Muslim scholars are particular about the union of body and spirit in prayer, and they metaphorically point out that the prayers of the following three groups of people are not accepted:
Here, the intent for the hunter is that hunter pries about with his eyes during prayer; here, the porter represents the person who does not ease himself to avoid freshening his ablution though he really needs to do so; and the merchant, here, stands for the person who does not clear his mind and heart of worldly dealings. These three metaphorical groups of people cannot steep themselves in prayer, and cannot attain awe and tranquility. They perform prayers just for the sake of doing, and this is not acceptable before Allah as the parts of the body should be ready for prayer as well. Thus, when the Prophet (pbuh), who saw a person passing his hand through his beard said:
" – If there were awe in this person's heart, all parts of his body would remain quite still." (Tirmizi). This saying of the Prophet (pbuh) points toward the union of body and spirit in prayer.
The following sayings of the Prophet (pbuh) call attention to this point:
"When you rise up for prayer, do your prayer, keeping all parts of the body very still! Do not weave as Jews do. Because keeping the body immobile is a requirement for a sound prayer." (Tirmizi).
Seven things are from Satan in prayer (i.e., Satan likes them): bleeding of the nose, napping, misgivings, yawning, itching, looking around, and playing with something..." (Tirmizi).
These things encroach upon the spirit of prayer.
Conversely, if the praying person seems outwardly in awe, but inwardly away from awe, this is called hypocritical awe. And the heart should be kept away from such a condition.
The epilogue in this matter of awe is the words of the prayer of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh), which Allah has provided us with in the Qur'an:
"My Lord! make me keep up prayer and from my offspring (too), O our Lord, and accept my prayer!" (Ibrahim 14: 40).
Hatem-i Asam suggests the following points about performing prayer properly:
"Prepare for prayer in the best way. Then put the Ka'bah in between your eyebrows; and the bridge (sirat) to paradise under your feet; and paradise to your right; and the hell to your left! Enter the presence of Allah with awe and hope, thinking that Azrail (angel of death) is about to take your life, and this is your final prayer in this world! Begin to pray consciously saying "Allah is Great"! Start reading the Qur'an slowly and think of the meaning! Make your soul bow down in reverence and prostrate in humbleness. Make your body follow the external requirements for prayer, but let your soul always remain in the state of prostration and do not allow separation from this union for one breath.."
Al-Gazzali discusses of having the love of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) while in the sitting position (tahhiyat) in prayer and gives an important example. In prayer it is necessary for the heart to be at peace as made clear in the following teaching.
"It is required to imagine the Prophet (pbuh) in between the eyes of the heart while saying, "O Prophet, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon you!" in the first and final sitting.
This particular greeting by Allah to His Prophet at the time of the Prophet's ascension (mi'raj) to the heavens with the words "O Messenger! May the Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon you both in this world and the Hereafter" is such an exceptional exaltation for him.
Prayer, is like the ascension of the believer, providing those who think deeply on it with benefits from Divine Grace.
Therefore, one should try to benefit from the spirit of sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) in prayer. It means a remembrance for us of the Prophet's ascension to the Heavens. His ascension is the mysterious transfiguration of the love of Allah towards the Prophet (pbuh). The Declaration of Faith that is cited right after sending blessings on the Prophet signifies how honorable a gain is the belief in One Allah and being a servant to Him, and also signifies the requirement of sending greetings on the Prophet (pbuh) whenever his name is mentioned. So, the prayer with all these contents is like a window shutter opened to us from the true essence of Islam. Lovers of Allah come close to Allah through this window shutter, and they watch the High transfigurations and realities observing the Divine mystery. Therefore, one cannot reach perfect faith without realizing the mystery in sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) alongside citing the name of Allah by chanting the formula of the Declaration of Faith.
Thus, Allah enjoins believers to send blessings on the Prophet as a reflection of fondness to the Prophet (pbuh) in a verse in which it is said that Allah and the angels send blessings to him as well:
"Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send blessings on him, and salute him with all respect." (Al-Ahzab 33: 56).
Thus, those who worship and pray get carried away and do not care about worldly concerns. They take no account of worldly pleasures.