Friday, September 5, 2008

Ramadan 5: Prayer

A main component of Ramadan is prayer.

If you are not eating or drinking AND not praying, then your prayer will not be accepted.

I actually could not continue fasting without prayer. Sure, before Islam, I did fast from food a few times, but never without water and never for so long. I never could have gotten through a 15-hour day without Allah.

Prayer gives me the strength of Allah to keep going beyond my human endurance. I am a very strong person, mashahallah, but I am too weak to handle this alone--I can't. By admitting my failings, I paradoxically gain the most power possible.

A lot of time we pray for what we think we are supposed to pray for. We don't really let ourselves go. There is some kind of censor in our head that won't let our real thoughts and feelings out. That's really dumb, because Allah knows every single one of our thoughts already. Allah is only waiting for us to admit to them--kind of like a parent who knows their child broke the cookie jar, but needs to hear them say it.

Some Muslims are so rigid in their prayer that they block out all possible heartfelt truth from seeping in while they pray. It's those thoughts that float in while you are on the prayer rug. You know those? I don't believe that every single thought you get while praying is Shaytan's whisper. I have received many Divine guidances while doing my rakhas.

I have also been blessed with renewed peace from emptying my troubles. Those same rigid Muslims believe that crying, or having emotion while praying is a failing. I disagree. I give my whole self over to Allah while in prayer and sometimes that leads to tears I didn't want to shed. I didn't want to admit that something in life had hurt me so badly, even though Allah knew the truth.

It is best to find the truth in prayer. It is the only place of peace you can be certain of in this world. Sometimes, in sujud, I simply don't want to get up. I wish I could just stay prostrated before Allah and never stand up again.

Sujud, by the way, is where we really need to be open with our innermost workings. What is bothering us? Who is on our mind? What is it we really want? Remember: while in sujud, you can talk to Allah in any language you like. It doesn't have to be Arabic. It's the same with making du'a, it can certainly be in English.
Some Muslims go to Allah after the prayer and ask for what they need in du'a. It simply isn't as powerful as asking for it in sujud. It's actually been called bida, or an innovation to ask Allah after the prayer.

Think about it--everything in Islam makes such sense, the sujud is when we are at our lowest. We are down to the ground before Our Creator. Doesn't it make sense to ask for our heart's desire then? It makes more sense then once we are sitting up, right? The other thing about sujud is that you can't stay there forever, as much as I may want to. There is a real time limit a-tickin'. You've got to pare it down to the most important. Sitting up in du'a? Oh, man! I could sit there for an hour, couldn't you? So, ask in sujud and inshahallah it will be better. You will feel the immediacy, the pressing need to be precise and careful and quick.

This week, I asked for something Mr. Boo needed. Poor guy. He's been through a lot in the past year---more than me! My mother had brought up to me how he would benefit from a little preschool time. As a teacher, I knew that. I had, however, given up hope, since he is not potty training like his big brother (that guy was completely dry day and night a week before he turned two years old, mashallah). I knew that while day cares would take him, they would not teach him very much and charge a bunch. I didn't want that. I wanted better but didn't think it possible.

I forgot that with Allah all things are possible. Allah Subhana wa Tallah!

I did pray for Mr. Boo to have some kind of school time this year.

On Wednesday, my mom tossed me the community paper. I glanced through it. I've got to say that I did start to feel there might be some kind of opening up in our life with an article or ad.

There it was--a near-by preschool I hadn't known about.

I called yesterday. Had to leave a message. When I prayed again, I truly asked God if there was any way to make it possible.

My prayers were answered. You know how you can tell if it is Divine intervention? Because the results are BETTER than what you even asked for. It's like God read your heart and gave you what you felt but what you couldn't even express.

Yes! Alhumdulillah, they will take Mr. Boo---Pull-ups and all!

Yes! Alhumdulillah, it is affordable.

Yes! Alhumdulillah, the teacher sounded so right-on marvelously intuitive and insightful.

And what? Who is the assistant teacher? I stopped in my tracks. The name was so unique. Could it be? I had to ask if her assistant was Muslim.

