Secret and Essence of the Salah

The secret and essence of salah lies in the inclination of the heart towards Allah alone and focussing on attention on Him while praying. Consider the case of a person whose heart is engaged in one’s own thoughts and worldly affairs; he is like a person who visits the King intending to apologise for his own mistakes and shortcomings, beseeching rain from the clouds of His Generosity and Mercy to nourish his heart enough so it can be at His service. However as soon as he arrives at His doorstep and is on the verge of calling upon Him, he turns away from the King and instead starts to busy himself with things that are most disliked and disparaged by the King. Even as his heart is inclined toward trivial matters, he still sends forth his servants (i.e. the limbs) to serve Him on his behalf and excuse and compensate for the absence of his heart. But despite that, the Generosity and the benevolence of the King to refuse to dismiss the servants of his slaves without granting their master (i.e. slave of Allah) a portion of His Mercy. But there is a big difference between the ones who wins and earns the trophy and those given a consolation prize out of Compassion and Mercy – Allah said:

“And for all there will be ranks from what they do, that He may pay them for their deeds! and they will not be wronged.” (Surah al-Ahqaf 46:19)

Allah Created mankind solely to worship Him, and He created everything else to be at mankind’s service… Allah, Most High, made the salah the means through which people can be near Him, invoke Him, earn His love and enjoy His company.

Inner Dimensions of the Salah by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah Pages 25-26