When your heart's compass heads North, it is time to pray
Prayer (al- salah) in Islam is seen as a central cornerstone of faith as it earns the believer a one on one conversation with God where the believer can be heard and answered in an intimate discourse with the Lord of the worlds. For the believer to earn such a unique opportunity he/she needs to enter the state of prayer with a clear head which is not occupied with worldly troubles and with a pure heart which is solely directed towards seeking the pleasure of the beloved (God). Therefore Imam al- Ghazali explains the verse in which God commanded the believer not to embark on praying while in a state of intoxication or drunkenness to mean not only the literal meaning of refraining from alcoholic beverages which leads to an absent mind but actually took the meaning even further and stated that the state of drunkenness is not only limited to drinking wine but actually envelopes those who are absent minded due to indulging excessively in worldly matters and earthly gains. He asked, "how many people enter prayer with a state of drunkenness without even tasting one sip of wine in their whole life?".
The state of total concentration and utter devotion without the intervention of any whims or worldly thought is indeed precious and highly rewarded and for this reason Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever prayed two rak'as during which no worldly thought crosses his mind, all his past sings are forgiven". The Prophet explains to us that the true essence of prayer encompasses humbleness, supplication, atonement and awe. The place of all these feelings is the heart as God values the heart of the believer dearly because this is where God's love resides. God does not aim at the submission of the bodies but rather seeks the surrender of the hearts. The magnificence, mercy, glory and majesty of God should be the sole companion to our humbleness before God during our prayers. The prayer opens doors for conversing with God without arranging a prior appointment and without bringing a translator to present your needs.
The highlight point of prayer comes during prostration (sujud) as when the highest point of the body touches the lowest point to the ground is considered a declaration of God's superiority and majesty and a testimony to our weakness, humbleness and dire poverty. For this reason Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "The closest a believer can get to his Lord is during his state of prostration".