For those that find praying too hard…

The Qur’an describes this exact situation…

“And seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khâshi’ûn [i.e. the true believers in Allâh – those who obey Allâh with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise,) and in His Warnings (Hell, )].” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 45)

Why don’t people pray?
Why do they find it difficult to fast?
Why do some of us do these things, but we do it as a chore?

The Quran tells us why, with accuracy and simplicity; they can’t because they find it too hard. Unless a person’s belief is firm and sound — it is difficult to pray.

Who are the Al-Khashi’un being mentioned in the above verse?

These are the true believers, in Allah: the one true God. They obey him with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise  of Paradise, and in His warnings of Hell.

So, without doing all these things first, it is difficult to pray, fast, give zakah or do hajj.

How can we increase our submission and beliefs? The cure is simple: to increase the belief.  But, this requires sincere intentions.

How? Knowledge! Yes, it’s that simple.
Knowledge provides the reassurance and answers to strengthen our belief – If we seek it with a pure heart and intention. Only someone who is willing to search for, and strive for the truth can benefit from it.

There are many benefits for those who obey their lord; but the sincerity has to be there to obey him in the first place.

The five daily Prayers teach us many lessons in life including time management, self-discipline, harmony and unity. In fact, it could be argued that each verse and method of worship passed on to us by the final Messenger (SAW) of Allah (SWT) benefits and improves our daily lives, our characters, and leads us to a more wholesome meaningful life. Writing things down is one of the best ways of remembering and teaching ourselves and others, and we can see that this way was chosen to preserve the Qur’an as a book. Its recitation, repetition and propagation is encouraged to increase our understanding and encourage the acquisition of knowledge and truth. This effort of seeking nearness to the Qur’an leads to remembering to stay on the prescribed path.

Giving Zakah (obligatory charity) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity) purifies our wealth. It also purifies our hearts from many evils, temptations, desires and attachment to this life. The act of giving charity benefits the one giving it as well as the recipient.

Fasting cleanses and benefits our body and soul. It teaches us the ability to control our desires, and doing this purely for the sake of Allah teaches us the importance of sincere intention in all our actions.

The Hajj pilgrimage teaches us invaluable skills including self-discipline, humility, unity, patience, courage and the importance of planning and preparation. Planning and preparation are key to performing a successful Hajj, and both these skills are key to general success in many aspects of daily life. Planning and organising our time and thinking about what we want and how we will achieve it can provide us with much needed reassurance.

Approaching life in a wider context, with a pure heart and with an open mind can unravel our confusions and unearth more emotional strength and fuel to help us achieve goals. It can help put our minds at rest knowing that there is a greater purpose that we are working towards.

Focussing and visualising our end goal is the first step to achieving it.
What is the end goal we have to visualise? Paradise, what else?
Paradise is worth striving for!

This life is temporary and human beings are not immortal. Living for temporary instant gratification is not only illogical and unproductive, but it also distracts us from our true end goal of Paradise—which needs daily effort and striving.

We know from the Quran that this life is a test:

“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, “We believe” and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false” (Al-Ankabut, 29:2-3).

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to Al-Sâbirun (the patient)” (Al-Baqarah 2:155).

When we get lazy in our worship and regarding our true purpose in life, then we find ourselves off track.
Prioritising everything in terms of the wider context stops us from getting overly attached to the numerous temptations and desires of this wordly life.

Allah reminds us — to remind ourselves:

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers. And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”

    (Al-Dhariyat, 51:55-56).

Our lord warned us,“Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception.” (4:120)

We are responsible and accountable for our actions, and remembering that each action is being watched by our creator and recorded by his angels can help motivate us, so that our own actions don’t become our own worst enemy and testify against us on the Day of Judgement.

Seeing life in perspective is crucial to being content and satisfied with our lives; this helps in making the right choices and fighting off our inhibitions, desires and heedlessness.

 

 

 

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LOSING MY SENSES – (a true story)

I could hear perfectly for my whole life until I suffered from ‘sudden hearing loss’, and lost my ability to hear. I learnt so much through it though…

I had recently recovered from a cold virus when we embarked on our plane journey. During travelling, my condition exacerbated and I felt unbearable pain which escalated to a degree I had never felt before. It was a connecting flight. As I left the first plane I hoped my radiating headache and muffled hearing would somehow stop or lessen. But, it didn’t, despite taking medication. I boarded the next flight knowing the painful ordeal would intensify. Before I reached my destination I desperately texted my family to make an emergency appointment.

