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IslamQA: What should one think about during salah?

Assalamu alaikum! I know you are supposed to focus and have "khushoo" during prayer, but what exactly are you supposed to think about? Are you supposed to focus on reciting and performing the steps properly? Are you supposed to think about Allah? If so, what exactly are you supposed to think about regarding Allah? Sorry if this is a weird question, but I find my mind wandering during salah because I don't know a specific idea to focus on.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The ideal thing to do is to focus on the meaning of the words you utter. When reciting al-Fatiha, when you say “Guide us to the straight path”, you should create in your mind a state of supplication; this should be a desperate and sincere prayer for guidance. When you say allahu akbar during the movements, you should think of God’s greatness; sincerely saying in your heart “God is Great” and doing your best to believe it and create a state of awe in your heart.

The best way to avoid letting your mind wander is to speak the words in a whisper that you yourself can hear clearly. Some Muslims pray with their mouths shut; this makes it very easy for the mind to wander and also goes against the command of the Quran:

Say, “Call Him God, or call Him the Most Merciful. Whichever name you use, to Him belong the Best Names.” And be neither loud in your prayer, nor silent in it, but follow a course in between. (The Quran, verse 17:110)

Take the time to speak each word carefully and clearly. Hearing your own voice helps you focus on the meaning of what you are saying.

And God knows best.
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