Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours. (Quran 4:103)
Allah (SWT) has fixed times for the believers to worship. Five times a day we leave everything behind and return to a conversation with our Creator. We stand, bend, and prostrate to show our surrender to the Lord and Creator of all things.
But there are times of the day, and even times of life when the Muslim is not allowed to approach prayer, the salah that it. Just as we are ascribed break from our day to join in communion with the Eternal, the source of Peace, there are times we are told to refrain from it. And for good reason.
Connect with God
Recently a new Muslimah confided in me that she misses prayer when she is menstruating. She said that in the short time she has been Muslim, she feels a peace in her life when she prays salah. But she says she became distressed when she cannot pray.
I assured her that there was no reason to feel far from God because there is always a way to connect with God. “Make dua (supplicate)”, I told her. “Make dua at any time, in any place or situation.”
Allah (SWT) is always there to listen. Formal worship (salah) is not the only avenue of communication we have with our Lord. We are never cut off from God.
In my formative years, growing up in the Catholic church, I was taught that if I needed something, I should pray to a saint who is the patron of that need or want. And this saint would be the intermediary between me and God. I was taught that if I needed forgiveness, I should go to confess to a priest.
Supplication to God was an option but not the most pushed option.
I was taught that we, a lowly creation, should be cautious about approaching God, that we should go through the more pious who have since passed on from this Earth.
God is Always There
Islam rejects this notion out of hand.
God is near. We need no intermediaries:
And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the supplications of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So, let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (Quran 2:186)
You Alone do we worship, and You Alone do we ask for help. (Quran 1:5)
In fact, it is God who is our intermediary:
O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered. (Quran 8:24)
God tells us, without metaphor or mincing words:
Call me! I will answer. (Quran 40:60)
God’s Mercy means that we need not fear returning to Him to seek forgiveness, that we need no priest or imam to confess to.
Say, O My slaves who have transgressed against their souls; despair not of the Mercy of Allah: For Allah forgives all sins; for He is oft Forgiving, most Merciful. (Quran 39:53)
Indeed Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves. (Quran 2:222)
The beauty of dua in Islam is that not only are we doing a tremendous good deed just by talking to God, which He will reward us for, we are also literally talking directly to the Greatest Power in the worlds.
Say, Call upon Allah, or call upon Ar Rahman (The Most Beneficent): By whatever name you call upon Him, (it is well): For to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (Quran 17:110)