Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pray No Matter What


Asalamu Alaykom

I've been pretty upfront about how screwed up things have gotten in my life at various points of time.

HOWEVER!
There is one thing I have not done wrong: I have kept praying.

When I first came to Islam, getting all the prayers done was not my focus. That was wrong of me. After taking shahaddah in September, 2002, there was NOTHING more important than those times on the rug. It took me almost a year, but finally in August, 2003, I made the commitment to never miss a prayer again, inshahallah.

Over the years, I've heard from many readers who say they wished they prayed. On the internet while husband hunting, there were soooooooo many men who didn't cut the mustard because they weren't fulfilling their obligations to Allah.

So, in the interest of helping others get their wishes fulfilled and their obligations met, I will give you my advise on

HOW TO GET YOUR PRAYERS GOING

Use an azan clock

In the U.S., there is only one city I know that allows the azan. Dearborn, right?

So, in the other cities, those prayer time charts are crucial. For me, I stuck them to the fridge and consulted them for years. I was able to do my prayers but not as easily as now.

Now, I use an azan clock and would recommend it to everyone. I use the Fajr brand because the azan is so pleasant. Make sure any azan clock you buy has a sound that you actually like. You'll hear it A LOT! The sound really helps you get off your butt.

Make sure that you instruct the others in your house NOT TO TALK DURING THE AZAN and that you role model that yourself.


Time your life around the prayer times

When is the next prayer? Should you wait to leave the house for 10 minutes so you can catch the next prayer? YES! Think of how your life needs to include the prayers as a lifestyle. Those prayers are not just incidental; they are crucial.


When you are out, don't use excuses

Sometimes, you can't wait until you get home because if you wait, you'll miss the prayer time. So pray! This is America! You can pray while sitting in your car. You can pray in the dressing rooms. You can pray on a park bench.

What if you never made it home? So, pray NOW!


Wear modest clothes and hejab all the time

It is easier to pray if you are already dressed for the occasion.

When you are out in public, it is better for making prayer times if you wear hejab. If you don't wear hejab, you could easily throw one in your purse or the glove compartment. But if you are wearing jeans with a T-shirt that isn't going to do it! Think about toning down how you are dressing so that you could pray at a moment's notice

If you are home, you might be like me and wear less than modest clothing around family. So, have a prayer outfit ready. Easy enough to throw on over the tank top and capris!


When you come home, don't relax until you pray

Coming home from a busy time out is a total fall-down-on-the-couch feeling. BUT! Don't fall down---not yet! For me, if I've been out for a while, it's most likely that I'm coming home with a prayer to do. I help Mr. Boo get in the door (toileting, hand washing, drink or food, TV on etc.) and the whole time I keep my hejab on. I use my outside clothes to remind me how I need to pray before I change clothes and relax (or make dinner).


An OK prayer is better than a perfect prayer you don't perform

There are many Muslims who are intent on being perfect, astragferallah. That is an impossible feat! Only Allah is perfect! You are NEVER going to be perfect in your prayers.

And you know what aiming for perfection brings about? PROCRASTINATION!

When you are scared that you will fall short, you never move at all.

So, be realistic and admit that some days will go better than others. Some prayers will be more focused, or more heartfelt, or more timely. Ask Allah's forgiveness for those times AND also forgive yourself. When you release those unreal expectations, you are able to keep your prayers better.


Children will inshahallah be safe during prayer

I have been raising kids while praying and "yes" I've wondered about their safety. Especially when you have a baby or a toddler, you worry. The truth is that you are doing something that mothers for centuries have been doing. Put the child in a safe situation and then go about your worship.

Truthfully, when you are telling yourself that you can't pray (because you worry about your kid) you are putting your child at more risk than you realize. Moms who rely only on their own strength to get through the hard times of parenting are moms who end up flippin' out. Child abuse is a real issue and being able to pray allows you to chill out and ask for God's guidance and increased patience.


Husbands can wait

Yes, husbands are important but they are not above Allah. You ask them nicely to wait and go ahead. You need to stay good with Allah MORE than staying good with them.

I think this is especially true with husbands who are being lazy and not leading you in prayer. You let them know nicely that you have to pray and be that influence in the house. Prayer comes before all other activities because Allah is Your Lord---your husband is not.


TV is not your idol

"When this show it done."

"Later, I'm almost done."

"I have to see this part!"

No, you don't have to say any of that! Show Allah that TV is not an idol for you! Get up off the couch and go make wudu at one commercial break. Then, at the next break, go pray. It might take you three to four minutes and a commercial break is more like two minutes. Are you going to miss some of the show? Yep, about two minutes, but this is proving you care more about your deen than the screen.


Wash up after using the bathroom

When you are washing hands after using the bathroom, keep going! Do the complete wash-up. It will feel like you are half way to doing the prayer! Then, when the prayer is on, you can just go to the rug knowing and feeling that you made the intention before.


