I prayed today behind an Imam that appeared to be in a rush to do something better than leading the congregation. Last I heard, it was supposed to be one of the highest honours to lead the congregation in salaah, but it appears as if such honours are taken for granted when endowed for an extended period of time. Only, this Imam that I followed in salaah today is not the regular Imam, yet he read as if he was late for a more important appointment.
One of the basic conditions of salaah is that it should be read calmly and unhurriedly. The emphasis on this is so great that there is a hadith that says:
Sayyiduna Ubada bin Saamit radi Allahu anhu narrates that the Merciful Prophet sallallahu alaih wasallam said, ‘The one who does Wudhu well and then stands for Salaah and completes the ruku’, sujood and recitation, his Salaah says, ‘May ALLAH protect you the way you have protected me’. The Salaah is then elevated to the sky and it sparkles with light. The gates of the skies are opened for it so it reaches the court of ALLAH and then it intercedes for the one who prayed it. But if he does not do ruku’, sujood and recite well then it says, ‘May ALLAH abandon you the way you have ruined me’. That Salaah is then taken to the skies and is shadowed by darkness. The gates of the skies are closed for it. It is then folded up like an old piece of cloth and thrown onto the persons face’. (Kanz-ul-Ummal, V7, P129, Hadith 19049)
Another condition of salaah that emphasises the above point is that in each posture of salaah, the bones must come to a rest. Therefore, there cannot be any fluid movement without rest between the rukhu and proceeding to sajdah, nor can there be any fluidity of movement between the two sajdahs, etc.
So it’s extremely disconcerting to find that when in rukhu, there is barely enough time to recite ‘Subhana Rabbiyul Adheem’ three times, and the same being true for its equivalent in sajdah. At such a blistering pace, how can anyone achieve a state of khushu in salaah?
If you have something better to do, please allow someone else with more patience, conviction and presence of mind to lead the salaah so that the enjoyment of salaah is not tainted for the rest of the congregation that actually look forward to achieving a state of composure in the presence of their Lord.