Prayer is better than sleep

Published — Friday 18 April 2014

When young Muslims meet others for the first time and find out that they are Muslim, often one of the very first questions they ask each other is, “Do you pray?” It’s as if this is their touchstone to see if the person they have met is a real Muslim or not. Calling yourself Muslim is one thing, being a Muslim is something else.

Praying five times a day is at the heart of Islam. It is one of the things that distinguishes a Muslim from everyone else in the world; that all the activities of life can be made significant by the cycle of prayer and praise which we offer to Almighty Allah. So why, then, do we have such a problem being faithful to prayer?

My first Umrah was one of the most important experiences of my life and it had its effects on me. Being so close to the Kaaba was a deeply moving experience. Being at the very place where our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), like all the prophets before him, had walked and prayed, was amazing.

One of the things that hit me most about being in Makkah, among so many others, was when the call to prayer sounded for Fajr, the Dawn prayer. Thousands of people appeared from every direction and headed toward the Kaaba for prayer.

Getting up in the middle of the night wasn’t difficult at all, because the experience of praying at the Kaaba was so moving. At the time, moving with the vast crowd, I couldn’t help thinking about what it is usually like back home.

Those getting up and going to the mosque for the dawn prayer are certainly a minority, aren’t they? Away from Makkah, it is all too easy to ignore the Adhan completely and stay in the comfort of one’s bed.

At special times like Ramadan, or when we go on pilgrimage, it seems so much easier to be faithful to prayer and to take Islam so much more seriously. How many of us, for example, attended Tarawih Prayers in the mosque during Ramadan, even though we might occasionally miss one or two of the obligatory prayers?

It’s one of life’s paradoxes that we want so much to be good, and yet we find ourselves falling into the same old traps and doing things we later regret. How odd we are as human beings! We can quite happily sit in front of the television for hours or sit idly chatting on the Internet to no one in particular, yet we can’t manage to set aside 10 minutes to pray.

We do pray, of course, when we want something. Prayer is no problem for us at all then. It comes quite naturally and is no inconvenience at all. The minute a plane begins to plummet to the ground because of engine failure, even the least religious person on board raises his hands in prayer. When a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness or when we desperately want an interview to go well, we pray.

The words of
the Adhan

The very words of the Adhan call us to prayer and to security. There is no greater security than knowing that we are in the presence of Allah, Who controls all things. We fret so much and we waste so much time worrying about what might happen, when Allah is guiding everything and we have nothing to fear.

How beautiful it is, for example, to get up in the middle of the night, when all is still and calm, and to prostrate ourselves in prayer before the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth. No one else is around and we can be completely ourselves before Him, pouring out our hearts, asking, begging, and thanking.

If we want something from a friend, we have to couch our request with explanations: “Can I borrow such and such because….” With Allah we need no explanations. He knows more about what we need than we know ourselves. All we need to do is to bow down in prayer. The very movement of the prayers is relaxing to our bodies and it helps us to put our lives into the proper context. In the presence of such greatness, life is very fragile.

For Muslims, the call to prayer is like an air raid siren. In times of war or danger, an air raid siren will sound to tell the citizens to run and take cover. No one thinks twice about doing so. The siren sounds and you run as fast as your legs can carry you to a place of safety.

The Adhan is just the same, but it is calling us to escape, not from bombs falling from the sky, but from the everyday concerns and worries of life which often threaten to crush us. It calls us, instead, to take shelter in Allah alone, Who knows us and cares for us and Who wants the best for us. How quickly we should rush to prayer, taking refuge in Allah. How quickly we should leave the inconsequential things of life and turn in prayer to life’s Creator.

We have all seen old people in the mosque and been deeply touched by this old man or that old lady who spends so much time in prayer. Praying has made a difference to them.

It is very moving, too, to see a man come into the mosque from the street, straight from his work which is both back breaking and hard, and to see him prostrate himself in prayer, praying, perhaps, for his children or for the money he needs just to make ends meet. With our foreheads touching the ground, we are all equal. There is no pretending when we pray.

Who should we
thank, and how?

We are truly blessed as Muslims. Allah has given us everything we need to live a good life, which will bring us happiness. The five pillars of Islam guide us to Paradise.

