Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 21 September 2016| 19 Zhul Hijjah 1437
“Allahu Akbar… Allahu Akbar…”
I hear the adhan through the windows of my office, and I see the pop up on my computer, “It’s time for dhuhr prayer.”
Few minutes earlier, I just started getting into the flow of my work and I don’t want the momentum to be lost. So I tell myself, “I still got 20 minutes until iqama time. Let me wrap this up and I will make it in time, in sha Allah.”
25 minutes later, I know salah started and I am frantically trying to send that last e-mail before rushing off to make a quick wudhu and join the prayers. I am late, again!
..And this was not only for zuhr prayer, but for all 5 daily prayers: late for fajr because I woke up late, late for zuhr and asr because of work, late for maghrib because of rush hour, late for esha because of dinner!
And each time I was late, I felt bad, and told myself, “This is the last time I will ever be late!” And guess what? For the next salaah, I was late again.
How many of us can relate to the above scenario?
A lot of us right? Myself included. Initially, I was taking this lateness lightly. In fact, I fell into the classic trap of shaytaan and said to myself that it’s better to read late than not reading at all. But slowly I realized, this lateness was making an impact on my spirituality and character, and affecting my overall productivity.
Why being chronically late for salaah is bad for you?
When you are always late for salaah, it says a lot about you and your character. Punctuality is a good character trait and being late for salaah shows that you lack discipline, internal strength, and integrity to be where you are supposed to be on time for your most important appointments of the day, and you are not dependable.
Let’s face it -No one likes to say about themselves that they are not dependable or lack discipline, but actions speak louder than words, and being late for salaah is the first warning that you are on a slippery slope towards being chronically late in everything else in your life.
If you are wondering why there is a delay in your sustenance, in your marriage, in your work, in your health, look into your salaah: are you delaying it?
But why are we late for salaah?
In my opinion there are spiritual reasons and practical reasons:
Lack of understanding of who Allah is: My lateness for salaah was, unfortunately, a sign that I had not understood who Allah is. I failed to comprehend His Power and Majesty. You probably have heard the cliche’ example of “If you are invited by the King or the President or the Prime Minister of a country, would you not attend in your best manners, best clothes, and very early? How come when Allah, the King of kings, invites us for salaah, we do not take this invitation seriously?” I will go a bit deeper than this and say, ‘If we truly have faith in the unseen and have faith in the Messenger of Allah telling us that Allah wants us to meet Him 5 times every day in our salaah, then we should take salaah more seriously.’
Lack of appreciation of the gift of salaah: Salaah is a gift that was given to us. When we are late for salaah, what does that tell us about our appreciation of this gift from Allah?
Lack of knowledge of the relation between salaah and rizq (sustenance): The number one excuse people (including myself) use for being late for salaah is that they are chasing after their sustenance. You hear excuses such as “I have a meeting…”, “I have an important call…”, “I have a lecture…” etc.
What we fail to realise is that by delaying our salaah and taking salaah so lightly, the barakah is being removed from our sustenance even if we make material gain during the period we miss salaah.
Allah Ar-Razzaq says in the Qur’an:And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.”[Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 132
Notice how Allah linked salaah with seeking provision and He is promising us through these verses that if we pray and enjoin our families to pray, He will provide for us.
Underestimating how long things will take: I used to have the wrong perception of time where I think it takes me 10 minutes to get to the masjid. But I forget to factor in the time it takes me to make wudhu, go downstairs, leave the office building, walk across to the masjid, and put my shoes away before finally entering the masjid. The time taken from the moment I leave my office till I get to the masjid is actually closer to 20 minutes and not 10 minutes!
Procrastination: A lot of times the reason why I am late for salaah is that I procrastinate on a task earlier on those days or weeks. This procrastination then leads to impending non-negotiable deadlines that I have to meet and does not allow me to make it for salaah on time.
Enjoying the rush: Deep down, I used to enjoy the ‘rush’ that the time between adhan and iqama provides. As soon as adhan goes off, I switch to laser sharp focus and I get a lot done in those 20 minutes, but of course, at the expense of salaah. Can we afford to??
Solution –How to break out of being chronically late for salaah?
Being chronically late for salaah is a pattern and the moment you understand how that pattern develops, you can make small tweaks in your daily life and mindset, and develop a new pattern that helps you make it to salaah on time – every time.
Own up to the problem: Admit you have a problem of being late. If you think you are OK, and that you should be applauded for just praying, then you will never take this lateness seriously. By realising that being late for salaah is not what Allah or His Messenger (saw) love, it forces you to own up to the problem and want to do something about it.
Redefine punctuality as a matter of faith: We hear the verse from the Qur’an that says: …Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times”[Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 103
Let us internalize it and make it part of our faith. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you truly believe that Allah is calling you to meet Him?
Do you truly believe that salaah is His gift for you?
Do you truly believe that success, sustenance, and barakah will come from praying on time?
If you do, then be punctual with your salaah and show Allah that you are eager to meet Him.
Narrated ‘Abdullah (ra):I asked the Prophet (saw) “Which deed is the dearest to Allah ?” He (saw) replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” [Bukhari]
May Allah grant us the ability to be steadfast on our salaah at its fixed times inshallah.Ameen.
Extracts – Productive Muslim