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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Struggling to Pray


Chubby babies. What?

Anyway, I wanted to touch upon the internal struggle many of us face; establishing our prayers. I could quote Qur’an and Hadiths all day long, but let’s face it, at some point we begin to tune those things out after a while because we end up placing them in the cliche category. I’d rather approach this as a simple brother taking a logical, real world approach.

Most of us already know what our spiritual obligations are. It’s not like if I quote an ayah from the Qur’an about prayer you’d be like, “What?! I had no idea we had to pray.” I receive many emails from folks all around the globe asking for help in regards to establishing their prayers. The thing is, they’re not asking me how to perform them. They already know that. I believe they are just looking for someone to talk to and simply seeking motivation and inspiration.
Many of us have abandoned our prayers. I’ve struggled with establishing them for a long time. It’s not like I didn’t want to. I did, but wasn’t able to for a few reasons. You may be able to relate.
  1. You’re at work or school and you get busy and miss a prayer.
  2. You missed Fajr and then think, “What’s the point of praying the rest of the prayers today, since I didn’t even start my day off properly.”
  3. You commit a sin and feel so guilty, you miss one prayer, which eventually leads to two, three, four and ultimately all five.
  4. You are worried about praying in public because of what others may think of you.
  5. You don’t know what you are reciting, so you’re not really benefiting as you should and end up abandoning the prayer because it feels like a chore.
There are more, but those are my top five. Sound familiar? I thought so.
Here’s the thing, there is no magic pill. Establishing our prayers requires dedication. It’s a habit, like biting your fingernails or feeling the need to squeeze the cheeks of every chubby baby you encounter. Guilty.

Let’s think logically for a moment. Will abandoning the prayer actually help us become better Muslims or will it lead to a decline in our faith and ultimately land us in a place where there’s no air condition? We obviously know the answer. So, getting that out of the way, we have to understand that this system has been designed by Allah for His servants. Prayers are there to benefit us, not Him. We all know that our primary purpose in life is to worship Allah. It’s right there in the Qur’an {51:56}. That being said, if you have a pen that no longer possesses ink, what will you do with it? If you work for a company and don’t fulfill your obligations, what will your manager do to you?

We have to understand that our hearts are very fragile. If we do not continuously seek to increase our faith, it will decrease. It’s forever fluctuating, never steady.
So, let’s do this. Let’s make the intention that the moment you finish reading this post, you will do your absolute best to pray the very next prayer. Here are a few things that may help in establishing those prayers, as they did help me.
  • Make a pure and clear intention to pray.
  • Say your prayers NO MATTER WHAT. Even if you sin all day long, pray. Ask for forgiveness. Even if you miss one, make it up. Don’t go to bed without praying all five. This is a habit that must be established and that means you will need to work very hard at it. Before you know it, it will become as routine as drinking your cup of coffee in the morning. It will become a part and parcel of who you are.
  • Even if you only know two Surahs, understand what you are saying. Look the verses up and comprehend their meanings. Reflect upon every word as you recite. Feel it. Mean it.
  • Learn more about Islam. Watch or listen to Islamic lectures, listen to the Qur’an and read the Qur’an every single day. Even if just for a few moments.
  • Ask Allah for assistance. He will make it easy for you if your intent is pure and sincere.
  • If you know you are going out, plan where you are going to pray ahead of time. For instance, if you are going to be at the mall and don’t feel comfortable praying there or whatever, and know you will be there during Maghrib, find a Masjid nearby and pray before or after. Of course, you can always pretend you’re going to purchase a clothing item and head for the Fitting Room. However, if the walls don’t extend to the bottom, you may be mistaken for a perv. Masjid for the win.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Befriend those who remind you of Allah and want to become better Muslims. They say that people who go on diets with friends, are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight-loss. I believe the same logic applies to increasing faith and decreasing self-doubt.
After some time, you will find that your sins will decrease and your good deeds will increase. You will become a happier person because you have chosen to starve the ego and feed the soul. You will find that your actions will begin to mirror your words more and more. Look, we all sin. Nobody is perfect. I struggle and strive just like everyone else, but what I won’t do, is give up. I’ve tried that and it didn’t help. It actually made me feel worse. I’ve experienced it all and know what some folks are going through. Pray that today is the day you begin to pray.

May Allah guide us, help us, forgive us and bless us all with chubby babies. Ameen.

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