Subhanallah! Not only was her assistant teacher Muslim; she was my friend from the masjid! I was overjoyed. This is a gift from Allah, truly. I will feel so comfortable leaving him there.

Oh, and you know when it starts? On the sixth anniversary of me taking shahaddah.

Yes, this is a mercy from Allah. And it tells me so much. It tells me that I am on the right path.

Prophet Mohammed, pbuh, once spent three years (Allahu Alim) without hearing ONE MORE WORD from Allah. There had been all this communication and then NOTHING. Can you imagine? How many of us would have kept faithful on to Him while those around us spewed out scornful hate? Our beloved Prophet, pbuh, did just and then was given the surah Ad-Duha.

The guardian Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased.

This site does a good job with each facet of learning about the surah.

Do you know how much it hurts when you feel lost in your life? Then, think again how much peace of mind you attain when you feel the blessings of Allah reach you and your family.

I feel that right now. Alhumdulillah.


sister in MN said...

"By admitting my failings, I paradoxically gain the most power possible." so absolotely true, because when we admit our weakness, we admit that only Allah has the ultimate power, then that is when Allah stands with us, when we submit to him.
Again, I'd like to comment on some of the statements here, and I really appreciate that you are open to hearing them, as we ALL have something to learn from each other. I can't tell you how much I've benefited from reading about your wholistic approach to Ramadhan.
I don't care what anyone says, crying in prayer is not failing, it is submition to Allah, and its what we are encouraged to do.
There is a hadith that says that an eye that cries from fearing/submitting to Allah will never be in jahannam, and we are told in the hadith that if we are just unable to cry, they we should try to make some tears come out (again, an example of going through the motions in order to keep us coasting till we get back up to our high).
Thank you for emphasizing that du'a can be in any language; I've seen many who think it can only be a du'a that the Prophet (PBUH) had already said himself...not true!
I like that you mentioned the importance of sujud. That is the position where we are closest to Allah, and du'a is considered to be the strongest in this position. There is a hadith that tells about a time when Sayyida Aisha was praying with the Prophet (PBUH) and they stayed in sajda for so long, that her nose started to bleed! So really, there is no limit to how long one stays there, and I've heard, but I'm not sure, that staying longer is better.
I don't know if you're familiar with energies and stuff, but I've heard that being in the position of sajda cleanses the body's energy, because it can be released through the forehead and into the earth, resulting in peacefullness and relaxation.
But as wonderful as sujud is, you're right, its not like you're gonna want to be in that position for an hour. The thing to remember is that Allah is with us all the time, not only in sujud, and he wants us to make du'a all the time. As a matter of fact, du'a is considered to be the "brain of 3ibada" because it's a great way to keep connected with our creator. And Allah loves a worshipper who is pushy and keeps asking for what he/she wants. Don't worry it's not bid'a to make du'a after prayer.
Like you said, a bid'a or bid3a is an innovation to the way Allah has designed our practices of worship. For example, if someone is praying dhuhr and feels like he/she wants to add a rak'a to make it five rak'as, that is bid3a, because its an innovation that by definition states that Allah's design of that practice of worship is flawed and needs to be modified or improved...ustaghfirAllah!
I am so glad that you found a preschool for your son, I know what it feels like to keep hoping and praying to find the right school, then finding it! Alhamdulillah!

dramamama said...

Salam, sis. Alhamdullilah on the school for Mr Boo! Also, I can't tell you how many times I have cried while in sujud. It is only then the realisation that while people fail you sometimes, Allah will never let you down :)

Hope Ramadan is going well for you, insha Allah.


Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom Sister in MN,

I love your comments. To respond to all the times you made me nod, smile or laugh would be too many. I would simply re-write your comment in its entirety.

I'm almost tempted to tell you that you should start writing your own blog BUT then you wouldn't have time to place such AWESOME comments on mine. So, fergitaboudit.

Asalamlaykom Dramamama,

Thanks for voicing your truth. Ya, we are not meant to stay like solid rock before Allah. I mean, even a mountain crumbled before Him, so why should we remain stoic?

Ramadan is showing me my strengths and weaknesses. That is good but painful too. Alhumdulillah. I'm taking it all in day-by-day.

Nice to see you here. My love continues for you, even when you are not here.