الحمد لله وحده، والصلاة والسلام على من لا نبي بعده، وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعد
The meaning of khushoo’ and its importance within the prayer:
Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) said:
The meaning of khushoo’ linguistically is: to humble oneself as well as to have submission for Allaah, The Glorified and Most High, and the origin of khushoo’ is in the heart; and so it becomes manifest upon the limbs – such that they are tranquil; and upon the tongue – such that it is subdued. He, The Most High said:
وَخَشَعَتِ الْأَصْوَاتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ فَلَا تَسْمَعُ إِلَّا هَمْسًا
((And the voices will be humbled before The Most Merciful, so you shall hear nothing except a soft sound [of footsteps].)) (Ta-ha: 108)
Khushoo’ (humility and attentiveness) in the prayer: it the very soul of the prayer, due to this; He, The Most High stated:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
((Successful indeed are the believers. Those who in their prayer are khaashi’oon [have humility and attentiveness].)) (Al-Mu-minoon: 1-2)
So when He mentioned their success – He mentioned also the characteristics which were factors in bringing about the success; and He initiated them with that of observing khushoo’ in the prayer, which indicates that khushoo’ in the prayer has immense importance. Likewise that the servant does attain from his prayer except that which he comprehended from it; and had humility and attentiveness in it (in his standing) before his Lord, The Glorified and Most High.
For indeed it may be that a servant prays; and emerges with the complete reward; yet he may pray and emerges with half the reward or with a tenth of the reward – or with less than that. Or that he may pray; and he does not emerge with any reward at all, hence the one that is does not have humility and attentiveness in his prayer; then no reward is written for him. Even if it be that he is not commanded to repeat (the prayer), this is so that the Muslim has humility and attentiveness in his prayer; being attentive in his heart during the prayer. It is essential that he avoids the things which affect his khushoo’ and so cause distraction in his prayer.
The distraction from observing khushoo’ in the prayer and its remedy:
Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said:
That which some of the people are careless of with regards to in the prayer is the khushoo’, so you will find an individual not having khushoo’ in his prayer. Khushoo’ is not that one should weep; rather khushoo’ is the attentive presence of the heart and the tranquillity of the limbs. As for the attentive presence of the heart; then many of the people; when one of them enters into the prayer – his heart begins roving to the right and to the left in thoughts and notions. From that which is astounding is that he does not think about these matters before he enters into the prayer; and more astounding than that is that he thinks about affairs that have no benefit in them for the most part. So they are not of significant importance to him in the matters of his religion nor in his worldly life, however; Satan brings them to him in order to corrupt his prayer upon him.
Due to this you will find him exiting from his prayer and his heart was not illuminated by way of it nor was his eye cooled (i.e. delighted) by way of it nor was he pleased due to it; nor was his Eemaan strengthened by way of it – because it was tantamount to movements such as the movements of a machine. Indeed – this is a sickness O brothers, I mean the notions (thoughts and ideas) in the prayer, is a sickness that is seriously rampant and an illness that is widespread – not just with the general people but between the general people as well as their specific ones even amongst those of knowledge and worship from among them – except he whom Allaah wills.
However; for every sickness there is a cure – and all praise is for Allaah, so if a person senses these notions; then he should seek refuge with Allaah from Satan – the rejected one. Whether he be standing or bowing or prostrating or sitting; if he senses that then he should make a light spittle on his left side and seek refuge with Allaah from Satan – the rejected one. If he is in a congregational prayer then he should seek refuge with Allaah from Satan – the rejected one; and not make the light spittle on his left side – so that he should not bother those around himself. There is no harm if one is by himself and he senses that and so he makes a light spittle on his left side – there is no harm if he makes the spittle; as the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) commanded with that; and the turning motion here (i.e. to the left) is in the interest of the prayer and is not out of folly.
Thus a person should focus his mind when he enters into his prayer that he is standing before Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic Who Knows of the surreptitious glance of the eyes – and that which the chests conceal; and let him reflect over that which he says in his prayer as well as that which he does – perhaps Allaah will dispel from him that which he was experiencing.
