When we are striving to strengthen our khushu, we should prepare ourselves for the prayer properly. We can do this by:
i) Repeating the words of the adhan after the muezzin.
ii) Pronouncing the dua to be recited after the adhan.
“اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الدَّعْوَةِ التَّامَّةِ، وَالصَّلَاةِ الْقَائِمَةِ، آتِ مُحَمَّداً الْوَسِيلَةَ وَالْفَضِيلَةَ، وَابْعَثْهُ مَقَاماً مَحْمُوداً الَّذِي وَعَدْتَهُ، [إَنَّكَ لَا تُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ].
Allaahumma Rabba haathihid-da ‘watit-taammati wassalaatil-qaa’imati, ‘aati Muhammadanil-waseelata walfadheelata, wab ‘ath-hu maqaamam-mahmoodanil-lathee wa’adtahu, [‘innaka laa tukhliful-mee’aad].
O Allah , Lord of this perfect call and established prayer. Grant Muhammad the intercession and favour, and raise him to the honoured station You have promised him, [verily You do not neglect promises]. (Recorded in Al-Bukhari)
iii) Making du’a between the adhan and the iqamah.
iv) Doing wudu properly, saying Bismillah before it and making dhikr and saying du’a after it.
أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ
Ashadu ‘an la ilaha ‘illallahu wahadu la sharika lahu wa ‘ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa Rasuluhu.
I bear witness that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who had no partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger. (Recorded in Muslim)
اللّهُـمَّ اجْعَلنـي مِنَ التَّـوّابينَ وَاجْعَـلْني مِنَ المتَطَهّـرين.
Allahummaj-aalnee minat-tawwabeena wajaalnee minal-mutatahhireen.
O Allah, make me of those who return to You often in repentance and make me of those who remain clean and pure. (Recorded in At-Tirmidhi)
v) Using siwak to cleanse and perfume the mouth that is going to recite Qur’an in a short while, because the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“Purify your mouths for the Qur’an.” (Reported by al-Bazzar)
vi) Wearing one’s best and cleanest clothes, because Allah says,
“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing clean clothes) while praying…” (Surah al-A’raf 7:31)
Allah is most deserving of seeing us ‘take our adornment’ for Him. Clean, pleasant smelling clothes are also more comfortable and relaxing, unlike clothes for sleeping or working in.
We should also prepare ourselves by covering our awrah properly, purify the spot where we are going to pray, getting ready early and waiting for the prayer, and making rows straight and solid, without any gaps, because the shaytan come in through the gaps in the rows.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to move at a measured pace during salah, allowing every bone to return to its place.
Abu Qatadah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
‘The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how can a person steal from his prayer?’ He said, peace be upon him, ‘By not doing ruku and sujud properly.’ (Recorded in Ahmad)
Abu ‘Abd-Allah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
‘The one who does not do ruku properly, and pecks in sujud, is like a starving man who only eats one or two dates; it does not do him any good at all.’ (Recorded in al-Tabarani)
The one who does not move at a measured pace in his prayer cannot have khushu because haste is a barrier to khushu and pecking like a crow is a barrier to reward.
We should always remember that death could come to us at any time. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, advised Abu Ayyub, may Allah be pleased with him:
‘When you stand up to pray, pray a farewell prayer.’ (Recorded in Ahmad)
The ‘farewell prayer’ means the prayer of one who thinks that they will not live to pray again. The person who is praying will know eventually they will die and will definitely have khushu.
The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said:
‘Remember death in your prayer, for the man who remembers death during his prayer will surely pray properly, and pray the prayer of a man who does not think that he will pray any other prayer.’ (Reported from al-Suyuti)