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IslamQA: How to focus better when praying (performing salah)

Assalamualaikum. I'm a PhD student & often my research leads to complicated problems which keep coming into mind during my non-working activities & even in my salah. When I catch my mind drifting into my research problem I quickly say istighfar & focus on salah again, but then it keeps happening. Sometimes I can't even keep my focus between 2 takbir. Do you have any advice on how to deal with this? Is it alright to be distracted in salah as long as I'm trying to focus again? Thank you very much

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I too sometimes struggle to disengage my mind from my work when I’ve been busy. It is just a struggle that we have to accept and try to overcome during the prayer, whether we can overcome it or not is not entirely in our control. When the brain is tired it is not easy to force it to concentrate on the thing you want.

The best thing for focus during the prayer that I have found is to say the words loudly enough that you can hear it with your ears clearly. The act of pronouncing the words clearly and carefully makes it quite difficult for the mind to wander.

I also make up for my occasional lack of concentration by making sure to perform the sunna prayers, and by performing dhikr after every prayer (saying subhanallah, alhamdulillah, allahu akbar and astaghfirallah 34 times each). Different numbers of repetitions are mentioned in hadith, I do 34 of each to keep it simple.

I also listen to the Quran an hour a day, which I hope is another way of making up for my failings in my prayers.

Asalamu alaykum, Regarding the recent Q you answered. Is it permissible to say the prayers our loud in Shari'ah as it is supposed to be the movement of the tongue and lips only? Also, advice for the questioner, what one focuses on outside of his/her prayer will be his/her focus in prayer. Therefore, it may be worth mentioning to be conscious of God even outside of prayer.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

The correct way is to pray loudly enough for yourself to hear it, but not so loudly as others praying beside you would be bothered by it. God tells us:

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)

Moving your tongue and lips is not sufficient, your voice should be audible to yourself in a quiet room (which is what I recommended).

Women are not meant to recite out loud during prayer though, correct?

That only applies in the presence of strangers. At home or in the presence of other women the rule is the same as for men.


However, what I mentioned regarding the prayer being audible to yourself is a different matter and applies to all of the prayers. I was not referring to being loud during the fajr, maghrib and isha prayers.

And God knows best.
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