Salam dear sister,
Thank you very much for your question.
We would like to congratulate you on becoming Muslim. You have taken a decision that you will never regret.
We pray to Allah the Almighty to help you remain steadfast in your faith.
Prayer is Our Connection to God
Islam gives much attention to a Muslim’s relation with His Creator.
Prayer is the real connection between us and Allah. Prayer is the main factor in forgiving our sins.
The Prophet (peace be upon him), said,
“The five prayers, Friday to Friday, and Ramadan to Ramadan will be expiation for the sins committed between them as long as major sins are avoided.” (Muslim)
Prayer is a sign of one’s firm belief in Allah.
The Prophet said,
If you see a man committed to the mosque, then testify for his faith. Verily, Allah the Exalted has said: “The mosques are only maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give charity.” (At-Tawbah 9:18) (At-Tirmidhi)
Islam is not different from Christianity in giving priority to the issue of concentration while performing prayer to God.
Prayer Requires Focus
The Prophet warned us against acts that distract our attention during the prayer.
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said:
What is wrong with those people who look toward the sky during prayer? His talk grew stern while delivering this speech until he (peace be upon him) said: Either they stop (looking toward the sky during prayer) or else their sight will be taken away. (Al-Bukhari)
Close Your Eyes If It Maintains Focus
As for closing your eyes during prayer, scholars view that it is disliked to close the eyes during prayer EXCEPT if is done to maintain focus and avoid distraction.
Imam al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam said that it is permissible to close the eyes when necessary, if that helps the worshipper to focus more fully on his prayer.
Ibn al-Qayyim said in his Zad al-Ma`ad (1:283) (Provisions for the Hereafter) that if a man can focus more fully on his prayer by opening his eyes, then it is better to do so.
If he can focus more fully by closing his eyes because there are things that may distract him from his prayer, such as adornments and decorations, then it is not disliked at all.
In this case, it is recommended for him to close his eyes and is closer to the aims and principles of the Shari`ah than saying that it is disliked.
Based on this, you do not have to worry about closing your eyes during the prayer. Your prayer is valid and will be accepted by Allah the Almighty, inshaAllah.
Perfecting the Prayer is Necessary
A Muslim should do his best to perfect his prayer in order not miss out on its reward.
`Ammaar ibn Yasir said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: A person may offer a prayer and nothing of it is recorded for him except one tenth of it, one ninth of it, one eighth of it, one seventh of it, one sixth of it, one fifth of it, one quarter of it, one third of it, or half of it.” (Ahmad)
A Muslim should feel the greatness of Allah during the prayer. He should remember that he is standing before Allah and that Allah turning to him.
The Prophet is reported to have said:
Allah is turning towards His slave so long as he does not look around, so when you pray, do not look around. (Ahmad)
I hope this answers your query.
Salam. Please stay in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)