Short Answer: Prayer is the most important aspect of your life as a Muslim. If you are regularly missing prayers, there’s something wrong with your imaan. First, try to remedy what’s wrong by learning as much as possible about Islam. Cut out all major sins from your life as much as possible. Also, be sure your source of income and your food are both halaal. That being said, “feeling close” to God is a feeling that comes and goes.
Salam Dear Margie,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Congratulations on your becoming Muslim! You are truly fortunate, masha’Allah. May Allah grant you further guidance and steadfastness upon the Right Path. Ameen.
It is commendable that you are keeping a vigilant eye upon yourself regarding the level of your faith, and the love of Allah in your heart.
This indicates the presence of consciousness of Allah (taqwa), and a desire for self-improvement.
The Importance of Praying 5x a Day, Every Day
While reading your question, this statement of yours particularly caught my attention: “I try to observe five prayers (even if I often do not manage to do them at the correct time),”, and I immediately recognized a problem.
The foundation of Islam lies upon five pillars.
If any one or more than one of these pillars is shaky, weak, or absent; the whole structure remains at risk of collapsing as soon as it undergoes any form of stress.
Monotheistic belief in the oneness of Allah (and His names and attributes) is one of the foundational pillars of our faith in Islam.
Offering the five daily prayers – on time, with proper, unrushed bodily movements and full concentration, is another.
Not being able to pray any one or all of the five daily prayers on time is a red flag that must be immediately addressed and rectified.
The feeling of not being close to Allah that you have described, is one that any Muslim can go through at some point in their lives, however, if this state is allowed to continue, it can prove detrimental in the long run.
You should try to strengthen the faith in your heart in order to increase the love and closeness of Allah that you feel is lacking in it.
The strength of faith comes with a combination of two things: seeking beneficial knowledge and doing righteous actions.
Stay Away From Major Sins
Furthermore, one important thing to remember, is that doing all the obligatory good deeds is not going to increase the closeness to Allah in your heart if it is not accompanied by a proactive effort to abstain from sins, especially the major sins, and repentance for all the sin.
It is well known that sins cause the heart to become black and distant from Allah, unless they are accompanied by quick and timely repentance i.e. seeking forgiveness from Allah for these sins accompanied by a firm resolve to never commit them again.
Even if a Muslim does many righteous deeds, but commits sins at the same time without feeling guilty, they will never be able to feel close to Allah.
Please try to hold a mirror to yourself and find out if you are committing any major sins without regretting them and repenting for them; that could be causing the distance between you and Allah.
Please remember that repentance cannot work if the Muslim doesn’t consider something that Allah has forbidden to be wrong.
Seek Beneficial Knowledge of Islam
Secondly, you should resolve to seek beneficial knowledge of Islam.
In particular, seeking detailed knowledge about the specific branches of the Islamic creed (aqeedah) is very important, because this creed forms our monotheistic belief, which is one of the foundations of our faith in Islam, as I stated above.
Sitting in circles of knowledge with learned righteous people has another added advantage: one’s heart becomes enlightened with the light of guidance and wisdom.
Studying in-depth about all the aspects of our belief is the first step in rectifying our aqeedah, which, if incorrect, can not only render our righteous deeds null and void, but also make us feel distant from Allah, even if we outwardly pray, fast, and give charity.
For example, a Muslim who performs all the daily prayers and fasts during Ramadan, but has a shaky belief in the Akhirah (the hereafter), or in the Divine preordainment (Qadr), will not feel close to Allah no matter how hard he or she tries to perform all of his obligations.
The solution for such a person is to dutifully and studiously seek knowledge of the Quran in order to rectify and strengthen the belief in their hearts first.
Be Sure The Source of Your Income Is Halaal
Lastly, I would like you to check the source of your income, and your food.
When the money that a Muslim earns and with which they purchase the food that they ingest into their body is not completely halal, they end up becoming distant from Allah over time.
Both the source of a Muslim’s income, as well as the food that they eat, should be 100% halal.
Do you observe all the dietary restrictions of a Muslim, erring on the side of caution?
Does your job, or any aspects of your work, involve anything that is impermissible (haram) in Islam?
You should examine closely if anything that you are eating, especially meat, is haram, in addition to your source of income and job.
Make this part of your holistic introspective quest to remove any and every obstacle in your life that could be thwarting the faith and love of Allah in your heart from reaching the greater heights that you want them to reach.
I sincerely pray that Allah increases the faith in your heart, grants you lofty levels of righteousness and piety in this world, and high ranks of Jannah in the next. Ameen.
Allah knows best. I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)