Chapter 9: Hadiths Concerning The Presence Of Heart

There are many Hadiths from the infallible and pure Ahl al-Bayt ('a) concerning urging the “presence of heart”. It suffices to translate some texts of those narratives:

The Messenger of Allah (s) is quoted to have said: “Worship Allah as if you see Him. If you do not see Him, He does see you.” 1

From this noble hadīth two of the degrees of the presence of heart can be realized:

The first is that the sālik discerns the Beauty of the Beautiful, and is absorbed in the manifestations of the Beloved [hadrat-i mahbūb] such that all the ears of his heart will be closed to all other creatures, while the eye of his insight opens to the pure Beauty of the Lord of Majesty, discerning nothing else. That is, he is engaged in the Present [hādir], neglecting the presence [hudūr] and company [mahdar].

The second degree, which is lower in rank, is that the sālik sees himself present in His Presence [mahdar] and observes the discipline of the Presence [hudūr] and Company [mahdar]. The Messenger of Allah (s) says: “If you can be of those who are in the first degree, then worship Allah accordingly, or else, do not neglect the fact that you are in the Presence [mahdar] of the Lord.” Naturally, there is a discipline for being in the Presence [mahdar] of Allah, which should not be neglected in respect of the state of servitude.

In a hadīth, Abū Hamzah ath-Thamālī narrates: “I saw 'Alī ibn al-Husayn ('a) performing his Salat. His cloak slipped off his shoulders, but he did not try to rearrange it until he finished the Salat. When I asked him about that, he said: “Woe unto you! Do you know at whose service I was?” 2

The Messenger of Allah (s) was quoted to have said: “Two of my Ummah stand for the Salat, and, although their rukū' and sujūd are the same, the difference between the two Salats is like that which is between the earth and the sky.” 3

He also said: “Is the person who turns his face in the Salat not afraid that it may turn into the face of an ass?” 4

He further said: “Whoever performs a two-rak'at Salat without paying attention to any worldly matter, Allah, the Exalted, will forgive him his sins. 5

In another hadīth he said: “A Salat, half of it may be accepted, or one-third, or a quarter, or one-fifth, or even one-tenth. Another Salat may be folded, like an old dress, and be thrown back at the face of its owner.”

“No part of the Salat is yours except that part which you perform with an attentive heart.”6

Imām al-Bāqir ('a) has quoted the Messenger of Allah (s) as saying: “When a believing servant stands for the Salat, Allah, the Exalted, looks at him (or he said: He turns to him) until he finishes, and mercy shadows over his head, the angels surround him from all sides up to the horizon of the heaven, and Allah assigns an angel to stand at his head, saying: “O musallī, if you know who is looking at you, and to whom you are supplicating, you will look to nowhere, nor will you leave your position.” 7

Imām as-Sādiq ('a) is quoted to have said: “Eagerness and fear will not get together in a heart unless Paradise is his. So, when you perform your Salat, turn with your heart to Allah, the Glorified, the Almighty, because there would be no believing servant who would turn with his heart to Allah, the Exalted, during the Salat and invocation, unless Allah would turn to him the hearts of the believers, and with their love He would back him and lead him to Paradise.” 8

It is narrated that Imāms al-Bāqir and as-Sādiq ('a) said: “Nothing of your Salat is yours except that which you did with an attentive heart. So, if one performed it completely mistaken, or neglected its disciplines, it would be folded and thrown back at its owner's face.” 9

Imām Bāqir al-'Ulūm (the cleaver of knowledge) ('a) is quoted to have said: “Of a servant's Salat ascends half, one-third, one-fourth or one-fifth to his account. That is, of his Salat will not ascend except that part which is performed with an attentive heart. We have been commanded to perform the nāfilah so as to make up for the shortcomings of the obligatory Salats.”10

Imām as-Sādiq ('a) is quoted to have said: “When you wear the ihrām for the Salat (i.e., when you prepared for the Salat), pay attention to it, because when you pay attention to it, Allah will pay attention to you. If you do not care for it, Allah will not care for you. So, sometimes, does not ascend of the Salat except one-third, one-fourth or one-sixth, according to the amount of attention the musallī pays to it. Allah grants nothing to the negligent.”11

The Messenger of Allah (s) is quoted to have said to Abū Dharr: “Two moderate rak'ats of Salat with contemplation are better than worshipping a whole night with a negligent heart.”12 The Hadiths on this are many, but those which have been related are enough for those whose hearts are awake and attentive.

  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 74, “Book of ar-Rawdah, ch. 4, hadīth 3, p. 74; Makārim al-Akhlāq, p. 459.
  • 2. Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah, vol. 4, “Book of as-Salat,” sec. on “The Acts of as-Salat,” ch. 3, hadīth 6, p. 688.
  • 3. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 81, “Book of as-Salat,” ch. 16, hadīth 41, p. 249.
  • 4. Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, “Book of as-Salat,” sec. on “The Acts of the Salat,” ch. 2, hadīth 20.
  • 5. Ibid., hadīth 13.
  • 6. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 81, “Book of as-Salat,” ch. 16, hadīth 59, p. 260.
  • 7. Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, “Book of as-Salat,” sec. on “The Acts of the Salat,” ch. 2, hadīth 22.
  • 8. Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah, vol.4, “Book of as-Salat”, sec.on “The Acts of the Salat,”ch. 3,hadīth 3,p. 678.
  • 9. Ibid., hadīth 1.
  • 10. 'Ilal ash-Sharā'i', vol. 2, ch. 22, hadīth 2, p. 327.
  • 11. Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, “Book of as-Salat,” sec. on “The Acts of the Salat,” ch. 3, hadīth 7.
  • 12. Refer to footnote 59.