeat the statement La ilaha ila Allah – There is none worthy of worship other than Allah – 100 times. Strive to reflect, in your heart, on the meaning of this blessed statement. Try to do this consistently once a day. If you find this easy, add more.

You will begin to see the effect on your heart and your prayer. Lastly, ask Allah Most High to make you of those who are humble, still, and devoted in their prayers.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

Read answers with similar topics: