The Wisdom Behind Repetition in Prayer
Posted: by Fajr Blog
As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah
“… And it has been prescribed for the servant to repeat these actions and words (i.e. repeat recitation of al-Fatiha, rukoo’, sujood etc, in the prayer) as it is a source of nourishment for the heart and soul. There is no strength in them (the heart and soul) except through this.
Its repetition is just like repeatedly eating food – mouthful after mouthful until a person eats his fill, and drinking again and again until his thirst is quenched. If a hungry individual only took one mouthful of food and then pushed his food away, what will that mouthful do for him? In fact, it may even cause him to become hungrier!
For this reason, one of the Salaf said: ‘A person who prays but does not find tranquillity in his prayer is like a person who is hungry… food is brought to him but he only takes one or two handfuls. What will it then do for him?!’”
[Asrar al-Salat, Ibn al-Qayyim]
Most of the time, a person’s level of Iman, khushu’ (humbleness), and depth of spirituality increases in stages, and doesn’t occur overnight or with one act of ‘Ibadah alone. For this reason, Allah legislated that the soul undergo repetitive acts of ‘Ibadah for it to attain higher levels of Iman; so in the case of prayer, a slave offers it no less than 5 times a day and if they feel themselves lacking in spiritual nourishment, they should increase in nafl (supererogatory) salah until their soul begins to feel nourished and the empty voids are all filled. The same with other acts of worship and the soul will soon taste the sweetness of Iman (faith) and climb up from rank to rank in the Sight of Allah.