Praying can sometimes feel like a huge task, at times praying 5 times a day can for some feel like a distant ambition. Especially for those starting back at school, it can sometimes feel challenging to work in your daily prayers. Salah has helped me get through many things that I would have never dreamed of getting through. From depression, anxiety, to attempting suicide – many things. Salah has brought me internal peace, a peace that I KNOW for sure that I’ll not be able to find anywhere else but within Salah. It’s never too late to start, don’t force yourself to think “well I never pray it anyway why should I now” or “I’ve missed it anyway” because in the end, it’s all that matters.
Here’s a simple post from how I went from 0 a day to 5 a day and no I’m not talking about my fruit and veg I’m talking about Salah (Prayers). Before I start this is a reminder to myself first and foremost, I’m far from perfect and just like you, my soul at times struggles.
Growing up in a not so Muslim environment really does take its toll on your Salah in the long run. It’s not something you actually notice until you realise that you’re missing out on your Salahs. I grew up in a Muslim household and some may think that’s enough for one to pray 5 times a day but it wasn’t. I remember back in secondary school there was a point where I’d only pray Fajr (with my family) and the rest was history. I’d go to school, come home and I’d just be occupied with things that weren’t half as important as my Salah. When my parents asked me if I had prayed I would say, “yeah I’ve prayed my Zuhr in school” or “yes I prayed when I was upstairs”, long story short when you’re around that age it’s very easy to lie straight through your teeth.
Looking back at it sometimes I sit and I think to myself how did I even manage to not pray, Salah has brought so much peace and tranquillity to a roaring unsettled soul. The transition to begin praying was in itself hard, but it gradually became somewhat easy.
There were a couple tips that helped me which I’ll explain below in no particular order.
Salah – a spiritual getaway
It’s all a matter of mind & soul. You have to prepare yourself mentally and spiritually – I had to. In fact. I still do. I had to learn to understand that Salah is not just about going in an up and down motion 5 times a day because to be honest anyone can do that.
Salah is your mental migration, it’s a spiritual getaway, a connection between you and your creator.
Whether it is you praying alone or praying together with others and the only thing that can stop this connection from failing is yourself. I had to learn that there’s a difference, a huge difference between praying and PRAYING because it’s possible for one to pray and feel nothing at all and that’s all because of the lack of spirituality and not seeing the beauty in Salah.
Next it was about understanding salah, actually understanding why I’m praying. I had to sit and question myself – I still do. Am I praying just for the sake of it so I can say, “yeah I’ve prayed and got it out the way” or am I praying because I want to please my creator? Am I praying because I really do understand without a doubt that without Salah I am nothing and with Salah I am everything? Your intentions play a huge role, and in order to make sure they’re where they’re supposed to be, self -reflection is always important.
You need Salah, it doesn’t need you
Now this next tip, for me personally is one of the most important, if not the most important. I remember for so long I looked at Salah like a chore, like homework that I didn’t want to do but I’ll do it just to say I’ve done it and I can say that really did add to the fact that at one point I felt nothing while praying. The moment I started to notice the beauty, the peace, the blessing and the tranquillity within Salah is the moment I started to feel and that’s when I started praying that Allah should never take it away from me. Once you see the blessing within praying your salah, you come to the realisation that YOU NEED Salah, Salah does not need you.
Getting practical, how to plan your Salah
Plan your day around your salah and stop planning salah around your day.
Your day and all that it contains is not half as important as your Salah. Like I said it’s hard to do at first but if it’s genuine Allah will pave the path for you. No matter where you are, the majority of the time, there’s always somewhere that you can make wudu (ablution) and pray. Whether that is at a shopping centre (London Westfield Shepherd’s Bush have a praying room, downstairs by the valet parking with separate very pretty toilets for brothers and sisters to make wudu, Stratford as-well, by the foodcourt on the second floor), a little corner, a room at work (I used to use my first aid room), or at your universities. There’s always somewhere to pray.
That lecture you’re sitting in? It won’t cost you a dime to leave for 5 minutes and come back, the break at work, use a few mins to pray the Salah you missed while working. Yes, there are times when you cannot actually stop and pray and that’s understandable but my point is, try and don’t get complacent with “I’ll pray it when I get home”, which I’m sure we’ve all done. Otherwise, you pile up your Salahs, which we shouldn’t be doing to start off with, you pray them all in one go and 90% of the time they’re rushed through just so you can get them over and done with. If you have the ability to pray it there and then – Pray it.
I promise you dear soul, whatever you’re dropping your salah for does not hold an ounce of importance in comparison to your salah.
Once you start, you don’t stop. Understand that there will be days where you will be a little all over the place – that’s fine, keep pushing. The steps into Salah are like baby steps, you crawl, stand and sometimes just like the baby you fall. Babies don’t give up, they do it all again, you see them holding onto things for support to find balance, your support in this case is patience and perseverance. With time just like the baby eventually walks freely, you’ll begin to pray freely and reap the blessings from it.
To the happy soul, the sad soul, the healed soul & the wounded soul I hope through my words you find some form of tranquillity, peace and a place to call home.