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Help! I Struggle to Pray on Time or at All!

Help! I Struggle to Pray on Time or at All!

I teach a professional development course at a high school in Michigan. Although the school isn’t an Islamic school, the majority of my students are Muslim.

They’re also majority the children of immigrants, they live in a low-income area and they face unique challenges because they are Muslim children of immigrants in a low-income community.

My students want to be “successful” and usually their definition of success alludes to financial stability and making their parents proud.

So what does any of this have to do with Salah?

Stay with me, here. A repeated statement I hear from my students is “I have to work hard…be determined… persist.”

In other words, my students know that success requires perseverance and patience.

And even though they’re overwhelmingly Muslim, I don’t think they all know success also requires Salah. Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to one of my favorite verses of Quran:

{O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 153)

 

Can I Hustle Without Salah?

There is without a doubt a direct link between worldly success and Salah. Now does that mean that if you pray, you are guaranteed worldly success?

No! But, it means that Salah is the difference between chasing a success that God guarantees will never satisfy you (money, fame, prestige and power) and a success that will give richness of the heart in this world and the treasures of the next world.

Okay… So How Do I Motivate Myself to Pray Regularly?

I remember that before I hit puberty, I never used to pray regularly. Even when I did pray, it was haphazard. I admit it, I was lazy.

But the moment I became Islamically accountable for my actions, it was as if a switch went on. From that day, I never intentionally delayed Salah past the time required.

So, I could give you tips on how to wake up for Fajr or how to pray Sunnah prayers regularly, but we have to address the basis of the problem.

So, I will speak to you the way I speak to the people I truly love:

Salah is beautiful in its essence. It’s a break from busy days in times God literally carved out for us to worship Him in the way He decided is best.

But, sometimes we don’t appreciate that beauty so we can’t rely on it as a motivating factor for us to pray.

Put simply, the greatest motivating factor is that Salah is a command from Allah and to deny Salah is to deny a command of Allah

Sometimes, we truly have to remind ourselves of the awe-striking fear we should have of Allah the Almighty. To disrespect a pillar of Islam is a risk no one should be willing to take.

In fact, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us “Between a man and shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief) there stands his neglect of the prayer.” (Sahih Muslim)

I regularly remind myself that the first thing we will be asked about on the Day of Judgement is our Salah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained that if our Salah is sound, the rest of our judgement on that Day will be sound.

In other words, our Salah can be the hint to our destiny in the hereafter.

 

What Should I Commit To?

To respect the immensity of Allah’s command, we have to set the urgent standard for ourselves that we will never miss Salah.

Yes! We have to say it! Reigniting that sense of urgency means getting up to make wudu even when you really don’t want to.

 🕋 It means pausing your movie or even missing part of your show because we shouldn’t be comfortable waiting until commercial breaks.

🕌 It means setting multiple alarms on your phone to remind you of the Salah you miss most often.

🕋 It means finding the awkward staircases and back rooms to pray in at work and school and fighting the feeling of shame when your coworker finds you with your foot in the sink.

🕌 It means reminding yourself that fulfilling those five Salah is the VERY least we can do for all the blessings He granted us.

And even if our life was completely devoid of anything we saw as good, Allah would still be worthy of our Salah.

Your Prayer Matters

And it also means banking on Allah’s mercy and knowing that your effort means something to Allah.

Shaitan will try to steal away your Iman by convincing you that your Salah is not worthy or valid if it is delayed. Don’t let him win. Pray even when it’s later and then recommit to praying on time.

And if you fail again, pray and recommit again. And do it over and over again.

Your struggle is valid and is a means of greater reward!

I leave you with the words of our Lord:

{Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.} (Al-`Ankabut 29:45]

 


About Hana Alasry

Hana Alasry is a Yemeni American Muslim community organizer and activist working most heavily with MAS Youth. Her work focuses heavily on Muslim youth development, Islamic tarbiya and the Yemen crisis. She is currently in PA school studying medicine at the University of Detroit Mercy.

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