07 Jul Tips on feeling that connection with Allah when praying
Tips on feeling that connection with Allah when praying
Hey, I just want to know some tips on feeling that connection with Allah when praying, as I am not an arabic speaker, its hard to remember the translation of what I am saying. Even If I did, I think it would be difficult to simultaneously recite the words in my prayer and at the same time think of the meaning too. I get unbelievably distracted when praying, I follow the actions and say the words but feel nothing. It worries me. Please give me some advice. Jazak’.
I will be very honest with you on this issue, and I have referred to this issue in several answers, that I had a particularly difficult time in dealing with a lack of “connection” to God during prayer. I would constantly compare myself to other Muslims, and I remember watching this documentary about this Muslim woman who would speak about praying even at work. She said: “I get to talk to God five times a day, I need that time.”
I freaked out, because I didn’t have that, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. I tried really hard to pray and feel something, and just nothing came out of it.
I tell you all this, not to scare you, but to show you that lots of people have difficulty with this issue, and others do not. However, do not let the difficulty you have with this issue change into you thinking you have a something that is preventing you from connecting to The Almighty.
Everyone has different solutions, and for me, the way I found a closer connection to God was through studying The Qur’an and Shariah, and it was as if I found my personal way to connect to God that way. It was through the law that I saw my ability to connect to God, and that was a huge relief, but it also felt like my own, private way, which made it better.
It was only after I established that connection through Shariah that I was able to make prayer more than just a mechanical process. I really felt like instead of communicating with God, or that I was somehow having some conversation with God, I felt that prayer was my way to show devotion to God, and that I was using prayer as a method to discipline myself, like practicing a sport or working out, that I was chipping away at my flaws or getting ever closer to my goal. I’m not sure if that makes sense.
Of course, when I am very happy, or when I am sad, or need guidance, my prayer shifts to asking for guidance, and towards attempting to make sense of what is in front of me. However, I would be dishonest if I told you that is what I (mostly) used prayer for, because, most of the time, I pray to show to God my appreciation for the peace He has given me through my personal path to Him.
As far as tips, again, I will use my personal experience to give you one example as to what you might try.
I have two favorite Surahs when praying:
Surah Al-Ikhlas, because, it’s message is so simple and so poignant in that it underlines the limitation of what we can associate with The Divine. That anything other than God, is just human flesh, just our ideas and our perceptions that we inherited from our parents, our cultures, or our societies. The only solid truth is that God is above us all, and that we are all simply attempting to rationalize him, and to add any other parameters, to add any other parts, is futile, because they will simply be extensions of our human perceptions and human need to make sense of things, but we will only be able to do so within our own understandings, and never will we come close to even touching the surface of the enormity of God. It puts people’s obsession with particular theological concepts in focus, for me, in that God’s description as “Ahad,” or “One” is so dense yet so simple that it actually is difficult for humans to perceive something so grand and immense being so singularly simple.
Surah Az-Zalzalah, this Surah captures the mastery of The Qur’an’s poetry in that it links a profound point, with onomatopoeia, with poetic description of the terror and the fear from an Earth quake, as a means towards explaining judgment day. It also underlines how humans will be shocked to things that they are unprepared for, even though they should know what is happening and have had ample warning about. It urges you to be prepared, to steel yourself through belief to prepare for anything that you may confront, and to face anything without fear, because God has explained to you clearly what must be done and what decides your fate, which is how the Surah ends: “And so, he who shall have done an atom’s weight of good, shall behold it; and he who shall have done an atom’s weight of evil, shall behold it.”
Instead of focusing on the particular words, I think making a sketch of the Surahs, and not just what the tafseer say, but how you understand them would be a great first step. Think about them, beyond what the words say, but what do they make you think of? What does Al-Fatiha mean to you? What aspects resonate with you?
I think that way, you can recite the words with greater ease, because your focus will be on the connection the Surah has to you, on a personal level, rather than your attempt to focus on the specific words. Take a moment before you go from the Fatiha to the next Surah, collect your thoughts, and think of those associations you have made about those Surahs, and focus on those personal meanings, rather than the words or your relative focus on those words.
Again, I think that you need to establish a connection to God, and that might be through prayer, but, it might not (initially) be that way. And that’s okay. Prayer will come to you once you figure out yourself, and I feel that my suggestion might be helpful, so that you can focus on your associations with the particular Surah, rather than the specific words.
Insha Allah, I hope I answered your question, and I hope that if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.