In Islam praying five times a day is obligatory. But in the society we live in today I can understand how easy it is to fall out of that cycle. This is the time where you start having that on-off relationship with Salat (Arabic for prayers). You promised yourself that you would pray in five minutes, right after you have finished watching that one YouTube video (which in reality takes a lot more of your time). And that is how the days go by. Your parents have probably told you countless time to get up and pray*. And there you are, still there behind your laptop nodding or saying ‘in sha allah’. In this article you will find ten steps you have to follow in order to start praying consistently.
*note to parents: Asking your teenage child to do something repeatedly works like the law of doing everything in reverse. Moral of the story, sometimes it is helpful to just let your kid to figure it out themselves.
First things first, you have to kick procrastination in the butt. It is probably one of those things that is keeping your behind glued onto your chair. Say ‘a3udu billahi mina shaitan rajim’ and remind yourself why praying is obligatory. I believe it is not necessary for me to explain the five pillars of the Islam. There are countless reasons why it is mandatory. The question now is: ‘How to stop procrastinating?’. Here are some tips on how you could incorporate the prayers in your day.
– Integrate prayer times in your to-do list or everyday schedules.
– Listen to that voice in your head and motivate yourself to get the job done. Prayer is just like an essay with a deadline. It is more a task, the deadline is the time at which the prayer has to be done and you will get your grades in the hereafter.
– Some people need extra motivation or that one person who can give you that little push in the back. Ask your father, mother, sister… go pray, ask if you can join them.
– Make prayer a priority. As soon as you are home, pray immediately. Let’s be honest: it only takes (in total with the ritual washing) about fifteen minutes.
Studies have shown that in order to form a new habit, you have to do that activity for 21 days. In this case the activity is praying. Of course 21 days is an average, as it all depends on the person, circumstances and most importantly the motivation and persistence. Does it not sound like a new diet? You cannot give up, otherwise you will fall out of the boat? When praying keep in mind your intentions. Make them your encouragement to stay consistent in your prayers.
In order to understand the benefits of praying, let’s define what its purpose is. Prayer enhances a Muslim’s spirituality as well as harvesting the soul to love and worship God.
a. Spiritual benefits
– Reminding what the essence is of life on this earth
– Keeping your feet down to earth
– Providing a direct connection with the Creator
– Achieving success in this life and the hereafter
– Balancing daily life and religion
– Interrupting your daily routine five times to relax and purifying your mind and heart
– Practicing patience, humility and sincerity
– Expressing thankfulness
– Remembering God through prayer will keep you away from unjust deeds end remind your of what is good and bad
b. Physical benefits
Prayer is an excellent way of exercising during the day.
– Chances of getting arthritis are less likely, because you exercise your bones and joints
– Reduces cholesterol
– Prevents indigestion (in the morning when you have not eaten yet, you have to pray less Rak’aat as in the evening where you have to pray more Rak’aat after dinner)
– Boosts the supply of blood to the brain, when in sajdah (position where you touch the ground with your forehead)
At the end of the day, as Ustadh (Arabic for ‘teacher’) Nouman Ali Khan said: ‘You cannot ask God for something without putting the work in yourself.’