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Moving Beyond Merely Performing Acts of Worship

3 Levels of Humbleness


In fact, scholars divide humbleness in prayers into three levels: humiliation, awe, and happiness.

The first level is humiliation which means that you pray to Allah and feel humiliated before Him. This is reflected in the movements of the prayer. We kneel down and prostrate only to Allah.

These movements are manifestations of humiliation which should be shown only to Allah. Humiliation requires that you feel that you are weak and that Allah is the Powerful, the Rich, and the Almighty.

Humiliation is the result of neediness as the Sheikh explained before when he said:

“The tree of humiliation stems from a seed of neediness”.

When you feel you are in need of Allah, a state of humbleness is produced.

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The second level is feeling awe of Allah. The higher level is to elevate you from the stage of humiliation to the stage of feeling awe of Allah and His Might. Allah says:

{Whenever the verses of the Most Gracious were conveyed unto them [the prophets], they would fall down before Him, prostrating themselves and weeping}. (Maryam 19: 58)

This is the level of feeling awe of Allah which might lead to crying.

{Allah bestows from on high the best of all teachings in the shape of a divine writ fully consistent within itself, repeating each statement [of the truth] in manifold forms [a divine writ] whereat shiver the skins of all who of their Sustainer stand in awe: [but] in the end their skins and their hearts do soften at the remembrance of [the grace of] Allah.

Such is Allah’s guidance: He guides therewith him that wills [to be guided] whereas he whom Allah lets go astray can never find any guide}. (Az-Zummar 39: 23)

One of the Companions reported that he watched the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as he was praying. He said that he heard a whistling sound from the chest of the Prophet resembling the sound of a boiling kettle as he was weeping. (Abu Dawud)

The third level is happiness. The best state of humbleness in prayer is to find yourself happy and pleased because of being in the presence of Allah. So you actually feel happy and elated when you read the Qur’an, mention Allah or praise Him.

This is the highest level of humbleness in prayers. Angels descend from heavens to listen to you and a state of tranquility prevails in the place.

Angels React to Qur’an Recitation

It is reported that while Usayd ibn Hudayr was reciting surat Al-Baqarah (the second chapter of the Qur’an) at night, and his horse was tied beside him, the horse was suddenly startled and troubled. When he stopped reciting, the horse became quiet, and when he started again, the horse was startled again.

Then he stopped reciting and the horse became quiet too. He started reciting again and the horse was startled and troubled once again. Then he stopped reciting and his son, Yahya was beside the horse. He was afraid that the horse might trample on him.

When he took the boy away and looked towards the sky, he could not see it. All he saw was a low cloud full of lamps!

The next morning he informed the Prophet who said, “Recite, O Ibn Hudayr! Recite, O Ibn Hudayr!”

Ibn Hudair replied, “O Allah’s Messenger! My son, Yahya was near the horse and I was afraid that it might trample on him, so I looked towards the sky, and went to him. When I looked at the sky, I saw something like a cloud containing what looked like lamps, so I went out in order not to see it”.

The Prophet said, “Do you know what that was?” Ibn Hudayr replied, “No”. The Prophet said,

Those were Angels who came near to you for your voice and if you had kept on reciting till dawn, it would have remained there till morning when people would have seen it as it would not have disappeared“. (Al-Bukhari)

Al-Bara’ reported that a person was reciting surat Al-Kahf and there was a horse tied with two ropes at his side, a cloud overshadowed him, and as it began to come nearer and nearer his horse began to take fright from it. He went and mentioned that to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the morning, and the Prophet said:

That was Tranquility. It came down at the recitation of the Qur’an“. (Muslim)

Bear in mind, however, that when Allah takes you to a level of happiness in your prayers, this will be out of His Grace not because of your deeds. The Arab poem goes:

In the twinkling of an eye.

Allah may change everything.

From one state to another.

However, there are means that one could follow in order to ascend to that level, By Allah’s Grace. Among these means is to reflect upon the meaning of the Qur’an, and feeling humble by calling to mind how great Allah is.

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