Iman Ghazali said that a person that does not concentrate in his prayer is considered as wasting it thoroughly, because the main purpose of praying is to remember Allah. It also works as our protector from the wrongdoings and sins. Not being serious in prayers means that the person will not have fear in practising misconducts.
The ones that are always conscious and go through the meanings of the words they pronounce in the prayer are the ones who are truly absorbed in that prayer. Consequently when he is reciting fatihah, his heart will go with the flow and understand each of the meanings. For example if he is saying the 4th ayah from al-Fatihah with the translation:
" The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)"
Hence the pictures of the havocs and chaos of human crowding at the Mahsyar Field will make him feel all small and insignificant by Allah’s side. When encountering the 5th ayah from al-Fatihah that translates as:
" You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)"
He has given full obedience and slavery towards Allah only, and at the same time, not submitting to the needs of desires and others. In the end, he will lose the wish to perform misdeeds and faults, for doing these wrongs means that he has become the slave of his own cravings, which also means that he has denied and broken the promise of what he had recited earlier; that he only worship Allah.
Next he examines other recitations in his prayer with full focus, of which those consisting so many prayers (du’a) that depict the Greatness of Allah. When sincerely understood, they are truly adequate to scrape away bad attitudes possessed by him.
RRasulullah PBUH had said; the meaning: "So many people perform solah (prayer), but the only things they get are tiredness and exhaustion because of the carelessness they make."
The above hadith describes that among so many solahs (prayers) done by a person, but alas, he did not get pahala (good reward) through them. In addition, he also get the reverse due to his negligence in his prayer; the Fire of Hell.
Allah has decreed in the surah al-Ma'un of ayah 4-5,
" So woe unto those performers of Salât (prayers) (hypocrites), Who delay their Salât (prayer) from their stated fixed times"
Rasulullah PBUH had said, " There are no rewards for an ‘abd in his prayer, except for the length of that he remembers(concentrates)"
This hadith explains that a person’s prayer in the careless state really won’t bring any good by the side of Allah. The prayer will as well be the measurement for a person to determine whether he has gained any pahala or not. Sit silently after prayer and reflect back, how much time was he in the absorbed state; that is when he knows what he was reciting and doing, and also how much was he careless. If the carelessness was favoured, then it is not needed to wait for the hereafter to see the result, but rather we can estimate it even in this world, what we get from the wasted solah.
Actually, solah (prayer) is not the same with any other ibadahs (righteous deeds). When compared, ibadah of fasting does not include the requirement of concentration, but the effect from fulfilling the restrictions fixed can be seen from the fasting itself. By abstaining from hunger and thirst, not only does a person look tired and less energetic, but he will also give a picture of someone with a good attitude (berbudi pekerti); always watching his conducts from doing the things that can cancel away his fast and the pahala such as minding his words from back biting or saying what is not supposed to be said.
Same goes with charity. No engrossment is necessary; nevertheless the outcome can be seen as well. Performing charity is able to scratch stingy. A miserly person is impossible to take out his money for charity.
The above statement is similar to performing pilgrimage (hajj), even when the pilgrimage was done carelessly, for pilgrimage only involves two components; our body and property. A hajj carried out with neglect will still show an end product when the person has to spend his wealth on the ibadah, and also his body will become tired.
On the contrary, the prayer (solah) totally differs from other ibadahs stated just now. According to Imam Ghazali, the prayer is actually a dialogue and whispers between an ‘abd (slave) with his master, God. If this is so, then the prayer will certainly be done with full realisation and humility. How is it possible, that a person, doing it uncaringly, murmur or talk with Allah??
Someone performing solah thoughtlessly is equalled with a person talking in his sleep. When he says ‘Allahu Akbar’ or any other praises upon the Greatness of Allah, nonetheless not one of them really means praising Allah as that person is more alike to talking nonsense; something even he doesn’t know about, out of his consciousness.
Concentration has become the prerequisite of a person’s prayer to be accepted by Allah. If no engrossment was present, carelessness will take place. This will contribute to that person not being able to feel the Greatness of Allah, ignoring the fact that he was actually saying them.
All of the words of glory towards Allah is not only through the pronunciations of the tongue, but also by the language of the heart. When the heart is at insensitive state, it will become some sort of veil that blocks the owner from being close to Allah, even though Allah had mentioned that He is nearer to his ‘abd than their own veins (urat mareikh)