And establish prayer and give Zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience]. (Quran 2: 43)
One of the five pillars of Islam is Prayer (Salah). The Arabic word for prayer forms the core of a person’s faith. To detach yourself away from the world demonstrates our belief in Allah and gives us time to focus and contemplate over our existence.
Modern day has us running from one place to another, rarely having time to take a break. Through the Quran and Sunnah, Allah has told us to take time out at five set times so we can worship, reminding ourselves of our true purpose and meaning.
It is important to remember the position prayer has within Islam. ‘Abdullah ibn Shaqiq Al-‘Uqayli – Allah have mercy on him, reported:
“The Companions of Allah’s Messenger – Allah’s praise and peace be upon him – did not consider the leaving of any action to be kufr (unbelief), except the prayer (salah).” (Al-Tirmidhi 2622)
Prayer is not a factor of the religion to be belittled, downsized or played about with. It does, however, become an ongoing battle for many to develop the routine of prayer and to remain firm in doing so.
The reasons range and differ among individuals: not knowing how to perform prayer, parents/family not approving, difficulty finding the time – the list goes on.
Alhamdullilah, Allah has placed within our lives mountains of blessings. Life, health, work, family, friends, opportunities, successes, education – all of which we should ensure we are grateful for.
Everything from the moment we wake up to the second we lay our head on our pillow was given to us by our Lord. To block time away to stop and focus on our relationship with Allah is paramount in our development as Muslims.
The following verse demonstrates that Allah does not give a soul more than what they can handle, in terms of their religion:
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity (2:286)
We can all develop the routine of praying our five daily prayers Insha’Allah (God Willing). Here are a few practical ideas on how to develop that habit:
Know what you are Reciting
When you are finding it difficult to pray salah, not know the meaning of what you are reciting can make it even harder to develop a bond with this act of worship. Try to learn the meaning of the surahs and dua you are reciting to allow the time you spend in prayer even more fruitful.
Plan your Day
Know what you have planned for the day and where you will be during prayer times. This will help you be more prepared at the time. If you are at school or work, ask to be excused or given a break so you can complete the prayer.
You may be out shopping with friends so check to see if there is a local mosque or prayer facility available beforehand that you can use to pray.
If you are visiting family or friends, let them know beforehand that you will need to complete your prayer so they can provide you with adequate space; this also avoids feeling awkward when you have to pray mid conversation. As best as you can, plan your day around prayer times.
Have what you need ready for each prayer. If you are out and about, carry a travel prayer mat, hijab and other prayer clothing with you to ensure the lack of these items does not become the cause of missing a prayer. It may take you some time to make wudu (ablution), so keep this in mind when you are planning your day.
Set Alarms on your Phone
Many different apps are available that display your local prayer times and allow the adhan, the call to prayer, to be played when the prayer time comes.
This can act as a great tool to remind you to pray, as well as give you a heads up on what time the next prayer is coming up.
Equally, you can set your own personal alarms on your phone with the times you know you can go to pray. Your phone can be the best reminder so utilize it Insha’Allah.
At the end of the day, tick of which prayers you have successfully completed and which you missed. This will help you develop an understanding for which prayer time you struggle most with, as this can differ from person to person depending on their daily schedules.
Use this as a means of reflection and ask yourself why you missed them: was it because you forgot? Was it a situation where you felt you could not leave?
Constantly make dua, asking Allah to make prayer a solid part of your life. Even when you have developed a routine, continue to ask Allah to preserve it for you. Routines are hard to develop yet, sadly, a few small events can destroy it.
By giving prayer the status it deserves, your relationship with Allah will continue to grow to new strengths. We often rush to friends and family to talk to them regularly; be sure to rush to Allah because your success lies with Him.
May Allah make it easy for us all to have prayer as a focal part of our lives Insha’Allah.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)