First off, I would just like to say that I admire your site and the amount of work that you put into it. May Allah be pleased with you.
My question for you is quite simple. I’ve been praying regularly for quite a while now, and I was wondering if there was anything that could improve the quality of my prayer?
I’ve already tried to increase my concentration and I try to do my absolution as best as I can to ensure that my prayer is done with the best of my ability, and I hope that my prayers are accepted.
Is there anything else I can do? I’ve asked other people as well, and they tell me that when you are bowing, instead of saying “Subhana-rabil-azim” three times, you can say it 5 times or even 7 times to get more reward (or when bowing on the floor instead of saying the verse 3 times, you can say it 5 or 7 times). I would just like you to confirm if this is true. Is there anything else, other than what I stated above, that I can do to improve the quality of my prayer?
Prayers among Muslims has generally become purely a mechanical phenomenon, which adversely effects the quality and the spirit of praying. Anything which would help rejuvenate this spirit of praying and would reduce the mechanical nature of the prayers to the bare minimum will, insha’Allah, positively effect the quality of our prayers as well.
In view of the foregoing principle, I not only tend to agree with the stated opinion, but will also like to add that except for those recitations, which have been fixed and prescribed by the Prophet (pbuh), a regular variation in the recitations and utterances at all the other instances will not only help improve our concentration during prayers, but will also instill the true spirit of praying in these prayers.
It may be worth mentioning here that the recitations and utterances that were fixed and prescribed by the Prophet (pbuh) – and which, therefore, should not be altered – include:
The Takbeer1 at the opening of the Sala’h and then at every instance of changing position during the Sala’h, except at rising from the Ruku’ (prostration);
The recitation of Surah Al-Faatihah, during every rak`ah of the Sala’h; and
The recitation at rising from Ruku’;
Most of the other recitations and utterances during prayers are not fixed. They may be substituted by other recitations, utterances or supplications.
Thus, for instance, during Ruku’, it is not only allowed to vary the number of times that we recite the tasbeeh that you have referred, but also to vary the words of the tasbeeh. The same is the case with most of the other recitations, utterances and supplications during prayers.
I hope this helps.
April 29, 2002
- i.e. saying “الله اكبر“ (Allahu Akbar). [↩]