Have you ever built a sand castle on the beach? A castle made of sand, no matter how much effort and work you put into it, will still wash away with the first gust of wind or the first wave on the shore. Because the substance you are working with is already weak. If we start with a weak foundation, it’s impossible to build anything strong and long lasting. That’s why we have to strengthen our faith from the foundation: from where it all begins: from the heart.
يَوْمَ لَا يَنْفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ
|إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ|
Rewards and mercy from Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the Akhira are why we worship Him, but those are the rewards of the afterlife, we don't attain the benefits now. The sole purpose in this life is being close to Allah, and if you are deprived of that, you will never be content. Every creature yearns to fulfill its purpose and our purpose is to worship Allah correctly.
I may sit at my desk, making an attempt to study, but at the same time my mind could be thinking of other things, I may not be focusing and in this case, I won't actually achieve the benefits of those efforts. Same is the case when it comes to our worship. Physical movements are the vehicle which we use to keep us from sins, but it won't bring us closer to Allah سبحانه وتعالى on its own if we don't have a combination of spiritual and physical.
The companion Hudhayfah راضي الله عنه said, "The first thing you will lose of your religion will be khushoo and the last thing you will lose of your religion will be the prayer, and it is well possible that there is no good in a person who prays, and soon will come a time when you shall enter a large Masjid and not see a single person with khushu."
Why is it that khushu will be the first thing to be lost while prayer will be the last? Because the ability to be attentive during prayer is much more difficult than actually praying itself, and it is more susceptible to being lost if we don't take care.
Our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم tells us that Allah سبحانه وتعالى "Does not accept the dua of one whose heart is heedless of Him.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
He also tells us that, "Your reward is in accordance to your effort." So if you are making half the effort, by example, praying while your mind is wandering elsewhere or making tasbih without really thinking about the words you are saying, you will not receive the full reward.
Let's make our worship enriching and enlightening instead of a mindless ritual.
Let's live more from intention and less from habit.
Let's worship from our hearts.
I ask Allahسبحانه وتعالى to make these words beneficial for myself and others, and I ask Him to guide us towards all which will bring us closer to Him.
All correct and beneficial knowledge is from the mercy and guidance of Allah, and all incorrect information is an unintentional error only from myself. And Allah knows best. والله أعلمُ بالـصـواب