I was examined and the doctor sent home with medicines which didn’t really reduce the pain. The pain worsened to the extent I couldn’t sleep. I woke up the next day with ringing and complete hearing loss in one ear.

My whole persona had changed, because I couldn’t taste food properly. I didn’t enjoy eating. Hearing and tasting are both amazingly great blessings; I began self-reflecting, supplicating and seeking forgiveness. I hated being around others or going out, and preferred to be alone.

My own voice was bouncing back inside my ears and I was unknowingly speaking differently. My family struggled to understand my speech because I was mumbling. Slowly I could see their confusions grow and I began to feel detached from them. They kept telling me that I would soon be better. Deep down they were confused and resentful of my self-imposed solitary confinement. They wanted to meet people and go out and I was inevitably holding them back.

Eventually, I found the courage to persevere and went out. A fight broke out in a shop a couple of metres away from me. I was completely unaware of this happening. I didn’t know the danger of two violent men right behind me, and didn’t move away — because of my inability to hear. My younger sister dashed across the shop and pulled me away insisting I stay with her. It dawned on me that I was helpless and completely reliant.

 

I couldn’t hear the doorbell due to the muffled hearing in my ears, when it was just me and the kids at home. My son told me the plumber arrived; I felt awful knowing my small child, who depends on me usually, helped me with such a basic thing. Nevertheless I told him to tell me every time he heard the man coming in and out; he promised he would. Kids are kids though and he forgot and wandered off. I summoned him to come back and listen out for me. I will never forget the ‘obliged’ look on his face — as I had become a burden. I felt like I had asked him a huge favour by asking for his time. I became so dependant and helpless, that I was reliant on a small child.

I felt debilitated and helpless. I was shocked that kindness was coming from people I never would’ve imagined cared — and hurt by the temperaments and negativity of those who I thought would always support me.

My doctor advised me to simply ‘wait it out’ and see how I progress.

Ultimately only Allah can heal, but, my patience began running out. I began researching and reading up the causes and treatments for hearing loss. The horror stories I read petrified me because I realised this hearing loss may be permanent — and I envisioned being deaf forever!

In that fear was a great blessing and Allah’s wisdom. SubhanAllah. That night I began mulling over how I would live my life if I do not ever regain the ability to hear. My reactions ranged from deep shock to acceptance. Then, came patience with Allah’s decree, and thankfulness of all the years when I could hear. I reminisced over the time and ability I had wasted. I accepted Allah knew best — and if being deaf was destined for me then so be it.

‘I will survive’— albeit deaf. I began thinking practically about how to raise my children adequately; how as a deaf mother I could support them through their daily chores and education… I told myself if Allah had placed me in this situation, he would give me the strength to cope. I felt sad that the perfectionist expressive ‘me’ may now be lost. How could I now contribute to the ummah and be productive and help others when I was semi dependent on others? How will I listen to lectures, Qur’an and further my knowledge? Was I being punished? The deafness was my problem and my family could still lead life ‘normally,’ would they abandon me eventually?

A hadith came to mind: “Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him.”

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During those moments I realised that the only constant in our lives is our lord, Allah (swt). Everything else is conditional and temporary in comparison. I trusted that He would provide for me and look after me — even if no one else did. I felt comforted by the fact that I hadn’t missed my prayers or my morning and evening adhkar (remembrance) on the day I fell ill. This reassured me that what was happening was for my best.

In that one night I intricately planned my remaining life and I supplicated to Allah more than I ever have. That connection grew — I decided that no matter how weak or vulnerable I become, I would still work towards my true purpose of life. I knew I still have to worship Allah and remember him no matter how sick I am. Our religion gives ease and concessions of course, but the purpose of life and Allah’s commands are the same for those who are challenged by deafness, blindness or physical impairments.

I reminded myself that feeling sorry for myself was not an option. How many thinkers and great  scholars were challenged by their body in some way but still persevered patiently and continued to benefit others. I thanked Allah that my mind was still working and I could still see, smell and feel. Losing hearing may be bad but losing Allah’s love and mercy is far worse; I hated the possibility that He may be angry with me. I begged him to forgive my sins and relieve me if I was being punished because I had angered him.

The next morning I insisted I needed to see a specialist — and within 5 days my hearing had completely returned — and the rest as they say is history! Our lord plans everything perfectly and his wisdom is beyond our comprehension.

As my family smiled with relief, glad that chapter was finally over; I knew for me life could never be the same again.

A new chapter had begun by the permission and mercy of Allah, I had been given a second chance Alhamdulillah— and I vowed never to forget that month — because through it I learnt so much.