Written by Khushboo Jamal
Working offsite always added to my anxiety. It would mean that I’d have to scramble to find a place to make wudu and pray salah in seclusion when the time came but I left it up to Allah to help me. I always made du’a for Allah swt to bless me with a job where I would not have to sacrifice my deen so I had faith Allah would have my back wherever I’d go.
The next day, I walked into the Department of Buildings and rushed to the meeting room where I’d be presenting to the CIO. As I took my seat at the table, my eyes would not believe what I saw in the far-left corner of the room - there it lay, a folded up prayer mat.
When the meeting came to a close, I confirmed with an employee – this meeting room was the designated prayer area for Muslims in the building. What were the chances! I thought to myself. SubhanAllah. And so, I was able to pray Asr in peace before leaving for my hour long commute home.
Isn’t it crazy how we go through this thought process when the time for salah comes at a time inconvenient for us? What will people think? How can I make wudhu in a public bathroom? How can I ask for a space to pray? Or perhaps we’ll just put it off thinking we’ll make the prayer up at a later time.
The reality is, when we begin our prayer with Allahu Akbar, God is the Greatest, we need to internalize that our Lord is Greater than everything else that is occupying us in that point in time. When we recite Surah Al-Fatiha in every prayer, we are commencing a dialogue with Allah swt for He responds to us after we utter every ayah. So, when we put off salah we are putting off the opportunity to stand before God, who is in control of everything that we are rushing to.
We can spend our lives chasing the dunya, amassing wealth and partying but we forget, “…what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” Quran [57:20] As long as we chase the dunya, our hearts will never be fulfilled but if we seek the akhirah, we’ll find the world in our hands. Indeed, this world is just a drop in the ocean in comparison to the hereafter. We worry about what we will leave behind when in actuality, we should be concerned with what we will take with us when we leave this world.
Have you ever pondered over the athan? When the muezzin calls for prayer, “Hayya 'alas-Salah, Hayya 'alal-Falah.” Come to Prayer, Come to Success. Internalize what this means. Without salah, there is no ultimate success. Salah IS success. The ten minutes we disconnect from this world five times a day to praise Allah, acknowledge His Oneness, His Mercy and Forgiveness, and spill all of our worries to Him, is how we can attain true success in this life and in the Hereafter. In a narration by Abu Huraira, the Messenger of Allah, Peace Be Upon Him, said, "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?" They said, "Not a trace of dirt would be left." The Prophet (ﷺ) added, "That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out evil deeds."
So why then, are we shy of our faith? Why are we so reluctant to pray wherever we may find ourselves at the time of salah when on the Day of Judgement, every spot we have made sujood upon will testify for us? Remember that the Prophet (ﷺ) was abused and persecuted by the Quraysh pagans in Makkah especially during prayer. Whilst in the state of prostration, Abu Jahl among many others, put the intestines of camels on his back in order to put him in distress but Allah swt was with him. Despite the struggles that we may face in an un-Islamic environment, we need to hold onto our faith. What will the creation think as we stand before our Creator in prayer? – Chances are, they’ll be very respectful and understanding and we won’t face the level of enmity and insult as the Prophet (ﷺ) did. We just need to own up to our identity and obligations as Muslims.
Jabir RadiAllahu Anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah, Peace Be Upon Him, said, “Between a man and disbelief and paganism is the abandonment of Salat.” [Muslim]