In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
I am starting up my Ramadan Reflections (previously called Enlightened Encounters) once again for this Ramadan. Throughout the month, we tend to learn many beautiful and valuable lessons from small encounters and reflections. This is a place for me to express my thoughts and insights, and share them with you, hoping that you’ll benefit from them in some way or another. May Allah s.w.t. grant us knowledge and guide us to purify ourselves and improve our character as Muslims, Ameen. Before I begin, I would like to remind you all that these are only my reflections.
Speaking of purifying ourselves, let me ask you a question, how often do we wake up for Fajr? You know, the time of the day when most of us prefer sleeping in our warm, comfortable beds, when it is dark and quiet in our homes, and the only thing we can hear is the soft breeze outside our windows and the birds chirping early in the morning. Let us not forget it is also the time of the day that Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to pray two sunnah rakats, followed by two fardh rakats. We find it so difficult to wake up for a total of about 10 minutes, to do something that is obligatory in Islam. Why is that?
We are often too worried that we won’t get enough sleep and energy for our busy day at work tomorrow, or the exam we have coming up. Or maybe it’s because we were up late that night watching Netflix or talking to our friends. While all that can be fun and important, we can’t forget the importance of Salah. Have you ever thought that maybe that one additional (mandatory) prayer before sunrise, might just make your day a little bit better? When Allah s.w.t. sees that you have taking time out of your schedule for Him, He might help you in a greater way.
With Ramadan having arrived, the interesting thing to think about is that, suddenly, those individuals who didn’t have the energy to pray Fajr or any other prayer through out the day for the last 11 months, will now make sure they don’t miss a single Salah. SubhanaAllah, we are taking a step towards our Lord, but what about the rest of the year?
I can’t remember where it was that I heard this great analogy that I want to elaborate on and share with all of you. It kind of makes us think twice about the importance we give to Salah. So say you’re a middle-aged man, who’s working a 9-5 job, with a few additional projects on side. You also have a wife and two kids, who you have to take to extra-curricular commitments, attend family parties and all the other things an average middle-aged man would do. One day, amidst your busy schedule, you feel a pain in your chest. The pain is sharp. The pain is unbearable and it’s preventing you from being able to go about your daily routine. You’re not sure why it’s there. So you book a doctor’s appointment immediately to get it checked. You need to know if this pain is something serious, or is it temporary and will go away in time. Now, in order to make it to the doctor’s office, you cancel a meeting here, move a soccer practice there, you move your entire schedule around just so you can make it to the doctor’s to find out what is causing that pain.
Isn’t that interesting? When a person feels a pain in their body, when they feel their body is being harmed, they do anything they can to find out what it is, to make sure it’s nothing too serious. They re-arrange their schedules for that visit to the doctor, that they believe is so mandatory. Why do they do that? Because they want to survive. They also know that they must visit the doctor, and if they don’t, the consequences could be detrimental to their health. So my question is, if people can change their entire schedules for a doctor’s appointment they believe is a “must” for their body, why can’t they take a few minutes out of their day to pray to Allah s.w.t., a command that is a “must” for our souls?
Similar to how doctor’s can cure and heal our bodies, prayer can purify and heal our souls. Especially during Ramadan. We need prayer in our lives. Taking time out of our day to do something that makes us patient, that makes us concentrate, that makes us reflect, that gives us time to ask Allah s.w.t. for anything, is that not something we need? It’s a medicine for our soul, that can teach us so many beautiful lessons.
In the Qur’an, Allah s.w.t. says, “And seek help through patience and prayer” (2:45). Only when we turn to Allah s.w.t., will we gain the help and guidance that we need. Instead of making Salah something that is an afterthought, make it a priority. When planning out our days, we must include prayer in our schedules. Whether we work or attend school, we must make time for Salah each day. Pray on time. Focus on perfecting your Salah, understanding the words you say while you pray, allowing it to be something through which Allah s.w.t. will protect you and purify your heart and your soul.
So I ask you, friends and family, this Ramadan, when you focus on making sure you don’t miss a single prayer, take it one step further by also focusing on making sure you never miss a single prayer in your life again. Don’t let Salah be an afterthought, something that you squeeze in whenever you can, but rather something you remember to do before anything else, fulfilling a command that will bring you one step closer to Jannah.
May Allah s.w.t. make us steadfast in our prayer and make it easy for us to keep up with each and every one throughout our lives in’sha’Allah. Ameen.
Pray sincerely this Ramadan.