The five daily prayers are a way of giving meaning to our lives and of setting aside just a few minutes each day to return thanks for all we have. Every Ramadan we make lots of resolutions about how we are going to improve. The greatest resolution of all is to be faithful to prayer.

All our talk about Muslims and about Islam is worthless if we don’t ground it in prayer. Being faithful to the five daily prayers changes us for the better. Better than watching TV, better than chatting on the Internet, prayer on a regular basis re-charges our spiritual batteries and makes us feel good.

What’s more, regular prayer makes us better people, better Muslims, since its effects stay with us for the rest of the day. In the words of the Adhan which call us to get out of bed and to pray Fajr, the Dawn Prayer, “Prayer is better than sleep.”


Categories: Arab World, Asia

1 reply

  1. Please do not delete my respond. If you love for all, none hatred for all, you should accept the different idea, thought, interpretation of Islam, and race. Right? May Alah bless you, Ameen


    For those who wish to follow Islam, there are five basic pratices and many formal observances. The five pillars of Islam are 1) bearing witness, 2) daily prayer,3) fasting during the month of Ramadan, 4) fifth, and 5)pilgrimage to Mecca.

    These laws can not be changed for ever, but the laws related the worldly affair can be changed,such as; dreesing, inheritance, the system of government, crime law, etc.

    Everything has both outer form and inner meaning. This is especially true in prayer. The beginning of the formal Islamic prayer is call the tecbir. Facing Meccah. Muslim put their hands up to their ears, palms forward, and say,“Allah hu Ekber,” “God is Greater”. God is greater than anything and everything that God has created. As they raise their hands, they try to put the world and any wordly concern behind them. It is as if the world is pushed back with the back of the hands. They then open their hearts so that they can feel that they are truly in the presence of God, with nothing separating them from God.

    This is the essence of prayer, a constantly held goal. It may not be possible to put aside completely all the love and care and temptation of the world, but one can try.

    These are God Verses below;

    Perform As shalat, verily As shalat prevents from Al Fahsha (great sins of everikind, unlawful sexual intercourse) and Al Munkar( disbelieve, every kind of evil wicked deed) and the remembering God is greater indeed of God in prayers And God knows what you do QS 29;45.

    Say, “My prayer, my offering, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. (162) For Him there is no partner. And thus I have been commanded, and I am the first one to submit.” (163) Say, “Should I seek a lord other than Allah while He is the Lord of everything? QS 6;162-163

    Do not pray if you do not know what you talk to Allah.
    Old interpretation; Often we hear that most old clerics think that if you do not know what you talk in praying, it is OK, Allah is knower all thing.Right??

    Modern interpretation believe that according to al quran, if you do not know what you talk to, your prayer are invalid( HARAM ). You have to understand what you talk to Allah. You do not know Arab language , your prayer is invalid.

    We suggest you have to understand what you say to Allah. If it is hard for you to understand Arab language, you can say in your own language. Allah and both understand what you say to Allah. It is not sinful to say in your own language. Allah created all languages.

    As Allah gave strongly warning to Muhammad (saw) and his followers as follow;

    O you who believe! Do not go near Salah when you are intoxicated, until you know what you say, QS 4;(43)

    Appear a question to our self like this;

    1. Millions Muslim Brotherhood have been praying 5 times a day, even more than that, years and years.
    But in fact, we see Allah did not favor MB’s struggle in Egypt, even state of Authority put their leaders in Jail. What is wrong? Why do Allah not listen to their prayer?

    2. Millions Muslim of Pakistan and Bangladesh have been praying years and years, but they are still life in misery and poverty and even they kill innocent people, Muslim Shia, and Ahmadiyah.
    Why is wrong with them? Why Allah do not listen to their prayer?

    What I see, most Muslim around the world do not understand what they utter in prayer.

    Second they believe in Allah and also believe in idols.(Muslim & Bukhari etc)It is sinful syrik

    Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allâh in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. QS 4;48.

    That is why Allah strongly give strong warning to Prophet Muhammad (saw); You pray is invalid, HARAM till you understand what you say.

    Second syrik is a biggest sinful in Islam.

    That is what I see, it is my observation years.
    Do you have any thought?

    What ever we do, be done with love of God (Cor.16:13).
    If we love each other, we can achieve a big works for mankind, but if we hate each other, will be destroyed completely. Because hate stir up trouble or conflict.
    So let we love each other, Allah will bless us all

    With all my love.

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