I have spent hours on the internet looking at how to relax. I have tried doing meditation and deep relaxation exercises. I’ve tried yoga and deep breathing techniques. And there’s more. Just type in google “relaxation techniques” and you will find a lot of techniques mentioned in the psychology world.
The issues I have been having with these techniques is that I just have a tough time relaxing. My mind is running at 100 miles/sec and I can’t seem to feel calm and at peace when I’m sitting and meditating. Yes there have been rare occasions where I have been able to feel those feelings of the parasympathetic nervous system kicking in and me feeling that sense of calmness, but extremely rarely am I successful with it.
Now I’m not denying at all that these techniques and others can’t help you relax, because for sure they do help people relax. But I want to share with you a special gift just from Allah to help us relax. And it is especially for us muslims. It was made as a getaway from the problems we’re facing in life. And for us anxious muslims, the biggest problem is the feelings of stress and anxiety.
This gift, my brothers and sisters is the gift of الخشوع (Al-Khushu’).
قد أفلح المؤمنون الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون
The believers have succeeded, those who have khushu’ in their prayers. Quran-23:1-2
Now, what exactly is Khushu’? Scholars have talked about it quite a bit, but here’s a nice definition:
أصل الخشوع: السكون والطمأنينة والانخفاض، وفي الشرع خشية من الله تكون في القلب، فتظهر آثارها على الجوارح
The essence of khushu is rest, tranquility, and humbleness, and in the sharia, the khashiya of Allah is in the heart, and it’s effects are manifested on the rest of the body. Abdul-Aziz Al-Rajihi
I don’t want to make this post into a research article on Khushu’. But just from personal experience, there is no feeling of tranquility that could be stronger and more relaxing than this feeling. I have many times prayed when I was completely stressed out and felt like I couldn’t take any more stress, and entered the prayer, and then coming out, I feel refreshed and calmed down and at peace and relieved.
Now the first thing that may come to your minds, is the question, “I pray, but how come I don’t feel these feelings?” This is a very important question. The thing is, not everybody experiences this. Many muslims pray and finish and don’t notice anything affect on them. There are many different reasons for this. Maybe they don’t really care about concentrating in prayer. Maybe they are involved in too many bad things in their lives, and it’s affecting their hearts in the prayer. Maybe they are consumed with the dhunia in the prayer, etc. etc. etc.
But if you are interested in attaining this amazing feeling of khushu’ then have no fear, because Allah has made this treasure available to anybody who wants it. It does require effort, diligence, consistency, and belief however. I have spent a long time trying to figure out how to get this feeling of khushu’, and finally, it’s getting easier for me. And even now, I have frequent times where I don’t feel the khushu’ like I have at other times. So it’s not a black or white situation, and it is a work in progress. Try to treat it as if you are working out, where you have to build up slowly but surely.
The single most important factor that works for me when praying is knowing who Allah is. To have a true belief coming from your heart, that you have a Lord who cares about you, who is there for you, and who is the greatest. And then earnestly trying to believe in this, and understanding the meanings of what you’re reciting will help you tremendously in the quest for khushu’.
Isn’t that amazing, that Allah wants us to take the opportunity to find relaxation and peace? May Allah help us all to attain this treasure of khushu’ in our prayers.