You’ve prayed 2 rakats Sunnah after the Esha Salah and you’re now waiting to rise for the taraweh salah. You rise up, wait for the Imam’s takbeer, and begin. Staying relaxed and focused, placing all attention to the recitation, you feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to pray salatul taraweeh, Al-Hamdullillah. Surah Fatiha passes, all good: no fidgeting, no daydreaming, pure focus on recitation. Full khoshooh and khudhoo. What was the score in the Brazil match again?
Argh, it was going so good! By the time you know it, you’re scratching your left ear and yearning for the next ruku.
There lies much blessing and reward in the night prayers. We should all make our intention such that we aim to attain full advantage of every minute we spend standing in taraweh. Letting such blessing go by to wandering thoughts and fidgets is missed opportunity. How do we maintain consistent focus throughout taraweh?
Here are some pointers to attain that khushoo and khudhoo consistently:
When standing, keep extremely still, consciously try to keep as still as humanly possible. This reduces minute energy usage through bodily movements such as fidgets. Try to imagine putting your body to sleep, while keeping your mind and ears wide awake. Listen and place attention towards the recitation of the Qur’an. If your mind deviates track, identify it and bring focus back to the Qur’an.
Keep posture upright and back straight, with feet placed as wide apart as your shoulders. Maintain breathing at a regular rate through your mouth. Disregards any itches and its associated cravings. I’ll explain later.
Going through the rest of salah, keep movements discreet and exact, with relaxed breathing.
Here’s the pivotal part: when the 2 rakat ends, place hands in front of your lap with palms clasped anteriorly wedged in between your thighs. Look at that same spot you were during salah. Do not, I repeat, do not look around. This is crucial to staying in the zone and in focus. Why is this necessary? Say you see your friend when you have a glance around. That person will be in your thoughts during the next few minutes, even during salah, which will destroy the peace of mind required to stay in the zone.
Stand up as soon as possible and look at that same spot you were during salah. Try to syncronise your takbeer with the Imam’s, there is great blessing in doing so. More often than not, we remain seated and become hesitant to rise, missing out on this opportunity.
Repeat the process mentioned five paragraphs go. Also, do not look at the time, or at your phone. One glance will spoil this entire process. Remember, the goal here is to minimize and eliminate unnecessary body movements, energy usage and distractions to maximize focus towards the Quran and salah to gain maximum reward. Reducing physical energy to maximize brain power, so it can be used solely for Quran concentration.
Do this process until around 8 rakats, and you will find yourself in the zone. Your thoughts of dunya will leave and you will enjoy salah. You will forget the aches and pains for standing for so long. By the time the 20 rakats have ended, you would not have noticed it.
However there is a catch.
This taraweh hack only works most effectively under two critical conditions:
- You have sufficient sleep
- You haven’t overeaten at iftar
Forget getting past 4 rakats if you haven’t had enough sleep during the day. Not only do you miss out on the full reward of taraweh, standing becomes torturous. If you find yourself lacking sleep every night, try to fit in a few hours after Dhuhr salah. Or an hour after Fajr, just make sure you have around 7 hours of sleep before the night falls.
Iftar time is definitely the highlight of the day for a fasting person. But too much of a good thing is not a good thing. As soon as you feel comfortable and satisfied, abstain from over indulgence. Retract the hands and sit on them! Remember, extra energy will be required to digest that food, making you feel drowsy and sluggish during prayer. Leave one third food, one third water, one third air.
Give these techniques a go the next time you go for Taraweh and inshAllah you will notice the difference!