Make the main point the five prayers rather than the timings

Usually now I can do the prayer on time (with the exception of the constant on-again-off-again fajr prayer). Alhumdulillah, I feel better when I do them on time, of course.

On the other hand, I feel better doing the prayers ANY TIME rather than when I was Muslim but not praying yet. In the beginning, I was sometimes doing all five right before bed. Those 17 rakhas all together got looooooooong! Do that a few nights and you figure out a way to space them out better during the day! LOL!

People will tell you, "That prayer won't count now." But hey! They don't know! That's up to Allah to decide!

For me, if the prayer counts or not (according to others) since the time has passed, I still do it. That was the promise I made to myself and Allah. My aim is to do the prayers on time, but the promise is to never go to bed without having done the five obligatory prayers.

I have prayed with a migraine and MIRACULOUSLY had the migraine subside. I could have made the excuse, but Allah knew my hardship and granted me ease.

I have prayed in the first stages of labor.

I have prayed when I was angry, or sad, or right after I did something I was ashamed of doing.

I kept it going!

Why?

Because that's my commitment to God and myself.

I am only a Muslim by my actions.

A farmer who never takes care of his animals can't really be called a farmer. A chef who never sets foot in the kitchen cannot be taken seriously. And so it is with Muslims....

yes we really do need to do five prayers a day.

If you are not currently praying, please take something you have found helpful in my words and put it into action. Just one! Start easy (as Islam is really a simple religion) and see if you can work towards being more prayerful.

Remember: if you do better because of my suggestion, not only do you get the reward, but I do too (and I could use some hasanet coming my way).

Let me know how it goes! Don't be shy! If you write in the comments section about your attempts and it helps someone else, then YOU get the hasanet :)


May Allah make it easy on all of us.

6 comments:

egyptchick7 said...

Beautiful post bc prayer is indeed a beautiful thing. I do plan on getting the prayer groove on bc the Azan in Egypt ( 2 weeks to go and counting) will be in my ears all the time. And I am very much looking forward to actually praying with my whole family when the time comes. So inshallah I will learn to make prayer part of my daily routine while in Egypt. (don't tell me "oh what if Allah takes ur life away tomm, why don't you start salah today?" blah blah)

Nour said...

Salam, sis...

SubhanAllah, I was just articulating the prayer thing to myself.I'm starting to think you and I are wired similarly ;) This is one of many occasions think we've been struck by the same epiphany. (Maybe they are on sale the same days.)

BTW, kudos on the not-having-a-man-stuck-in-your-head situation. May Allah make it easy for us all to have Allah and Allah alone in our head.

Wassalam...

Brownie said...

Mashaa Allah i love that post so much although el hamdolliah i have been praying for more than six year el hamdolliah but i loved to read it coz sometimes i wait till i come home and pray :(, but from now and on i ll remember ur words and pray in time inshaallah.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Dear:

This is an absolutely fantastic post and Allah (swt) will reward you for it!

One thing, though, the salat must be said at their times (per Qur'an). If one has missed a prayer, they should say it as soon as possible, even if the time has passed. It is considered a debt to Allah (swt).

I remember when I was a new Muslim and not used to the discipline of the routine. I used to say all five in the evening, too. You're right. It was soooo long. I learned, soon enough though, to discipline myself throughout the day. Much easier and I get more out of a refreshing prayer.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EgyptChick,

Look at YOU! Doing the Egypt thing! I think of you soooooo much as a East Coaster, that I wonder who you will transform into over in Misr. Start buying those gifts now!

May both of us soon hear the azan waft over us.

Asalamu Alaykom Nour,

You cracked me up! LOL! That Epiphany sale! LOL!

Ya, I do think that simmilarily minded people are drawn to one another---like on a BLOG! :)

Thanks for epiphanying with me ;)

Asalamu Alaykom Brownie,

It's like Baba Ali says," Reminding you, just in case you forgot."

Asalamu Alaykom Safiyyah,

I appreciate you being more of the scholar than me. The wacky part of my unscholarliness is that usually I just go with my gut and that basic instinct is indeed with
Allah. If you think about it, we know the right thing to do and it's always easier than the wrong thing. It's kind of like how smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning.

Thanks for making me smile :)

Living said...

Salaam, Loved this post. I wish you would do more post like this. It is a wonderful thing to stay focused on ur prayers. Thats a life line.......keeps us going.
OH, there are other places that allow the athan. I heard it in NEw york from 5 blocks away. I also heard it in Philly. Here in Texas you can here it also. BUT you have to live close to the Mosque and Most of us dont. :(
Thats what I miss about being in UAE or Egypt. Where ever you live you are close enough to hear that athan cause there is a mosque or prayer room allover.