My Sister is Good at Everything But Prayers

20 October, 2017
Q As salamu 'alaykum, My sister knows that skipping prayers is not a good thing, but still she fails to pray –but ma sha' Allah she knows more about the religion than me. She covers her body, and al hamdu Lilah she does not have any negative relationships. What is the reason for her behavior? I'm ready to help my sister in all possible ways. Please help me so that I can do something.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

“So ask your sister what could she do in 10 minutes. Then ask her when she is with her friends, is she always happy. If she is not, get her to explain why. Prayers for your sister can be a way of taking time out and checking in with Allah, without a thought of what she is going to do next because whatever she is going to do next, can wait for 10 minutes. It will still there, and taking time out with Allah (SWT), gives her a chance to take time out with herself.”


As salamu ‘alaykum my daughter,  

May Allah (SWT) keep you for each other, in sha ‘Allah. It is not clear if you re older or younger than your sister, so maybe you have yet to approach the unsettling years of adolescence. The primary drive of most adolescense is social, with their emotional needs exceeding their cognitive development. As such they are socially active, but of course this differs from young person, to young person. With this in mind, give thanks to Allah (SWT), has not left all of her deen, her rudder in life behind, but bear in mind that the three most important things a young person needs are:

  • Advice and guidance – the soft approach
  • Choice
  • Being practical

By giving advice and guidance, your sister knows that you are there for her even if she is not seemingly listening. By giving advice and guidance with a soft approach, she will hear you, and will take it into consideration when the situation arises. In this way, you give her the choice to do what is right – the right to decide. We all like to think that we know our own minds, especially adolescents. By imposing your will over her will, you give her only one option, the option to refuse or reject.

When it comes to being practical in the area that concerns you, bear in mind, that your sister is probably driven by the feeling that she is missing out on something – where the action is – her friends. She probably feels that there is not enough time on her hands, and prayers to her seemingly take up a lot of time. Let’s see:

The time it takes to do fardh (obligatory) prayers well is about 5 -10 minutes. What could your sister do in 5 – 10 minutes? She could:

  • Take account of activities
  • Removal of others’ difficulties and fulfillment of their needs
  • Preserving ties of kinship
  • Making peace between people
  • Giving advice
  • Talk to you, a member of her family or a relative
  • Give charity
  • Serve one’s family
  • Do good

So ask your sister what could she do in 10 minutes. Then ask her when she is with her friends, is she always happy. If she is not, get her to explain why. Prayers for your sister can be away of taking time out, and checking in with Allah, without a thought of what she is going to do next, because whatever she is going to do next, can wait for 10 minutes. It will still there, and taking time out with Allah (SWT), gives her a chance to take time out with herself.

And afterwards, she could think a little about her activities, and if there is anything that she would like to change. If you put it this way to your sister, in a light hearted way, you never know, she might respond. Besides, just one more thought, when you are going to pray, just let her know, and set a prayer mat for her, so that she knows that the invitation is there, and that you would appreciate her company.

OR, just say to her,  “By the way, think of all the qadha, lapsed prayers that you are going to have to make up”. One with dishevelled hair went to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and asked about Islam.

“…The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Five prayers during the day and the night. (Upon this he said: Am I obliged to say any other (prayer) besides these? He (the Holy Prophet, ) said: No, but whatever you observe voluntarily, out of your own free will, and the fasts of Ramadan. The inquirer said: Am I obliged to do anything else besides this? He (the Holy Prophet) said: No, but whatever you do out of your own free will. And the Messenger of Allah told him about the Zakat (poor-rate). The inquirer said: Am I obliged to pay anything else besides this? He (the Holy Prophet) said: No, but whatever you pay voluntarily out of your own free will. The man turned back and was saying: I would neither make any addition to this, nor will decrease anything out of it. The Prophet remarked: He is successful, if he is true to what he affirms” (Muslim 001 # 0007)

 


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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.