Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
How do I pray slower without feeling empty about doing so?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah ease your difficulty.
It is clear that you suffer from misgivings from the Shaytan (waswasa). You must understand that, in order to get through this illness, you will have to implement the following despite discomfort.
As mentioned, waswasa (sometimes referred to as OCD, although there are some differences between the two) is from Shaytan. It is his diabolical way of getting people to feeling despondent regarding their religious practice. You’ve complained of such a feeling.
Shaytan uses people’s sincerity against them, by making them feel guilty for not performing worships in a specifc way.
Our worship of Allah Most High is our purpose of life. We do not worship Allah because of how it makes us feel. That said, it is possible for someone to feel fulfilled or peaceful after worships. Not feeling something does not mean Allah Most High hasn’t accepted the act.
The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) are the greatest examples for us after the Prophets and Messengers (may Allah bless them all and give them peace). That said, it is transmitted that many of the Companion would pray very brief prayers in order to fight off Shaytan’s whispers and distractions.
It is narrated that Ammar bin Yasir (Allah be pleased with him) would prayer a very brief prayer. Someone said, ‘…You have made the prayer brief!?’ He replied, ‘Did you see me neglect any of its limits?’ They said, ‘No.’ He said, “I did so to hinder the distractions from Shaytan.” [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]
Talha, Zubair, and other Companions (Allah bless them all) are narrated as being people of brief prayers. They would say, “We hinder the whispers of Shaytan.” [Ibid.]
The above narrations are mentioned to show you that there is nothing wrong with praying a brief prayer as long as one fulfills the prayer’s requirements. Make your focal point in the prayer, the actions and remembrances therein. Strive to perform each integral, doing its remembrances only three times, and focusing on doing that quickly, yet methodically. You should be able to prayer 4 units of prayer in less that 8 minutes (that’s being generous).
By doing this you should be able to re-incorporate your emphasized sunna prayers.
Strive to implement the above without any reservations (refer to opening paragraph). Focus on moving from one integral to the next quickly. Do not make your aim to feel good. You will see that when you liberate yourself from this waswasa, Allah Most High will give your much greater than that.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.