I Struggle to Pray; How to Commit to Prayer?

06 April, 2020
Q Assalamualaikum,

Ever since I started practicing Islam seriously, I have noticed that I’ve been on and off with my prayers.

I only pray the fard (obligatory) prayers and water along with isha because I know my weakness as someone who had depression and anxiety, I won’t be able to keep up with long prayers.

However, every time I get into the habit of praying, I can stick to it for a few months at most, and soon I start to hate it and feel frustrated by it.

I can hold on and fight this frustration by reminding myself this is the time my prayer holds more meaning or that I am being tested by Allah so I must persist and not just rely on good days to feel like a productive Muslim.

But as this dreadfulness and distaste of prayers continue for a month, eventually I just don’t pray. I stopped praying last Ramadan, and I was frustrated with fasting too. I just hated everything about fasting and praying.

When I think of death, I feel motivated to pray but when I think of having to even just get up as a first step to do the ablution, I hate it.

I feel grateful to Allah right now as I’m afraid of my blessings being taken away. Good things are happening to me right now, but I still don’t want to pray because of my subconscious anger towards it and I don’t how to get rid of this anger.

I don’t even know where that anger comes from and what causes it. The only habit that I was able to keep this year was losing weight, as I was so committed.

Now, my new habit is reducing sugar intake (dental issues). However, I can never feel this commitment towards prayer.

Even worse, I have zero guilt about it. I would like to find solutions and get rid of my anger and dreadfulness towards prayer even though I only pray fard.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Dear sister, Allah SWT is not asking us to pray as a chore. We are supposed to enjoy our prayers. Just like we love to talk to our best friend, we are supposed to enjoy talking to Allah SWT.

Remember: prayer is a reminder. A way for us to structure our day and not forget that Allah SWT is there for us and that we need to be aware of His presence.

Prayer is a gift for Us. It was sent down as a means to seek closeness to Allah, for ease, and as guidance in times of hardships.

I highly suggest that you write these down and do a bit more research on prayer.


Assalamu Alaikum dear sister,

Firstly, I’d like you to imagine a scenario. You and your best friend have been best friends since the age of five.

YBoth of you two spent your childhood together, had sleepovers, went to elementary school, middle school and high school together. You two are so close that you share your innermost secrets and thoughts with each other.

You both practically saw each other every single day. At the age of 21, she decided to move to another country to pursue her studies.

How would you feel? Would you like to call her occasionally, say, once a month or a year, or every day, at least every week? I am guessing it would be almost every day, or a few times a week.

How to Commit to Prayer

However, imagine someone you never liked, a classmate you had to work together because your teacher paired you up, or a neighbor who always tries to push your tolerance.

When they move countries or even towns, you would be relieved, and I am certain you wouldn’t want to maintain any sort of ties with them.

Dear sister, our relationship with Allah SWT is supposed to be much stronger than the relationship we have with our best friend, friend, or even our mother, father, or spouse.

This kind of relationship, love, and yearning will develop when we understand who Allah SWT is. What it means to love Him, pray to Him, call to Him, and try to please Him.

I Struggle to Pray; How to Commit to Prayer? - About Islam

Evaluate your anger and rationalize why you feel angry. You must write down or sit down on a prayer mat. Think about what it is about prayers that are making you angry and making you feel unhappy. You need to voice your feelings to yourself. Often when we say our feelings out loud to ourselves, half of the stress vanishes.

Understand the meaning of prayer

Dear sister, Allah SWT is not asking us to pray as a chore. We are supposed to enjoy our prayers. Just like we love to talk to our best friend, we are supposed to enjoy talking to Allah SWT. He is there for us and we need Him. Prayer is more than what it seems to be physical.

Why do we pray? What is prayer? Prayer is essentially a form of communication with Allah SWT. When we say “AllahuAkbar” and stand up for prayer, we are glorifying Him SWT and then moving on to reading Al Fatiha, which is basically a chapter of the Quran aimed to sincerely ask Allah for guidance and help and direction.


Check out this counseling video:


In the hadith quoted below, the quotations are the translations of Al Fatiha.

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah Almighty said: I have divided prayer between myself and my servant into two halves, and my servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says, ‘all praise is due to Allah the Lord of the worlds,’ Allah says: My servant has praised me. When he says, ‘the Gracious, the Merciful,’ Allah says: My servant has exalted me. When he says, ‘the Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says: My servant has glorified me, and my servant has submitted to me. When he says, ‘you alone we worship, you alone we ask for help,’ Allah says: This is between me and my servant, and my servant will have what he has asked for. When he says, ‘guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not those who went astray,’ Allah says: This is for my servant, and my servant will have what he has asked for.” Narrated: (Muslim)

Why we need to pray five times a day.

Dear sister, this is the first part of the prayer. Life is confusing, life is hard, life is sad and sometimes it is not what we want. However, when we truly try to understand Al Fatiha and reflect on the meanings, we will realize that it is a call to Allah, so that He may show us what is the right way of life.

When you are in class and are truly lost and not sure about how to approach a certain assignment, you ask the teacher.

You do not express anger towards her or the assignment and avoid it altogether; you seek help. Al Fatiha, without which there is no prayer that can take place, is simply a call for prayer.

‘Ubadah ibn al-Samat reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no prayer for one who does not recite the opening of the Book, Surat al-Fatihah.” ( Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī )

Dear sister, this is simply the importance of Al Fatiha. Every subsequent chapter we read, there is a greater meaning behind them all. You may ask why we need to pray five times a day.

Our purpose in Life

Nothing is prescribed for Muslims to follow without great reasoning. Humans need reminders, and we need to be told what is right and what is wrong. We need to know what our purpose is in life and what our reality is.

Here’s another scenario. If you have a test coming up in three weeks, would you score an A+ if you studied simply the night before? Definitely not! Research shows that spread out learning yields better results and can easily be retained as opposed to learning in a stressed situation over a shorter period.

When we pray 5 times a day, we are instilling the meaning of life, that our life is temporary, and that our final return is to Allah SWT. We are reminding ourselves that we are working, studying, etc., to attain Allah’s pleasure so that He may bless us and provide us with direction and guidance and prevent us from going astray.

Conclusion

It is a reminder, a way for us to structure our day and not forget that Allah SWT is there for us and that we need to be aware of His presence. Dear sister, people sin and fall into the trap of the devil when they do not constantly remind themselves of the importance of being a true believer.

In the Quran, Allah SWT says:

“Recite, [O Muhammad], 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.” (Quran 29:45)

Prayer is a gift for Us. It was sent down as a means to seek closeness to Allah, for ease, and as guidance in times of hardships. Therefore, sister, do not simply pray physically. I highly suggest that you write these down and do a bit more research on prayer. Listen to this lecture: The importance of salah.

I pray that you will feel much better soon regarding prayer. And that you will be regularly offering prayers on time.

May Allah make it easy for us all.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Madiha Sadaf
Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.