“ The heart is the machine that drives all acts of worship. It is what moves the entire body! As long as the heart is alive, then the limbs will be alive, and the soul will open itself up to worship. However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship will become very difficult on the heart, leading to it eventually disliking and hating to carry out the acts of worship. Allah – the Glorified and Exalted – said, regarding prayer:
“… And truly, it is heavy and hard except on those who are submissive …” [Al-Baqarah, 2:45]
The prayer is difficult, because one’s legs and hands are not what get up for the prayer. What get’s up for the prayer are the heart and the soul.
It is the heart that stands up for worship. The limbs are simply slaves of this heart, carrying out what it commands them. If the heart is alive, then the soul will be alive, and the Ibadaat will become beloved and sweetened to the hearts and the souls. However, if the heart becomes diseased, then worship becomes too difficult upon it.
This is the nature of the heart. It must be strong so that it can handle worship that is strong. The Stronger your heart becomes, then throw as much worship upon it as you wish. You would get up to pray at night, and you would cherish this prayer and consider sleep to be your enemy:
“Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope …” [Sajdah 32:16]
He begins to forsake it because an enmity develops between him and his bed. He prays behind the imam, and he says to himself: “If only he would make the prayer longer,” That he would increase is in his opening up to this worship, and his tasting of its sweetness.
At times, I would lead the prayer and i would delay the prayer. The youth would then come to me and say : ”Whoever leads the people in prayer should go easy on them,” – the youth! And there was an old man behind me who was between 90 years of age – his face filled with light(noor) – and he would say to me: “prolong the Salaah(prayer) and do not answer them.” A man of 90 years getting pleasure out of a long prayer, and a youth of 20, who probably practices karate and judo, cannot handle the same prayer.
Why? If he went to the soccer field and spent two hours playing there without becoming bored, then why would he become bored from hearing the Qur’an for five minutes? The difference between a short prayer and prayer is simply a long five minutes, so why does he get bored from these five minutes of the Qur’an, yet he does not become bored from two hours of soccer? Why does he not get bored from standing for two hours staring at an inflated piece of leather, his heart attached to it?
Because, what stands up to pray is the heart, and what stands up for sports are simply the body and muscles”.
– Sheikh Azzam Rahimahullah.