The motion that is prohibited; and the types of people in relation to the prayer:
Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:
The motion that is prohibited in the prayer is of two types:
The first of them: is the motion of the heart away from Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic – to other than Allaah, The Most High.
The second: is the motion of the sight.
Both of them are forbidden; and Allaah does not cease to be forthcoming with His servant for as long as the servant is forthcoming upon his prayer. So if he turns in motion with his heart or with his sight; then Allaah, The Most High turns away from him.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said likewise:
With regards to the prayer; then the people within it are of five types:
The First: is the level of the one that is wrongful to himself – the squanderer; and he is the one that was deficient in regards to its wudhu and its correct timings and its circumscribed manner (i.e. specified method) as well as its pillars.
The Second: is the one that guards its timings and its circumscribed manner and its apparent pillars – as well as its wudhu. However; he neglected the fight against his soul in terms of the whisperings, so he is betaken along with the whisperings and the thoughts.
The Third: is the one that guards its circumscribed manner and its pillars; and strives within his soul to repel the whisperings and thoughts. So he is busy with the fight against his enemy – such that he should not steal his prayer from him and as a consequence; he is in prayer and jihaad.
The Fourth: is the one who – when he stands for prayer; he perfects its rights and its pillars and its circumscribed manner; and so his heart is immersed in observing its circumscribed mannerisms as well as its rights – so that nothing from it should go to waste. Rather; his entire endeavour – all of it is expended upon establishing it as is befitting; and perfecting it and completing it. His heart is immersed with the significance of the prayer and in servitude to his Lord – The Blessed and Most High within it.
The Fifth: is the one who – when stands for prayer; he stands to it in a like manner (i.e. to the previous one), however; along with this he takes his heart and places it before his Lord, The Mighty and Majestic. Observing Him by way of his heart; maintaining surveillance upon it; filled with love of Him and of His Greatness, as though he sees Him and is witnessing Him. Indeed; those whispers and notions have vanished; and their veils have been lifted between him and his Lord. Hence between this individual and between other than him in relation to the prayer is a greater divergence than that which is between the heavens and the earth; and this one is busied in his prayer with his Lord, The Mighty and Majestic – contentedly delighted with Him.
So the first type: will be punished.
The second: will be held to account.
The third: will be absolved.
The fourth: will be rewarded.
The fifth: will be brought close; because for him is a portion of those whose eyes have been made to be cooled (i.e. in delight) within the prayer. So whoever’s eye is cooled with the prayer in the life of this world; then his eye will be cooled with closeness to his Lord, The Mighty and Majestic in the Hereafter as well as his eye being cooled with Him in the life of this world. Thus whoever’s eye is cooled with Allaah; then every other eye will be cooled with him; and whoever’s eye is not cooled with Allaah, The Most High, then his soul will be intermittent over the life of this world in regretful sorrow.
 Tas-heel al-Ilmaam be-Fiqh al-Ahaadeeth min Bulooghil Maraam vol 2 p.145-146.
 Al-Waabil as-Sayyib wa Raafi al-Kalim at-Tayyib p.43.
 The ‘Arkaan as-salaat’ – or pillars of prayer are 14 in number as listed by Shaikh ul Islaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) – and they are:
- Standing – when one has the ability
- The opening takbeer (i.e. saying Allaahu Akbar)
- The recitation of Soorah Al-Faatihah
- The rukoo’ (bowing)
- Rising back up from the rukoo’
- Prostrating upon the seven bodily parts
- Rising up from it
- Sitting between the two prostrations
- Observing tranquil composure in all of the pillars
- Observing the (correct) sequential order
- The final Tashahud (sitting for the declaration of faith)
- The sitting for it
- Sending salaat upon the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)
- The two tasleems (salutations)
(See: Shuroot as-Salaat wa Arkaaniha wa Waajibaatiha p.14-15)
 Al-Waabil as-Sayyib wa Raafi al-Kalim at-Tayyib p.49-50.