Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Boredom in Prayer

Many people feel bored in prayer. In the mosque we see people yawning in salat and shifting from side to side. The majority are hurrying to complete the required number of rakat and leave.

One reason people feel bored is because their salat is according to a formula they have memorized which they repeat again and again. They have repeated it so many times that they don’t pay attention to the words they are saying. Salat is something to be done and “be done with”. Your heart is not in it and your mind wanders everywhere.

It is important to know that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not pray according to a fixed formula. He changed what he said in salat according to how he felt. This is very clear when we read about the Prophet’s prayer in books of Hadith.

To give a simple example, when people are in ruku, they say “subhana rabbi-al- azeem”. Many do not know what it means. Most of those who know the literal meaning have never thought about how it relates to their lives. This is what they were taught and this is what they say every time. In Hadith we find that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said different things at different times in ruku. You can count more than five different supplications and affirmations people heard him say in ruku. And this is a count of what people heard him say. We can guess that the Prophet spoke with spontaneity in his private prayer also.

Also, the Prophet recited verses from the Quran in his salat but when he was particularly moved by some aya he would stop the recitation, raise his hands and make dua, then he would resume his recitation, and later when he was so moved he would again raise his hands and make dua.

The main point to understand is that we are not following the Prophet’s example when we are doing salat by repeating a fixed formula again and again in an absent minded manner. His salat was spontaneous and inspiring to him. When was the last time you were inspired in your prayer?

We should know that boredom is a negative emotion. It creates a feeling of helplessness, and if continued leads to depression. You can see how bored people in your mosque are. They are apathetic and not able to do even simple things.

Everyone knows that prayer can help you if it comes from your heart. That is how the Prophet’s salat was. Prayer according to a fixed formula in which you are bored and distracted is very different, and it does not help.


  1. This topic is much thought about but not frequently talked about. A person's prayer practice is the foundation for his or her spiritual growth. I am so glad that you are bring this essential topic to the surface Dr. Abdulhameed.

  2. Thanks for enlightening us with your well researched and thoughtful comments. Ritual and mindless prayers seemed to have entrenched in Muslim culture and unless someone like you bring this up for critical analysis change will not occur. Please continue your work and Allah will guide us all with his light and love.